Selfie exhibit celebrating Black History Month opens at Gem City Market

Credit: Natalie Jones

Credit: Natalie Jones

Gem City Selfie and Gem City Market have teamed up for “Gem City Black History Month Popup Exhibit: Building Our Black Future Together,” a one-of-a-kind exhibit.

The exhibit, which opened Feb. 3, runs through the entirety of Black History Month at the market, located at 324 Salem Ave. in Dayton.

“We want you all to go in, take as many selfies and feel empowered, inspired and know, as a community, we can all uplift each other and make this happen anywhere,” said NaAsiaha Simon, founder of Gem City Selfie.

Simon explained Gem City Market is serving a purpose of ensuring people have access to tangible goods and food in an area that was once a food desert. She said living in a food desert comes with feelings of depression, anxiety and stress, which affects mental health.

“We’re an organization who promotes social and mental wellness,” Simon said. “It was just perfect for us to come.”

The exhibit features six different walls for people to explore and take selfies with:

  • The Fruitful Wall
  • The Bubble Wall
  • Mr. Rickey Poole
  • The Gem Wall
  • Sankofa
  • Empower

In recognition of Black History Month and honoring someone in the city that has made a big impact, Gem City Selfie chose Rickey Poole, founder and owner of Natural Foods + Juice Caboose. Poole opened his first juice bar and natural grocer location at 2901 Philadelphia Dr. in Dayton over two decades ago. He also has a Kettering location in addition to The Water Store & Energy Clinic in Dayton.

The backdrops in the exhibit were designed by local artists Melody Finister and Byron Smith.

“Being a part of this exhibit helps me give back to the community, to help push a message by using colors and color therapy to enhance a mood and push a vision for the entire community,” said Finister.

“Mental health is a big problem that we have in the community, so to be a part of this and to be able to include my artwork with it is a great feeling,” added Smith.

The exhibit is free. Anyone who takes selfies are encouraged to tag Gem City Selfie in their photos.

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