Black Palette Art Gallery opens Friday in Wright Dunbar

A new art gallery in the Wright Dunbar district will soon display the works of a prominent local artist.

Black Palette Art Gallery, opening Friday, April 21, is the brainchild of artist James Pate and entrepreneur Shola Odumade. Both are excited to bring more art to the historic Dayton neighborhood.

In particular Pate is a graphic designer, art educator, consultant and protégé of Willis “Bing” Davis.

“So many feats have been birthed here in the heart of the Wright Dunbar district,” Pate said. “Launching this establishment here — just a few doors down from one of my greatest mentors, artistic giant Willis ‘Bing’ Davis — is about forging ahead with an identity that reflects not only the rich heritage of this neighborhood, but the innovative spirit that flows through the city of Dayton at large.”

The inaugural exhibit will feature Pate’s work. Future exhibitions will showcase the work of local, regional and national artists across mediums, genres and subject matter, according to the gallery owners. The two also plan to host workshops, film screenings, live performances, art collector groups, gallery talks, pop-up events, first Friday happy hours, exhibit road trips and private events. The chief desire is to make the space “Dayton’s newest hub for fine arts and culture,” Odumade said.

Pate said he loves collaborating with artists and had an interest in curating artists’ work, which motivated him to open a gallery of his own.

“To me, this is a natural progression for (Pate) to step into this lane as gallerist and as the principal curator of a space that he’s cultivating,” Odumade said. “It’s really a partnership.”

Their partnership came together almost two decades ago. Odumade was dancing with Dayton Contemporary Dance Company’s second company when she met Curtis Barnes Jr., a talent manager and exhibit curator. He introduced her to Pate, and “the rest was history,” according to Odumade.

Pate has history with the space he now calls his own art gallery. He and Barnes curated exhibits for the space for Urban Nights, a now discontinued celebration of Dayton nightlife.

“It was sort of a natural evolution that occurred, and it was one of the reasons why I accepted (the offer on the gallery),” Pate said. “Because of the history I had with the space — I thought it was just something that was supposed to happen. It was meant to be.”

The gallery’s name reflects the financial expression of being “in the black,’' meaning profitable, which the gallery owners hope to foster with productivity and through economic empowerment. Art helps communities thrive, Pate said.

“We centered our definition around the business term ‘black’ more so than the ethnicity term, even though the ethnic term is intertwined in the definition, but the base concept is art being ‘in the black’ as opposed to being ‘in the red,’” Pate said. “We also wanted to tie that into the history of African Americans in this country being that since we got here as enslaved people, how that business deal put the country in the black.”

Black Palette Art Gallery will hold a ribbon-cutting and dedication ceremony on Friday at 11 a.m. A grand opening reception will follow later in the day from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. at the gallery. Guests can enjoy light refreshments, interactive art-making and live music for free at the reception. Fine art and retail merchandise will also be available for purchase at the gallery.


What: Black Palette Art Gallery ribbon-cutting and opening reception

When: Friday, April 21; the ribbon-cutting ceremony will begin at 11 a.m., and the opening reception will be held from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Normal gallery hours are Thursday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday noon to 5 p.m.

Where: Black Palette Art Gallery, 1139 W. Third St., Dayton

More information: Visit

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