By Zsana Hoskins,
Special to the AFRO
Arts in Color is a Black-owned, international art gallery and art consulting company located in Washington, D.C. Owner Satarra Leona started the business with motivation from her strong love and appreciation for art and culture.
Leona officially opened Arts in Color’s doors only two years ago.
“At first we were online from 2018 to 2020. We were supposed to open
] in July 2020, but obviously, COVID-19 happened,” said Leona. The gallery officially opened in February 2021.
“I’ve always had this dream to open up a business in DC,” said Leona, who moved to the D.C., Maryland and Virginia area when she was 16. “We would always come to D.C. on the weekends. I would always work at galleries and intern at different art galleries. So I always knew eventually I was going to open one. And I told myself I would
[open a gallery
] when I graduated from college. And I graduated in 2020.”
Leona’s interest in the art industry came at a young age. She took a business class in high school that sparked her interest in art consulting.
“I’m a military brat, so I grew up moving around a lot,” said Leona, who spent part of her childhood in Japan. “I grew up there. My dad would take me to art museums and art galleries every weekend. I got into art that way.”
Arts in Color was bound to be an international business due to Leona’s experience living in many places around the world.
“I love art in general. I’ve lived in Morocco. I’ve also lived in Peru. I’ve also lived in Hawaii. Just seeing how different cultures shape their artwork and how they use totally different mediums and forms helped me to grow my appreciation for artwork, as well as being open to all types of art,” Leona told the AFRO. “Having an international business background helps because you’re able to travel to different places to work with artists to buy art. We work with artists and artwork from all over the world so it helps knowing who you’re talking to, how to talk to them, and how to understand the different types of interpretations.”
As an artist herself, Leona enjoys being able to give other artists the opportunity to showcase their work. “For me, the best thing is being able to work with artists and seeing their face once they get the keys to put their artwork in there
]. Being able to give back really just means a lot.”
Arts in Color not only strives to create memorable experiences for artists, but for those viewing the art as well. Leona wants people who enter the space to truly feel the art on display.
“Art therapy is a huge thing. A lot of times people aren’t really good with putting how they feel into words. People are just more expressive through different types of art, whether it’s dance, visual art, or any other type of form,” said Leona. “For us, that’s what we really want people to notice. When people come to the space, I would like for them to have a personal connection and their own interpretation of the art within itself.”
Leona believes that Arts in Color is unique because it’s helping to develop the art scene and the careers of new artists based in the District.
“We really give back and give opportunities to local artists. D.C. has a great art scene, and it’s definitely getting bigger. But as far as art opportunities, we’re not New York, we’re not LA. So my space is unique because any artist is able to come in and display their work. Any artist can reach out to me–you don’t have to be experienced, you don’t have to be a professional. You can literally be creating for 10 days. Regardless, as long as you’re an artist, we’ll work with you,” said Leona.
This is only the beginning for Arts in Color. Leona plans on expanding the business in the future. “I see our gallery getting bigger, opening up more locations, having a bigger space for artists. Our headquarters will always be in D.C., but I definitely hope to expand,” Leona said.
Leona has one simple request of visitors who enter the Arts In Color space: “I want them to know that the artist put their heart, soul and mind into it. I truly hope that they enjoy it.”
The art gallery is currently running an artist-in-residency program where artists such as Orie Cezair are being featured. Leona said many more artists will be featured throughout the upcoming months.
To learn more, follow on Instagram @artsincolorllc.