Dec. 29, 2006 – The gallery was first opened at the Varnum Street House in Petworth Washington, DC in honor of my mother Emma Mae Taylor Butler Dorsey who was a lover of the arts and great entertainment.Emma, a native Washingtonian supported the arts education and taught me to love it and to educate as many as I could. To that end I joined the conglomerate of Trade Secrets, and Zawadi at 1515 U St., NW to continue to educate the public and to attempt to keep the real history of this great music alive.
After working on the road with Ray Charles, James Brown and being an associate of Lloyd Price, the Manhattans, Gladys Knight and the Pips and many others I had the opportunity to experience much of this history and to collect photos and other memorabilia regarding this genre.
The dream became a reality when I was given the opportunity to exhibit the photos at my home known as the Emma Mae Gallery, Sister’s Space and Books, Ben’s Chili Bowl, The Lincoln Theatre, the 24-7, Black Caucus, The Paul Lawrence Dunbar Library and The Campbell Heights Lobby. Later the vision to leave my job as events coordinator to open the Emma Mae Gallery on the U street corridor was a great milestone in my life. It allowed me to exhibit the photos in a location where God gave me the opportunity to educate the public on this great history, it also allowed me to give local artists the opportunity to exhibit their work. It afforded me the opportunity to have a website developed by the great Mr. Vernard Gray and to have discussions, debates, forums and round tables around this great history.
The decision to close the Emma Mae Gallery at the 15th Street site was made because the conglamerate member with the largest percentage has made a decision on a career change and possible change in location for Trade Secrets. As a small business owner of the gallery, alone I would not be able to pay the astronomical amount of rent $6000.00 per month for the space. Based on that alone I made the decision to close the gallery at the 1515 U Street location
The Emma Mae Gallery will continue to do exhibits, round tables and other events. The gallery will also continue to supply photos to businesses, developers and other entities who use historical photos for their projects and businesses. The Emma Mae Gallery website will continue, a shopping cart is being developed for the continued information and education of this great history that has long been exploited by those who may not have known the full stories. At this time I am looking at another site, but I am not sure that I will be able to secure it as the Emma Mae Gallery is fully self funded.
I have enjoyed the opportunity to serve you at the Emma Mae Gallery. Thank you for your support and we will take all suggestions into consideration as to a possible future for the gallery.
While I am not happy about leaving the U Street Corridor, I am satisfied that I have accomplished my mission of beginning an education process for those who were not aware. I am satisfied to have created an awareness in the small way that God allowed me to.
Peace and Love.
Historical Vintage Bill Board Posters & B&W Photos
The Jackson-Collins Art Collection
Emma Mae Gallery
1515 U St., NW
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