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MONOGRAPHY

IMANI DOMINIQUE BUSBY

What Changed Me?

In highschool, I was given 100 days to learn a new skill. I chose to learn how to paint. I painted portraits of my friends and family as I wanted them to feel seen and represented in fine art.

After some time, my entrepreneurial inner spirit started buzzing and I began to sell prints of my artwork at fairs, events, and markets. I was met with overwhelming support from collectors as I embarked into a new side of the art world. I began to enjoy the business of art as much as I did being an artist. However, I was often one of two artists with a booth at these small business fairs. Something changed.

I realized that I wanted to help other artists do this too.

I pursued a degree in Creative Industries with a concentration in curatorial practices and fashion as I wanted to understand how one would go about supporting artists become economically self-sufficient. Throughout my degree, I interned at a curatorial production company where I learned how the art and corporate world intersected.

I worked at and managed a commercial art gallery to learn how to be an art dealer. I worked in arts nonprofits to learn how artists navigated in grassroots spaces and interned with a legal clinic to better understand how artists can use their legal rights to self-advocate.

As I explored every facet of the art industry, I became well-versed in curation, art dealing, artist management, business management, art law and more. But inadvertently, and most importantly, I learned how I wanted to treat people. Through my observations in these spaces, I developed principles that have become fundamental to the way I work with artists.

Additionally, the intersectionality that comes with navigating the art industry as a young, Black woman informed how I structured my curatorial practice. These experiences changed me by cementing the values of a care-based practice rooted in empathy, artist-advocacy, collaboration, and community-building.

I believe my community has been my biggest catalyst towards growth.

My friends, family, and mentors have supported me from the very beginning.

I’m thankful for their willingness to share knowledge, resources, and moral support to advance me towards my goals. I am so thankful to have been given the opportunity and space to learn from experts that inspire me and people who see my passion for this work. I am also grateful to have been a part of incubator programs and to have received intentional, thought-provoking, and genuine feedback from mentors and peers. I am so thankful for the support of my community; I will never forget how it felt to have them resonate with the goal of my work and take risks on me back when I had nothing but ambition.

But what has changed me the most?

Creating spaces where people have shared that they feel warm, welcome and included.

I began my practice as an independent curator at 19 years old. My first exhibition was titled “Brother’s On The Wall” and aimed to spotlight Black representation in pop culture while amplifying community definitions of representation. The show was met with so much warmth and support from the artists and from my community.

It was my debut and helped me see how much I loved this work. I didn’t curate another show until the fall of the following year but once I started again, they flowed out of me. In the past two years, I’ve curated eight exhibitions, launched an artist business development program/ pop-up gallery called “The Gift Shop”, started an artist development program/ photo-journalism publication for emerging concert photographers called “Media Pass”, and am about to announce a charitable auction. Seeing how this work is leaving a positive impact on those who participate and are involved in my projects has changed me. 

Being able to create spaces for artists and communities that have been systemically marginalized has changed me. Finding my community and uplifting each other has had a life-changing impact.

Explore commitment to fostering a supportive art community @imani.dominique

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