Germantown: An Art Gallery Beautifies a Culture

Leroy Yancey, a contributor to the October Gallery enjoys painting people.

Added on January 28, 2014
“African-American art is good for everyone,” is the mission of Germantown’s October Gallery.

For 28 years, the art gallery has engaging people in art.

“It’s hard to say what we have exactly,” Monica Rocha, Gallery Manager of the October Gallery said. “We have pieces from Brazil, certain parts of Africa. We just have a lot.”

Rocha, originally from Brazil, is a resident of Germantown and has worked at the October Gallery for 12 years.

October Gallery sells an array of pieces from paintings to jewelry to sculptures, with prices ranging from $25 to $25000. The gallery compares itself to the Marriott Hotel chain in that it “[offers] an art experience that will fit anyone’s budget that does not have to break the bank.”

The gallery follows the legacy of the BlackStream Renaissance of the ’70s — a period in which African-American artists were prohibited from the art mainstream.

For 28 years to this day, every November the October Gallery hosts the Philadelphia International Art Expo, which is the largest African-American art expo.

Many artists who contribute to the gallery are proud to outwardly express their artistic voice and have a place to showcase their work.

“I met these guys from a friend of mine, and I’ve been contributing ever since,” artists Leroy Yancey said.

Leroy, a veteran, enjoyed creating art since he was a child. He noticed when returning from war, art was still in him

“Now, I have a place to put all of my artwork,” Yancey said. “This is just me, and I’m happy.”

Rocha, much like the gallery’s mission, believes art should be incorporated and seen in everyone’s day-to-day life, even if on a small scale.

“When I walk around Philadelphia now, it looks dead,” said Rocha about the coming of the winter season. “There’s no color, no life. I want to talk to the city and see if they can at least paint all of the windows of the houses with color.”