This is a love letter to Addye Nieves and her new venture, Addie Addye Studios, a new shared Philadelphia artspace that will provide work, gallery, & retail space exclusively for women artists of color to create & present their work to the public. I need you to support the creation of this inclusive art space HERE. This is my reason why…

Please understand: my love for art—specifically Black art—is unabashed and BIG. As in almost every wall in every inch of my home has a piece on it. As in, whenever I get a decent check, I celebrate not by buying an expensive designer purse and shoes, but a piece of art. As in, when I see the work of Romare Bearden or Elizabeth Catlett or Jacob Lawrence or Gordon Parks or Basquiat or Ann Tanksley or Kehinde Wiley or Kara Walker, I need complete silence because reverence is about to be paid and I will not be disturbed.  As in, I once told my children that if ever there was a fire at our place, they better get themselves out the nearest exit because I’ll be saving my art and the dog. (What? They got legs. they know where the doors are.)

Anyway, I have a special affinity for Black women artists; Tamara Natalie Madden, Catlett, Tanksley, April Harris, Sharony Green, Christa Meyers and Ida Harris are all in my art collection. And I’m saving my coins and a super special place on my walls for my latest obsession: Addye Nieves, a New Jersey-based artist who absolutely moves me.

I love Addye for many reasons: she dope. She writes. She hella funny. She’s a beautiful person. And she makes art. Gorgeous, spirit-led, energetic abstract and expressionist art that transcends space and time and pulsates with light. Her work literally vibrates on a different frequency; my heart beats fast, my hands and fingers tingle when I experience her work. It is divine. Addye has deemed this so. Witness the artist statement of this self-taught painter/badass, who picked up her paint brush to combat trauma she survived as a child of abuse:

It is also an act of reclaiming my voice, as well as my way of establishing agency over my own body and the messages told about its worth. I examine trauma and pain, celebrating the resiliency, joy, and transformation that can occur in spite of it. Because my work is rooted in and influenced by both abstract and figurative expression, I’m intrigued by our internal processes as we experience life as an Other, both individually and collectively. By focusing on the impact of trauma-inherited, personal and historical-my work exposes how trauma itself shapes, alters, and redefines identity over the course of our lives. I rely on abstract, figurative forms and composition to communicate what the biological and emotional processes of adaptation, recovery, and transformation look like internally.

Translation: her artwork is deeply personal, deeply spiritual, deeply intriguing, deeply perfect for a very specific wall in my bedroom. I have my eye on a trifecta of paintings that, when I looked at them, literally stopped my heart: together, they spoke to me as a trinity—representing me, my mother and my birth mother, radiating love. I can’t wait to get my hands on them.

Addye’s creation—aka my new babies—were made possible because she has a space to create. But she recognizes that this isn’t every artist’s portion, particularly Black women creators, who are underserved & underrepresented in art institutions and programs across the country. So she and her cousin, also named Addie, are changing the game in their corner of the world by opening doors to a studio space that will create a lane for women of color to control their work and drive the narratives around, and also serve as an “outlet of access and engagement for artists and communities.”

There will be community events (art making and professional development workshops, film screenings, exhibitions, salons, Open Studio tours, etc) a future residency program, and space rental opportunities, making Addie Addye Studios a supportive resource for both local artists, and its neighborhood, embodying the ethos of Addye and Addie’s grandmother, who owned a candy shop and opened her doors to show off family artwork.

I’m so proud of my friend. So proud of this artist. So proudof her idea and mission to help fellow female artists. So ready for her art to be up on my wall. So ready to do my part to support—really support—those of whom I’m most passionate about: black women artists.

No donation is too big or too small. Addie Addye Studios is giving gifts even to donors who give as little as $5 dollars because you know what? Those $5 donations add all the way up. Rewards range from art prints, stickers and coffee mugs, original art work & custom apparel exclusive to AAS backers, and your name included in a special art installation during our launch event later this Fall!

Help Addye and Addie reach their goal of creating space for creatives of color: donate to Addie Addye Studios today.

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Denene Millner

Mom. NY Times bestselling author. Pop culture ninja. Unapologetic lover of shoes, bacon and babies. Nice with the verbs. Founder of the top black parenting website, MyBrownBaby.


  1. Yes! Yes and yes! They are right across the state. Going to check it out, because would love to save my pennies and purchase something. In the western part of the state, the foundation community has artists grants–I can definitely inquire about Philly. I just received one specifically for Black art and increasing visibility. Going to Google their website.

  2. I’m so glad to have found you today. I’m an adoptive mom to my own beautiful brown baby, and I am grateful for the work you’re doing, and that I have a new resource. Thank you!

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