Meet ABI Business Blck Prism

Meet ABI Business Blck Prism

Part of NYFA’s latest Arts Business Incubator (ABI) cohort, Blck Prism helps Black Millennials discover and invest in Black art.

Blck Prism is a re-imagined gallery space focused on empowering Black art through digital means. Founders Andre and Tanayia Woolery curate art from Black artists that represent a connection to Black culture and identity. Through engaging digital content and an accessible e-commerce platform, they help Millennials discover and invest in the art. We caught up with Andre and Tanayia to learn more about Blck Prism and their experience in NYFA’s Art Business Incubator Program.

NYFA: What opportunities are you seeing in the art market specific to Black millennials? 

Blck Prism: We see an opportunity to shape a new generation of art collectors. Millennials are extreme consumers of visual content, but that isn’t necessarily translating into art consumption. Currently the art world is inaccessible to the average consumer, and if we can present an experience where they feel comfortable becoming patrons then we have a major market opportunity. We’re basing our business model on that of Def Jam Recordings in the 90’s where consumption was at an all time high, fostered by the accessibility of CDs and marketing support from the televised content of MTV.

NYFA: How are millennials buying art in 2017, and how might their relationship to the market change as they get older?

BP: We see collecting as a progression. The initial engagement is actually in the mind, we first have to feel a connection to a piece. The next step is a digital collection within our social network feeds. When many of us are just starting our careers, we might be ready to incorporate art into our lives from a lifestyle perspective. This includes artful products at accessible price points, like a throw pillow or a phone case. At that time we’re looking for ways to express our identity but we don’t have as much disposable income. As we settle down with our families into more permanent residences we want to start collecting pieces. Finally, as our incomes rise and we’re ready to start investing into original pieces and limited editions. Hopefully at that point, they would have invested time with Blck Prism to be aware of the artists or artwork they have fallen in love with over time.

NYFA: What are the three sides to the prism in Blck Prism? Tell us more about Blck Prism’s mechanisms for art discovery and experience.

BP: The three sides of the prism include art, content, and commerce. These three aspects are interconnected and fuel our entire ecosystem. At their core, Black art can be an expression of identity and a critical means for creating impact; content provides context so that we can create connection; and commerce enables the work to continue.  

NYFA: What’s your curatorial process like for the site? 

BP: We look for artists who want to take a non-traditional path. We want artists who are looking to connect to the community, not just the art world. We gravitate to visual creators who are storytellers. Blackness is a spectrum and it’s critical that the full spectrum be represented. Initially we’re looking for a well-rounded ensemble of characters not unlike hip-hop’s Wu-Tang Clan. We want everyone to have a different style and persona that different people can connect to.  

NYFA: What drew you to ABI? What’s your experience been like so far in the program?

BP: We’ve been slowly building the concept of Blck Prism for over two years. We were drawn to ABI because we wanted a jumpstart that an incubator provides. Our experience to date has been incredible. ABI has provided us with the time, space, and resources that we needed to kick off the business. We’ve also found great inspiration and collaboration in our cohorts. We can’t thank [program coordinators] Peter Cobb and Natasha Zeta enough for the time, organization, and guidance they have given us.

NYFA: What’s next for Blck Prism?

BP: Next is a soft launch. We have an e-commerce platform built where we’ll be selling a handful of products. We’re currently building out the digital gallery space and actively recruiting Black artists. We want to start lean and optimize as we grow. We also acknowledge that we can’t do this by ourselves, so we’re looking for content creators, artists, and overall talented people to connect and build with us. To be notified of our launch, go to and enter your email!

Please visit our website to learn more about NYFA’s Arts Business Incubator program. Stay tuned for future posts featuring the latest ABI cohort.

– Interview conducted by Amy Aronoff, Communications Officer

Image: Courtesy Blck Prism

Amy Aronoff
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