Angela King is a 40-year art gallerist and California native who fell in love with the South. Drawn to the history, culture, and spirit of New Orleans, Angela and her business partner opened an art gallery in 1993, and co-ran the business through 2005. When Hurricane Katrina overtook the streets of New Orleans, Angela decided that she wanted to make the transition into having her own gallery – a place where all of the money could remain in New Orleans and help revitalize the city. In 2006, she started remodeling.
"From the time of re-entry to the city on September 25th, 2005, it became apparent that [New Orleans] would be years in the recovery. Up until that time, I had operated with my partner in California and funds left the city every month since 1993, and now it had to end. I decided that whatever happened in New Orleans, stayed in New Orleans."
To help with the rescue efforts following the hurricane, Angela invited some who were unable to return to their homes to move into the old gallery building.
"Ten of us came home and moved into the gallery for a month or so. It was a very special time and bonding like nothing else I've ever experienced. There were very few sources for groceries and day to day things needed, but with the emergency rations made available and the many many charitable organizations that showed up to help New Orleans, all was taken care of."
When she began the process of cleaning it out, their first task was to empty almost 30 years of accumulation from the 4-story building. Angela, along with three other women with hand trucks, spent three months "filling dumpsters and rolling everything else down Royal Street." In 2006, Angela opened a satellite location of her gallery as she worked to buy out her partner. The community continued to rally around the gallery, buying art from a location that "had absolutely no walking traffic."
"It was at this point in time, in a disaster beyond my imagination, that i learned that adversity doesn't build character, it reveals it. I had one landlord who insisted on every cent of rent whether we were open or not and another who lowered the rent and gave us a few months of relief. There were people who dropped what they were doing and left their lives across the country and came to help empty that huge building we had to empty. There were people who said " What do you need?" and computers arrived a few days later.
Angela describes the whole experience as "life-changing and humbling." In September 2006, the gallery's new home at 241 Royal St. was ready for business. Not only did it bring a facelift to the neighborhood, the gallery inspired other shops and residences on the street to embrace their historic glory as well. The Angela King Gallery opened in January 2007.
Ten years later, the gallery is standing strong. Angela credits this success to her relationships.
"[It's because of] all of my consultants, artists, vendors and collectors have moved forward with me and have for decades. I have artists I've shown for 30 years, employees who have been with me for 30 years, and collectors who have continued to collect for that many years."
To honor this occasion, Angela is hosting four days of festivities that pay tribute to the people, artists, associates, and collectors of New Orleans that've helped with her success. The celebrations will begin on March 23. On Saturday, March 25, King is having a public exhibition at Angela King Gallery from 7-10 CST. The event is complimentary, but RSVPs are suggested.