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Image of George N’Namdi

© Gilles Perrin http://www.gilles-perrin.com/

George N’Namdi
President, G. R. N’Namdi Gallery / N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Art

I didn’t study art in college; I studied psychology. Though as a psychologist I saw there being a connection between art and mental health. I’m talking about community mental health. I thought you need to have a vibrant art program and that would help the community and the whole mental-health need and how everybody interacts—it’s just a better environment.

If you go ten years back I’d say most of this wasn’t even here, and I think if you go ten years from now it’s going to be equally as different. You know, I think it’s really changing a great deal and it’s really changing fast, particularly this area; this is called the Midtown area, and within Midtown our particular area is called the Sugar Hill Arts District, and this is an area where a lot of the night life and jazz clubs happened back in the ’40s, ’50s, and ’60s.

I started with African American artists because it was like I was working with the African American community. I was talking about the mental-health needs—it’s like you have people getting more and more into culture; they have more and more outlets in their lives and stuff. That’s what I really started was more like a preservation of African American culture, and I think we’ve kind of accomplished that and made our mark.

It’s been a labor of love.

From June 7, 2012, interview