Community activist, author and entrepreneur Joyce Adejumo has spent a lifetime helping the community. After establishing Mitchie’s Gallery, she opened the gallery doors for an extensive list of programs including weekly children activities such as science and math tutoring, art workshops, sign language with story time, monthly family friendly poetry, a Co-Dependent No More-Women Support Groups and numerous other events all at no charge.
Again, at no cost, she has allowed the community and participated in the use of her conference room for town hall meetings, health fairs, political rallies and fundraising, art showings, stage plays, etc. The gallery sells original, limited and open edition artworks, books, cards, calendars, clothing, collectibles and offers custom framing.
Originally from North Carolina, Adejumo became the first African American female to graduate from the North Carolina Military Academy. She obtained the rank of Captain during her service to our country in the U.S. Army and Army National Guard.
Committed to enrichment services and philanthropy, she also speaks on behalf of victims of drunk driving from a personal and professionally knowledgeable perspective.
Adejumo’s son was paralyzed below the waist as a result of his biological father driving drunk while returning him home from a weekend visitation.
She is the Executive Director and spokesperson of The Mitchie Mitchell Foundation, named after her late son Fred Leon Mitchie Mitchell (1985-2007), she has lent her voice to classrooms, treatment facilities, churches, government entities and other offices in corporate America. Her heart wrenching and powerful story has made a tremendous impact on people, as well as a profound impact on public policy as it relates to DWI in Texas.
Mitchie’s Gallery may now be facing the closing of their doors; doors that has opened up opportunities and educational assistance for so many people in the community.
The effects of the economy along with her recent sickness due to a Pulmonary Embolism she survived last year have caused a substantial loss in the gallery’s revenue and its abilities to function 100 percent. Adejumo has exhausted her personal savings over the last nine months in an effort to cover the gallery’s operating expenses.
People in the community are now rallying to help prevent Mitchie’s Gallery from closing. Mitchie’s Gallery extensive accomplishments and support for the community is literally too long and extensive to capture in a list on their website mitchie.com – about us. Donell Creech, owner of Soulciti said, “They are the largest and oldest African American retail gallery in Austin, Texas - and have transcended being a business and in fact they are a community staple and centralized gathering point. It would be a tragedy in our community for Mitchie’s Gallery close.”
Mitchie’s Gallery has an immediate financial need of $15,000 to relieve the pressure and keep their doors open.
Here’s how you can help:
Mitchie’s Gallery is well known in the community for their affordable, fast and professional custom framing and unique gifts. If you have any art framing or gift purchases you need to make, the gallery now has extended hours from 10a- until 9p Monday - Saturday and will be open on Sundays from 1:30 - 6p until they have met their funding goals.
Join the gallery on Saturday, February 4, 2012, from 1:30-6p. Mitchie’s Gallery will be kicking off Austin’s Black History Month with full day of cultural events and Old Fashioned Rent Party benefiting the gallery. The event will host a variety of activities to include live music and entertainment by renowned visual artist LaShun Beal, who will be selling his originals, limited editions, home essentials and other collectibles; vocal artist includes Jazz vocalist Pamela Hart, Funk and Jazz Band “All U Need Jazz and R&B Band,” NeoSoul & R&B vocalist Courtney Sanchez, Youth music group “Soul Tree Collective,” and special guest Jazz trumpeter Kyle Turner; poetry hosted by South Flavs Entertainment - just to name a few. It you are unable to make it, you may make a donation at http://www.indiegogo.com/Mitchies-Gallery or by mailing a check to:Mitchie’s Gallery, 7801 North Lamar Blvd. Bldg. B Ste. 148, Austin, Texas 78759.
By Michelle Keller
Austin Times Staff