YOUNG BLACK ENTREPRENEUR MAGAZINE

THE SPRING FORWARD ISSUE

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EUGENE VIDAL BYRD III

galvanizing Black artists to control the industry

BY NAILAH HERBERT

Image by Omega L. Ruth Jr.

Fine artist, curator, and arts advocate, EuGene V. Byrd III, is one of the few who are unifying Black artists in Atlanta, Georgia, universally known as the “Black Mecca.” Atlanta has no shortage of artists. However, there has always been an issue in how the widespread Atlanta communities empower their

Black artists.

Byrd has more than 30 years of artistry experience. Byrd earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from one of the top-tier colleges in the country, Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), in 2002. After completing his collegiate studies, he started his career working for many top Fortune 500 companies such as Timberland, Sony Pictures, Walt Disney, Miami, and Dubai International Airport.

In 2016, he took a leap of faith and pursued the path of entrepreneurship, and soon became one of Atlanta’s leading artists. Although he amassed a tremendous amount of success, he committed himself to be a champion for the arts and advocating on behalf of other artists who have yet to receive equal opportunities like an inclusive space to display their artwork, earning funding for their businesses and media promotion. Byrd’s top priority is art advocacy, investing in Black artists, and helping them sharpen their craft.

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“Art is a community, and its a bridge to connect people together. There were people who looked out for me and without those people giving me those opportunities, I don’t know if I would have had the courage to continue to pursue art,” said Byrd. “If I am in the position to do the same then I am obligated to look out for other artists.”

 

Founder and CEO of Future Dead Artists, and owner of the FUTURE GALLERY (2018-2020), Byrd used his business to mentor and galvanized Black artists and curators. During the operation of the FUTURE GALLERY, he has curated 20 exhibitions for more than 200 artists. Additionally, he opened his art gallery to assist other artists in gaining recognition for their work and rallying communal support.

 

“I always tell people it’s a marathon. Its a little easier with social media because people can get further faster. But you still have to respect your craft knowing that art is a relationship game,” said Byrd. “You can’t be selfish and only think about your art, you have to support the artists in your community too. I want Black people to own our culture and become local ambassadors for the arts and the artists.”

 

Recently, Byrd curated a Fine Arts exhibition titled “Self-Liberated” to celebrate the influential Black artists in Atlanta who trailblazers in their own right. Those artists include Chole Alexander, Marryam Moma, Miya Bailey, Kevin Cole, Omega Ruth Jr., EuGene V. Byrd III, Melissa Mitchell, George F. Baker III, Charly Palmer, Okeeba Jubalo, AD Kaya Clark, Reginald Laurent, Jay Franklin, Tony Loadholt, Chanell Angeli, Tracy Murrell, Jasmin Hughes.

 

“Artists we have a voice. What we need at times is equal opportunity especially when it comes to Black people. We don’t need white spaces to validate our work. We can self-liberate ourselves. We aren’t excluding anyone but we are saying that we can do it on our own, we can do our own press, we can do our own promotions,” said Byrd. “We aren’t waiting for a seat at the table, we are building our own damn table. We don’t just make pretty pictures, we can do big business too. [Artists] can control the industry.”

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Images from Self-Liberated Exhibition by EuGene Vidal Byrd III