030: Mikhaile Solomon (Prizm Art Fair)

Mikhaile Solomon on Innovation City

“I try my best to not get hung up on things that I might be afraid of doing. So I usually just take a deep breath and just try, and see what happens, and it usually works in my favor.” — Mikhaile Solomon

Welcome to Innovation City—powered by Venture Cafe—where Tyler Kelley and Michael Johnson, Co-Founders of SLAM! Agency, interview innovators, creators, and disruptors to discover how business is changing in the modern world.

Created and produced by SLAM! Agency in conjunction with Venture Cafe St. Louis and Venture Cafe Miami, Innovation City gives you an inside look at how rapidly business and culture are changing thanks to increasing diversity and inclusion, heightened creativity, and a stronger and better-connected business community.

Today’s Innovation City guest is Mikhaile Solomon, Founder and Director of the Prizm Art Fair, which promotes the work of contemporary artists from Africa and the global African Diaspora. Mikhaile received her BA in Theatre Arts from the University of South Florida and her Master’s of Architecture from Florida International University.

She joins Innovation City to talk about some of her favorite contemporary artists, how Prizm provides a place for artists who can’t find representation, and how she works to challenge the exclusionary behaviors of art history. For submissions or purchasing inquiries, contact Mikhaile at Mikhaile@prizmartfair.com. Find Mikhail and Prizm on Facebook at @PrizmArtFair, on Instagram at @PrizmArtFair and @MikhaileSolomon, on Twitter at @PrizmArtFair and @MikhaileSolomon, and on Pinterest at @PrizmArtFair.

They discuss:

  • Being a part of an artistic ecosystem; Mikhaile is a former ballerina, theater major, pianist, and architect
  • Wanting to confront the lack of diversity in artistic spaces and figuring out how to exhibit artists who don’t have representation
  • Building Prizm Art Fair to showcase local artists during Art Basel
  • Didier William of the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts
  • How Prizm can be the catalyst for growth for their artists
  • Challenging the historical canon of art and it’s exclusionary practices
  • Picasso’s inspiration from his trips to Africa
  • Revising the canon
  • Working with artists from the Iranian diaspora, Mexico, the Dominican Republic
  • Inviting artistic scholars to give talks alongside exhibits
  • Changing the narrative of art history
  • Curating with William Cordova, a local artist of Peruvian descent, and Jeffreen Hayes, Ph.D., of Threewalls, a public arts nonprofit in Chicago
  • The trouble of finding funding in a relationships-based industry
  • The Knight Foundation
  • The Green Family Foundation
  • Being terrified to write her first grant years ago, to looking for opportunities to find new grants to apply for
  • Wesley Clark’s architectural art; ‘My Big Black America
  • Njideka Akunyili Crosby, a Nigerian collage artist who examines the intersections of cultural heritage
  • Hank Willis Thomas, who deconstructs advertising pieces to reveal their underlying meanings
  • Larry Cook, who presented a $3 Trillion reparations check
  • Amy Sherald, who painted the famous portrait of Michelle Obama
  • T. Elliot Manta, a local portrait artist from Miami Gardens, working on an MFA at Hunter College
  • Terrence Price, who makes documentary films of Miami’s urban core
  • Gary Moore, whose art is in the Adrienne Arsht Center
  • Loni Johnson, arts educator, whose work focuses on femininity from a black woman’s perspective
  • Ceramicist Morel Doucet, whose studio is in Little Haiti
  • How to get started buying art, and why you should start at Prizm instead of Art Basel
  • How to collect art, how to build a collection