Photo Credit: The King's Canvas
The King’s Canvas
In a formerly vacant commercial storefront, The King’s Canvas provides critical access to arts supplies, classes on various artistic techniques, entrepreneur trainings, and opportunities for artists to show and sell their art.
The studio sits in the West Side of Montgomery, Alabama, in Washington Park, a neighborhood with a rich history of Black entrepreneurship and excellence that has experienced decades of disinvestment and widespread vacancy.
After a sixteen-year hiatus from using his creativity, Kevin King, founder and executive director of The King’s Canvas, was gifted painting supplies, leading him down a journey of community-building through art. Recognizing his neighbors needed greater artistic opportunities, Kevin sought out a vacant storefront in his West Side neighborhood to serve as a multipurpose studio space for under-developed artists. While parts of Montgomery have experienced a creative renaissance, a gap exists in the resources, technical training, gallery space, and studio space for Black artists to be creative.
The King’s Canvas provides studio space and lessons for community members at varying artistic skill levels. They provide art-based programming to local schools and youth development organizations. The King’s Canvas also goes beyond the arts, connecting community members to resources such as financial literacy, entrepreneurship training, and life skills classes, as well as social services like health care and housing. The organization is active in developing a strategic vision to address vacancy in the neighborhood. For example, The King’s Canvas uses a vacant lot adjacent to the studio for community gatherings, celebrations, and outdoor marketplace events where artists can sell their work.
A mural outside of The King’s Canvas Gallery and Studio and proclaims, “Welcome to the West Side,” part of the historic Selma to Montgomery trail, capturing the essence of The King’s Canvas’ work to lift up the rich historic legacy of the West Side through the arts.
Property Type: Commercial Structure
Project Type/ New Use: Art – Small Scale (e.g., painting; performance; visual)
Project Purpose: Provide skills and gallery space for Black artists; Decrease commercial vacancy
Initial Cost: Unknown
Funding Source: Philanthropic; Individual contributions
Organization Type: Nonprofit - Arts & Culture
Implementation Partners: Nonprofit – Other
Community Type: Urban
Project Website: The King’s Canvas >
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Press: The King’s Canvas tells a Montgomery neighborhood’s story in vibrant color>