Cass Corridor project honors influential Black female art entrepreneurs

Josephine Harreld-Love and Dell Pryor began making a mark in the Cass Corridor scene starting in the 1960s and 1970s.

Image of mural of Josephine Harreld-Love and Dell Pryor

Mural of Dell Pryor (left) and Josephine Harreld-Love in the Cass Corridor painted by Detroit-based artist Ijania Cortez.

Josephine Harreld-Love co-founded an educational arts center for youth known as Your Heritage House in 1969. Dell Pryor opened her first art gallery in 1975 and went on to run the Cass Corridor staple, Dell Pryor Gallery.

Now, Malika Pryor – Harreld-Love’s cousin and Pryor’s granddaughter – is honoring their contributions through a special project entitled “To Whom Much is Given.” The project includes an exhibition that will open at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History on Saturday, Oct. 1 at 7 p.m.

“What I’m hoping this exhibition does is to serve as a platform that elevates and gives wings to their stories so that they can be seen in the same ways that we historically and more traditionally, or archetypically, see others,” says Pryor.

The exhibition will be broken into three parts, or “movements” as Pryor calls them. The first will focus on the women’s early lives, the second highlights their respective businesses and the third movement speaks to their legacies through original commissioned works by Dr. Anita Bates, jessica Care moore and James Charles Morris.

mural in progress with young people standing in front of it
Mural in progress.

The project also includes a mural of the two women that is being unveiled today between 5:00 and 6:30 p.m. on the side of University Dry Cleaners on Forest Avenue at Cass Avenue. The mural was painted by Detroit-based artist Ijania Cortez.

Cortez met with youth as part of a third component of the “To Whom Much is Given” project. Some of their ideas were incorporated into the mural and they had an opportunity to be on site and help paint it.

The mural installation is part of the Detroit Month of Design. Guests of the unveiling are invited to stop by the Detroit Artists Market at 4719 Woodward Avenue to meet Cortez.

Photos by Laura Herberg/WDET and Dean Nasreddine.

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  • Laura Herberg
    Laura Herberg is a Reporter for 101.9 WDET, telling the stories about people inhabiting the Detroit region and the issues that affect us here.