When business partners Dr. Dale Dangleben and Michelle Green are together, there’s a lot of talent in the room.
Between the two of them, you’ll find experience in art, writing, photography, technology and even healthcare. The pair of friends turned business partners have accomplished a lot individually, but recently have come together to fulfill a shared dream.
In July, Dangleben and Green opened the Nyeusi Gallery on N. 3rd Street in Midtown Harrisburg.
The gallery provides a space dedicated to showcasing Black art, while also offering room for the community to come together and create. Fittingly, Nyeusi means “Black” in Swahili, Dangleben explained, a name that Green thought of.
“This is about creating a space for everyone,” Dangleben said.
Born and raised in Harrisburg, Green is a podcast producer, photographer, artist and chess master/teacher. She has also worked at art galleries in Harrisburg and Philadelphia. Green brings all of her skills to the table at Nyeusi, which features a gallery, podcasting studio and event space.
Dangleben is known for his position with Holy Spirit Medical Center as the trauma medical director. When he isn’t providing healthcare, Dangleben writes. He has 17 published books ranging in topics from health to thrillers to memoirs and has created three trivia apps. Dangleben said that his artistic abilities are limited, but he does dabble in photography and “doodling” (although Green says it’s far more than doodling). Nonetheless, he loves art.
“This is a true passion, not a hobby because, to me, this is rooted in education, it’s rooted in history, and it’s rooted in an understanding of self,” he said.
Nyeusi Gallery encompasses all of those things, including local and global art, from places like Ghana, Haiti and the Dominican Republic, much of which Dangleben has collected. The gallery also includes images of historic African American and African activists and philosophers, as well as other Black history artifacts. He hopes that people will reflect on the history of the art and possibly recognize ties to their own history and ancestry.
With the education piece in mind, Green holds paint party art classes at the gallery, as well as her chess club. The space also holds Green’s podcasting studio, which she uses to produce shows for community members.
“It’s a good place for creatives,” Green said. “Let’s bring the community together.”
Having been an artist in Harrisburg for years, Green is excited for her next chapter at Nyeusi. Although she’s been painting and photographing for years, Green often felt overlooked by other artists and galleries. But as she met Dangleben and their vision for the gallery took shape, Green finally felt like someone believed in her.
“To have someone have that type of faith and have that same vision was huge for me,” she said.
Since then, Green was an award-winner as part of Harrisburg Magazine’s “Simply the Best” contest and has received a lot of positive attention for her artwork on social media, she said. In May, one of her paintings was featured on the front page of the local Black Wall Street Pennsylvania newspaper.
“I feel like this is my season right now,” she said. “I am humbled every time I put a piece out there and someone is like ‘Michelle that’s beautiful.’ I wish I always had that type of faith in myself.”
Green’s artwork touches on themes of strength and perseverance during tough times, a message that applies well to her experience as an artist.
She hopes the gallery becomes a place where artists like her can gather, draw inspiration and share their work.
Michelle Hairston is one of the artists featured in Nyeusi Gallery. A Philadelphia native, turned Harrisburg resident, Hairston is a graffiti artist. Growing up, she was inspired by the art, as Philly has a rich history of graffiti art. Now, she even teaches students hip hop and graffiti art education.
At Nyeusi, Hairston’s piece, “Depression,” hangs on the wall, depicting a woman crying. It tells the story of a woman suffering from mental health issues, abuse and homelessness, Hairston explained. It’s one of her many paintings centered around urban life, both its painful realities and beautiful aspects.
Although Hairston’s work has been featured in art galleries in other cities, it’s her first time showing in Harrisburg. She was honored to be invited into the gallery by Green.
“[The gallery] is bringing everyone together through art,” Hairston said. “To give this open and creative space is a beautiful thing.”
Green and Dangleben are proud to have opened what they believe is the first gallery dedicated to African American art in the city. They hope that Nyeusi will encourage youth and adults to appreciate and explore art and Black history for themselves.
“It’s about letting people express themselves,” Dangleben said. “It’s an outlet. A release of hidden energy.”
Nyeusi Gallery is located at 1224 N. 3rd St., Harrisburg. For more information, visit their Facebook page.
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