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Linda Shropshire Eudy: Redefining Art Narratives Through Ella West Gallery

Linda Shropshire Eudy: Redefining Art Narratives Through Ella West Gallery

Linda Shropshire Eudy owner of Ella West Gallery

Linda Shropshire Eudy is a multifaceted woman with a diverse professional background and is now embarking on a new chapter in her life—one that revolves around art and community. 

As the founder of Ella West Gallery in Durham, North Carolina, Linda aims to create a world-class art experience that redefines the narratives of art history and provides a platform for underrepresented artists. Linda’s upbringing in Charlotte, North Carolina, played a significant role in shaping her passion for the arts. Growing up in a vibrant community and surrounded by love and support, she discovered the power of art to inspire and connect with others. From her early days as a tenor saxophonist to her encounters with influential mentors and exposure to diverse art forms, Linda’s journey as an art enthusiast and collector has been a lifelong pursuit.

Substantial interview highlights with Ella West Gallery Founder Linda Shropshire

What inspired you to launch Ella West Gallery and how did you choose the name? 

I’ll start with the name. Ella West is my mother. While my mother is not an artist and yes she’s still with us, thank God— growing up she was careful to make everything around us beautiful. As a single mother, it was her way of controlling the narrative for our life in a one parent household. I want to honor the principles she taught me.  Love, beauty and the impact of aesthetic on your personal outlook in life. 

The arts have always been a huge part of my life. I was born into a family, with my dad one of ten children and my mother one of eight. I love to say, I have cousins by the dozens. Music was my foray into the arts. My paternal grandfather, Horace James Shropshire, Sr. was a jazz pianist and he made sure each of his ten children played a musical instrument as well. In his word, “music is an international language. Everybody gets it.” Following in my dad’s footsteps, I played the saxophone. From a visual arts perspective I had an amazing junior high art teacher. His name was Winston Fletcher—kudos to all the public-school teachers out here. Mr. Fletcher was the first person to expose me to art history and the importance of art in our daily lives.  He exposed me to Picasso, Rembrandt, and Black artists like Ernie Barnes—who interesting enough was his best friend. Mr. Fletcher’s father, William Fletcher, was an art professor at North Carolina College (now North Carolina Central University) who was instructor to Ernie Barnes. It was that interest and ultimately a genuine love for all art forms that catapulted me into this place where no matter what I am doing, art is a part of it. Ella West Gallery is a manifestation of my passion and a vision that I’ve had for a long time. During COVID I enrolled in MBA school at UNC Chapel Hill and used the time to build the business model for a contemporary art gallery. Over the past year I’ve had the opportunity to do a lot of research for this vision including wise counsel from trusted advisors.  Last year I spent a considerable amount of time visiting art fairs all over the world and it was at the Venice Biennale in Venice, Italy where I felt confirmed in my decision. It was a life changing experience to see Simone Leigh, the first Black woman to represent the United States at the world’s greatest display of artistic genius. It was so powerful and empowering to see brilliant Black women from all over the world emerge on Venice, Italy in support of Simone Leigh and make their places known in scholarship and art. It was in Venice that I knew I was on the right path. 

When did you start collecting art? 

I started collecting in my 20s after attending an art show in the late 1980’s, I bought my first piece by Floyd Gordon, a post war, contemporary black artist because it spoke to me and I was willing to pay for it over time to make it my own (at that point, I couldn’t’ really afford it). From that first acquisition to now, art has always been on my most wanted things list. When I see a piece of art that speaks to me, I find a way to own it so I can live with it forever. At this point in my life, I want to expand that appreciation and support the artists who work to uplift our lives with their unique interpretations and narratives about the world we live in.

Talk to us about redefining and shifting the narratives as it relates to art as you see it. 

See Also
Greg Hedgepeth, President and CEO of Substantial at Pitt Community College Martin Luther King Jr. Tribute Event.

I’m a trustee for the North Carolina Museum of Art, a member of the Black Trustee Alliance for Art Museums, a collector, and an advocate for the arts. My personal view is, far too long the narratives around art history have been largely from a European male perspective and I want to do my part to correct that. I want to create a space for a broad range of emerging and established artists from diverse backgrounds. My goal is for Ella West to nurture the artistic growth of a generation that will reshape art history.

What’s next for you and Ella West Gallery?

Return to Parrish Street: A Dream Realized is the inaugural exhibition for Ella West Gallery. The public opening happens on Saturday, August 19th. 


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