Laura Hendrix, owner of Gallery Plus photo by Brian W. Carter
The one-stop gallery offers more than just fine, Black American art.
Gallery Plus (GP), located in Leimert Park, is one of the early Black art shops to feature African American artists. Laura Hendrix and her late husband, O.B., started GP in 1983 on Slauson Ave. A small business, the Hendrix’ used their own money start GP.
“It was pretty much my idea to start collecting art and it evolved from a passion I had for art,” said Hendrix.
Hendrix had become aware of a lack of exposure to Black art within the community. GP served as not only a business venture but also as a way to introduce the community to Black artists.
“[While] working my self through school, I did some field work going in and out of African American homes,” said Hendrix. “I didn’t see that much art so I didn’t have to think too hard about where the business was.”
GP happened to start at a time when Black art and artists were emerging on the scene. Hendrix wanted her business to be in the heart of a bustling, Black community. A Black artist and African American art in general would receive huge exposure thanks to a popular, Black television show.
“Varnette Honeywood was very helpful because she had gone on the Cosby show with her work,” said Hendrix. “She got a call from Mr. Cosby that they needed artists to submit work and she did—they selected her work.
“It was sort of like an overnight thing that people were exposed to seeing African American artists’ work in homes on TV.”
Honeywood passed away in 2010 but some of her work can be seen at GP along with other Black artists and artwork.
GP, due to limited space, would eventually move to the renowned Leimert Park in 1992. Hendrix expanded her store and began to feature more than just Black art within her store.
“When I opened [GP], I opened with the idea to survive, that’s why I added the ‘Plus,’ said Hendrix. “So the ‘Plus’ is for the other items that I sell, such as gift cards, stationary, [etc].
“I try to keep in line [with] items that are artist [influenced].”
You can find a variety at GP from African American themed calendars, to books, to jewelry and everything in between. The feature is the art, which lines the walls in GP along with African themed décor.
Hendrix took the time to speak about the importance of Leimert Park and what it offers the community.
“It’s a cultural place for people, it’s a healing space,” said Hendrix. “They see positive things that represent them.”
“If it’s the music, it’s their kind of music, if it’s the art, they see the kind of art that represents them.”
GP is the place for African American art and everything plus something extra. Hendrix is grateful to her customers and invites the community to visit.
“We have something for you here,” said Hendrix. “We stand behind what we say and do, we have good service, and we represent you here in Leimert Park.”
“We’ve been here for 20 plus years… and we appreciate you business.”
Gallery Plus is located in Leimert Park at 4333 Degnan Blvd
In Los Angeles, CA 90008. For more information, please call (323) 296-2398