Russian Time Magazine

Creativity in the Capital: Faith J. McKinnie and Gerry “GOS” Simpson discuss Sacramento’s art scene, Black artist visibility and how it can be improved

Gerry “GOS” Simpson is a Sacramento-based Black abstract artist whose forthcoming show, “Everyone Is Invited,” takes place at Old Soul Co.’s The Alley on Aug. 12. (Photo courtesy of Gerry “GOS” Simpson)

Faith J. McKinnie and Gerry “GOS” Simpson laugh often and easily throughout a recent Zoom conversation. They have been friends since 2019 and though discussing the systemic barriers and challenges faced by Sacramento Black artists and creatives, they remain hopeful for equitable change to create more opportunities for artists of color.

McKinnie, who grew up in South Sacramento, is the founder and director of Black Artist Foundry and is dedicated to centering and elevating Black artists through her work as a curator, writer and cultural organizer. She is the recipient of a number of awards including the Sacramento Bee and Nehemiah Emerging Leadership Program’s 2022 Top 25 Black Change Maker Award. With the support of donors, BAF recently announced a new artist-in-residence program with more details to come July 1.

Simpson, an abstract artist who works under his nom de plume “GOS,” grew up on the East Coast. He came to Sacramento in 1999 and has been creating art ever since. Simpson was a 2018 inaugural Iris Awards winner and his work has shown in a number of venues including the Crocker Art Museum, the Sojourner Truth African Heritage Museum and The Brick House Gallery & Art Complex. His forthcoming show, “Everyone Is Invited,” is set for Aug. 12 at Old Soul Co.’s The Alley.

Guided by a few questions provided by a reporter, McKinnie and Simpson discussed their experiences as Black artists living and creating in California’s capital. Below is a condensed version of their conversation.