Visual Artist/Painter Mr. James Dupree has finally won the battle against Eminent Domain Abuse by reclaiming the deed that was once taken and seized by the City of Philadelphia back in 2012. Dupree Studios in the Mantua section of West Philadelphia celebrated a victory on Saturday April 25, 2015 with live entertainment, great food, arts and crafts for the children and a tour of what this man has built for the community with his own hands.
Giadelphia – “Lean Back With Ya Retrospect” – (FREESTYLE)
The City of Philadelphia tried to seize and take owned property from the Mantua community by force but the man who couldn’t back down without a good fight WON! Sadly! 50 other residents and home owners lost their battle because they chose not to take advantage of their rights like Mr. Dupree and fight the system. Gia! the daughter of Mr. Dupree created a Change.org campaign to raise awareness and help her father take back what she has watched him build over the years. Thanks to the help of The Institute for Justice, Art Above Reality and many others for spreading awareness and fighting the good fight all for the love of the Arts.
The Dupree Dream Open Studio Event, On April 26th, 2014, Dupree Studios opened its doors to show the public what the City of Philadelphia plans to tear down in the name of “revitalization”. Dupree wants to inform fellow citizens about the unconstitutional seizure of his inspiring and unique property. He also wanted to share this creative space with others, while the opportunity still stands. The event had guest speakers throughout the day, eminent domain and art discussions, musical acts, DJs, live art, spin art for kids, a book signing, and… live interview! On this day Mr. Dupree released his self titled book ‘ Stolen Dreams In The Promised Zone: Dupree Studios’ curated by James Dupree himself with layout and design done by one of my dear friends Badir McCleary of ‘Art Above Reality’. The book entails Mr. Dupree’s life’s journey of becoming an entrepreneur all while giving back to the community, the building of his art gallery and studio and his expressive artwork of eminent domain.
Unfortunately I couldn’t make it to enjoy the all the event had to offer on that day but I did however manage to make it in time to see some of my favorite men who I consider family ‘Hazie Blu’ to perform and take my own little mini tour of Dupree Studios. It was an honor and pleasure to not only meet Mr. Dupree but to work with him as well. I know very little about the art world but I as always I’m interested in all forms of artistic expression be it music, dance and even art in its many forms. Yours truly was given the opportunity to not only support Mr. Dupree in his efforts to ‘ Save Dupree Studios’ he also gave me the opportunity to be featured and published as well.
I didn’t know how to feel but I was filled with the joy of accomplishment when I opened the book to see my name in the ‘Table of Contents’ . Not only did I get to share my writings but I also got the chance to be apart of something bigger than myself. I got the chance to meet a man who had so much audacity and faith in his craft that he’s willing to fight for it. And just to think that all I did was share my opinion on the matter, I didn’t know that I would actually become apart of the fight for The Dupree Dream.
“Artist. James Dupree has been fighting with the City of Philadelphia against the ‘Eminent Domain Law’ A law that allows the government to ‘SEIZE’ private property for public use. To seize is to take by force with or without the owner’s knowledge and/or approval” ~~ Tiffany Livingston (Stolen Dreams In The Promised Zone Pg. 7-8)
I came across a petition this past week to Save Dupree Studios . A friend of mine who visited Philly a couple of weeks ago from California was here to do a documentary covering art in many forms. Mr. James Dupree was also included in the documentary sharing his love for the arts and urban life . Dupree Studios has been apart of Philadelphia’s Urban culture since 2005 providing an outlet for those who share the same artistic vision as well as for those who just can’t get enough of art in its many forms.
Philadelphia is known for Theater and the Art’s. Anyone who’s ventured out in the City can see art in everything they place their eyes on almost. From paintings to graffiti-drawings to fashion to exotic hairstyles with unique urban wear included. I see art on a daily basis and I’m learning to appreciate it a bit more. It would leave a great void in the hearts of many if Dupree Studios were to close permanently only to be demolished and replaced by ‘The Plaza’ according to the City of Philadelphia and use the property of Mr. Dupree’s studio as a parking lot.
Dupree Studios offers instruction painting, drawing, printmaking, and mixed techniques. Students come to study and refine their craft. It is a;so the personal studio of Dupree where he created and developed work for commissions, exhibitions, and large scale public projects. This is the kind of space artists dream to have. There is no place like it. – Dupree Studios
There are so many other sections in the City that needs to be occupied but as always when the big guys with big money come in they want to target the Urban community and wipe away its legacy of ‘Culture‘. Dupree studios offer many outlets by providing programs and art classes that are very affordable to the less fortunate. I’m sure that the intention is to make the City of Philadelphia a more welcoming City for visitors and a better looking place to live, to dine and shop but what happens when the culture of a City is taken away? I don’t think we need another shopping center I think we need more resources to help those that live in small urban communities. I come from a small urban community and I can remember as a child all the resources we had and the many places we had access to, to see a stageplay or an art piece done by a Philadelphia native.
It’s a sad shame that many of the youth of this generation will never know what true ‘Urban Culture’ really is. Today we see so many negative images on television trying portraying their own version of what Black communities are like instead of actually hearing it from real people who live in those exact neighborhoods. Many think that what they see on TV is our culture and it’s not. The media is known to feed negative images so that others who don’t know may believe the hype.This weekend Saturday March 1, 2014, Mr. Dupree would like to invite those who wish to attend the “Stolen Dreams in the Promised Zone” opening reception at the Dupree Gallery 703 S. 6th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19147 from 5p.m. – 10p.m. To learn more about Mr. James Dupree and his fight to save his art studio, please visit Save Dupree Studios for updates. All it takes it just one voice to make a difference to help save Dupree Studios.