By Monique Gooch
Jody Harris is an acclaimed poet, visual artist and art historian. Alongside Harris is his wife, Keelah Jackson-Harris who is an award-winning educator, writer, singer/songwriter. The two artists use their diverse creative styles to complement each
This newly-formed collaboration of giftings is the brainchild of international artists and creative couple, Keelah Jackson-Harris and Jody Harris (lending to the moniker “Keeody”). Keeody Art openly offers art, love and soul to the public in the form of inspired and original mixed-media compositions.
“Officially we opened up our space in October 2019 but it really didn’t fully open up until the pandemic. That was May 2020. Open up as far as online, streaming, allowing artists to stream from our space and really open the space to be a creative,” said Jackson-Harris.
The couple started Keeody Art in Chattanooga because it just was them being artists. “Our artist community and tribe gravitated to our space and it just became a loving environment and hang out spot,” said Jackson-Harris. “When the pandemic hit, it really became a creative space because we knew we had to still create during the time of chaos. We knew our space and place was going to be used more than ever.”
Jackson-Harris said she has wanted to be an artist since she was “maybe two or three.” Her grandparents, both retired
Her husband Jody comes from a family of artists as well. His grandmother and one of his uncles really encouraged him to do more with his art when he was about 11 or 12. “Whatever they ignited in him, they really ignited, he was in AP art in high school and has post and grad studies,” said Jackson-Harris.
The museum is free and open to the public by appointment only. “When the pandemic hit, it shut everything down. Around October of last year we began having viewings by appointment only. At that point we just kept it that way for safety precautions,” Jackson-Harris said.
When asked if she had a favorite piece, she said it her own piece entitled, “The Gift”. “My piece is actually our logo. It’s a picture of hands with a rose in the middle. It symbolizes all of us. We’re all worn, we’re tired.” She created it right at the top of the pandemic. “In the midst of being so tired and so worn out and looking at everything in the world, we still have the capacity to offer love. With George Floyd and all the racial injustices, I narrowed it down to we as Black people. We are black and blue but we still have the love, and offer the best of us in any capacity.” Jody also had a piece that gained a lot of traffic. It is of a Black man crying out. It is called “’Enough.’”
Up and coming artists also have opportunities to have their work displayed in Keeody Art Gallery. “Because we are an emergent gallery, we first requested the talents of our tribe.” Jackson-Harris also said that it has been a mix of personal invitations and other artists requests.
The gallery will relocate to 1602 South Holtzclaw Avenue, Chattanooga and reopen by Sept. 17. “Be on the lookout for our Ed Johnson Project on our website.”
Keeody Art may be contacted for art purchase and booking via Facebook and Instagram (@keeodyart) or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Monique Gooch