Skip to Content

Willie Williams Opens Fine Art Gallery to Promote a Diverse and Inclusive Culture

Willie Williams is the visionary creator and owner of Studio 2500 in North Birmingham. Studio 2500 is a fine art gallery with a mission to promote visual art within a diverse and inclusive culture of creatives to stimulate learning and freedom of expression. We had a chance to hear more about Willie’s story, work, and dreams for the space and community.

Let’s talk about this beautiful space. It was a car garage once, right? When did you transform it?

Really, the transformation of this space happened in late 2015 and early 2016. Yeah, this place was a car shop. When my dad and I came in and saw how big the space was and how much potential it had, we were excited. And given that I’m an artist and come from a family of artists and builders, we were able to transform it into our aesthetic naturally.

We didn’t have to restore the building because the existing bare bones of this space were really good. The only things we did were design and build the gallery walls, lay out the flow of the gallery spatially, and freshen up with paint along the way.

Who introduced you to art?

I credit my dad for that. My dad taught me how to control my hand when I was painting watercolor. He and my mom would always take me to the Birmingham Museum of Art, so my passion for art developed early. I was only four years old. I was drawing every day, everywhere. In the car going to the store, at church, etc. I just remember everywhere I went, I was drawing.

I always drew what I saw. I remember drawing a lot of buildings, people, and cars. Just things in space.

My dad was a painter in high school, and his background is in architecture. My mother is more so on the writing side. She does a lot of self-reflection writing, nothing professional, but still creative. Not many people know she can also sing. That’s one of her best-kept secrets, and I picked that up from her, I believe. My sister is a classical pianist and played through high school and college. We actually learned piano together and played for our church together. The inspiration and encouragement of my family is the primary reason for my creative endeavors today.

You’re proficient in several artistic mediums. What has that journey been like, and how’d you find your stride in sculpture work?

Well, I went to the Alabama School of Fine Arts, and toward the end of my time there, I really got into sculpture. I found a unique voice in that. I graduated, and when I went to Birmingham Southern, that’s where it really grew. But lately, I’ve been getting back to my multi-media work. I enjoy mixing my sculpture techniques in two-dimensional work. That’s been a really great way to see those two worlds come together.

I’ve really been focused simultaneously on developing new two-dimensional work while still doing sculpture commissions. It’s a balancing act, really. One informs the other.

What’s your dream for this space? And for this neighborhood?

Oh wow. For this space to be more impactful and renowned in Birmingham, the state, and the region. We are the only Black-owned art gallery in the entire state of Alabama. That’s really historic and significant. Black artists are already underrepresented, so for me to own a fine art gallery as a black male and artist, I’m trailblazing and setting a precedent for generations now and to come.

Also, more beautification in my community with art. I want to do more murals around the building and add work to my art garden – like a really nice art village. And not just having myself here, but inviting others here to create more frequently. I want to continue hosting exhibits, including other artists, and help them sell their works. I want to have them come in and have some space to actually create. That’ll probably be the next move.

Growing my art camps and opportunities for youth to be involved with art. I think art is a community-building tool that can unify communities and help youth succeed in life.

Birmingham has more stories.

Birmingham has
more stories.

in Birmingham.
Keep Me Updated
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.