Black-owned RichesArt Gallery celebrates first year

The RichesArt Gallery, the only Black-owned gallery in Austin, recently marked its first anniversary with a celebration that included a fashion show accompanied by live painting, music and vendors.

Richard Samuel, an artist and the owner of the gallery,curated the evening with one goal: uplifting and promoting Black and Latinx Austin-based artists and designers. The designers were Austin Alegria, Grunge Incorporated, One Way, Hommemore, Recychlo, November Love and Rase House. 

“I wanted to keep them as local as possible,” Samuel said of the event June 17, which drew about 200 people. “I wanted them to have the opportunity to get their brand out there.” 

RichesArt Gallery owner Richard Samuel finishes the gallery's anniversary fashion show on the runway last month.

Chloe Botello, who showcased her work at the fashion show, is a 22-year-old self-taught designer who up-cycles used and vintage clothes for her sustainable fashion brand, Recychlo. While she has been directing most of her focus to her business of making jewels that can be attached to teeth, Botello spends most of her free time sewing in her room.

“I started creating clothes when I was 17 because a lot of things didn’t fit me,” Botello said. “Then I went to college for fashion design but dropped out to focus on my tooth gem business. Being able to showcase my clothes at the gallery is amazing.”

Designer Chloe Botello, right, waits for the cue to send the first of her Recychlo models down the runway in the RichesArt Gallery fashion show last month.

Stevy Red, a 23-year-old, Anchorage, Alaska-raised designer, also debuted her clothing line, Hommemore, at the RichesArt event, and her friends and fellow artists said it has been “a long time coming.” 

“She can do everything. She makes clothes; she DJs; she makes animation and music,” said Blameflawless, a musician and model for Hommemore. 

“We all come together in one way or another,” Red said about her fellow creatives at the show. “They are the most progressive group of people I’ve met since I moved to Austin.” 

Samuel, who played professional football in Germany and Serbia before turning his attention to being a full-time artist, has sold 40 original works and has accumulated more than 30,000 followers on TikTok.

Richard Samuel, center, an artist and the owner of RichesArt Gallery, poses in front of his artwork before the gallery's anniversary fashion show June 17.

“I grew up thinking that football was my love and art was my hobby, but it ended up being the other way around,” Samuel said. “I think if I had the monetary support growing up, I would’ve stuck with art. So much of what I’m doing now is for the kids, so they can.” 

Since the anniversary, Samuel is redirecting his focus to his new NFT collection,Element Erotica; his Young Creators scholarship fund; and Hip Hop Recognition Month in August. 

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