Soul of the CD: Arte Noir creating revenue stream for Black Artist

Just about every weekend, there are artists and creators who sell their work at pop-ups and marketplaces. The process of gaining visibility can be both exhausting and deflating, but Arte Noir in Seattle’s Central District is removing some of those barriers.

"We’re reclaiming our stake in a community that fed and nurtured us," said Vivian Phillips.

Growing up in the Central area, Phillips had a dream to one day create a consistent revenue stream for Black artists.

"Arte Noir is really my way of giving homage to West African countries that are Francophile countries," said Phillips. "That’s where we find most of our lineage. It literally translates into Black Art."

As the founder of Arte Noir, Phillips wanted to make sure that the creators whose art fills the shelves and walls came first.

Photo provided by Arte Noir

"For me, the only reason to do this is to generate revenue for artists and for Black artists specifically," said Phillips, who opened Arte Noir on 23rd and Union Street in 2022. "Our business model provides that we don’t do a consignment. We buy outright from artists. So that puts money right in their pockets. And then we take on the cost of marketing and selling, which allows us to return 100% of the net proceeds."

This model allows artists to do what they do best, which is to create and not have to worry about the business side.

"I felt like I was among the stars when I walked in and everything had been hung," said Kubi Thomas, who is one of the artists featured in the Onyx Fine Arts Collective, which is part of Arte Noir. "I saw my picture right there when you first walk in the building, and I couldn’t even handle it."

In addition to being an art gallery and retail space, Arte Noir is building a music studio. Once construction is done, it will be a place of training for up-and-coming young people who are interested in music production. Their goal is to open the studio by next year.

"This is a culmination or vessel for everything that I’ve learned," said Phillips. "Everything that I’ve wanted to do. Not just for my community, but for my city, which I love. And it’s perfect. And it’s a legacy that I feel confident can be left behind."

Phillips has extra assurance in that legacy because her daughter, Jazmyn Scott, is Arte Noir’s Executive Director.

Photo provided by Arte Noir

"Bringing Black art and culture specifically to this corner at 23rd and Union has been really important," said Scott. "We’ve gotten so many people that walk in the door who use words like ‘it feels so good,' ‘this is refreshing,’ ‘we love to see this, too.' ‘It smells good in here.' ’We love the plants.' ‘The art is beautiful.’ ‘We love these products.’ That’s all very meaningful. Not only to us but to this entire community. And not just the Black community, the Seattle community."

If you’re an artist looking to showcase your work, you can reach Arte Noir at

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