High Point woman hopes to open African American art and culture center

Community

HIGH POINT, N.C. (WGHP) — As Phyllis Bridges walks along the old pedestrian bridge off of Washington Street in High Point, she can tell you a lot about the area’s past.

“Before MLK was here, this was residential. This was a Black community,” Bridges said.

Washington Street has a proud African American history: a history that needs to be highlighted once again.

“That’s what I like doing, telling stories through different types of media about High Point’s African American history,” Bridges said.

Bridges feels now is the right time to showcase the many contributions and achievements African Americans have made in High Point. She is hoping the city and housing authority will turn over their vacant lots near the intersection of Washington and Hopkins streets so Yalik’s African American Art and Cultural Movement can be built.

“I want this to be a movement where people can come together and learn about each other and try to move forward in a positive way,” Bridges said.

Along with celebrating High Point’s Black history, there will also be art gallery space, a performance hall and classroom space.  

The 53,000 square foot building could be a big draw for Washington Street, bringing people back into what used to be the heart of the Black business district in High Point. 

Bridges explained the community as a whole could benefit because these centers have proven to be big tourist attractions.

“The next one scheduled to open would be in Charleston, South Carolina for next year. We had one in Alabama and Mississippi. So they have been trending, but we need something in the Triad area,” Bridges said.

The African American art and cultural center is in the early stages. Bridges is determined to see it through and get others on board.

“There’s a lot to tell. I think once those stories are put out there and being told, people will embrace this rich culture we have here,” Bridges said.

The African American Art and Cultural Movement proposal is being reviewed by a High Point City Council committee. Bridges said she has two organizations ready to donate.

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