Award Winner, Gallery Owner, Artist, Designer, Collector Curator, Mentor and more
Interview by Valerie Fair
With her regal demeanor and her crown of silver hair it is hard to miss Dell Pryor at any function. Dell Pryor is a gallerist, artistic designer, curator, and most of all, someone who has devoted her life to the arts. What has already been attributed to Dell is just the tip of a huge iceberg. Dell Pryor is also a mother, grandmother, a great grandmother, and former wife. Dell raised and was able to send her children to college even after the death of her husband. She was determined to complete college even as her own children began to go to college. As a result, all of her children and grandchildren have been impacted by her love of the arts. She persevered, and not only did she step up, but she also continued to show out.
When Dell completed her degree in interior design, she began working in her discipline by designing furniture and lamps which she had custom built. During this time, she was commissioned by a client and was responsible for designing the house interior, the yard, and the swimming pool. It was on one of her jobs that she had an artist do a mural which was well received. Dell soon found that she was commissioning and hanging a great deal of art for her clients. She continued to have artist display their work in a bevy of collectors' homes which morphed into a gallery.
Photographer Jeff Cancelosi
Dell wanted to expand her footprint in the fine arts and opened what became the Dell Pryor Gallery at Harmonie Park. The gallery became one of the most well-known gathering spots for the fine arts. Dell's art gallery gave a platform to those artists who were not being seen nor heard. In order to keep their world worthy art center stage, Dell showed and sold their work and invited other to collect as well. She curated shows and taught others how to appreciate the arts.
Dell's gallery came soon after Dr. Cledie Taylor, another giant of the Detroit arts community opened in the David Whitney building downtown and was the first to show underrepresented artists. Among this illustrious group, also showing and selling art, was the preeminent gallerist Sherry Washington, George N'Namdi and Shirley Woodson.
Dell Pryor signature was enshrined by signing the beam at the Scarab Club joining the ranks of legendary Gilda Snowden, Diego Rivera, Charles McGee, Marshall Fredericks, and Marcel Duchamp.
The Dell Pryor Gallery continued to prosper at Harmonie Park until 15 years later. developers forced her move to a new location. Dell then moved to Cass Corridor, as known by locals, which is also known as the Detroit Cultural & Museum district. Dell and her daughter Sharon continued as gallerist until once again the owner of the building decided to use the space for other things. Dell Pryor continues to sell art even though she no longer owns a "brick and mortar". She became free to actualize her art consultant talents in diverse ways including doing more curatorial work, which she says, "has been her dream". She has recently been asked by the prestigious Detroit Artists Market to curate an upcoming show and Dell is very privileged to do so.
Dell Pryor was recently awarded and enshrined, for her many years of service to the Detroit arts community, by the signing of a beam at the Scarab Club. Dell Pryor's signature will forever be represented with other art legends such as Gilda Snowden, Marcel Duchamp, Marshall Fredericks, Charles McGee and Diego Rivera in the Scarab Club's second floor lounge. Additionally, she was honored along with other great and Grand Queens for their many years of service to the Detroit arts community. Dell Pryor along with Shirley Woodson art educator, President of the Michigan Chapter of the National Conference of Artists and Dr. Cledie Taylor, gallerist, former Director of the Children's Museum, were cheered by standing room only crowds, at the Detroit Institute of Arts, Kresge Court on February 1, 2019. Artist Anita Bates directed cultural commentary and question.