Kenkeleba House is an alternative art space, which includes Kenkeleba Gallery and The Wilmer Jennings Gallery. Its mission is to present, preserve, interpret and encourage the development of art by African Americans and the broader African Diaspora, as well as other artists overlooked by the cultural mainstream - Latinx, Asians, Native Americans, including mature artists that have not received proper recognition.
Central to the mission is the preservation of the visual aesthetic and cultural legacy of the African Americans and that of African people worldwide. Kenkeleba fulfills its mission by exhibiting, documenting, collecting art and artifacts and disseminating information to increase the appreciation of African culture from a global perspective. Kenkeleba provides opportunities, supports the pursuit of excellence, encourages experimental work, and improves the quality of urban life through the arts.
Kenkeleba House was founded in 1974 by Joe Overstreet, Corrine Jennings and Samuel C. Floyd to support African American culture. Kenkeleba began its work on The Bowery near Delancey in New York City with experimental projects to assist African American, Caribbean, and African artists in developing and documenting their work. Early projects included exhibitions and experiments with poetry, music, visual arts, workshops in dance, theater, children's programs and African markets. The name, Kenkeleba is derived from that of the Seh-Haw plant grown in West Africa, and known for its spiritual, nutritional and healing values.