After things didn’t go as well as she expected in her corporate America job, Daisha Board started searching for something that would help put food on the table.
What Board found was art. And it has become the oasis that has forever changed her life.
“I got started in art in 2016,” Board told Mavs.com. “I was laid off from my corporate job and I really needed an outlet to pursue something I was really passionate about.
“My family collects art. I’m originally from New York – from Queens. The culture is at your footsteps, so I was really searching for that here in Dallas.”
Consider that search a smashing success.
Board has created the Daisha Board Gallery — located in West Dallas — that encompasses art with a twist. Her customers are from all walks of life, particularly those who may not have previously dabbled in art.
“I’m loving the fact that my collectors are black and brown families buying art for the first time and thinking about how they’re going to create a legacy for themselves and generational wealth for themselves,” Board said. “So, it’s been very good. I can’t complain.”
Board can’t complain because she also is one of four finalists vying for the top prize in the Mavs Business Assist (MBA) program. She also can’t complain because not only does she have regular customers purchasing her art, but Dallas Mavericks center Dwight Powell also has added to his collection by buying some of Board’s works.
“(Board) has a great gallery,” Powell said. “She has opportunities to subsect to the art community that sometimes doesn’t get exposure.
“She’s very open to all who are interested or who wants to express themselves. It’s something I can definitely get behind. It’s a beautiful gallery.”
An art enthusiast, Powell purchased an art piece that expresses love.
“It’s fairly ambiguous in terms of the characters that are on it, and it’s meant to be that way,” he said. “It’s not meant to be questioned.
“It’s just meant to be accepted as a depiction of love and helps you find ways to love one another and accept the ways in which others love. I think it’s a beautiful message and it’s a beautiful piece.”
Growing up, Board now realizes she was surrounded by art almost everywhere she turned.
“We have a great collection that was passed down from my grandmother,” Board said. “She was a Harlem legend. At the time I didn’t really appreciate it. But as an adult and seeing the value not only in buying things that you love and having representation of art works that resembles my children and my grandparents, that legacy is important to me now.
“I’m loving the fact that we’re starting amazing collections within these minority communities who have the capital. They just needed the resource. They needed the accessibility and a space where they felt safe.”
Getting that space, however, wasn’t easy for Board. Especially since art — and the purchasing of art by African-Americans — aren’t usually linked together.
“And that was one of my challenges when I went to these banks for funding and for loans that they defined me on,” Board said. “They thought me, as a black woman, selling art to only black people would limit me. But my space is a space that’s open to everyone.
“Art should be for everyone, but I do focus on those marginalized communities because they’re overlooked, they’re underappreciated and under-valued. But we have a huge amount of economic power and I’m loving the fact that they’re investing with me.”
The Mavs have also made a huge investment in Board, as she and the other three finalists were each awarded $10,000 during a ceremony held this past Monday at Pegasus Park. The final four entrepreneurs were slated to each receive $5,000, but S2 Capital matched those funds to each winner.
“It is going to be a huge asset,” Board said. “Right now we’re looking at a lot of our supplies are on back order – boxes, bubble wrap, plastic goods. It’s taken like six months to get these things sometimes, so that’ll help with that. Also, I can use those funds to hire a part-time assistant that will be able to work with me and keep building within the gallery space.
“There are so many great opportunities for that funding. We have opportunities where we’re engaging with children and bringing them into the gallery, so I would love to sponsor an event where we have a bus load of kids from underprivileged neighborhoods to come into the gallery and to learn more about art, to see themselves in the art and know that they can be an artist.”
Board said she “got the jitters” when she had to discuss what all entails with her company – and reveal all the trials and tribulations — before a panel of five judges, which included Mavs chief executive officer Cynt Marshall.
“I was super nervous,” she said. “It’s one thing to talk in front of people in the gallery and explain art, which I’m passionate about, but I didn’t know what to expect (Monday).
“But I’m glad that it’s over and I’m glad that I’m advancing. And I’m super proud of all of the entrepreneurs in this program and what we’re learning.”
Board, whose gallery first opened in October of 2021, also is super proud she’s been able to break down a few barriers in regards to art.
“A lot of times people think that art is not accessible, and they think it’s only for the elite,” she said. “And when they see the athletes come in, they’re like, ‘Wow, I’m curious about this, too.’
“Dwight came in a few weeks ago and bought his first piece of art with me. Even someone of that status, they collect things and material things, and to really have ownership is part of the assets that we bring for ourselves. I’m really glad and proud that we have a range — a wide range — of collectors.”
Powell said he has “a decent amount” of art inside his home, and he definitely has plans of visiting Board’s art gallery again.
“I only have so many walls in my house,” Powell said. “I’ll definitely make another trip over there.
“That’s now in my rotation spots when I have time in Dallas to at least see what they have going on over there. The exhibits run about a month-and-a-half each, so I definitely want to check out each one as it comes around, for sure.”
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