Artist and fashion designer Stuart McClean was born on the Caribbean island of Trinidad, where his lifelong devotion to creation began during childhood under the artistically trained eye of his mother. Today, after years of crisscrossing the United States, Stuart has left a multi-colored mark on Inman Park with the gallery that carries his name. Outfitted with a large collection of bright, feel-good pieces, including canvases, photography, and sculptures, the gallery reflects Stuart's Caribbean roots, alluring visitors to browse its vibrant gems amid an atmosphere that is warmer than a bear hug from a grizzly bear in a teddy-bear costume. Works from world-renowned artists snake along the walls and even lead to a second story, which is actually a dark, wooden balcony that wraps around the gallery and pours elevated views of the first floor into meandering eyes. In addition to general browsing, the gallery can also be rented out for weddings, parties, and fundraisers throughout the year.
Tell us about your museum.
The APEX offers a unique look at history from an African-American perspective. We do not begin our story with slavery, but rather with Africa and its rich splendor and glory. It is important to know that from this rich continent came medicine, math, architecture, science, and much more.
What are some of your unique exhibits that stand out from other museums?
The APEX has recreated scenes from Atlanta's Sweet Auburn, which Fortune Magazine in 1957 called "the richest Negro street in the world." Here you can see a replica of the Yates & Milton drug store, [which was] famous as a gathering place. You can also board the replica of a vintage trolley and watch a video called The Journey, narrated by Ossie Davis, and Sweet Auburn Street of Pride, narrated by Cicely Tyson.
Why is Black History Month important to you?
While Black History Month is important because it brings attention to a very important segment of our community, our theme here at the APEX is, "where every month is Black History Month."
What does being a black business owner mean to you?
Black business ownership is important because it symbolizes the strength and tenacity of a people who have endured hardships and emerged undaunted.
Where do you hope to see your museum and community in the next five years?
The APEX plans to build on its adjoining lot, a 90,000 square-foot facility with a complete "walk-through" [of] history in EPCOT Center fashion.
Why did you decide to work with Groupon again?
I have been so amazed and impressed with the results we have received from our association with Groupon. I did not know what to expect, but have been very pleased with having more than 2400 responses in only six months.
Anything else you want to add that we didn't cover?
The APEX...was founded in 1978 by a veteran filmmaker from Philadelphia, Dan Moore, Sr. It was inspired by the life of Morehouse President, Dr. Benjamin E. Mays, and remains a source of information and inspiration.
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Crown Jewel: College Football Hall of Fame and Chick-fil-A Fan Experience, where records are enshrined and 10 augmented-reality displays show players from each visitor's favorite schools