Mavis Gragg, Chief Artsy Friend

Everyone needs a friend in art

Hey! My name is Mavis and I like to take portraits with collard greens!


Actually, that photo is pretty precious to me. It's from a series commissioned with artist Dare Kumolu Johnson where I took portraits with my great granny's quilts. This is one of many arts initiatives I engage in.


I am an attorney and art enthusiast based in Durham, NC. My law practice areas focus on death and dirt (estate planning, estate administration, and heirs property). I also have a lot of experience as a mediator. In fact, I've been able to use my skills as a mediator to mediate the conversation between art and the art consumer.​


I started collecting art intentionally after becoming a docent at the prestigious Corcoran Gallery of Art, which was once one of the largest and oldest private collections open to the public. Since I returned to Durham, I've hosted several art events:

  • Book launch and coloring party for my friend and illustrator, Andrea Pippins' first book, I Love My Hair. Imagine fifty or so grownups colored to our hearts' content in the beautiful art centered hotel 21C while enjoying our favorite childhood snacks and adult beverages.

  • Artist talks with photographer Saddi Khali and poet Ijeoma Umebinyu

  • Art trip to see the Kehinde Wiley exhibition at Virginia Museum of Fine Art and a studio visit with artist S. Ross Browne

  • Black Girl Basel with my dears Carol McDonald, and Kesha Bruce during Art Fair Week in Miami.

So, yeah, I probably earned the name Chief Artsy Friend- at least for initiative and interest. And, I hope you I can be your Chief Artsy Friend too.