pioneering comic book store owner ariell johnson just got a $50,000 grant to help make comics more diverse

June 23, 2017

Ariell Johnson, the owner of Amalgam Comics & Coffeehouse, was the first black woman to own a comic book store on the East Coast in December 2015. This year, the inclusionary entrepreneur was chosen out of more than 4,500 applicants by the Knight Foundation to win a $50,000 grant. Johnson’s grant proposal, “Up, Up And Away: Building a Programming Space at Amalgam Comics & Coffeehouse,” outlined a vision for an educational workshop for aspiring comic artists to learn how to draw, storytelling and pitch for publication.

Amalgam has already been hosting such programs, but the building where the store is located has plenty of underutilized space waiting to be used. “We do a lot of these programs in our space,” Johnson said according to Blavity. “But the building is actually much bigger. There are rooms behind the bathroom, which we haven’t renovated. This grant will allow us to open up those rooms to the public and create a permanent programming space. We’ll use it to its full potential.”

Congratulations, Ariell!