College for Creative Studies: Art Practice (Fine Arts)


Jocelyn Rainey

JRainey Gallery


While visiting the Sherry Washington Gallery with liberal arts professor Gilda Snowden, Jocelyn Rainey was struck with an idea that changed her life. She wanted to open her own gallery.

“I did a lot of research,” said Rainey. “After graduating from CCS with the knowledge, skills, abilities and courage to pursue my career, I worked for GR N’Namdi Gallery so that I could learn the ins-and-outs of the gallery business. After a couple years of experience and a MFA from Wayne State University, I had gathered enough information and support to open the jRainey Gallery…

“My gallery is unique in that it gives a fresh look into the world of art by inviting emerging as well as established artists to present their work. We host a variety of art forms, music, multimedia, installation, book signings, student workshops, art lectures and community activities.”

Since the jRainey gallery was established in 1998, it has showcased the paintings, drawings, sculpture and photography of local, national and international contemporary artists. Rainey’s mission is to “cultivate the earth with art.” The work in her gallery represents “the quality, production, expression or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful, appealing or of more than ordinary significance.”

As part of the gallery’s ten-year anniversary, Rainey curated an exhibition that showcased the work of Camille Ann Brewer (Atlanta), David Driskell (Washington DC), Richard Lewis (Detroit), Valerie Fair (Arizona), Bruce Griffn (Detroit), Jee Yun Ha (New York), Jasmine Murrell (New York), Senghor Reid (Detroit), Terry Richardson (New York), Danny Simmons (New York), Gilda Snowden (Detroit), Alice Smith (Detroit), Peter Williams (New York) and Shirley Woodson (Detroit) among others.

Rainey also included some of her own paintings and sculptures as part of the show.

“The formal structure of my painting is base on texture, color and light,” Rainey explained. “Building varied surfaces in the paintings using collage and found objects (examples of past objects include paintbrushes, gloves and scraps of blue jeans) provides a rich interior landscape for brilliant color application and allows for exploration of the mysteries of light and shadow.”

Her creative abstractions are inspired by past, present and future influences in her environment as well as the work of Jacob Lawrence and Romare Bearden. Her work has been included in several corporate and private collections as well as on display at the children’s museum. She is represented by the Sherry Washington Gallery and the National Conference of Artists (both in Detroit), Danny Simmons' Corridor Gallery (New York) and the Jackson Fine Art Gallery (Washington, DC).  

“Most artists find representation through recommendations,” said Rainey. “Other art professionals, collectors and even educators suggest that a gallery owner look at your work… That’s why you should always be creating art, so you will be ready when an opportunity presents itself.”

The jRainey gallery is located on the first floor of 1440 Gratiot. It is open Saturdays and by appointment.

During the week, Rainey works as an art instructor at Wayne State County Community College where she teaches beginner thru advance studio art course and humanities classes. She also teaches a summer art program at Wonderland Childcare.

“I’ve been blessed to be able to live my life as an artist. Not only do I get to make, collect and sell art, I also get to pass the gift on to others through teaching. Wow! What a great life.”

In addition to her gallery and teaching positions, Rainey runs a non-profit community art program called Finding Mona Lisa. As part of this endeavor, she took a group of Metro-Detroit high school students to Paris so that they could take in renowned art at the Louvre and experience another culture. She has also introduced students to art and culture in Spain and Japan and is planning a trip to Africa next year.