Sonja Griffin Evans
Fine Arts Painter
Cultural artist, Sonja Griffin Evans is an acclaimed international cultural artist and the Owner of Gumbo Gallery in Pensacola, Florida. A self taught Gullah Cultural Artist, Evans has trained under some of the most talented artist in the country. Sonja believes art should encourage and inspire as well as educate, preserve and empower our communities. Her passion and drive is to artistically record her culture and heritage via her painting as a way of preserving its imagery for future generations. She is an advocate for the creation of Art Ministries in community churches and advocates for the arts across the country. She has received extensive recognition for her contribution of her artwork to museums and non-profit organizations. Ms. Evans was raised in the Low Country of Beaufort, South Carolina and currently resides in Pensacola Florida. Evans has a natural ability to express artistically stories and memories of growing up on the Sea Islands in her work. Gullah is a language and culture which evolved from the thousands of enslaved Africans who were brought to the Sea Islands of South Carolina and Georgia in the 1800's. Griffin Evans discovered her painting ability as an adult, after reconnecting with her childhood love of drawing. Like traditional Gullah artist before her, she paints on canvas, tin and wood to tell her wonderful stories. Sonja includes a story card with each of her paintings, which tells these amazing stories, bible scriptures or inspirational quotes. Sonja Griffin Evans believes art should encourage and inspire as well as educate and empower our communities.
With years of experience in sales, management and as a professional artist, Evans has developed a sharp sense of how the art business can be beneficial to both business and community. As an entrepreneur who quickly built a successful art gallery -also designed to preserve the culture and the lifestyle of the community in which it serves, she has also helped spur the careers of other artists and business owners as well. She encourages African Americans and other artists to paint our culture in a positive light. She is diligently focusing on building an art industry that will create generational wealth in our communities and provide an incubator, becoming a primary source of representation in support of multicultural artists. One of the key elements of Gumbo Gallery’s success is its unique business model. Not only does Sonja Griffin Evans strive to create products that leave life changing experiences, but her business is also a resource center to learn more about our Forgotten Communities through its art, crafts, books and storytelling, therefore preserving the culture and heritage of our underserved communities. It is her desire to effect change through her art both economically and spiritually.
Sonja Griffin Evans is the founder of For Artists By Artists which is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting cultural diversity in the arts. Member of the Teaspoon Foundation, Century; Florida; and President of the De Villiers Cultural Heritage Society, Pensacola, Florida. She also serves on the Advisory Board for the National Cultural Heritage Tourism Center and on the Board of Directors for the Florida Black Chamber of Commerce. Sonja Griffin Evans and the Gumbo Gallery, have won many prestigious awards, and was recently named as a Mamie Till Mobley Woman Of Courage Award Honoree and was an Onyx Award Nominee; Evans has been featured on television, on radio broadcast and in many publications. Her artwork is in prestigious private and corporate collections nationally and abroad Organization.