Artist, activist, and art curator, Margery Goldberg, arrived in Washington DC during the historic year of 1968 to attend George Washington University. Ten years later, she opened Zenith Gallery, a 50,000 square foot art center. This April celebrates their 45th year of being in business. “Being able to see the fruits of your labor is one of the most satisfying things you can do,” Goldberg says, and Zenith Gallery has gone through quite the journey to be where they are today.
At the start of its creation, the center–where half of the artists lived and worked–consisted of Golberg’s woodworking studio and 6 other artist studios. This eventually grew to 50 studios. Zenith Gallery is now located in Goldberg’s own place of residence on a double lot–with three gallery floors, a sculpture garden, a permanent woodshop, as well as a mobile woodshop to train a new generation of carpenters. From having to close in 1986 and moving locations–the same year that Golberg was nominated for the Mayor’s Art Awards for Contribution to the Arts–the gallery, as well as their nonprofit Zenith Community Arts Foundation started in 2000, flourished through every obstacle and transition.
Zenith Gallery and their nonprofit were able to stay afloat through every economic downturn. Even amidst a backdrop of a global pandemic, when other galleries and museums in DC shut down, Zenith Gallery remained open. With clients from all over the world, supportive foundations and donors, and a variety of talented artists, they continued to thrive. They remain competitive in their industry through thoughtful sales techniques and cutting edge tactics to expand their international audience.
Margery Goldberg grew up exposed to the art world, taking her first sculpture class at the age of ten at Rochester Memorial Art Gallery. Her father operated his own printing and advertising business, which informed her creative career path. Even after not being allowed to attend her own high school’s woodworking class as a woman, she persevered. From having a studio in Georgetown to having a booth at one of the first International Art Fairs in DC, Goldberg became a natural self-starter and self-promoter. For those who are considering starting their own business, Goldberg has a message: “Believe in what you are doing and like it.”
Goldberg is a people person and values being surrounded by a helpful, knowledgeable community, which is exactly what she favors most about being a Chamber of Commerce member for 30 years. Goldberg is exposed to many worlds because of this business and gets to witness inspirational art every day. “Art can change people and increase their awareness. Artists know how to deliver a message while at the same time enhancing their environment,” views Goldberg. Over decades, her efforts have and continue to prove to be successful as well as socially impactful.