Scott H. Kaplan Art Gallery

The Shoulders We Stand Upon


See the work of the artists who have blazed a trail and set the standards, along with the work of artists who are raising the bar and keeping flames alive.

Harlem Renaissance Reverie – A Tribute to William H. Johnson. Burlap Fabric and wool felt appliques.



Drawing on childhood inspiration, this fashion-art coat pays homage to Romare Bearden’s imaginative portrayal of Circe from “The Odyssey.” Embracing Bearden’s re-imagining of the classic tale with African-American characters, the design features a striking depiction of Circe as a powerful black woman surrounded by mystical animals and exuding calm defiance.
The coat, draped in red wool crepe fabric, is a sheath silhouette with a round neckline and bell sleeves. Circe’s presence on the coat invokes a sense of empowerment and cultural resonance. With each wear, this garment invites a deeper exploration of mythology and heritage, bridging the gap between ancient narratives and contemporary expression.

All Fashion-Art coats are bespoke, custom made for each client. Delivery lead-time is 60 to 90 days.

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Special Projects


Fashion Designer, Therez Fleetwood and Visual Artist Kottavei are creating FashionArt with a purpose.


The Veil of Womanhood. FashionArt collaboration with fashion designer,Therez Fleetwood. Visual Artist V. Kottavei.



Novelist Nnedi Okorafor made her red carpet debut at the 70th Primetime Emmy Awards, ((top center, top right) where she promoted her upcoming HBO series, Who Fears Death, based on her award-winning book. Hand-painted by visual artist V. Kottevai on silk gown made by Therez Fleetwood.



Fashion Art Fusion
Art Meso Exhibit 2018 – “Truly in bloom, inspired by saturated color and personal growth. Women oftentimes gather in clusters reaching towards the nourishing sun much like sunflowers. The women themselves are the seeds planted that grow with proper tending.”



All That Jazz! Celebrating The Fabric Of Our Culture


August Wilson Center for African American Culture hosted the Multicultural Arts Initiative’s third annual celebration of diversity in the arts with “Legacy: Celebrating the Fabric of Our Culture,” a program celebrating diversity and richness of the arts and fashion.

The evening culminated in a fashion show with the models of the Utopia Modeling Agency in a program titled, “FashionAfricana.” But this wasn’t your typical fashion show with models strutting fancy duds on a runway. The fun and creative styles were showcased as part of a skit, produced by Mark Southers of Pittsburgh Playrights Theatre Company, set in a 1940’s night club. The models of the Utopia Modeling agency acted as patrons to the club as the skit unfolded to the music of the PJO.



Creating this dress was an extremely long process.  I used double-ply silk satin fabric, 1/8″ gold metallic cording, bugle beads, and seed beads.  There is also a built-in corset and crinoline underneath. Here is the design and construction process below;



jazz laying out sketches
SKETCHING – I sketched all the Jazz band musicians. Including singer, trumpet, saxophone, trombone, bass, piano, drums, and guitar.
jazz tracing onto fabric
LAYOUT & TRACING: I placed the sketches along the bottom of the dress and then traced the images on the fabric to create the lines for stitching.

jazz fabric and trims
MATERIALS: I used double silk satin fabric and 1/8″ metallic gold cording. Also included hand-sewn beads.
jazz sewing
SEWING: I machine stitched the 1/8″ trim (inch-by-inch) along the chalk lines and hand hand-sewn the beaded trims to create the artwork on the dress.

FINISHING TOUCHES: I hand-sewed bugle beads and small round gold beads to create a design and texture on their clothing.
ABOUT THE DETAILS: A piano key pattern was created along the hemline with the 1/8″ gold cord.



Inspired by the Lost Boys of Sudan and their extraordinary journey from Africa to America, the following fashion and jewelry designers created African-inspired custom designs reflecting each region of the Lost Boys’ journey from Sudan to Ethiopia, Kenya to America.

WIKIPEDIA – The Lost Boys of Sudan was the name given to a group of over 20,000 boys of the Nuer and Dinka ethnic groups. These boys were displaced o orphaned during the 2nd Sudanese Civil War in which about 2 million were killed and others were severely affected. The boys embarked on treacherous journeys to refugee camps where they were sheltered for a few years. Soon, official resettlement programs began throughout the US. The Lost Boys were offered new lives in major US cities.

Gown inspired by the colors of the authentic wedding dress worn by women of Sudan. Red and mustard matte satin with 1/8″ metallic gold trim.
Original sketch used to create the final dress with patchwork pattern and Coptic cross on the back train.


Therez Fleetwood and Walt Disney® World

Did you know it was Therez Fleetwood who designed the kente cloth costumes for Mickey and Minnie Mouse in Disney® World Florida? These designs were created exclusively for the Miss Black Collegiate Pageant back in 1998. Her designs are now a part of Mickey and Minnie’s 150 Special Occasion outfits. It is the only time the Disney corporation allowed an outside designer to design for their icons.  Way to go, Ms. Fleetwood! #MakingHistory


mickey and minnie therez fleetwood 1
FINISHING TOUCHES – New York Designer Therez Fleetwood, of the Phe-Zula Collection, puts finishing touches on new costumes for Mickey and Minnie Mouse.  Fleetwood worked with Walt Disney World’s creative costuming department on the costumes for the couple’s appearance on the nationally televised Miss Collegiate African American Pageant, taped at Disney-MGM Studios Theme Park. The colorful kente costumes will be added to their wardrobe of more than 150 special occasion outfits.


Book – Black Men and intimacy – Voices From Across the Diaspora


Black Men and Intimacy – Voices From Across the Diaspora
Romance Concierge, Therez Fleetwood, chronicles the intimate lives of Black men in the 21st century



FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE –  INTERNATIONAL: Black Men and Intimacy – Voices From Across the Diaspora explores the complexities of relationships through the minds of Black men in the 21st century.  Author Therez Fleetwood spent hundreds of hours having one-on-one conversations with 50+ Black men from ages 20 to 70, who gave no holds barred answers to intimate questions that are seldom discussed in relationships. 

“One of the toughest things about being a Black male is that it’s rare to find people who understand us. Black men, young and old, have been characterized by society’s interpretation of who we are. This book debunks those stereotypes”. – ISAIAH, age 35 

Black Men and Intimacy – Voices From Across the Diaspora  captures the vivid personalities and poignant personal stories of five generations of Black men from all walks of life and various occupations.  It is an impactful, emotional, uplifting and inspiring compilation of personal interviews that provide insight into Black men’s thoughts about love, relationships, communication, sex, intimacy, and much more. Black men have passionate triggers to love just as much as women do and they express their love in ways that are unique to them. 


In Black Men and Intimacy – Voices From Across The Diaspora, Fleetwood interviewed men on everything from: What is intimacy to (Black) men? How do (Black) men feel about marriage?  What are (Black) men afraid of in relationships? And, Do (Black) men want feedback in the bedroom? Black men also share their thought about sex and sexual pleasure and the types of women they find attractive.

Black Men and Intimacy – Voices From Across the Diaspora is not a theoretical analysis of Black men overall, nor is it written to stereotype or categorize them in any way. Instead, it provides a porthole for Black men to express themselves freely as they discuss issues that are real and prevalent in their lives and their relationships.

According to Therez Fleetwood, “I wanted to archive and preserve the intimate lives of Black men for future generations. It’s important for Black women to hear their stories when it comes to understanding the intimate and emotional lives of Black men. I think this is where our healing as a community begins, by having conversations that allow us to cultivate more emotional, intellectual and physical intimacy.”

Black Men and Intimacy – Voices From Across the Diaspora is purposefully written so Black women and men can take another step towards understanding each other and cultivating more intimacy within their personal relationship and within the Black community. The questions asked in this book are probing and the answers are direct. Whether you are married or single, female or male, this book will open up a pathway to conversation and exploration.





Therez Fleetwood is the CEO of Luxury Romance Concierge. She has been working with couples for over 20 years as a wedding coordinator, adult toy educator, life coach and romance concierge. Her work provides couples with various ways to enhance the romance, intimacy and bliss in their relationships. Therez is also the author of  Men and Intimacy. Real Talk. Real Answers and  Black Women and Intimacy – Voices From Across the Diaspora (Spring 2022)







Bookstores – Libraries – Universities email your purchase orders to: Ingram Book Company

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