Did you know there’s an African gallery right in Westchester where you can find handmade and artisan-made goods? We didn’t either until we met Rose Luangisa, founder and visionary behind Luangisa African Gallery and the annual community event, the Wakanda Celebration. Incredibly, for the past 25 years, Rose and her family have made it their mission to celebrate African artisans by supporting local makers and giving back to the community (many of which are women). She is also passionate about sharing her collection of African art, culture and traditions with the world. She also has big plans to open the first African museum right in Westchester, along with a restaurant, to create a hub for all things African culture.
Read below to learn more about her company, Luangisa African Gallery, her goals for the future, and life as an entrepreneur/mom.
Meet a Mom: Rose Luangisa of Luangisa African Gallery
Northern Westchester Moms: How did the idea for Luangisa African Gallery come about?
Rose Luangisa: In 1996, we had to move out of our house into a smaller space. We had so many artifacts all over the house and we did not know what to do/know of a place to store our artifacts.
We heard of Afrikan Family Day Festival in Mt. Vernon held in July annually. We paid for a booth space $100 and at the end of the day we had made 967.25 – we were so happy with all the love we received at the Festival – This was the birth of Luangsia
Northern Westchester Moms: What made you decide to come to Westchester?
Rose Luangisa: I came to the United States in 1987 and I landed in Mt. Vernon, NY, which has become our adopted home.
My Aunty used to live in Rye Brook and my brother Peter resided with her. When I got to New York, Peter had moved out of our aunty’s home and was renting an apartment in Mt. Vernon 3 East 3rd Street – that is where I went to straight from JFK Airport. To this day, I have never stepped out of my adopted home – Mt. Vernon
Northern Westchester Moms: What is your favorite part of being an entrepreneur?
Rose Luangisa: Being able to share our African art, culture, and traditions with the world. I am love educating and teaching consumers about our products and their makers.
Northern Westchester Moms: What advice do you give other moms looking to start their own businesses?
Rose Luangisa: Follow your passion – do what makes you happy and money will come along.
Northern Westchester Moms: What are some pieces people can find at Luangisa African Gallery?
Rose Luangisa: We sell a wide collection of handmade and artisan made goods. This includes Fine Art, Home Decor, Fashion, Beaded Jewelry, and Museum Quality Artifacts. This products speak for themselves that can enjoy any home with joy, love, and craftsmanship.
Northern Westchester Moms: How do you juggle your business and life as a mom?
Rose Luangisa: I have learned to multitask and take on multiple projects. However, it is very difficult and I do feel bad thatI don’t spend as much time with my son. This business is a constant 24-hour operation as I am constant communication with our partners in Africa and customers.
Northern Westchester Moms: Tell us about your upcoming Wakanda Celebration happening this September in Mount Vernon.
Rose Luangisa: Wakanda 5 will be all about culture, traditions, and awareness of African culture for the children. We are looking to have a couple of arcades, children’s wellness and a variety of games. We will also have live music, a fashion show, local vendors, and more.
Northern Westchester Moms: What’s next for Luangisa African Gallery?
Rose Luangisa: We are looking forward to opening up an African Museum in Westchester County. The museum will also have an African restaurant, moving exhibitions, a variety of interactive and educational workshops for children and adults. The museum will be a great source to learn about African history, culture, and the arts.
We are also partnering with Arts Westchester for a pop-up and African fashion show in the spring and Juneteeth event in Mount Kisco. Check out our social media channels for the latest updates.
Visit Luangisa African Gallery (by appointment)
374 Hawthrone Terrace
Mount Vernon, NY 10552