top of page

Advancing Our Culture: The Global Art Fair Begins in North Charleston

On the spring morning of the Global Art Fair soft launch, business mogul and nationally- acclaimed cultural engineer Okeeba Jubalo prepares for his expertly curated event in his hometown of North Charleston, South Carolina.



At 9 a.m., Okeeba Jubalo, his brow glistening with sweat, moved swiftly through the newly renovated Park Circle building. Inside, the towering glass windows, stretching more than twelve feet high, seemed no match for the giant in the room.

With a freshly shaved head, salt and pepper goatee, Breitling wristwatch, and Tom Ford glasses perched on his head, Okeeba appeared both fashionable and approachable as he began to unpack his tools: hammer, nails, special construction tape, and an electric drilling machine. Leaning into the walls he had crafted by hand, he started installing the artwork. Turning his head slightly toward me, he said, “Let’s make sure we stick to the run of show. Time is everything.”

Effortlessly working his magic, Okeeba maneuvered his mobile art walls across the event space, meticulously arranging them to showcase the fine art for the guests. Another man entered the room, sporting locs, a crisp black t-shirt, and shorts: Johnny Clarkson, Okeeba's right-hand man and the Executive Digital Director of NobleSol Art Group. A brotherly spirit connected the two men, their teamwork reminiscent of Batman and Superman at their best.


Okeeba Jubalo, Johnny Clarkson & Nailah Herbert at work.


NobleSol Art Group, Okeeba’s marketing and branding agency, powers the Okeeba Jubalo Fine Art Gallery operating in North Charleston, South Carolina, and Atlanta, Georgia, with a diverse clientele spanning the west to east coast. Marketing is Okeeba’s forte, and tonight they expected a crowd of over 300 guests. NobleSol Art Group's robust marketing campaigns attracted people from across the nation.

Other occupants of the building included staff from North Charleston’s Office of Cultural Affairs and several passersby, strolling through the building and heading outside to the playground area, all in awe of the ongoing transformation of the room.

The event's name alone sparked excitement—The Global Art Fair. However, as people stopped to watch Okeeba and Johnny at work, their curiosity grew even more. They poked their heads into the event space, eager to stop and speak with Okeeba.

Following a strict schedule, Okeeba and Johnny continued setting up a grand stage for the evening's guests—ambassadors, influencers, art collectors, politicians, education and community board members, and local residents.

Many noticed the transformation of the space and asked questions about the event scheduled to start in just a few hours. Dr. Edward Garnes, founder of Afros to Shelltoes, entered the room to view the pieces on display.

A therapist, educator, and close friend of Okeeba’s, Dr. Garnes had a keen eye for details. He remarked to Okeeba, “The Global Art Fair truly challenges the outdated models prevalent in the art world by creating opportunities that empower artists and allow visionaries to thrive from their cultural productions.” He continued, “The Global Art Fair is like sweet tea on a hot summer day. It comforts the soul and warms the heart.” This description seemed to perfectly capture the essence of the Global Art Fair being hosted in North Charleston.

(TGAF Ambassador) Dr. Ed Garnes

This wasn't my first time witnessing Okeeba create a magical evening with (literally) his bare hands. He has done it time and time again: The Atlanta Fine Art Exhibition, Excellence 365, Art to Heart—the list goes on. Atlanta’s cultural pioneer and champion is now on his own turf, like Superman returning to Krypton. North Charleston is Okeeba’s home.

As the morning turned into afternoon, I ensured we stayed on schedule, marking off tasks as they were completed. As Okeeba’s Executive Assistant—his eyes and ears—my job was to make sure he worked unencumbered as he transformed the event space into a

high-scale fine art gallery with soul-stirring pieces adorning the walls in anticipation of their new home.

By 12 p.m., Okeeba, Johnny, and I were wrapping up our morning tasks: installing art pieces, setting up the red carpet, checking the rooms for proper technology, coordinating with the caterers, sharing the shot list with photographers, and talking with featured artists. By 1 p.m., we headed to our base in Park Circle to meet with the rest of the NobleSol Art Group team members. By 4 p.m., we returned to the event, dressed impeccably as if we had never lifted a finger to prepare for the highly anticipated evening ahead.

TGAF Art Installation

VIP guests began trickling into the building by 5 p.m., heading first to the shrimp cocktail table. The sommelier greeted the VIPs at the wine station with fine selections of red and white wines. Among the special guests were Zandrina Dunning, Founder of The ZD Experience and Radio Show Host at Ohm Radio 96.3; Craig Ascue, Owner and Operator of Ascue's Auto Body & Paint Shop; and Sandy Morckel, President of Solutions for the Greater Good and Production Chair at TEDxCharleston.


Johnny Clarkson & Katrina Clarkson, Christian Johnson speaking with guests about her work, Sandy Morckel & Craig Gangloff

Johnny Clarkson addresses TGAF audience

Guests moved around the event space to the film suites, bobbing their heads to the soulful tracks of DJ Kimani, who played music spanning from neo-soul to jazz. An exceptionally experienced DJ, he read the crowd well, adjusting the music to match the vibe. As everyone took their seats, Johnny, dressed in a bespoke teal green suit with a black collared shirt and a striking Hollywood smile, directed the crowd's attention to the stage. It was time to hand the mic to the man of the evening: Okeeba Jubalo.

The instrumental of “Power” by Kanye West played subtly as a woman’s voice began speaking about the meaning of Okeeba’s name: a warrior. That voice belonged to Angie Brown, Okeeba Jubalo’s mother. As the music faded, the man of the evening walked onto the stage.

Okeeba took the stage at 6 p.m. sharp. Wearing a rose-pink polo, soft grey linen slacks, gold eyewear, a chunky wristwatch, brown loafers, and his signature smile, he immediately captivated the audience. If I hadn’t been there myself, I might not have believed that this one man, with the help of a small team, had transformed the space we were standing in into an upscale galleria.

Okeeba began his speech by thanking everyone for attending the soft launch of the Global Art Fair. His humility and confidence made many of the smiling faces gleam from one side of the room to the other. People saw Okeeba as their brother, uncle, father, son, and everything in between that they hoped to see in their community, standing in the flesh. Okeeba belongs to them, and they belong to Okeeba.

With a deep and powerful voice, Okeeba spoke about his journey back to his hometown of North Charleston. “It’s been a long road for the past two years,” Okeeba said. “I moved back to Charleston, but I grew up here in North Charleston. I’ve been gone for about thirty years, Atlanta and beyond. Doing my thing in the arts and cultural programming. And I’m home now. This is my home, home. I’m glad to share our gifts here. We are just getting started.”


Okeeba Jubalo addressing TGAF audience

The audience looked in awe at the intellectually and emotionally honest giant standing center stage, pouring his heart, soul, and God-given abilities into creating an enriching space for the families, adults, and youth of his beloved community.

A multi-dimensional artist himself, Okeeba shifted the focus back to the evening's purpose—the arts. “This is the soft launch of the Global Art Fair. How many of you are familiar with Art Basel in Miami? Now, imagine if we had something of that magnitude here in North Charleston,” he said with a serious and focused tone. “Can y’all imagine that? I can. More than having to imagine it, I can execute it. We will execute it together.”

A carefully curated group of artists from across the nation displayed their work with the enthusiasm of being under the tutelage of the Okeeba Fine Art Gallery. As the premiere African American fine art gallery of the South, art collectors fawned over the pieces while also having a chance to speak with the artists themselves. Among those discussing their inspirations were Patricia Coleman Cobb and Tee Roy from Atlanta, Terry Powell and Christine D. Johnson from South Carolina, and Veronica Mays from Rhode Island.

At 7 p.m., the poetry slam began with three finalists competing for the $500 grand prize. Stephanie Hale was the first to take the stage, immediately captivating the audience with her powerful vocals and heartfelt poem. Applause echoed through the crowd as the next poet walked on. Brittany Porcher performed her poem with both her voice and body, moving as art and entrancing the audience. The final performer, Zachery Williams Matthews, delivered his poem with such passion that the audience rose to their feet.


Featured poets: Zachary Matthews, Stephanie Hale, Brittany Porcher & Georgia Nubia


After Zachary, the energy shifted as Georgia Nubia, the featured performer, took the stage. A master of crowd control, she drew the audience into her poems as if they had helped her write the words. She received a standing ovation, showcasing Black excellence at its finest.

Meanwhile, Veronica Mays, a featured artist at the Global Art Fair, casually spoke to a small crowd captivated by her artwork. She shared her thoughts on the event, saying, “It is a blessing to see my work displayed alongside so many fine artists and to have had the opportunity to read one of my new poems from my soon-to-be-released book of poetry.

I’m very fortunate to be included in Okeeba’s gallery and look forward to our continued relationship! The Lowcountry will be that much richer with the addition of this art collection.”

The evening shifted as people began voting for their favorite poet and simultaneously moved to other suites. These suites featured various art disciplines to pique the interest of those who enjoy visual and other mentally stimulating creations.


Craig Ascue, Kyle Lahm , TGAF guest & DJ Kimani Blendz

Guests mingled and explored different parts of the building, connecting with others who shared their creative interests. “Artists love the opportunity to showcase their work, but more importantly, they appreciate presenting their creations to an audience genuinely interested in potential purchases," said Zandrina Dunning, cultural influencer and avid supporter of The Okeeba Jubalo Fine Art Gallery. “North Charleston, with its vibrant and artsy atmosphere, is perfectly positioned to receive and celebrate what art has to offer, particularly Black art. The city’s diversity and cultural richness make it an ideal backdrop for such an inclusive and dynamic event.”

TGAF Film Suite

A Q&A panel with the filmmakers followed the screenings. As guests mingled and discussed the films, one attendee expressed her enthusiasm. “It’s such a pleasure being at the Global Art Fair. I believe the Global Art Fair will bring so much change for the Lowcountry,” said Tamara McGill-Scott. “Change that will bring people of all cultures together, promote local small businesses, and breathe new life into the surrounding communities.”


TGAF Journey: The Natural Hair Panel


Lines formed at the door as people packed the suite wall to wall, eager to learn from cigar aficionado Johnny Clarkson. As he began his class, he introduced himself and said, “Beginners are the ideal guests for the Art of Cigars. Learning proper cigar etiquette before you start ensures a more pleasant experience. It also increases the chances that someone will introduce someone else to this incredible lifestyle.”

At 7:30 p.m., DJ Kimani announced the GullahSippi food tasting by Angie Brown and Okeeba Jubalo’s Hearts & Hands Catering Company. The lines wrapped all the way down the lobby. Kyle Lahm, Director of North Charleston’s Cultural Arts Department, and Ann Simmons, Deputy Director, commented on the impressive turnout—not only for the exquisite culinary delights but also for the soft launch event.

Anticipation was building as guests readily waited in line for a small bite of barbecue pulled chicken, collard greens, and baked macaroni and cheese. As everyone slowly moved through the line, one guest chatted with me and a few other women, expressing her love for art and the cultural influence Okeeba is bringing to Charleston.


GullahSippi served by Hearts & Hands Catering Company (family owned & operated by Okeeba Jubalo, Angie Brown & Catrecia McCoy Bowman )


“The Global Art Fair is culturally welcoming, with each piece of art possessing its own unique and thought-provoking charm that draws you in! Moreover, the Global Art Fair promotes community engagement, pride, and social cohesion throughout the Lowcountry,” said Sierra Singletary. “Okeeba is highlighting our local heritage and shared experiences while simultaneously strengthening our sense of identity and belonging.”

The guests were walking with eagerness to the final immersive activity: the first live recording of the Roses and Brass Knuckles podcast. Hosts Zachary Davis and Okeeba Jubalo discussed the nature of emotional honesty as Black men. The crowd cheered just upon hearing the title, “What Do Men Really Want?” This was a conversation for grown folks, and we hung on to every word from the relationship realists.

Patrica Coleman-Cobb, Vernelle Dickeson & Christine Johnson , Rushia Brown, Aneace & Aleena Feaster


Finally, at 9:30 p.m., the doors closed for the evening. The last guests left with smiles on their faces, complimenting Okeeba and the NobleSol Art Group team on the wonderful evening they had just experienced. As the final guest departed, Okeeba took a deep breath, turned to me, and said, “If they’re all excited about the soft launch, they are in for a treat in October.”

I thought to myself, Superman is home.


1 Comment

Vernelle Dickeson
Vernelle Dickeson
Jun 26

That was a great event, it was absolutely beautiful. Great work.

bottom of page