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Alicia Keys and Swizz Beatz are Making Room for Marginalized Artists

Emma Whitford

A sleepy upstate New York town outside of Rochester might seem like an unlikely match for the Grammy Award-winning power couple Alicia Keys and Kasseem “Swizz Beatz” Dean. But the tiny town of Macedon is just that: the soon-to-be home of their brainchild, the Dean Collection Music & Art Campus. “We are in the early stages of planning the campus for Macedon, but what we can say is that we are very excited to contribute a space for creatives by creatives,” Dean told Worth in a statement. “It is important to the Dean Collection that artists be supported in their disruption of the status quo. This space will be a platform to nurture this further.”

The 110-acre 1960s-era factory site on Route 31, where the couple will permanently house their African American art collection (Kehinde Wiley, Nina Chanel Abney, Gordon Parks and more), and train artists and musicians on the business side of their industries, is in a poignant location. It sits on a street that was once part of the Underground Railroad, attorney Linda Shaw recently told WXXI News.

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The campus is the couple’s latest venture to level the playing field for marginalized artists. In 2016, Dean launched No Commission, an art fair that gives artists all of their proceeds from sales—no dealer’s cut. And last spring, Dean announced through an Instagram video that he would give $5,000 each to 20 artists to put on their own art shows. “There are so many amazing artists out there, but it’s hard to break through,” he wrote at the time. “For all my creatives, it’s time to take your career into your own hands!”

Worth’s Changing Faces of Power series highlights the men and women helping to shape a future in which power is sure to look strikingly different.

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