Lana Regina Woods
Proprietor and President
Lana Woods Gallery, New York, N.Y.
Lana Regina Woods is as analytical as she is creative. “Math was my thing, yet I had a very creative spark, graduating as the valedictorian from Fashion Industries High School,” Woods recalls. Her analytical side led her to a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Florida A&M University, an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, and a 20-year career in corporate finance and banking.
At Wharton, she finally listened to her inner guidance. She explains, “I was doing pro bono work for an art gallery in West Philadelphia, giving them some of the business savvy I had learned. In the process, I learned about their business, which was focused on African-American art. It was divine intervention.” She launched Lana Woods Gallery in 1993 while still working, and began to collect African-American art, building a sizeable collection and representing the artists. “You can’t represent something that you don’t own yourself,” says the Alpha Kappa Alpha soror.
Since 2002, Woods has devoted herself full time to the Lana Woods Gallery, promoting African-American master artists such as Bennie Andrews, Sam Gilliam and Richard Mayhew. She represents no more than 10 artists at a time, choosing to grow her gallery — located on the lower level of her Harlem, New York City, brownstone home — and tapping into her clientele of notable corporations and museums to build her brand.
A past president of the Metropolitan Chapter of Jack & Jill of America Inc., Woods is a board member of the Riverside Park Conservancy in New York City and chairs the Go Green Project, a collaborative effort with Harlem public schools and the youth organizations she serves. She has received the Amistad Center of Art & Culture distinguished President’s Award and the Metro Chapter of the National Black MBA Association Inc.’s Cultural Achievement of the Year Award.