Sandra Epps decided to turn her negative into a positive after surviving three near-death experiences due to lupus. In 2005, she established Sandy’s Land where the mission is to party with a purpose, to encourage women and girls to “Love the Skin They’re In!” Presently, Sandy’s Land LLC conducts art parties and hosts the Detroit Doll Show which is the largest black doll show of its kind. She founded The Detroit Doll Show in 2011 with the purpose of celebrating history, culture, self-love, and diversity with the promotion of Black dolls.
Epps decided that with the up-rise and reveal of injustice to people of color and the establishment of the Black Lives Matter movement, the Black Doll Museum will be a perfect resource for visitors to learn about the positive history and culture of Black people, while little brown girls will be inspired to love themselves. The build-out shipping containers will include the Black dolls in addition be a space to host art parties, doll-making workshops, and classes taught by black historians, therapists, and gardeners. Epps comments, “The Butterflyy represents the rash that appears on a lupus patient’s face when they are experiencing a flare-up. The butterfly is also symbolic of hope, transformation, peace, and prosperity. And these vivid and powerful insects are now quasi-extinct due to lack of habitat caused by new development, pesticides, and climate change.”
Her plan is to help save the butterfly by incorporating them into her business space. With the help from the community, black doll collectors, butterfly lovers, nature enthusiasts, or just admirers Epps will make her dream a reality. She will introduce an entertainment space that uplifts black culture, empower brown girls and assist the environment.
The launch of the GoFundMe for the Black Doll Museum & Butterfly Garden is to raise funds to purchase land and to then kick start the foundation work for the build-out shipping containers in Detroit, Michigan. The space will be intentional with empowerment including black art, statues with affirmations, and classes to be taught by African American doll makers, historians, gardeners, entomologists, therapists, and nutritionists. Also, there will be a pond with koi fish, gazebo, and rock path of hope to pay homage to loved ones. In addition, patrons can participate with interactive Nature Fun Facts. And Epps plans to become a certified way-station for Monarch Butterflies to have a safe pesticide-free habitat to eat, to lay their eggs, to grow, and be released to migrate.
Epps plans to purchase land in 2021. There are two ways to support the construction of the Black Doll Museum. People can make a donation on the GoFundMe page or with the purchase of Girlfriend, It’s Time to SOAR! A Work Journal for Personal Transformation written by Sandra Epps. The proceeds from each book will go toward the purchase of land for the Butterflyy Garden and Black Doll Museum at DetroitDollShow.com.