In August, I had the honor and pleasure of meeting the Kinsey Family – Mr. Bernard Kinsey, Mrs. Shirley Kinsey and Mr. Khalil Kinsey. The Kinsey Collection opened at the Houston Museum of African American Culture on August 2nd, 2014 as part of the national tour of the collection presented by Wells Fargo. I was absolutely thrilled at the opportunity to meet such amazing people who have made an everlasting impression in the fabric of African American history. Their love and passion for African American history and art has allowed generations to enjoy their priceless collection of art, documents, rare books and other pieces of art.
Before I spoke with the family, I had the honor of speaking with Ms. Lisa Frison, Vice President, African American Segment Manager with Wells Fargo. Wells Fargo is sponsoring a celebratory tour of the Kinsey Collection at museums throughout the United States, with the Houston Museum of African American Culture being one of several African American institutions to host the collection. I was curious to know why Wells Fargo was interested in taking on such a large task of presenting this collection. She immediately shared the commitment of Wells Fargo to diversity. She stated that “diversity has been one of the values of Wells Fargo since 1880.” Ms. Frison shared that it was a natural fit to bring the collection to African American Museums as part of the Wells Fargo tour. She also encourages us to all visit and support institutions like the Houston Museum of African American Culture.
My next conversation was with father and son, Mr. Bernard Kinsey and Mr. Khalil Kinsey. Despite my preparation, I had feelings of excitement, anxiety and nervousness. After I spoke with them for five minutes those feelings quickly met comfort from the Kinseys, with their transparency and openess about the collection. Due to the large amount of art, documents and historical items, I pondered the question of whether there will ever be a Kinsey Museum in the future. Their response was, "at this point there is no plan, but their is a possibilty in the future. Today, they still collect but very little at this point. I was curious to know if they ever had intentions for the collection to be on tour and to grow into this large venture and surprisingly, they had no intentions of the collection traveling across the country.
I was able to get a few minutes with Mrs. Shirley Kinsey who I instantly felt connected to when I discovered her roots in Florida . I too, am a Floridan and I learned Mrs. Kinsey is from a city that is an hour from where I was raised. As someone that is a lover of African American history I felt connected with her. Her storytelling of the journey they took as a family and how they acquired pieces is quite fascinating.
As Mr. and Mrs. Kinsey spoke I felt their passion and love for educating and sharing the history of the African American culture. I walked away impressed, astonished and a strong desire to have more conversations with the Kinsey Family.
I invite you to visit the collection at the Houston Museum of African American Culture now through October 26, 2014. On Friday, September 26, 2014 from 6:00 – 8:00 pm, Wells Fargo and the museum will present a lecture by Mr. Bernard Kinsey at the Houston Community College –Central Campus. To learn more about the lecture and the Houston Museum of African American Culture be sure to visit: www.hmaac.org
Enjoy photos to the left of some of the art in the Kinsey Collection.
Photos courtesy of the Kinsey Collection & Wells Fargo.
The Cultivators, 2000, Samuel L. Dunson, Jr., Painting. (The Kinsey Collection)
Field Hands, 1988 Jonathan Green. Oil on masonite.
(The Kinsey Collection)
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