On April 19, 2008, the Norton Museum of Art will open an extensive exhibition drawn from the artistic and historical treasures collected by California residents and Florida A&M University alumni, Bernard and Shirley Kinsey. In the Hands of African American Collectors: The Personal Treasures of Bernard and Shirley Kinsey presents the journey of the Kinseys as they embrace and acquire art and artifacts. From rarely seen slave owners’ documents and brilliant expressions in paint, to glimpses into private eighteenth and nineteenth-century lives, the Kinsey Collection reflects a rich cultural and historical heritage which they hope to preserve for future generations.
The exhibition will remain at the Norton Museum of Art located at 1451 S. Olive Avenue, West Palm Beach, Fla. through July 20, 2008.
“Art is precious, but historical documents are rare,” said Bernard Kinsey.
Personal Treasures includes works of art by important African-American artists such as Henry O. Tanner, William H. Johnson, Romare Bearden, Jacob Lawrence, Elizabeth Catlett and Sam Gilliam; as well as historical documents and artifacts of Phillis Wheatley, Benjamin Banneker, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Ann Jacobs, Alain Locke and Malcolm X. When viewed as a whole, the 90 plus objects reveal important aspects of American history and culture.
“To have members of our own community develop and share with us their outstanding collection of African-American art and historical pieces is extraordinary,” said Christina Orr-Cahall, director of the Norton Museum of Art. “We are most grateful to Bernard and Shirley Kinsey for letting us learn through seeing some of the incredible achievements of African Americans in the last four centuries. Each and every one of us of us should make certain that we take advantage of this experience.”