Kinsey family travels

Arts / Article

By Brandon D. Nixon, Gantt Center

Bernard and Shirley Kinsey’s journey together began in 1963 as two college students in Tallahassee, Florida attending Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (FAMU). They began their travels in the mid-1960s when Bernard Kinsey worked briefly as a park ranger at the Grand Canyon.

Fifty years later, with their son Khalil and one of the largest private collections of African-American art and artifacts, the Kinseys will be travelling to Charlotte, North Carolina to the Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture.

In the last 46 years, Bernard and Shirley Kinsey have amassed a collection of artifacts, documents, and artwork representing 400 years of history. Since 2007, The Kinsey Collection: Shared Treasures of Bernard and Shirley Kinsey, Where Art and History Intersect has been exhibited across the United States at venues including the California African American Museum in Los Angeles; the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, Ohio; DuSable Museum of African American History in Chicago; Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco; and the Smithsonian National Museum of American History in our nation’s capital.

On June 27, with Wells Fargo’s generous support, the Gantt Center will host a special opening preview of The Kinsey Collection during the reception following the inaugural Gantt Symposium — a lecture featuring Harvard University professor Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. This ticketed reception will provide a special opportunity for symposium guests to view the collection with the Kinseys before it opens to the public on Saturday, June 29.

An Afternoon of Art and Legacy, with collectors Bernard and Shirley Kinsey, will be presented on June 29. In honor of the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, the couple will discuss their celebrated collection of African-American art and historical artifacts. Immediately following the lecture, the Kinsey family will lead visitors through the exhibit.  The Kinsey Collection: Shared Treasures of Bernard and Shirley Kinsey will remain on display at the Harvey B. Gantt Center through October 12, 2013.

After the exhibition closes in Charlotte, the travels of the Kinsey family and their collection will continue on to the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture in Baltimore, Maryland.