Florida State University Panama City to host African art collection


PANAMA CITY – The nationally recognized Kinsey collection of African American art and history will arrive at Florida State University Panama City in April 2022.

“We are honored to have an exhibition of this caliber coming to FSU Panama City,” said Dean Randy Hanna. “This collection documents not only American history, but also the enormous contribution of black artists to American culture.”

The traveling exhibit will showcase historical artifacts, artwork, and documents – from a bust of Frederick Douglas to a letter signed by Malcolm X – at the Holley Academic Center at FSU Panama City from April 1 to July 3, 2022.

“History is not a black story; it’s an American story, ”said Bernard Kinsey, whose collection with his wife, Shirley, spans more than 40 years. “We are really proud of our work and think it’s the kind of work America needs right now.”

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Florida natives Bernard and Shirley Kinsey met at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, and after getting married in 1967, they set a goal of traveling to 100 different countries in their lifetimes. The Kinsey Collection project began with the couple’s desire to instill an appreciation for the arts of cultures around the world in their son, Khalil, and to support emerging artists.

But it was their son’s family history assignment for school, when they realized they could only trace their family tree for four generations, that led them to uncover or “rediscover” history. African American that had not been told.

“Really, we think this is a human story about human experience and connection, illuminating the unknown story,” said Khalil Kinsey, chief operating officer and curator of the collection.

The collection tells a part of American history through paintings, manuscripts, rare books and African American letters. Rare and primary source historical artifacts and artefacts date from 1595 to the present day, and art created by African-American artists dates from 1865.

“In 2005, the LA Times wrote an article, ‘The Walls Do Talk,’ which caught the attention of the African American Museum in Los Angeles, because of the balance between art and historical narrative,” Khalil said. . “Other museums have noticed it. We share information in a unifying way. The collection was housed at the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian Institution and was the first of its kind to be on display at Disney World’s Epcot. We did our first international show in Hong Kong.

Over the past 15 years, as a traveling exhibition, the Kinsey Collection has been viewed by over 15 million people. The exhibition opened at museums such as the California African American Museum in Los Angeles, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, the DuSable Museum of African American History in Chicago, and the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach.

The Kinseys recently shared their trip to the exhibition’s 33rd opening at the Tacoma Art Museum in Tacoma, Wash., For a segment of NBC’s “Today Show”, which airs on August 23.

The Florida Department of Education adopted the Kinsey Collection as the basis for teaching 3.6 million students about African American history. The family has also published an accompanying book, “The Kinsey Collection: Shared Treasures of Bernard and Shirley Kinsey,” which features items on display in the exhibit as well as other items of interest from their collection.

“We have a saying,” said Bernard Kinsey, who retired as a Xerox executive 30 years ago. “God, give me a gift to give to someone else who needs it more than me. The Kinsey Collection embodies it – how people who had so little did so much.

The Panama City Expo is sponsored in part by another family business – Panama City Toyota, which has offered a donation of $ 25,000 to help publicize the exhibit to the community.

“A mutual friend brought us together for the first meeting and it resonated with me,” said Greg Finley, Panama City Toyota Senior Dealer. Finley said he sees this as an opportunity to challenge ambivalence in the racially tense climate of recent years. “I thought, ‘What can I do in the vast universe of problems?’ This collection was used to answer partially, if not completely.

The community is invited to get involved in the cultural celebration of American history during the Kinsey Collection’s three-month exhibit at FSU Panama City. Speakers, artists and vendors are encouraged to be part of the inclusive celebration highlighting the contributions of African Americans, and schools in the region are invited to visit the exhibit.

Robert Gates, Managing Director of Panama City Toyota, said, “When we start talking about it, it’s so easy to get excited. “

A Zoom with the Kinseys event is scheduled for November at the FSU Panama City campus ahead of the exhibit opening in April 2022.

“Because we believe so strongly in the impact this collection will have, we are personally invested through our speaker fund,” said Mary Beth Lovingood, Director of Development at FSU Panama City. “This is a great opportunity for other interested investors like Panama City Toyota to share with our community an appreciation for American history and art. “

For sponsorship opportunities, contact Lovingood at 850-445-3250 or [email protected] To get involved in the event, organizations and schools can contact Dr Irvin Clark at 850-770-2101 or [email protected] For more information on the Kinsey collection, visit www.thekinseycollection.com.


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