SoFi Stadium hosts the Kinsey African American Art and History Collection – Daily Breeze in February | Candle Made Easy

In the early 1970s, Bernard and Shirley Kinsey settled into a small house on Crenshaw Boulevard in Inglewood. The couple, who met while attending Florida A&M University, shared a passion for traveling and collecting art. Over the years, the Kinseys have amassed a sizable collection of art and artifacts that has morphed into a traveling exhibition known as The Kinsey African American Art & History Collection.

After touring 35 cities in the United States and around the world over the past 15 years, the exhibit returns to the area and occupies a floor at SoFi Stadium in Hollywood Park, less than a mile from the first family home of the Kinsey’s removed.

“It’s a full-circle moment for us,” Shirley Kinsey said during a tour of the exhibit, which is slated to open to the public as a ticketed event on February 23 and will include hour-long self-guided tours from 10 a.m. through April 2022 Thursday to Monday until 6 p.m. “It really feels like we’re going back home.”

The Kinseys, now based in Pacific Palisades, share their finds, including paintings, photographs, sculptures, rare books, postcards and more, that document the African American experience from the 16th century to the present day. Each piece illuminates the untold stories of African Americans throughout U.S. history—exploring slavery, emancipation, the civil rights movement, and the work of artists, inventors, thinkers and more—and the collection was created to “educate, motivate, and inspire.” “. said Shirley.

“We love sharing this work because we know it changes lives,” said Bernard. “I assure you that people who come here and start getting this overview of history will not be able to go back. Most people, black and white, don’t really know what happened in this country, and the Kinsey Collection provides that thread so you can nuance what happened. The idea is really that as much as we try to convey the artistic and historical aspect, what really drives us is the idea that you too can make a difference and matter.”

In 2010, the Kinseys’ son, Khalil, began curating the exhibition and introducing new elements, including digital artwork, graphics and even some animation. Though the collection has been displayed in numerous prestigious museums, Khalil said he enjoyed the challenge of presenting it in less traditional spaces like Epcot at Walt Disney World in Florida, where it was on display for five years. Building the experience at a football stadium has also presented some interesting challenges and opportunities, he said.

“It allowed a lot of creativity in approach,” he said, while showing some paintings and a series of 19th-century photographs that had been enlarged and hung on the wall. “We want to try to appeal to people who wouldn’t normally walk through the doors of a museum or who might not feel welcome in a museum, so we want to get their attention.”

Khalil said that the exhibition’s natural progression was to add more contemporary works, including digital elements, and create spaces for visitors to take selfies and engage with the collection. The public can also view much of the Kinsey African American Art & History Collection online through a virtual gallery on Google Arts & Culture.

“We recognized the power and potential of it and how we can share it in so many ways, both conventional and unconventional, and that has proven beneficial in our journey,” he said of refining the experience. “It’s just another extension of where we’re going and you have to develop things the way people get information. We want to approach things dynamically and pursue as many approaches as possible.”

Standout exhibits include a painting and sculpture by May Howard Jackson, who was born in 1877 and was the first African American woman to attend the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. There is a large abstract landscape painting by Richard Mayhew, an activist and artist who at the age of 97 still lives and works in Santa Cruz.

There are also several works by the late artist and former San Diego Charger Ernie Barnes, including the 1971 painting known as “High Aspirations” and another titled “The Maestro,” which the Kinseys said they created both were so powerful that they had to show them together. The collection also includes a piece of Kinsey history, as Canadian painter and sculptor Artis Lane was commissioned by family friends to paint a portrait of Shirley and Bernard for their 35th wedding anniversary.

Discussions to bring the exhibit to SoFi Stadium began in the summer of 2020, said Jason Witt, senior director of community affairs and engagement for SoFi Stadium and Hollywood Park. During the months of lockdown, staff engaged in a number of virtual fireside chats, including Bernard Kinsey brought in to speak about the meaning and history of June 16, the federal holiday commemorating the emancipation of enslaved African Americans across the United States.

Because the Kinseys feel such a connection to the city of Inglewood and Los Angeles, they have decided to display the collection at the stadium, and the Kroenke Family Foundation and the Hollywood Park Foundation will host a range of community-building activities, working directly with local NGOs. Profits and schools to enable field trips to the exhibition and various workshops and lectures. Proceeds from the exhibition will also benefit the newly established Hollywood Park Foundation.

“The Foundation is dedicated to advancing youth in and around Inglewood and Los Angeles in education, health and wellness,” Witt said. “Access to education and food, as well as learning healthy eating habits, these things are important stepping stones and the foundation for building success, so we want to build the youth around us.”

Kinsey African American Art and History Collection

When: 10:00-18:00 Thursday-Monday from February 23rd

Where: SoFi Stadium, 1001 Stadium Drive, Inglewood

Tickets: $15 ages 16+; $12 ages 5-15; $12 students, seniors, active duty military, and Inglewood residents with ID; Group rates and more available at sofistadium.com/kinsey. Parking is free.

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