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Houston debut of African-American art treasures is a cause for celebrations

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Sheila Jackson Lee, from left, with Shirley and  Bernard Kinsey at the HMAAC Kinsey Collection reception August 2014
Sheila Jackson Lee, from left, with Shirley and Bernard Kinsey. Photo by Simon Balogun
John Guess Jr., from left, Tammie Kahn and Bernard Kinsey at the HMAAC Kinsey Collection reception August 2014
John Guess Jr., from left, Tammie Kahn and Bernard Kinsey. Photo by Simon Balogun
Charnee Brown, from left, Tammy Brown, Jasmine Jones and Rama Musa at the HMAAC Kinsey Collection reception August 2014
Charnee Brown, from left, Tammy Brown, Jasmine Jones and Rama Musa. Photo by Simon Balogun
Philamena and Arthur Baird at the HMAAC Kinsey Collection reception August 2014
Philamena and Arthur Baird. Photo by Simon Balogun
Doug and Winell Herron, from left, with John Guess Jr. at the HMAAC Kinsey Collection reception August 2014
Doug and Winell Herron, from left, with John Guess Jr. Photo by Simon Balogun
Eileen Lawal, from left, Shirley and Bernard Kinsey and Kase Lawal at the HMAAC Kinsey Collection reception August 2014
Eileen Lawal, from left, Shirley and Bernard Kinsey and Kase Lawal. Photo by Simon Balogun
John Guess IV, from left, Carol Guess and John Guess Jr. at the HMAAC Kinsey Collection reception August 2014
John Guess IV, from left, Carol Guess and John Guess Jr. Photo by Simon Balogun
Sheila Jackson Lee, from left, with Shirley and  Bernard Kinsey at the HMAAC Kinsey Collection reception August 2014
John Guess Jr., from left, Tammie Kahn and Bernard Kinsey at the HMAAC Kinsey Collection reception August 2014
Charnee Brown, from left, Tammy Brown, Jasmine Jones and Rama Musa at the HMAAC Kinsey Collection reception August 2014
Philamena and Arthur Baird at the HMAAC Kinsey Collection reception August 2014
Doug and Winell Herron, from left, with John Guess Jr. at the HMAAC Kinsey Collection reception August 2014
Eileen Lawal, from left, Shirley and Bernard Kinsey and Kase Lawal at the HMAAC Kinsey Collection reception August 2014
John Guess IV, from left, Carol Guess and John Guess Jr. at the HMAAC Kinsey Collection reception August 2014
Houston Museum of African American Culture
Get Directions - 4807 Caroline St. Houston

There was lots of excitement at the Houston Museum of African American Culture over the weekend as the renowned Kinsey Collection debuted in the Bayou City. The national touring exhibit of African-American art, artifacts, books, documents and manuscripts amassed by Los Angeles philanthropist Bernard Kinsey and his wife, Shirley, drew an exclusive crowd at two celebrations.

On Friday night, Booz Allen executive vice president Reggie Van Lee winged in from the nation's capital to host a preview reception for major donors. HMAAC CEO John F. Guess, Jr., board chair Gina Carroll and board members Cindy Parris and Keith Sparks were among those welcoming the crowd, which included HEB's Winell Herron and husband Doug, Melanie and Cheryl Lawson, Rev. Bill and Audrey Lawson, Carolyn and John L. Guess, III, Museum District Association Director Laurette Canizares, Brad and Leslie Bucher, Carolyn Lee Conner, Anita Lee and Kevin Faircloth.

In addition to the Kinseys and their son, Khalil Kinsey, out-of-towners included Wells Fargo execs Lisa Frison from Charlotte and Cheryl McDonald and Barbara Scotlan from San Francisco (the bank is the national exhibition sponsor), Orville Smith from Washington, D.C. and Raymond Lewis from New York.

On Saturday night, more than 400 guests attended a tented reception at the museum for the official opening. U.S. Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, Houston City Council member Larry Green and Wells Fargo's Cary Yates were among those who made official remarks.

Also spotted in the throng were Children's Museum Director Tammie Kahn, Kase and Eileen Lawal, Cindy Parris, Irene and Ron Johnson, Drucie Chase, Philomena and Arthur Baird, John Guess IV, The Menil Collection's Karl Killian, Judge Clarease YatesFelix and Melinda Spaulding Chevalier, longtime friend of the Kinseys Nick Walker and the Rev. D.Z. Cofield, senior pastor of the Good Hope Missionary Baptist Church, where the Kinseys worshiped on Sunday.

The exhibition, which is on the last stop of a national tour, is on display at the Houston museum through Oct. 26. It includes works from Houston artists John Biggers and Lionel Lofton, as well as rare artifacts, including an early edition of Solomon Northrup’s 12 Years a Slave, a W.E.B Dubois first edition copy of the ground-breaking book, The Souls of Black Folksa baptismal record dating back to 1595, and marital record from 1598 – the earliest known documentation of African-American presence in America. (Read the CultureMap review here.)

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