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A Reception with artist Karen Collins & historian Dr. Timothy Nelson

Thursday, February 23, 2023 -
3:00pm to 4:30pm
Maxwell Museum center gallery
Karen Collins & Dr. Timothy Nelson

Join us in honor of Black History Month as we welcome the following extraordinary people to the Maxwell's center gallery for a special reception with food, drinks, and engaging dialogue and learning: artist Karen Collins and historian Dr. Timothy E. Nelson. The reception will take place right BEFORE Dr. Nelson's public lecture titled, "Blackdom, New Mexico: The Significance of the Afro-Frontier" (which will start at 5 PM in the Hibben Center for Archaeological Research, across from the Maxwell Museum). 

The gallery where the reception will be held will be showcasing two new and original artpieces by Karen Collins: Blackdom, NM & George McJunkin--the African American cowboy and archaeologist who discovered in New Mexico a distinctive type of stone tool, now called the Folsom point. Come see the exhibit and meet both Karen and Dr. Nelson in person! Then, stay for Dr. Nelson's lecture at 5 PM. 


Karen Collins reside in Compton, California, and is the founder of the African American Miniature Museum, a powerful cultural and pedagogical tool in the ongoing fight for Black cultural and historical recognition and racial justice. She is a self-taught folk artist who for the last 24 years has been documenting Black history through dioramas placed in shadowboxes. Her mobile museum aims to bring clarity and vibrance in the telling of Black history -- from the Middle Passage to America, up to Barack Obama, and Black Lives Matter. Her project began in the 1990s, when she started taking her meticulous work to schools, libraries, churches and community centers, as a way to bring both the many triumphs and the horrors of Black history to a generation of children that sorely needed a sense of self and context. Her team often grows to include members of the community who volunteer. Since then, Ms. Collins has continued to work from her workshop at home and has been exhibited at the Madam Walker Legacy Center in Indianapolis, the Jazz Museum at Leimert Park, and in libraries and schools throughout the Los Angeles area. Her work has received wide critical reception and includes the 2020 Google "doodle" for Black History Month honoring the 60th Anniversary of the Greensboro Sit-in. She has also been featured in a 2020 article in AARP Magazine and most recently, in 2022, in the Smithsonian Folklife Magazine.


Dr. Timothy E. Nelson was born in South Central Los Angeles, raised in Compton, California during the early 1990s, and went to Santa Monica Community College in the wake of race and class-based conflict with the Los Angeles Police Department. Constantly in search of opportunity, Dr. Nelson played football at Compton High School, Compton Community College, and Santa Monica College before transferring to New Mexico State University, where he was awarded a scholarship. He graduated from New Mexico State University with a Bachelor’s degree in U.S. History. Continuing to maintain ties with Compton, Dr. Nelson set up an admissions program to bring high schoolers from Compton to New Mexico State University.

During his time completing a Master’s degree in Black History at the University of Northern Iowa, Dr. Nelson also earned a commission as an Officer in the U.S. Army. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas at El Paso. He was the Racial Justice Director at the YWCA El Paso del Norte Region—the largest YWCA in the United States. He is also a proud charter member of his chapter of Phi Beta Sigma, whose motto is “Culture For Service and Service For Humanity.” 

This event is made possible and sponsored by the University of New Mexico's African American Student Services, the Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies, the Mellon Foundation, Blackdom Clothing & Productions, LTD. CO, UNM Department of Africana Studies, and the Maxwell Museum. 

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