Thank you for supporting us at our Annual 2023 Los Angeles Benefit & Award Ceremony.

We hope you will join us at our ArtTable 2023 Annual Award & Benefit Ceremony in New York City on Tuesday, April 4, 2023.

  • ArtTable Executive Director, Jessica Porter and Kinsey Art Collection Chief Operating Officer Khalil Kinsey
    ArtTable Executive Director, Jessica Porter and Kinsey Art Collection Chief Operating Officer Khalil Kinsey. Photo: Isabella Vosmikova.

2023 Annual Benefit & Award Ceremony

Honoring Distinguished Service to the Visual Arts Awardee,
Shirley Pooler Kinsey

February 15, 2023


6:30 PM

Ticket buyers at the $550 level and above will have exclusive access to The Kinsey Collection, details below.
People of all gender identities are allies in supporting women’s leadership
in the arts and all are welcome to join us at our Benefit events.

On February 15th, we gathered at SoFi stadium in Los Angeles for the 2023 ArtTable Annual Benefit & Award Ceremony honoring Shirley Pooler Kinsey, renowned Los Angeles-based philanthropist and art collector.

Our first-ever West Coast benefit event was a huge success. To start our evening, ArtTable’s VIP guests were treated to a private tour of the Kinsey Art Collection and its African American Art treasures, led by the Collection’s Chief Curator, Khalil Kinsey. Following this VIP reception, guests were welcomed to mingle at the general admission reception at the stadium, enjoying refreshments while listening to remarks from featured guest speaker Sarika Sanyal, an ArtTable Fellow Alumna and current Associate Director, Los Angeles Nomadic Division. ArtTable Executive Director Jessica L. Porter presented Shirley Pooler Kinsey with the distinguished, Louise Bourgeois-designed Distinguished Service to the Visual Arts Award along with Honorary Benefit Co-Chairs Haili Francis, Bernard Kinsey and Khalil Kinsey, with ArtTable Board members Felice Axelrod and Nuria Richards also in attendance. The benefit served as a reminder of ArtTable’s mission to continue supporting the leadership and work of women in the visual arts across the United States and across the world.

ArtTable’s Annual Benefit & Award Ceremony gathers hundreds of women in the visual arts to celebrate the leadership of exemplary women in the field and to support ArtTable’s ongoing work to advance the work of women working in the visual arts. For the first time in the organization’s over 40-year history, Benefits will be held in both New York and Los Angeles, recognizing the leadership of women on both coasts, and bringing together ArtTable’s national membership across the country.

We are thrilled to announce that the 2023 Distinguished Service to the Visual Arts Award will be awarded to Los Angeles-based philanthropist, art collector, and former school teacher Shirley Pooler Kinsey. Along with her husband Bernard and son Khalil, Shirley has developed one of the largest and most comprehensive private collections of African-American history and art in the world, which includes more than 700 pieces of art and artifacts that tell the story of African Americans’ historical struggles from 1632 to present. The Kinsey Collection has been featured in more than 30 exhibitions in over 30 states and is an unparalleled archive and celebration of the achievements and contributions of black Americans from before the formation of the United States to the present times.

Click here to read Shirley’s full bio.


VIP Reception

5:30 – 6:30 PM

Reception and Private Tour of the Kinsey African American Art & History Collection

Members of the Kinsey Family will welcome and guide us through the extensive
collection of art and artifacts from around the world.

Annual Benefit and Award Ceremony

6:30 – 8:30 PM

Celebration, Drinks, and Light Bites

With Special Remarks by

Sarika Sanyal

Associate Director at Los Angeles Nomadic Division
ArtTable Fellow Alumna

VIP Reception and Private Tour of the
Kinsey African American Art & History Collection

Ticket holders at the $550 level
and above are invited to join
us for a private tour of the
Kinsey Collection, led by
members of the Kinsey family.

When Bernard and Shirley Kinsey were married in 1967, the couple set a goal of visiting 100 different countries during their life together. While traveling and exploring other countries and cultures, Bernard and Shirley began collecting art and artifacts as treasured memories of their travel experiences. As their collection grew, they soon realized that there were so many aspects about their own cultural heritage that they did not know or collect. Their passion for world culture led them to want to understand and develop a deeper connection with their own African American history and culture.

Through countless travels and life-changing experiences, the Kinsey’s journeys brought them back home, leading them to study, and then collect objects that share their own heritage, arts, and culture. Today, The Kinsey African American Art & History Collection travels the globe as an award-winning museum exhibition – lead by the stewardship of Bernard, Shirley, and Khalil Kinsey. The exhibition celebrates the achievements and contributions of black Americans from before the formation of the United States to present times.

Learn more about The Kinsey Collection here.

Benefit Co-Chairs

Haili Francis

Bernard Kinsey

Khalil Kinsey

Benefit Supporters & Host Committee

Fellowship Program Supporter

SoFi Stadium

Bronze Supporters

Ms. Nancy Cornelia Adams
Bloomberg Philanthropies

Leadership Supporters

West Angeles Church of God in Christ

Executive Supporters

Mrs. Hannah Gottlieb-Graham
Kelly Groehler
Andrea Gyorody
Mathew & Gena Knowles
Kevin Merida
Greg & Kathy Outcalt
Barbara Tober

Member Friend Supporters

Ms. Julie A. Armistead
Phoebe Beasley
Courtney Maier Burbela
Ms. Katherine Chan
Haili Francis
Noriko Fujinami
Wendy Garen
Claudia Worthington Hess
Ms. Sandra D. Jackson-Dumont
Roberta Jenkins
Anne Burford Johnson
Charles Floyd Johnson
Marla B. Koosed
Linda Poole Maggard
Darrell Miller

ArtTable’s Distinguished Service
to the Visual Arts Award

ArtTable’s Distinguished Service to the Visual Arts Award acknowledges and celebrates remarkable leadership in the arts. Its recipients exemplify ArtTable’s dedication to the lasting impact of the visual arts on our shared cultural life. Past recipients include Carol Cole Levin, Barbara Tober, Susan Unterberg, Estrellita Brodsky, Marian Goodman, Lowery Stokes Sims, Marieluise Hessel, Raymond Learsy and Melva Bucksbaum, Marguerite Steed Hoffman, Patricia Phelps de Cisneros, Patricia E. Harris, Marieluise Hessel Artzt, Kathan Brown, Mary Schmidt Campbell, Anita Contini, Alice Denney, Helen W. Drutt English, Elizabeth Easton, Sharon Helgason Gallagher, RoseLee Goldberg, Thelma Golden, Marian Goodman, Kathy Halbreich, Lila Harnett, Ann Sutherland Harris, Alana Heiss, Mary Jane Jacob, Leslie King-Hammond, Ruby Lerner, Susana Torruella, Leval, Barbara Luderowski,

Margo Machida, Ann Philbin, Lisa Phillips, Joan Rosenbaum, Linda Shearer, Roberta Smith, Susan Sollins, Susan Fisher Sterling, Marion Boulton Stroud, Paula Wallace, Yoko Ono, Toby Devan Lewis, Vishakha N. Desai, Elizabeth A. Sackler, Elizabeth C. Baker, Linda Nochlin, Iris Cantor, Paula Cooper, Marcia Tucker, Lucy Lippard, Stephanie French, Joan Mondale, Dianne H. Pilgrim, Emily Rauh Pulitzer, Agnes Gund, and Kitty Carlisle Hart.

In 2003, as a special gesture to ArtTable and the leading women it honors, Louise Bourgeois created an unnumbered, cast bronze edition to represent the award for Distinguished Service to the Visual Arts. EYE (cast bronze and silver nitrate with a polished patina) is cast each year in commendation to our awardee.

About Shirley Pooler Kinsey

Shirley Pooler Kinsey grew up in St. Augustine, FL. The major influence in her life was her paternal grandmother, Mrs. Susie Plummer Pooler, who raised her and lived her life doing whatever she could to be in service to others. Although she didn’t have much materially, she willingly shared what she had, her wisdom, her heart, and her time. This was passed on to Shirley, as well as the desire to excel in education as a way of doing well by doing good. Other important influences in Shirley’s life were her sister and role model Barbara Richardson Johnson, her uncle Mr. James A. Webster (also principal of her elementary school), as well as her mentor and high school counselor, Mrs. Rosalie R. Gordon-Mills.

Growing up, Shirley developed an early interest in books, art, travel, and focused on academic excellence. She was valedictorian of her graduating high school class, leading to a scholarship to Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida. Attending FAMU during the height of the civil rights movement of the 1960s, Shirley participated in student protests and demonstrations, and was arrested during a sit-in at the local movie theater. Upon her release, she met Bernard Kinsey, an upperclassman who was on the support committee assisting students through the experience. She pledged Delta Sigma Theta and received her BA in English. Shirley and Bernard were wed in 1967 and moved to California with $26 and a job after graduation. In the early 1970s, Shirley was an elementary school teacher in Compton, California which led her to pursue and receive a master’s degree in Multicultural Education from Pepperdine University. She has enjoyed accomplished careers in education, Corporate America and the Arts, but considers her most important roles in life to be wife, mother, sister, cousin, aunt and friend.

Shirley and Bernard’s 56-year marriage and partnership represents an alliance based on love, respect and the importance of family and friends. They strive to live their lives on two simple principles: “To whom much is given, much is required” and “A life of no regrets”.

Together they have helped raise over 30 million dollars for charitable and educational institutions, including Florida A&M University. Through their philanthropy they have assisted in sending over 150 students to college. They believe in the idea of “social capital” that utilizes their broad network of friends and associates around the country to expand the notion of giving. It has been said that “Together they have formed an outstanding partnership in their cultural, business, and educational endeavors. They represent the best of our community, a willingness to give and to share”.

The couple have become known for their collection of art, books, artifacts, and ephemeral objects that document the remarkable achievements and contributions of African Americans from 1595 to the present, considered to be one of the largest of its kind. Since 2006, The Kinsey African American Art & History Collection – Where Art and History Intersect”, has been on national tour and seen by over 15 million visitors to date. The collection has exhibited in nearly 40 venues, including the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, Epcot at Walt Disney World, Hong Kong University and now SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California where it debuted during Super Bowl LVI and is on view through February 2023. In 2008, Shirley co-founded the Kinsey Foundation for the Arts and Education to promote broader awareness and understanding of African American history and culture. The foundation has educational partnerships around the country and abroad, assisting with the development and implementation of curriculums and public programs.

The Kinseys have traveled extensively and reside in Pacific Palisades, California. They are the proud parents of their son Khalil who is the COO and Chief Curator of the Kinsey African American Art & History Collection.

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