Folk artist Karen Collins, over the course of 24 years, has created a pictoral view of black history through dioramas placed in shadowboxes.
From the very beginning of the journey - the Middle Passage to America - up to Barack Obama and Kendrick Lamar, Karen’s miniatures bring clarity and vibrance in the telling of black history.
The museum began as a mobile project in the 90’s, when Karen took her 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.
She has continued to work from her workshop at home, and has been exhibited at the Museum of Tolerance, the Madam Walker Legacy Center in Indianapolis, the Jazz Museum at Leimert Park, and in libraries and schools throughout the Los Angeles area, including the recent ‘21 Collections’ exhibit at the LA Library Main Branch.
As of now, the museum exists only as a “mobile” project, operated from home, without a physical space for visitors to go. Karen’s dream for the future is to have a permanent location for the more than 50 dioramas she has created so far; a creative space where her work can become a living tradition, where young people can create and learn to express themselves with art, and where her artwork can be preserved for future generations.