AMusBE @ 1243 S Jefferson Ave in Saginaw, MI

We're excited to announce that A Museum of Black Experiences has a home! 

In January 2023, Kevin Jones purchased the property at 1243 S Jefferson Ave in Saginaw, MI to serve as AMusBE's inaugural home. "I fell in love of with this space because of it's character and history. It was built in 1857 in what was known as East Saginaw, likely by a wealthy lumber baron. It offers so much character." Kevin states. 

UPDATE: Despite making meaningful progress, AMusBE's opening will be delayed. At this time, we aren't able to state a date when we'll fully open. We still need more time to effectively raise additional resources to complete necessary repairs/modifications if this space will serve as the AMusBE's inaugural home. 

If you'd like to see some of the exhibits that are being shown in the private residence, we're happy to show you. See before and after photos of some of our progress to date. 

Before: Gallery Space & Reflection Circle

Before: Exhibition Hall

Before: Library  & Reading Room

Artist-in-Residence Creativity Space

After: Gallery Space & Reflection Circle

After: Exhibition Hall Looking into Library

After: Library  & Reading Room

New Furnace/Boiler and Dry Locking Basement

What is AMusBE? 

A Museum of Black Experiences, or AMusBE, will become a cultural institution that facilitates meaningful connections with Black people, communities, artists, and their movements.  It's based largely on Kevin Jones's Blactiquing™ collection. Blactiquing™ intentionally collects, preserves, and exhibits stories of Black experiences inspired by items acquired from antique shops. He fuses Black art and memorabilia with cultural pieces from artists, creators, and collectors--helping to bridge connections between the past and contemporary issues. AMusBE will develop and showcase interactive exhibits that incorporate an intense love and appreciation of Black art and history to inspire hope, introspection, community building, and greater appreciation for human experiences. AMusBE will open in Saginaw, MI in 2024. 

Kevin Jones, the AMusBE visionary

For more than 25 years, Kevin has been an avid collector of Black art and memorabilia. He was born in Saginaw, MI, and has lived throughout the East Coast. Since returning to Saginaw in 2020, he's launched Blactiquing™, continuing his passion for showcasing Black art, history, and experiences.  He has more than 6,000 pieces in his collection. He's also the founder and archive custodian of The Black LGBT Archivists Society of Philadelphia, established in 2007.

While Kevin's true passions are in Black art and history, his professional work in the social sector spans more than two decades. These roles allow him to help advance educational and public health goals of impactful nonprofit organizations. He obtained degrees from the University of Michigan,  the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, and the University of Pennsylvania. He's proud to be a member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc. 

To contact Kevin or learn more about AMusBE, send a message to his LinkedIn page or to one of the social media accounts listed above. Click here for Kevin's artist resume. Donate today to help ensure that there's an AMusBE!

A Case Statement for Support

Case Statement for Support – A Museum of Black Experiences (Saginaw, MI)


A Museum of Black Experiences, Inc. (AMusBE)

1243 South Jefferson Avenue, Saginaw, Michigan 48601


Federal Tax ID: 92-2089941


Contact: Kevin Jones,


Why AMusBE Warrants Support

Simply, there are not enough spaces that incubate, support, showcase, or exhibit Black art and histories. This is especially true in Saginaw, Michigan, despite a number of talented artists and creatives who live or work in the region. AMusBE will fill an important void by providing continuous, curated exhibits and events that focus on Black experiences (and not only during Black History Month, Juneteenth, and Kwanza), Despite its important role, AMusBE will require community and financial support. AMusBE’s building was erected in 1857, and while it has received tender, love and care and has great bones, it requires repairs and updates.


How Financial Support Invigorates AMusBE’s Mission

Financial investments will ensure AMusBE opens Juneteenth 2023. These investments support:

·        Strengthening its Board of Directors and clarifying programmatic aims

·        Routine business expenses, such as fees for business licenses, insurance, and utilities

·        Repairs to the roof, windows, and doors

·        Updates to the building’s electricity, alarm systems, lighting, and entry ways (e.g., doors and ramps)

·        Launch community conversations to identify the community’s hopes and desires for the space

AMusBE aims to raise $100,000 in the next 4 months to ensure a successful Juneteenth 2023 opening, and an additional $200,000 over the next year.


What Kind of Exhibits Will AMusBE Curate

In addition to showing the artworks of contemporary artists, exhibits and events will be inspired, in part, by items from the Blactiquing™ archive, which are on loan to AMusBE. This archive consists of more than 7,500 pieces of Black art and memorabilia acquired from antique shops around the world, ranging from the most celebratory items to those that are racist and derogatory. When observed as a collection, the antique, vintage, and contemporary pieces will tell greater stories about race and inspire deeper layers of introspection.


What’s the Relevancy of AMusBE

AMusBE exists at a time when school officials and politicians are attempting to ban African-American history courses and books by relevant authors. AMusBE will provide opportunities for learning and supplement what is being taught in the classroom and home. By having artwork, figurines, and ephemera that are “in your face” and “close up and personal,” it becomes much harder to dismiss the reality of these experiences.


What are AMusBE’s Core Goals and Objectives

Incubating art and artist expressions, inspiring curiosity and value, bringing families together to learn, fostering alliance building, deploying volunteers and storytellers, providing extraordinary visitor experiences, serving as a community destination stop and a top tourist attraction, and brining the world to Saginaw, MI.


AMusBE’s Commitment to Saginaw

Ideally, the community will take pride in the space and deem it a necessary gathering space that fosters learning and relationship building for Saginaw’s Black community and allies. AMusBE’s warm, inviting, and beautiful building can easily transform into a community space for retreats and other meetings—without disturbing the integrity of exhibits or its collection of art and cultural and historical artifacts.


About the AMusBE Founder

Kevin Jones, a Saginaw native, is the Founder of AMusBE. For more than 25 years, Kevin has collected Black art and memorabilia, like what his Alabama-born grandmother collected in their home in Saginaw and Detroit, He credits his grandmother for showing him ways to appreciate these items and to use them to inspire deeper reflections around art expression, politics, family, and race. Kevin has curated exhibits at the Saginaw Art Museum, Saginaw Valley State University, and at galleries and community spaces in Philadelphia and New York City. He’s also produced inspiring community events. Kevin established Blactiquing™ to intentionally collect, preserve, and exhibit stories of Black experiences based on antique-store finds.


Contributing to AMusBE

Individuals from around the country have shown tremendous support for the idea of a “new Black Museum.” They have given financial contributions via a GoFundMe campaign and have made commitments to give in the future. Others have donated pieces of art and ephemera to help expand the stories shared at AMusBE. Some have given their time and skills to construct, build, and repair items. All donors and contributors will be recognized in the inaugural promotion materials. Those who make larger donations will be recognized for an extended period.

Ways to Give

For additional information, contact Kevin Jones at (989) 996-1293 or Visit to see photographs of the physical location and receive progress updates.

A Museum of Black Experiences, Inc - 501(c)(3) Governance

IRS Tax-Exempt Determination, Articles of Incorporation, Board of Directors, Advisory Board

On January 11, 2023, A Museum of Black Experiences, Inc. filed its Articles of Incorporation with the State of Michigan.  

Board of Directors: AMusBE will take a mindful approach of seating directors. This approach will help identify directors who serve the mission. Seating additional directors is an imperative. Current directors include Kevin Jones, Nyesha Clark-Young, and Kadeem Green. 

Advisory Board: AMusBE is invested in its local and regional community, and hopes to identify individuals with capacities to inform operations, programs, and other functionalities. 

Mission, Vision, Purpose, Goals, and Objectives

AMusBE will incubate, promote, and engage artists, creatives, colletors, and enthusiasts.

Blactiquing™ wishes to identify, build, and/or renovate a space for A Museum of Black Experiences (AMusBE); establish it as a 501(C)(3); and operate it as a cultural institution in Saginaw, MI, dedicated to collecting, preserving, and exhibiting art and artifacts that depict the experiences of Black people locally, regionally, nationally, and abroad. AMusBE will also serve as a physical and virtual space that incubates, promotes, and engages local artist communities, creatives, cultural collectors, and enthusiasts.

AMusBE Promise: Connect residents and visitors to local, regional, and global expressions of Black experiences.

Mission: To serve as a community institution for well-curated exhibitions and top-notch events that highlight Black cultural, historical, and artistic expressions and experiences.

Vision: To be recognized as an essential destination for engaging in fun and tough conversations about the role of race and Blackness in world cultures, while observing these interpretations through art and other creative expressions.

Purpose: Invite communities to well-curated exhibitions and events of Black cultural experiences, while highlighting their impacts in art, history, politics, religion, and geography, to facilitate learning, cultural connections, and the creation of community and alliances.


Art Incubation and Artist Exposure

There are many artists and cultural workers who do not get the exposure that they deserve. AMusBE will serve as an outlet for local and up-and-coming artists and cultural workers to display their art and talents related to Black cultural experiences and expressions.

Inspire Curiosity and Value

AMusBE must inspire people to be even more curious about, and find value in, culture, race, and ethnicity. Current discussions on Critical Race Theory and the removal of confederate statues have made conversations on race more public and more tedious, and “safe places” are needed where explorations of race can happen without sugar-coating realities of different Black experiences and narratives. This will lead to a positive impact on how patrons view the world and all its diverse people.

Learning Together

AMusBE will provide parents in Saginaw and the Great Lakes Bay Region with a recreational outlet for their children that offers engaging activities, as well as educational edification. There is a wealth of benefits when parents and children have opportunities for positive interactions.


Foster Alliance Building

AMusBE will be seen as a go-to site for learning, community building, alliance development, and cultural connections through the lens of Black cultural and heritage experiences. Throughout time, Black people have joined together, as well as with individuals from other racial and ethnic groups, to motivate powerful changes. Reminders of these lessons can motivate contemporary changes when groups with historical differences come together and unite on a cause.


Volunteers and Storytellers

AMusBE will provide opportunities for residents to lend their talents as volunteers in various functions, especially in helping visitors understand and appreciate AMusBE, its offerings, and Black experiences. In this sense, volunteers and storytellers will serve as ambassadors to AMusBE and what will become a treasured gem in Saginaw and the Great Lakes Bay Region.


Extraordinary Visitor Experience

AMusBE must provide residents and visitors of Saginaw and the Great Lakes Bay Region, of all racial and ethnic backgrounds, a compelling, visually pleasing, well-curated presentation of Black cultural experiences and their impacts in art, history, politics, religion, and geography that facilitates new ways of thinking even after they leave the AMusBE physical or virtual spaces.

 Community Destination Stop

AMusBE will provide school districts, senior nursing centers, and other community-based organizations in Saginaw and the Great Lakes Bay Region with a quality educational resource for field trips and other social outings. It will complement the cultural and social opportunities that are already available throughout Michigan.

Top Tourist Attraction

The State of Michigan is beautiful, and each corner of the state offers something to do—from cultural events, hunting, or visiting its waterways. It’s estimated that 1.185M people visited the State in 2020. While the Great Lakes Bay Region is a destination spot for many Black families who visit for family reunions and for those who come for business reasons, there are very few museums or cultural institutions or attractions that are dedicated to showcasing Black experiences, as there are in other parts of the State. To this end, AMusBE will serve as a regional anchor by adding another quality tourist attraction that will complement the existing cultural institutions in the area.


Bring the World to Saginaw

Saginaw has a lot to offer and remains a gem in the State of Michigan. AMusBE will bring the world to Saginaw through traveling exhibitions, special lecture series, and unique collections that spark interest and curiosity. AMusBE will be well-integrated in the local history and identity.

Saginaw, Michigan Deserves a Black Museum

It's simply an issue of equity and justice.

Simple answer: Saginaw represents a cultural desert for Black people, and it hasn't always been that way.

But also...

The confluence of COVID-19 and long-standing racial and economic injustices in the United States serve as a magnifying glass, highlighting on-going racial, political, and economic challenges and opportunities facing cities like Saginaw, MI. Local Black artists and patrons of the arts have discussed openly that there are not enough local, physical spaces that incubate, support, and promote up-and-coming artists. For example, a subset of Saginaw Black artists who have connected with Jones or Blactiquing™ in the last two years have shared their disappointment in being turned down from showcasing their works in local venues.

These and other artists thought they would have opportunities after the death of George Floyd in 2020 to exhibit locally, as cultural institutions affirmed their stance on diversity, equity, and inclusion, and created shows to feature the works of Black and brown artists. However, those opportunities often went to creators who were not connected to Saginaw or the region. Some local artists left the area to showcase their works in venues and cities that were more receptive and enthusiastic for their talent and creations. Unfortunately, these sorts of actions create a vacuum where local talent is made invisible, art and artists are seemingly unappreciated, and the works and contributions of artists from Saginaw’s past are forgotten or no longer revered. When this happens, it also damages a node in a necessary network of support that artists can provide to one another, such as sharing opportunities, providing technical assistance and advice, and identifying various personal, social, and professional resources.

Also troubling is that most requests and opportunities for displaying Black art or histories are still centered around Black History Month or in recognition of holidays, such as Juneteenth or Kwanzaa. When Black art or contributions to history are only recognized in certain months or on certain days, it pushes a message that these narratives are special and, for some, not to be treated as the norm or integral to American histories. The rippling effect is far reaching, and, at its extreme, manifests itself in book bans and other efforts that prevent schools from teaching histories or featuring artworks that might make some students feel uncomfortable.   

Spaces that exhibit diverse art, art forms, and histories also provide opportunities for learning, which often adds to what is being taught in more formal settings. By having these pieces “in your face” or “close up and personal,” it becomes much harder to dispute the existence of these experiences. Plus, these spaces compliment the formal learning environment by providing teachers and students with enriching, out-of-classroom experiences. Similarly, afterschool programs, led by local nonprofit organizations, can offer fieldtrips where young people, seniors, and others can look at these pieces and learn more about the narratives that they tell. This is also true for families, by offering an additional place for family-time, where families can explore and learn together, and appreciate and wrestle with what is being shared. 

It is important that this space is located in Saginaw. Otherwise, families, schools, and nonprofits would likely travel, if they had the resources, to one of these distant locations within Michigan to get a close-to-similar experience: Detroit’s Motown Historical Museum, Detroit’s Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, the Grand Rapids’ African American Museum and Archives, or the African American Cultural & Historical Museum of Washtenaw County near Ann Arbor, MI. 

Collectively, the lack of spaces and opportunities in Saginaw, MI for Black-informed exhibitions of art and history limit the economic, educational, and social opportunities for artists, patrons of the arts, families, residents, schools, nonprofits organizations, and visitors of Saginaw who seek additional ways to connect, create, and learn. A space that incubates Black art, artforms, histories, and creatives would facilitate greater exposure to art and artists, inspire curiosity and value, and provide opportunities where people can learn together. Through its relevant programming, the space could foster alliance building across social identities of race, gender identity, and sexual orientation. A state-of-the-art, cultural space would support volunteer opportunities and provide an exemplary visitor experience. It would also serve as a community destination stop, a top tourist attraction to the region, and would bring the world to Saginaw, MI.

Commitment to the Great Lakes Bay Region

The Blactiquing experience in Michigan.

In 2020, Kevin Jones returned to Saginaw, MI to help care for his dad who suffered a massive, paralyzing stroke. During this time of introspection, and while searching for a distraction, he coined the term “Blactiquing™” to reflect his passions for collecting, preserving, and sharing stories about Black people and their involvement in world histories. Blactiquing™ travels to antique shops to acquire vintage and antique items with the purpose of displaying them at galleries and in museum-style exhibits, videos, and other artistic renderings for the public’s consumption.

Today, the Blactiquing™ archive includes approximately 6,000 treasures. Some of these treasures were created to celebrate Black people and their achievements. Other items grotesquely exaggerate Black physical features or made to humiliate the Black race. When taken into context, these items represent important time periods in America’s history, including The Middle Passage, pre-Emancipation, Reconstruction, the Harlem Renaissance, Jim Crow, the Civil Rights Movement, the 1980s public health drug/sexual health crises, and Hip Hop. The collection includes Black dolls, salt and pepper shakers, race-themed advertisements, wood carved pieces, newspaper clippings, protest signs and posters, Black religious artifacts, postcards, photographs, original art, films, music, sports trading cards, vintage toys, board games, quilts, and other textiles.

Jones introduced Saginaw, MI to Blactiquing™ in July 2021, when he launched a successful pop-up, gallery-style exhibit and displayed close to 2,500 pieces from his collection over a three-month period. Collectively, the pieces wove together highlights in American history to showcase the roles of race and Black people within those moments. More than 300 people of various races/ethnicities viewed the exhibit, including local residents, art enthusiast, and antique collectors. Some traveled as far away as Detroit, Chicago, Cleveland, Philadelphia, New York City, Washington, DC, Seattle, and Phoenix.

In October 2021, Jones was invited to exhibit a smaller portion of the Blactiquing™ collection at the Saginaw Art Museum for educational purposes. There, he led discussions with more than 125 medical residents on implicit bias and the roots of such biases. The partnership with Central Michigan University Medical Education Partners and Blactiquing™ put Black memorabilia directly in the face of residents in order to facilitate introspection and dialogue. These types of opportunities are important and necessary for promoting health equity, especially during health-related pandemics (e.g., COVID-19) and for groups that carry a higher burden of the disease whether from illnesses or deaths. By June 2022, medical care providers in the State of Michigan will be required to regularly complete implicit bias trainings.

In February 2022, Blactiquing™ partnered with the Saginaw Art Museum to launch Blactiquing™ Presents: The Black Hand Side, an 8-week, interactive art and history installation. This show highlights the strengths of a museum-style exhibit, and recognized art, history, and the interconnectedness between the expressions. As the show’s curator, he saw this as an opportunity to invite 8 Black artists with close ties to Saginaw, MI to include their artworks in the show. Blactiquing™ Presents: The Black Hand Side has received rave reviews, with a number of first-time visitors to museums who are learning history and appreciating art under the guise of a contemporary, art experience.

In September 2022, Blactiquing™ partnered with Saginaw Valley State University and Dow to develop a community curated exhibit, Reflecting Black, to coincide with SVSU's football game against Bowie State University, a Historically Black College/University located in Maryland. The "Saginaw Valley Classic" promised and delivered an HBCU experience with a college step show, a band performance by Bowie State University, video lectures on the importance of Black schools to Black histories, the football game, and the community curated exhibit. The exhibit shared the experiences of earlier Black settlers in the Great Lakes Bay Region, including graduates of HBCUs and those who participated in Black fraternities and sororities, and their contributions to making the region what it is today.  

Jones describes himself a “curator of artifacts and art, people and experiences.” For more than 25 years, he has curated events that connect people and art for networking and social awareness opportunities. Most recently, he's produced and curated a Juneteenth Sing-along to  the movie Wiz during the Old Town Saginaw Lawn Chair Film Festival, a Black Reverence Chair and Affirmation experience during Saginaw's 54th annual African Cultural Festival, and during the premiere for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever for 218 local residents who received free tickets for the opening night. 

Personal Reflections and Reactions

What have people said about the Blactiquing™experience and collection?

"Profound. This is the only word I can muster after I had the privilege of experiencing The Blactiquing Space: Opening Weekend today… Because I’m honestly still digesting it. It will probably be a topic of conversation for myself and my family over the next few weeks. I had uncomfortable conversations… I got to hold some beautiful dolls… they give off an unexplainable energy… I learned. If you live in the Great Lakes Bay Region you need to see this beautifully curated experience. Bring yourself down to see it…. Bring your families down to see it… have the uncomfortable conversations hold these items. You’ll be better for it. Thank you Kevin Jones for bringing this to Saginaw. Thank you for teaching me." Autumn R. - Michigan

"One of my colleagues has recently opened up an exhibit in Saginaw, Michigan to display his collection of Black memorabilia and antiques.  Articles here and here, and flyer below. It reminded of the Antiques Roadshow which I enjoyed experiencing when it was here in St. Louis a few years ago. It was so fun seeing what happens behind the scenes! Kevin’s story is very unique and timely that I thought I’d pass it on in case it was something you or an affiliate PBS were interested in featuring.  Happy to make a connection if so." Julie R. - Missouri 

"My mom and I had to make the trek to see Blactiquing by Kevin Jones. I have to admit that I didn't know what to expect and had a bit of anxiety about viewing the exhibit. I didn't know how I'd react physically, emotionally, and spiritually to the items that he's collected. But, I can tell you that I felt safe as soon as I entered the space. Kevin has thoughtfully laid out the educational and spiritual experience. Immediately, I was moved when I saw Grandmother's Room. It reminded me so much of all of my grandmothers' bedrooms. (I was blessed to know 5 of my grandmothers, including 3 greats). I was reminded that I always felt safe in each of their homes, where I could be, relax, and take the best naps ever. I was also reminded of how resilient my grandmothers were; they survived some really hard times, times I can't imagine. And, they did so...for my mother and me. So, I carried them and their truth with me throughout the exhibit as I saw how they were depicted. The truth is that my grandmothers represent strength and power, and therefore my mother and I are strong and powerful." Samantha S. - Indiana

"Kevin Jones, Owner of Blactiquing, brought the city out last night. One man bought over 200 tickets for Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and gave them away for free. Why? Because he wanted to bring people together to remember the moment. The excitement for Black Panther was felt in the theatre. People were dressed in “Wakanda White”, African attire and Black Panther clothing. One guy had on the full Black Panther costume.  A man dressed in full African regalia saw me and said “Greetings Young King.” I can’t lie, it made me feel good and according to my Mother I started walking different. But that’s what Kevin wanted. Somehow, he knew bringing people together for this movie would create a cultural experience. What Kevin Jones did was more than buy out a theatre. He created an experience for this dope movie...Thank you Kevin Jones for creating this experience for Saginaw. I went to this premiere thinking I was just going to see the movie but I left feeling like I was the movie." Julian M., The Swag Magazine - Michigan

The Blactiquing™ collection contains more than 6,000 pieces of Black art and memorabilia acquired from antique shops throughout the world that help shed light on Black experiences

By the late 1890s, watermelons meant profits for Black people

Black artists continue a legacy of telling important cultural stories

Black figurines reflect many shades but do they affirm identity 

A piece from Kobe, Japan with a rich legacy tied to Black race

Blackface and minstrel shows were popular, including in Michigan

Parents, like mine, move from the South to the North to work

Anna Belle Sealey created 12 quilts featured in The Black Hand Side

Early exhibit, Black LGBT Archivists Society of Philadelphia, 2007

More than 350 Black postcards from the late 1880s to 1940s

Mammy images were popular and used on many household items

Black publications are a source of pride and information sharing

A beautiful enslaved African woman serving watermelon to Washington

AMusBE in the News

From the 2022 exhibit, Blactiquing™ Presents: The Black Hand Side, at the Saginaw Art Museum in Saginaw, MI

In addition to displaying art and curating exhibits, Blactiquing™ creates events around cultural moments

Black Panther Movie Night (2022)

Gave away 218 free tickets to watch the premiere of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, as movie-goers adorned Wakanda white attire

The Juneteenth Sing-A-Long (2022)

Old Town Saginaw's Lawn Chair Film Festival that occurred during the Juneteenth festivities, with a cast of other family-oriented activities

Black Reverence Chair (2022)

Designed by Kevin Jones, allowing those who sit to receive words of affirmation from passer-bys at the Saginaw African Cultural Festival

Blactiquing™ in the Press