What are you looking for?

Home News 2016 Clark Atlanta University Art Galleries Presents ‘This Postman Collects: The Rapture of Kerry and Betty C. Davis’

Clark Atlanta University Art Galleries Presents ‘This Postman Collects: The Rapture of Kerry and Betty C. Davis’

Posted on Friday, January 15, 2016


Contact: Donna L. Brock

ATLANTA (Jan. 15, 2016)--Clark Atlanta University Art Galleries presents This Postman Collects: The Rapture of Kerry and C. Betty Davis (Jan. 17 - July 1, 2016). The  historic exhibition space is located on the Second Floor of Trevor Arnett Hall on the University’s main campus, 223 James P. Brawley Drive, S.W., in Atlanta. The Galleries’ hours  are  Tuesday through Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m, and by appointment.

This Postman Collects features 81 works from the private collection of African- American fine art acquired by the couple over three decades. What began as a modest desire to decorate their suburban, Greater Atlanta home, evolved into a dynamic assemblage of over 300 works by distinguished and emerging artists, including: Elizabeth Catlett, Charles White, Jacob Lawrence, Gwendolyn Knight, Claude Clark, Erick Mack, Kojo Griffin, Michel Obin, and Stefanie Jackson. As their collection grew, the Davises were increasingly drawn into diverse creative processes—the artists’ rapture that would inevitably become their own.

Former CAU Art Galleries Director Tina Dunkley, who retired in 2015, curated the exhibition. She deemed this a natural choice for her final show at the University because it affirms the feasibility of collecting art beyond upper socioeconomic echelons and underscores  the beauty and importance of supporting African-American artists.

The Davises’ odyssey harkens back to Dorothy and Herbert Vogel, a postal worker and librarian who amassed a noteworthy collection of minimalist and conceptual art. Although African-American private fine art collections are scant, holdings have expanded since the 1960s, as increased opportunities, and with them increased disposable income, have given rise to African-American middle and upper classes. These private collections, secondary only to the major holdings of several Historically Black Colleges and Universities, in large part, attributable to the conspicuous absence or awkward presentations of the genre in mainstream museums. Notable among these are the collections of Larry and Brenda Thompson, David C. Bernard and Shirley Kinsey, David Driskell, Walter O. Evans, Paul R. Jones, and Harmon and Harriet Kelly.

Dunkley says, “This Postman Collects demonstrates the plausibility of amassing a collection of fine art with limited resources predicated on the essential ingredients of curiosity, passion, and due diligence. The Davises collecting process offers a road map for young collectors that will ultimately benefit artists and their communities. The selected 81 works from  the Davises’ collection reveal their evolved sense of discernment for masterful techniques and successful, aesthetic resolutions across several genres. In pictorial concert, their collection conveys a formidable tone of commitment to an unsung artist community that too often languishes for patron support.”

Dunkley’s sentiment illuminates the Davises’ inspiration. “My passion as a collector began at an early age,” Kerry Davis says. “When I met Betty, she realized my passion and  joined me as we built our collection. As a native of Atlanta—positively impacted by the CAU Art Galleries collection, it would seem that we have come full circle. The museum that truly inspired me is now the venue for our exhibition. What a natural fit.  Anyone can collect.  And, it is very simple to pursue. It starts with only the investment of time, patience and some level of interest.   My story as a collector should demonstrate that anyone can collect—on some level.”

Related Programming:


  • Curator Tina Dunkley in Conversation with Kerry and C. Betty Davis, Wednesday, February 3, 2016, at 6:30 pm
  • Dramatic Work by  Artist-in-Residence  Gabrielle  Fulton,  Monday,  April  11,  2016,  at 6:30 pm

For more information on This Postman Collects or the CAU Art Galleries, call 404-880-6102   or visit www.cau.edu/art-galleries.

# # #

Category: Administration
Keywords: The Postman Collects, CAU Art Galleries