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Something All of Our Own: The Grant Hill Collection of African American Art


The New Orleans Museum of Art presents one of the finest collections of contemporary African-American art in its latest major exhibition, Something All of Our Own: The Grant Hill Collection of African American Art.

Basketball superstar Grant Hill and his wife, recording artist Tamia, are sponsoring this touring exhibition featuring Grant's extensive and unique collection of African American art. Grant has cultivated what is considered to be one of the foremost personal collections of African American artwork to include more than 45 works of art by renowned artists. The exhibition is organized by Grant Hill. (left: Romare Bearden, Serenade, gouache and casein on kraft paper, 30 x 47 inches, 1941.)

New Orleans Museum of Art is also mounting two African American exhibitions to run concurrently with the Grant Hill exhibition: Power on Paper: African-American Works on Paper from the New Orleans Museum of Art and the Cox Communications/NOMA 9th Annual Black History Art Contest Exhibition.

Recognizing the power of the modern athlete to positively influence others, Grant offered to exhibit his impressive collection in leading museums and venues across the US. The collection includes major works by outstanding artists including Romare Bearden, Elizabeth Catlett, Hughie Lee Smith, John Biggers, John Coleman and Arthello Beck. This is the first time that a major American athlete has exhibited nationally a personal collection of art of this scale and magnitude. (right: Romare Bearden, American (1914-1988), Morning Charlotte, 1985, collage on masonite, 16 7/8 x 19 inches, Grant Hill Collection of African American Art)

Grant intends for Something All Our Own to expose school-age children of all races, cultures, and backgrounds to art and artists and, in so doing, provide them an incentive to consider this form of personal expression as a vocation or avocation in life. Grant views art as an enlightening influence in society and enthusiastically believes in making his art available to the public for its education and enjoyment. He regards this exhibition tour as a unique vehicle to educate the general public and inspire our youth. "There are so many challenges facing today's youth," Hill says. "I believe that an appreciation of art can help provide the forum to help tackle some of these challenges."

Growing up around an extensive collection of third-world art collected by his parents Calvin and Janet Hill, and studying the History of African American Art at Duke University, Grant has a deep appreciation for art.

Inspired by his parents, Grant Hill began collecting art in 1995. Hill greatly admires internationally renowned sculptor and printmaker Elizabeth Catlett and enjoys collecting her works; 11 of her sculptures created between the late-1970s and 2001 are included in the exhibition as well as a group of her prints from the 1990s. Hill also has collected work spanning the entire career of the preeminent artist Romare Bearden. More than a dozen examples of Bearden's collages, paintings and mixed-media are included in the exhibition. (left: John Thomas Biggers, American (b. 1924), The Upper Room, 1984, lithograph on paper, 36 x 22 inches, Grant Hill Collection of African American Art)

"This is the first time that a major American athlete has exhibited nationally a personal collection of art of this magnitude," says Dr. Alvia Wardlaw, guest curator of the exhibition and Director of the University Museum at Texas Southern University in Houston. "Developed by Grant over the past eight years, the exhibition exemplifies Grant's desire to encourage young people to accomplish major goals in their lives." (right: Elizabeth Catlett, Standing Mother and Child, bronze, 1978.)

A 20-minute video including conversations between the Hill family and artist Elizabeth Catlett, as well as commentary from the exhibition curator, Dr. Alvia Wardlaw will accompany the exhibition. Recognized as one of the leading African American art historians, Wardlaw is associate professor of Art History at Texas Southern University and is the director/curator of the University Museum at Texas Southern University.

The illustrated, coffee table-sized catalogue features the artwork in the exhibition along with a dialogue about art between Grant and his father, Calvin, and is available at the Museum Shop. Published by Duke University Press the book contains essays by several distinguished individuals including an introduction by Professor John Hope Franklin of Duke University; Dr. Elizabeth Alexander, adjunct associate professor in African American Studies at Yale University; Dr. Beverly Guy-Sheftall, director, Women's Research and Resource Center at Spelman College; William C. Rhoden, sports columnist for The New York Times; and Duke Basketball Coach Mike Krzyzewski.


About Grant and Tamia Hill

Grant Hill was born with a competitive spirit that has sent him to the top ranks of basketball and into the upper echelon of humanity. The number one pick in the 1994 NBA Draft by the Detroit Pistons, Grant quickly became one of the most exciting and well-liked players in the league. After six highly productive all star years with the Pistons, Grant signed with the Orlando Magic in 2000. He hoped to bring his talent and intense play to Orlando but suffered an injury to his left ankle when he arrived and has been struggling with it ever since. Despite undergoing four ankle surgeries and years of extensive and demanding rehabilitation, Grant remains one of the most talented, successful, and revered players in the NBA.

Off the court, he is humble and a true believer in community investment. Hill was recognized for his tremendous community service when he was awarded the 2001 Richard and Helen DeVos Community Enrichment Award. He and his wife, Tamia, have donated millions of dollars to dozens of organizations including $1 million to Duke University and $50,000 to benefit Child Abuse Prevention. In 2000, Hill was named among 99 professional athletes as one of the "Good Guys in Sports" by The Sporting News, which recognizes athletes for outstanding character and exemplary civic responsibility. Like his father, Calvin, who was a running back with three NFL teams from 1969-74 and 1976-81, Hill developed a love for art, and is dedicated to sharing his personal collection with the community. (right: Grant and Tamia Hill)

Singer, songwriter and actress Tamia Hill has emerged over the past five years as one of America's top performers. After releasing two popular R&B albums, Tamia in 1998 and A Nu Day (which reached gold status) in 2000, and being nominated for four Grammy Awards, the Canadian native has affirmed her role as one of the industry's leading female vocalists. As her official debut in film, she took on the role of a featured vocalist at a dinner theater in the action thriller Speed II, Cruise Control. During her short time in the spotlight as a singer and actress, Tamia has not only achieved success, but has gained the respect and admiration of her peers as well.


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