The Houston Museum of African American Culture (HMAAC) Presents: Bert Long Jr. Gallery Spring Survey Exhibition.

The Houston Museum of African American Culture (HMAAC) Presents: Bert Long Jr. Gallery Spring Survey Exhibition.

The Houston Museum of African American Culture (HMAAC) is proud to present the Bert Long Jr. Gallery Spring Survey Exhibition, curated by HMAAC’s Chief Curator, Christopher Blay. The exhibition opens Friday, April 28, with a reception from 6- 8PM, and will be on view for closing festivities on Juneteenth and Father’s day weekend, June 17, 2023. Bert Long Jr. Gallery Spring Survey Exhibition is an exhibition that will feature collage, Installation, painting, sculpture, and video from eight artists; Kaima Marie Akarue, Saran Alderson, Crystal Coulter, Mark Francis, Preston Gaines, Lamonte French, Catherine Martinez, and David Stunts. These Houston-based artists come to their studio practices in a variety of ways, ranging from Alderson, who is currently pursuing an MFA in Studio art at the University of Houston, and worked for several years in New York, New Jersey, and Los Angeles as a fashion designer, to Gaines, who has a degree in Architecture, and is also a visual artist and industrial designer.

About the artists:

Kaima Marie Akarue is the daughter of a Nigerian immigrant and a white mother, which allowed her to exist simultaneously within two vastly different cultures. That genetic melange, coupled with the rich diversity of her hometown of Houston, Texas is very apparent in her art practice as she creates work that does not cross pollinate. Through fragmented realities, Kaima uses collage and paintings to discover the social implications of individual and collective identity.

Saran Alderson is a visual artist who holds undergraduate degrees in Fashion Design from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York and Nottingham Trent University in the UK. She practiced as a fashion designer for multiple womenswear companies in NYC, NJ, and Los Angeles. She is currently pursuing a MFA in Studio Art from the University of Houston with a concentration in Painting.

Crystal Coulter is a Houston, Texas based visual artist who specializes in painting. Though oil paint is her medium of choice, she also uses watercolor, ink, coffee, and graphite to create many of her works. Since her self-titled solo exhibition at the age of20 in 2018, her work has delved into the topics of self-love, femininity, mental health, and black representation as a means for herself and others like her to feel seen and represented in her work.

As a multidisciplinary artist, Mark Francis focuses primarily on the perception and intimate knowledge of oneself and others beyond superficiality. He grew up in the Alief area of Houston and seeks to show the dynamism of his community in order to create a more holistic view of his subjects. Francis is an art educator and an MFA candidate at the University of Houston’s Kathrine G. McGovern College of the Arts.

Preston A. Gaines (b. 1990), is a Houston-based architect, artist, and industrial designer that manifests the hidden properties of nature through the use of technology, with the intention of learning and re-establishing our connection to the Earth. His immersive botanical installations and furniture designs raise fundamental questions about our collective experience and imagine radical possibilities for the future of art and design. Any built environment can have a physiological effect on the viewer inhabiting the space—Gaines’ intent is to go beyond that to a psychological level.

LaMontè French is a self-taught abstract-expressionist artist. The griot of his work is to give a compelling story of history's past and build a bridge to correlate with present day times' relevance."LaMontè" being his birth given middle name and "French" standing as the torch to pay-homage to his Creole grandmother. French compares his approach to his work as to the approach of his favorite philosophers, Erickson, Piaget and Nietzsche. He then entangles the genius and freedom of creative minds such as Versace, Lagerfeld, Saint Laurent, Ralph Lauren and Virgil Ibloh. Their drive and passion, through fashion inspires him. He intertwines these two worlds in comparison to a Jazz tale being told by Miles Davis and John Coltrane.

Catherine Martinez a multimedia artist whose work transcends medium. “As a Black American sculptor, I explore the many facets of African diasporic experience. I draw inspiration from generations of familial knowledge. Steel, in particular, connects me with my ancestry, both my great great grandfather, a blacksmith who was enslaved, and the Yoruba worship of Ogun, the god of iron and war. From crochet to clothing design to leather and metal work I use materials to explore femininity, connect with community and share the beauty of the world from my perspective. Materiality is a cornerstone of my practice. I create mystery, and like the Griot, I tell stories.

David Stunts. My tag is David Stunts, I started off early doing graphic design and slowly gravitated towards using different visual methods and mediums to capture people’s attention. Photography came first, shooting because I couldn’t find stock images to create things, more of a means to get out and take pictures, all this began maybe 18 years ago. Naturally, I’ve always been seriously into creating things being a very visual and inquisitive person. I started with still images which led me to jump into video, always learning and always trying to elevate my level of skill and push the line.

This exhibition is free and open to the public during our museum hours, 11AM - 6PM,
Thursday - Saturday.

Bert Long Jr. Gallery Spring Survey Exhibition is generously sponsored by the Houston Endowment, HEB, Stardust Fund, Jones Walker LLP, and the Board of Directors of the Houston Museum of African American Culture.


Until his death on February 1, 2013, Bert Long, Jr. was one of the brightest lights in the Houston arts community. In recognition of his support of local artists, HMAAC, through then-Gallery Manager Dominic Clay, dedicated a gallery in Bert’s name in March of 2015. The Bert Long Jr. Spring Survey Exhibition invites selected artists for a group show. One artist from each spring exhibition will be awarded a solo exhibition in the fall. By creating this platform, HMAAC gives our community the opportunity to experience the best and most compelling of Houston’s visual artists.


The mission of HMAAC is to collect, conserve, explore, interpret, and exhibit the material and intellectual culture of Africans and African Americans in Houston, the state of Texas, and across the African Diaspora, creating a legacy for current and future generations. In fulfilling its mission, HMAAC invites and engages visitors of every race and background, and inspires children of all ages through discovery-driven learning. HMAAC is a museum for all people. While our focus is the African American experience, our story informs and includes not only people of color, but people of all colors. As a result, the stories and exhibitions that HMAAC brings to Texas are about the indisputable fact that while our experience is a unique one, it has been impacted by and has impacted numerous races, genders and ethnicities. The museum continues to be a space where we can have a multicultural conversation on race geared toward a common future.

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