HENDERSON, Ky. (WEHT) – According to a press release, the Evansville African American Museum will create a collaborative exhibition celebrating the Kessler family. The Museum will conduct this exhibition in partnership with Adath B’Nai Israel Temple.

According to the Museum, Sam and Bettye Kessler owned Canal Street Department store in Baptisttown, the heart of Evansville’s Black community. The store was the only white-owned business in operation during the Jim Crow era to have Black employees and offer Black families and individuals layaway service for clothing and accessories. Their daughter, Sonnie Cibull, continued her parents’ work. Since Sonnie is moving to be with family, this exhibition will focus on her and her family’s contributions to the Black community in Evansville.

Officials say in addition to the exhibition, the Museum will host a weekend-long Black Art Workshop at the museum’s Porter House. Artists involved in the Black Art Exhibition Series will gather in the summer of 2024 to teach art theory, aesthetics, studio fine art, and art entrepreneurship.

This workshop will be free, and all are welcome to participate as attendees. However, Museum officials say there will be a private pre-registration period where priority will be given to Black artists and students.