The Kimbell Art Museum and KERA present a State of the Arts Discussion


April 19, 2022

FORT WORTH, TX—On Friday, April 29, the Kimbell Art Museum and KERA’s Art&Seek will present "Lifting Every Voice: Making Space for History—and Healing—in Fort Worth," a live State of the Arts discussion.

This free discussion will explore ambitious plans for three new museums or cultural spaces in Fort Worth: the National Juneteenth Museum, the Fort Worth African American Museum and Cultural Center and the Fred Rouse Center for Arts and Community Healing.

Ms. Opal Lee, board member and honorary chair of the National Juneteenth Museum; Dione Sims, founding executive director of the National Juneteenth Museum; Dr. John Barnett, Jr., co-chair of the steering committee for the new Fort Worth African American Museum and Cultural Center; and Adam W. McKinney, founding board member and co-secretary of the Fred Rouse Center for Arts and Community Healing, will join moderator Jerome Weeks, KERA’s senior arts reporter, in this discussion.

This free, one-hour event begins at 6 p.m. in the Renzo Piano Pavilion auditorium. Guests are invited to enjoy happy hour drinks and light bites in the Piano lobby before the event, until 7:30 p.m. For more information, visit

State of the Arts Fort Worth, produced by KERA’s Art&Seek and the Kimbell Art Museum, identifies important trends and issues affecting North Texas arts organizations. It brings artists, experts and arts leaders together for a thought-provoking, one-hour conversation. 

Known as the “Grandmother of Juneteenth,” Ms. Opal Lee stood by President Joe Biden’s side on June 17, 2021, as he signed the Juneteenth National Independence Day Act that established June 19, or “Juneteenth,” as a federal holiday.

Opal Lee was born in Marshall, Texas, in 1926 and moved to Fort Worth, Texas, in 1937. On June 19, 1939, at the age of 12, Lee’s home was destroyed by a white mob days after her family moved into a predominantly white neighborhood. Lee’s family was forced to flee, and no arrests were made, but neither she nor her family were deterred from making an impact on the community. In 2016, at the age 89, Lee began “Opal’s Walk 2 DC.” Originally planning to walk the 1,400 miles from Fort Worth to Washington, D.C., in hopes of gaining support from Congress to name Juneteenth a national holiday, Lee organized walks in several cities along the route to D.C. Each walk was 2 ½ miles, representing the 2 ½ years that it took for news of the Emancipation Proclamation to reach Galveston, Texas.

Ms. Lee currently serves on the boards of Unity Unlimited, Inc., and Transform 1012 N. Main Street and is a board member and honorary chair of the National Juneteenth Museum. She has received three honorary doctorates and was named the 2021 Texan of the Year by The Dallas Morning News, the 2021 Unsung Hero of the Pandemic by StoryTerrace, Fort Worth Inc.’s 2022 Person of the Year and, most recently, was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

As the founding executive director of the National Juneteenth Museum, Dione Sims works to highlight the message of freedom that Juneteenth represents. Sims produces the annual Juneteenth Fort Worth Celebration with her grandmother Ms. Opal Lee and believes in the power of Juneteenth to bring people together to talk about the real issues facing our country.

Sims is immediate past president of the Fort Worth Association of Federated Women’s Clubs (FWAFWC) and serves on several community advisory boards, including BRAVE/R Together, which champions equitable solutions for the community. As a member of Christian Outreach Center, Sims serves in the altar ministry, on the counseling team and as a youth minister. Sims is also the president and founder of Unity Unlimited, Inc., a nonprofit that focuses on providing opportunities to build collaboration and understanding through educational activities and training to enrich the lives of humanity.

Dr. John L. Barnett, Jr. began practicing pediatric dentistry in 1978 in New Orleans, Louisiana. During his time in New Orleans, Dr. Barnett was active in organized dentistry as a member of the American Dental Association, the National Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Dr. Barnett has served as president of the Pelican State Dental Association, president of the Louisiana Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and chairman of the Medicaid Task Force for the Louisiana Dental Association. For over twenty years, Dr. Barnett served as an associate professor at the LSU School of Dentistry.

After Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005, Dr. Barnett moved back to his childhood home of Fort Worth and opened Kids Stop Dental Care in 2007. Dr. Barnett’s love of art and music can be seen and heard throughout the colorful new dental facility as well as in his notable personal art collection. Dr. Barnett serves as co-chair of the steering committee for the new Fort Worth African American Museum and Cultural Center, which aims to preserve African American heritage and culture in the city of Fort Worth.

Adam W. McKinney is a dancer, choreographer and activist. McKinney holds a B.F.A. in Dance Performance from Butler University and an M.A. in Dance Studies with concentrations in race and trauma theories from New York University. Formerly a dancer with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, among other internationally renowned dance companies, McKinney is currently an associate professor of dance in the School for Classical & Contemporary Dance at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth. He, alongside his husband Daniel Banks, is the co-artistic director of DNAWORKS, an arts and service organization committed to healing through the arts and dialogue. McKinney serves as president of Tarrant County Coalition for Peace and Justice, a Fort Worth-based social justice organization, and as co-secretary and founding board member of Transform 1012 N. Main Street, the project to transform Fort Worth’s former KKK auditorium into The Fred Rouse Center for Arts and Community Healing.

Among his many awards are a Jerome Foundation Grant for Emerging Choreographers, a New York University President’s Service Award, a Surdna Foundation Teaching Artist Fellowship, a Mid-America Arts Alliance Interchange grant, TCU’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Award and Hotel Dryce / Art Tooth’s You Are Here grant. McKinney’s work has been presented around the world, most recently at Bridge Projects in Los Angeles and Project Row Houses in Houston.



For more information, contact [email protected].