‘Til death do us art: Martin Museum exhibit to display married alumni’s personal collection

The Martin Museum will be opening a new exibite tittled “Narrative as Reality: Constructing an Identity,” which opens May 6 and will remain until November 23. Olivia Havre | Photographer

By Olivia Turner | Staff Writer

This May, the Martin Museum will welcome back one of its beloved alumni with an art exhibition to go along with her. Jessica Beachum graduated from Baylor University in 2011 with her degree in Sociology. Together, Jessica and her husband, Arizona Cardinals offensive tackle Kelvin Beachum, said they have fostered an art collection that has grown throughout their marriage and been shared with public through exhibitions.

In the exhibition titled “Narrative as Reality: Constructing an Identity,” which opens May 6 and will remain until November 23, Jessica said the art features mediums varying from oil on canvas, to stained glass and even nails on wood. Many of these works were created by black artists such as Dominic Chambers, Abi Salami, Derrick Adams, Nelson Makamo and Mario Moore, who all portray themes of personal experience, discovery and self-expression in their work.

“Just being able to see how these different people can come from all these different countries, but still be able to share a common experience, a common expression of oneself; they share a similar story and convey that for the world to see,” Jessica said.

Her interest in art began when she was a growing up in Dallas, Jessica said. She said she can recall her grandmother taking her to art museums during the summer, such as the one on Southern Methodist University campus in order to expose her to art. Ironically enough, Jessica went on to have an exhibition in 2022 at the SMU campus with her husband, Kelvin, who attended and graduated from the SMU. However, the couple’s collecting began even sooner than their exhibition at SMU.

While on their honeymoon cruise in 2013, Jessica said she remembered being drawn to a painting of an endangered tiger. This piece became the first of many in the Beachum collection. Once the couple moved closer to New York City around 2016 and 2017, Jessica said they had access to more galleries, which allowed them to form an even bigger collection during the COVID-19 pandemic. When not on display, she said the art remains in their home.

“Our children see it everyday,” Jessica said.

This exhibition is the largest project they’ve done in a while, Kelvin said. He said he hopes the art can serve as a conversation starter for those who attend the exhibition, focusing on what messages the pieces are trying to send.

Between playing for the Cardinals and various advocacy work he commits to, Kelvin said his life is jam-packed with activity, but that it doesn’t stop him from pursing his interest in art. He said the same could go for Baylor students.

“If you want to make the time to accomplish whatever that is that you want to do, take the time to do so,” Kelvin said.

In comparison to their exhibition at SMU, Kelvin said the creative liberties and space granted to them by the Martin Museum have been a warm welcome and will allow their exhibition to become more visible to the public. He said he is thankful for the use of the space because of its significance to the campus and the close proximity to his hometown of Mexia.

“Baylor really allowed us to have creative control on a much larger scale to be able to highlight some of these artists,” Kelvin said.

Some of the pieces Kelvin said he is most excited about sharing in the exhibition are works by abstract artists Vaughn Spann, Tomashi Jackson and Ryan Cosbert, as well as painter Dominic Chambers. Jessica said it’s hard to decide, but that one of her favorites is an artwork made of nails on wood.

Using their collection, Jessica said she hopes to reach a broad audience of art lovers, especially the next generation of artists. Though, she hopes the audience is not confined only to artists and those who have extensive knowledge about art, as art is not only for one type of person, she said.

“If you have a free moment, come see the show. Come see the art. Everyone is welcome,” Jessica said.