DALLAS (KDAF) — The African American Museum of Dallas has one of the largest African American folk art collections in the country.

But did you know that the museum sits right here on the property of the State Fair of Texas?

Gerald Leavell is the present curator of the museum, a job that he says he has a lot of passion for.

“I love art. I’ve always loved art. I love making art. I love viewing and experiencing art. So to be able to actually select works of art that are going to engage audiences is a wonderful thing,” Leavell said.

Fun on the Run host Yolonda visited with Leavell for a full tour of the museum.

The exhibit “Fire! The resurrection of Mr. Imagination” features 80 works by the late artist Mr. imagination, born as Gregory Warmack. He lived from 1948-2012.

“There’s a lot of fire in here. Gerald’s got a fire here. You know, a lot of the works in here have been transformed by fires. Mr. Imagination experienced a fire in his studio on two different occasions to different studios. So a lot of the artwork in here you know has like I said been transformed by the fire,” Leavell said.

Several fires resulted in the loss of his studio, pets, some of his artwork, memorabilia and art collection, however, it allowed him to expand his own imaginary worldview. Several pieces were salvaged from the fire and put on display in the museum.

“Mr. Imagination was truly influenced and inspired by a lot of different things, a lot of different cultures from around the world. You’re going to notice that there are a lot of works that are going to make you think of sculptures, you know, African sculptures and masks. Family is a theme of some of his work as well as religion. We have a lot of there’s going to be a lot of
entry points into discussing religion, Christianity, Buddhism,” Leavell said.

The exhibition is a tribute to his creative spirit as well as an investigation of his artistic journey.

Click here to learn more about the exhibit.