Kelvin W. Henderson, Romare Bearden, and August Wilson

By Michael Downing

I was in Rockville, Md. Over the weekend, attending the Rockville Fine Arts Festival, when I bumped into Mr. Kelvin W. Henderson, who was hosting a booth, filled with his own intriguing paintings.  His art immediately reminded me of Romare Bearden, whom August Wilson identified as a key influence.

Bearden 2
Bearden’s Jazz Village
Henderson 3
Henderson’s Jazz Scene (2005)

The musical references are obvious, as are references to black life, and the work of both artists is visually interesting and colorful.

Of course, Bearden’s art is more consciously and specifically collage, whereas Henderson’s art has smoother lines, typical in paintings.

I asked Mr. Henderson whether he had heard of Romare Bearden.  He said he had and that other people had made the comparison.  I also asked him if he had heard of August Wilson and he said he yes.

Among the collectors of Mr. Henderson’s work include Earl Graves of Black Enterprise magazine; Eva Clayton, former Congresswoman; Ed Gordon of BET News; Pepa of Salt ‘n Pepa; Julian Peterson of the Detroit Lions; Terri Cummings, former NBA basketball star; and Tavis Smiley, American talk show host.

Mr. Henderson and I talked for about 20 minutes and I bought two prints.  One appears above and the other is this:

Henderson 1
Henderson’s Jazz Scene (2001)

I plan to hang them together, as complimentary pieces, in my home.  I think that, taken together, they show the development of the artist over the course of several years.  In the 2001 piece, he is experimenting with shapes and colors.  By the time 2005 rolls around, he is adding texture to make the piece even more visually interesting.

For more information on Mr. Kelvin Henderson:


Telephone: 240-244-5070
Cell: 301-275-6219


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