Bring These Exhibits to Your Hometown

NEB Productions museum exhibitions are available for rent, simply fill out the request exhibition form and email it back, the curator will be in touch to take you through the next steps.

The curator has prepared a one hour lecture presentation for each exhibition. All subject matter is appropriate for a public, multi-use venue.  All artwork is original and is the sole creation of the artist. Artwork will be displayed in a professional manner.

About The Exhibits

Matriarchs of washington park

Exhibition Title: Matriarchs of Washington Park: The African American women who persevered through racism in segregated Mesa.

Artist: Bruce Nelson, Artist–Carla Keaton, Artist –Todd Bailey & Artist –Brie Bartz.

Mixed Media: Acrylic/Oil Paintings, Uniforms, and a Mini-Documentary. Hats, purses, gloves, jewelry, (30) portrait paintings, (5) mannequins,

 Exhibition Overview  

Matriarchs of Washington Park celebrates the African American women who demonstrated courageous efforts of community activism, artistry, and kinship in the face of racism and misogyny. These matriarchs of Washington Park will be honored through a collection of portraits that lead to a companion art photography book and a documentary about the process.

A preview of the exhibition opened May 2022 for Mother’s Day at the historic Alston House in Washington Park Community. The first official opening was June 2022 at the Mesa Public Library celebrating Juneteenth.  


The exhibition centers on women that were born in the 1920’s and earlier, simply because they were an exceptional group of black women who endured and remembered firsthand the days of the American Reconstruction Era “Jim Crow Laws,” Spanish American War, WWI, “The Great Depression,” WWII, Redlining, the 1960’s modern Civil Rights Movement, and much more.  –An unprecedented event in American History.   


A part of the conversations he desires to spark, Nelson ties objects and lived experiences to develop the personal narratives of the community reflects. The five mannequins will be adorned with the type of clothing  of the work these women attained during that they are  (1) The Cotton Picker (2) The domestic Worker (3) The midwife/Nurse, (4) School Teacher, and of course (5) the Church Lady.

Exhibition Title: Hallelujah Hats!

Artist: Bruce Nelson

Mixed Media: Historic photos, vintage: Jewelry, purses, gloves, shoes, fur collared wool coats, photographs and film.

Hallelujah Hats! Is a celebration of the churches of Washington Park, the once thriving segregated African American community in Mesa, Arizona, through the jewelry, hats, and fashion worn by women church members. The exhibition focuses around five churches: North Center Street Baptist, Bethel African Methodist Episcopal, Voice of Pentecost, Holy Temple Church of Christ, and Mt. Baptist Calvary Church.

The exhibit includes vintage hats (63), purses (32), gloves (50 pairs), costume jewelry (70 pieces), shoes (20 pairs), dresses (15), and (2) fur-lined, collared wool coats typically worn by the church members. It also includes historic photographs of ceremonial baptisms in the local canal (30 images).

Also, with the Hallelujah Hats!   Exhibition you may screen the award winning documentary short film Gospel Radio Man as a special screening and part of the exhibition.

Gospel Radio Man Synopsis

Ninety two year old Larkins is the oldest living active African American DJ announcer in the USA, and still going strong. For forty-five years Bro Fred Larkins Slow Train Radio Gospel Musical Review has made an indelible impact on the Black community in the Greater Phoenix Area, Los Angeles, and in the state of Arizona. His radio gospel music review show has provided inspiration during difficult times; as well as a format for African American business owners to advertise, network and inform the community about current political and social events.

Veterans of washington / Escobedo Community Exhibition

Exhibition Title: Veterans of Washington-Escobedo Community

Artist: Bruce Nelson

Mixed Media: Still photography, vintage military uniforms, WWII medals, and film.

The exhibition celebrates the accomplishments of veterans of color from Mesa’s once segregated community known as Washington Park.  There are 32 framed posters in the exhibit. The exhibit includes African American, Latino and Native American veterans from the Civil War, WWI and WWII. The veteran’s exhibit features over 40 veterans from three American wars. Two from the American Civil War; both who were former slaves Alexander McPherson and George Davis. Three from WWI John Briscoe, Dr. Lucius Alston and  Native American veteran Matthew B. Juan who was the first casualty of WWI from Arizona and over 30 from WWII. Medal of honor recipient Mendoza and a host of unknown decorated veterans of color from Washington-Escobedo Community.  There are four military uniforms included in the exhibition 2 Buffalo Soldiers, 1 WWI and 1 WWII ready for display.

The WWII Army recruiting film “The Negro Soldier” and the rare 1920’s silent film “A Frontier Post,” which was shot in Arizona at Fort Huachuca. The silent film depicts the life of the Buffalo Soldiers 10th Cavalry. *These two films may be promoted as a special screening and part of the exhibition.

All subject matter is appropriate for a public, multi-use venue.  All artwork is original and is the sole creation of the artist. Artwork will be displayed in a professional manner.

Black Dolls exhibition

Exhibition Title: Black Dolls: Beautiful or Grotesque?

Artist: Bruce Nelson

Mixed Media: Vintage Dolls, vintage black memorabilia signs,

The exhibit centers around what I have determined as four architype Black dolls.

1) Picaninny, aka WaterMelon Babies

2) Mamma, aka Aunt Jemima,

3) Tops-Turvy and

4) the Gollywogg.

This collection consists of over 100 antique and collectible Black dolls I.e.  Cabbage Patch dolls, wooden dolls, porcelain, hand painted face dolls and one of kind black dolls and three Black memorabilia tin advertising signs.

The Black Dolls: Beautiful or Grotesque? Exhibit will illuminate the tradition about the character and treatment of America towards African Americans from slavery to current times. A doll has great power on how we see ourselves and how others perceive us. There is an opportunity to create a positive dialogue about race relations with this exhibit.

About the Curator - Bruce Nelson

In 2013 Bruce Nelson was accepted onto the Arizona State University’s Museum Studies program. In 2014 he completed an internship at Mesa Historical Museum. After completing his internship Nelson has become the volunteer curator for Escobedo Heritage Room located in the once segregated Washington-Escobedo Heritage Neighborhood in Mesa, AZ.  

His first exhibition was a small installation at the Escobedo Heritage Room, entitled remembering North Town. His second exhibition Veterans of Washington-Escobedo was staged at the Mesa Public Library in 2015-16 celebrating Black History Month. His third exhibit Games & Toys of was Washington-Escobedo Community was a small installation at the i.d.e.a Museum 2018 as part their Artful Play! Games & Toys Exhibition.   

Bruce’s Black Dolls: Beautiful or Grotesque? Exhibit was installed and on display for six weeks at the historical Carver Cultural Center in Phoenix, AZ. 

Nelson loaned several pieces for the church section of The Arizona Heritage Center Museum’s “A Place For All People”Exhibition which was staged January 2019 through December 2019. His two documentary films North Town and Gospel Radio Man were part of the exhibition and screened daily.

In 2020 Bruce was guest curator at the Mesa Historical Museum where he installed his Hallelujah Hats Exhibition which was tagged as one of the Best Black History events to attend in Phoenix by Channel 15 news in Phoenix.