Second annual ‘A Soulful Holiday’ tree exhibit shines light on Black heritage and art

Courtesy of MAAHMG

The Minnesota African American Heritage Museum and Gallery (MAAHMG), a locally owned and operated community-based museum focused on both past and contemporary African American history, recently announced its second annual hand-crafted “A Soulful Holiday” tree exhibit.

The exhibit will be on display from November 2, 2021, through January 2, 2022, at the Meet Minneapolis Visitor Center at 505 Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis. It can also be viewed online at

“We are excited to partner with Meet Minneapolis to feature this amazing exhibit at its Visitor Center in downtown Minneapolis,” said Tina Burnside, MAAHMG co-founder, and curator. “The themed trees, featuring stories of Black history and culture highlight the resilience in our communities and we hope our exhibit dazzles and adds some sparkle and shine to the 2021 holiday season.”

The exhibit features six one-of-a-kind mannequin trees created by Alicia Smiley, a local artist and event decorator. Smiley has been putting her spin on the holidays and events for years by adding her personality and flare. She has decorated for local non-profit organizations and early learning centers to help inspire families and evoke hope.

Courtesy of MAAHMG Alicia Smiley

In recent years, Smiley took an interest in Christmas holiday gatherings and began creating her own mannequin trees. These one-of-a-kind handcrafted trees, each take approximately one week to create and are filled with whimsical holiday cheer.

In addition to “A Soulful Holiday,” MAAHMG will host a series of holiday events both on-site at the museum and at the holiday tree exhibit at the Meet Minneapolis Visitor Center in downtown Minneapolis. The holiday events schedule will be accessible online at and on the museum’s Facebook page.

Founded in 2018, MAAHMG is a community-based museum focused on preserving, documenting, and celebrating the history, art, and culture of Blacks in Minnesota through exhibitions, programs, and events. The museum strives to make history and art accessible to the community.

MAAHMG is open Tuesdays-Fridays from 1-5 pm and Saturdays from 10 am–1 pm. The museum is located at 1256 Penn Avenue North, Fourth Floor, Minneapolis, MN, 55411.

Admission is free and there is free parking in the ramp attached to the building. For more information, please visit