Larger than life family portraits are spread throughout the home of the late Hallie Beatrice Carpenter, affectionately known as “Big Momma.”

“Big Momma was this strong matriarchal figure. She was a church-going lady, had a strong faith,” Sedrick Huckaby, Carpenter’s grandson and a painter said. “She had strong faith and a strong personality. And pushed through a lot in life.”

Though it’s situated between other family homes on Wallace Street in the Poly neighborhood, this family home will open its doors as Kinfolk House, a collaborative project space, Saturday, March 5. 

Huckaby remembers his grandmother’s home fondly.

Sedrick Huckaby was working on painting portraits of family members in the weeks leading up to Kinfolk House’s grand opening. (Marcheta Fornoff | Fort Worth Report)

“It was a place for the family. Friends of the family could come by. You know, it was a place where people felt welcome,” Huckaby recalled. “Whoever you were, you felt at home.”

Together with his wife, Letitia, who is a photographer, and artist and writer Jessica Fuentes, they have reimagined the space as “Kinfolk House,” where they hope to host artists and projects across disciplines.

Huckaby likened his vision for the space to “The Magic School Bus.”

“The school bus did whatever was necessary to bring about learning. It would transform into a microbe and travel through someone’s body. It would turn into a rocket and shoot into outer space. It turned into a submarine and (would) go into the ocean. It was going to take you there, and that’s what I hope this house does,” he said.

In response to what sets the space apart, Fuentes has a clear answer.

“​​I think for me, one of the biggest appeals of the space is that it’s not located in the cultural district where someone might expect to find an arts organization, but that it’s really born out of and situated inside of a neighborhood — and specifically a Black and brown neighborhood.”

There’s been a dearth of spaces like this in the Poly neighborhood, but Huckaby was partially inspired by the Mcanthony’s Multicultural Studio and Gallery a few minutes away on Berry Street.

Sedrick Huckaby was working on painting portraits of family members in the weeks leading up to Kinfolk House’s grand opening. (Marcheta Fornoff | Fort Worth Report)

Early on in the project, the group spoke with local artists, community members and educators from the nearby Poly High School to get a sense of what resources were needed and how they could work together.

My hope is that the neighborhood and the people residing there will really see this as a space for them, a space that they can bring their ideas and their full selves into. And that it’s there to support them in their creative and artistic endeavors,” Fuentes said.

In addition to its location, the interior space is distinct. Many of the home’s walls are comprised of wide, wooden planks and reclaimed church pews from Big Momma’s former church span the width of one room that also holds a wooden lectern.

“That’s something that adds to the warmth of the space — the warm wood that encompasses most of the physical space. With that warmth comes, I believe, a familiarity of space,” Fuentes said. “Oftentimes art museums, art galleries with their stark white walls can sometimes be intimidating places, especially for people of color who may not be familiar or comfortable with those types of spaces. But by having this art space centered in a home, centered in a neighborhood, I think that it automatically becomes more welcoming and inviting and familiar.”

Grand opening

Location: 1913 Wallace St.
Fort Worth, TX

Date: Sat. March 5

Time: Noon to 8 p.m.

Huckaby notes the interior of the home looks different than when he was growing up. The carpet is gone. The sheetrock has either been torn down or replaced. And pennies are laid as tiles on the bathroom floor. But, ultimately, he thinks that Big Momma would appreciate how the home has evolved.

“I feel like in her heart, she just wanted the best for people” Huckaby said. “The fact that the place is being used as a transformative part of the community, something that adds to its culture and hopefully adds beauty and art, and allows people to gather and meet, I think she would like that.”

The space will continue to evolve over time, but regardless of what shapes it takes, they hope the space will continue to honor the ethos of the late matriarch’s whose maiden name was Welcome.

Marcheta Fornoff covers the arts for the Fort Worth Report. Contact her at or on
Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here

Editor’s note: This piece was updated on March 5 to reflect expanded open house hours.

Creative Commons License

Noncommercial entities may republish our articles for free by following our guidelines. For commercial licensing, please email

Avatar photo

Marcheta FornoffArts & Culture Editor

For just over seven years Marcheta Fornoff performed the high wire act of producing a live morning news program on Minnesota Public Radio. She led a small, but nimble team to cover everything from politics...

Leave a comment