Performing Artist Painted By Artist

By Paul Cobb

(Left) Performing Artist Augusta Lee Collins with Painter, Artist Anthony Holdsworth in his studio in West Oakland. Collins with Rev. Kevin Barnes “standing behind him” as they discuss food for the soul at Abyssinian Baptist Church. (Right) Collins poses beneath Holdsworth‘s painting of him that hangs in the Alameda Public Library. Photos by Adam L. Turner.

Painters, like preachers, can see and hear what others often miss.
Anthony Holdsworth, an English born artist has painted our town better than most illustrators. He sees the “there” that’s here. Not much escapes his numerous streetscapes and landscapes, not even the ex-homeless performing artist, guitarist Augusta Lee Collins. Though homeless persons are often ignored and taken for granted, Holdsworth noticed Collins and “brushed him in” his oil paintings. He “mixed” Collins in.   From the beginning he appeared as nothing more than a barely indistinguishable black spot on the canvas, but perfectionist Holdsworth, a color theorist and perceptionist, whose “cityscapes” make sense for the farsighted, held forth and saw more. Artist Holdsworth included artist Collins into more of his paintings.
Like the buildings, trees, benches and streetlights, Collins “lit up” Holdsworth’s works. They are colorfully displayed together around the world in public buildings, museums and galleries. Even in Santiago, Cuba, Oakland’s Sister City, brother Collins is there, too, holding forth, for art’s sake. When Rev. Kevin Barnes fed Collins food for his body and soul, he, who knows “soul food”, also heard the talent within the soul of Collins.  When the Post began a two-part set of articles about Augusta Lee Collins at the Pizza Pazza, no one thought that after 5 articles it would touch so many lives in so many places. His “up from homelessness” saga has inspired others to come forward. The Post is considering an offer to assemble the unsold Holdsworth /Collins paintings to help both artists. Then, afterwards, conduct an auction of Holdsworth’s works to support the homeless feeding programs like Barnes’ Abyssinian Baptist Church.  For those who want to be a part of the audience to witness Holdsworth paint an “Art n’ Soulscape” of Collins and Barnes at  Abyssinian Baptist, with some lovely colorful church hat-wearing members rhythmically holding forth while Collins performs Al Green’s “Jesus is Waiting”, please contact us at As a writer, I too can see and hear Collins singing “If you’re broken down, Jesus is waiting, hey yea, don’t let yourself down, Oh, he’s standing right there behind you, helping you to make up your mind, can’t you see, you’ve got a friend, reach down in your heart and say a little prayer for me, thank you, thank you, thank you…”.
Can’t you see?—(Next: Street Corner Symphonies, attracting other artists).
Contact Rev. Barnes at Abyssinian Missionary Baptist, 528 33rd St, Oakland , (510) 653-0315.
Call Collins at 510.695.9339 or or or,