There was no singing the blues at the Jan Shrem and Maria Manetti Shrem Museum on October 22 when Mike Henderson, a pioneering African American artist, was heralded at the museum’s gala with its highest honor: the Margrit Mondavi Arts Medallion.

Henderson, also a talented blues guitarist, filmmaker and UC Davis professor emeritus who taught for 43 years in Davis’ vaunted Department of Art and Art History, even entertained the crowd with a few licks in a band organized by Wayne Thiebaud Foundation president Matt Bult, a stepson of the late painter, who, for decades, taught alongside Henderson at Davis.