Arts organizations across the Miami Valley are offering numerous ways to commemorate Black History Month.
Films, art exhibits, dance and storytelling are a sampling of ways to celebrate the Miami Valley’s rich African American history.
Don’t miss the opportunity to see Visual Voices 2019, the annual art exhibit by local African-American artists, that will be on display Feb. 5- March 29 at the Schuster Center in downtown Dayton.
The subjects of this year’s theme, 2019 Dayton Skyscrapers, are prominent African-Americans who have made a mark in their field and are role models in the community.
The free show is curated by Willis “Bing” Davis, director of EbonNia Gallery, and includes portraits by Abner Cope, Debra Richardson Wood, Kevin Harris and more.
National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center
There are plenty of activities to take part in at the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center in Wilberforce.
Behind the Mask: Black Power in Comics will re-open Feb. 18 for an extended three-year run.
Additional collectible comic books will be added to the exhibit that “explores the painful and triumphant history of African Americans in comic books.” according to the museum’s website. “The exhibit delves into the history of black comic book characters who, in the past, were rarely featured as heroes.”
Also on display at the museum, African Americans Fighting for a Double Victory, is an exhibit that explores the role of African Americans serving in the military and on the home front during World War II.
The museum will also host a Black History Matters film series each Saturday this month:
• “Black Panther,” Feb. 2 at 1 p.m.
• “I am Not Your Negro,” Feb. 9 at 11 a.m.
• “Sorry to Bother You,” Feb. 16 at 1 p.m.
• “BlacKkKlansman,” Feb. 23 at 1 p.m.
The films are included with regular museum admission. Prices are $6 for an adult, $5 for seniors and $3 for ages 6–17. Admission is free for Ohio History Connection and NAAMCC members.
Dayton Art Institute
Artworks by two prominent African-American artists, Hughie Lee-Smith and Charles White, will be among a show stopping exhibition opening Feb. 23 at the Dayton Art Institute, 456 Belmonte Park North.
The exhibition, For America: Paintings from the National Academy of Design, features self-selected masterworks by many prominent members of the National Academy of Design, a leading artistic voice in America.
Lee-Smith is known for imaginative Midwestern landscapes and White is known for his depiction of African Americans in paintings and murals.
Admission to the DAI is $8 for adults, $5 for seniors, groups and active military and free for members, students and youth. Note: Special exhibitions, programs and events may carry an additional charge.
Dayton Metro Library
A number of free events celebrating African American history will be held throughout the Dayton Metro Library system.
A free documentary screening of “Paul Laurence Dunbar: Beyond the Mask” will be held Feb. 2 at 11:30 a.m. at the Main Library, 215 E. Third St in Dayton.
Dunbar, who was born in Dayton, was one of the first nationally-known African-American writers.
Nationally recognized Affrilachian storyteller Lyn Ford will bring her “home-fried” folk tales to the Northwest, and West Carrollton branches of the Dayton Metro Library.
Ford’s heart-warming and humorous stories are rooted in her family’s multicultural traditions.
The hour-long event, appropriate for children, will be at the Northwest branch, 2410 Philadelphia Dr. in Dayton, Feb. 23 at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. and at the West Carrollton branch, 300 E. Central Ave., Feb. 23 at 4 p.m.
African American Dance: A Communal Celebration will be held Feb. 23 at 2:30 p.m. in the Bassani Theater in the Main Library, 215 E. Third St in Dayton.
An African American dance performance will be held by Anna Amulo and a Wright State University dance troupe. Visitors can learn a short routine and take part in the dancing.
The event will also be held March 23, at the Northwest Branch, 2410 Philadelphia Dr. in Dayton.
The documentary film, “Anita: Speaking Truth to Power,” will be shown in the Main Library’s Eichelberger Forum Sunday March 17 at 1:30 p.m.
The film, directed by Academy Award winning director Freida Mock, celebrates Anita Hill’s legacy.
Telling A People’s Story – African American Children’s Literature, an exhibit devoted to the artwork in African American children’s picture books, will go on display at the Main Library May 7.
The traveling exhibit of paintings, pastels, drawings and mixed media will move to the Northwest branch June 7.