Virtual tours celebrate art and the Ohio Black women who changed history

Rosa Rojas, curator at the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center, put together the 2020 Art of Soul! exhibition. She hosts a virtual tour of the show.  LISA POWELL / STAFF
Rosa Rojas, curator at the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center, put together the 2020 Art of Soul! exhibition. She hosts a virtual tour of the show. LISA POWELL / STAFF

Credit: LISA POWELL

Credit: LISA POWELL

National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center has a series online events planned during Black History Month

Two exhibitions at the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center in Wilberforce can now be experienced virtually.

The museum is offering video tours of “Queens of the Heartland,” a look at 30 innovative Ohio Black women, and “The Art of Soul!,” the museum’s seventh annual art show.

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The exhibitions opened last fall but had to close due to an increase in COVID-19 cases in the state.

The “Queens of the Heartland” tour is hosted by Hadley Drodge, an assistant curator at the museum, and New York City-based artist Nichole Washington, who created photo illustrations for the exhibition.

Hadley Drodge, assistant curator at the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center (left) collaborated with New York City artist Nichole Washington for the "Queens of The Heartland" exhibit at the musuem. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO
Hadley Drodge, assistant curator at the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center (left) collaborated with New York City artist Nichole Washington for the "Queens of The Heartland" exhibit at the musuem. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

The pair walk through the show and share highlights about Ohio Black women who influenced arts, literature, education, science and politics.

“African American women have been American heroes,” Drodge said last fall after the exhibition opened. “We’re really looking at what it means to be an American and answering that question in a new way — I think in a more honest way — with the faces of these Black women.”

Rosa Rojas, lead curator at the museum, gives viewers an inside look into “The Art of Soul!”

Twenty-two artists from around the country were selected to be part of the juried show. This year’s theme is “impact” and explores what influences us as human beings and the impact we have on others.

The National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center in Wilberforce  is offering video tours of “Queens of the Heartland” a look at 30 innovative Ohio Black women and “The Art of Soul!” the museum’s seventh annual art show.
The National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center in Wilberforce is offering video tours of “Queens of the Heartland” a look at 30 innovative Ohio Black women and “The Art of Soul!” the museum’s seventh annual art show.

Credit: LISA POWELL

Credit: LISA POWELL

“I want people to think about the mark they are leaving. Every time an artist puts a mark on a background, it’s intentional,” Rojas said in October. “Then the viewer coming in is adding their own story to it from their own experiences.”

The virtual tours can be found on youtube.com by searching their names: “Queens of the Heartland” and “Art of Soul!”

The museum is also offering online programming events throughout Black History Month in February and into March.

Wednesday, Feb. 3, 7 p.m.: Harriet Beecher Stowe House Discussion: After Uncle Tom’s Cabin: The Horrors of Slavery, Told by the Formerly Enslaved Co-Leaders: Dr. John Getz, Professor Emeritus, Xavier University Dr. Jerry Cline-Bailey, Associate Professor of English, Xavier University After the Civil War, Harriet Beecher Stowe became increasingly concerned with women’s issues, and we’ll follow her example by examining questions of both racial and gender justice as well as intersections between the two. RSVP for this discussion through Eventbrite. Donation: $5 for non-members. Free for Harriet Beecher Stowe House members.

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Thursday, February 11, 11 a.m.: Before Her Time: The Life of Virginia Hamilton, presented by Julie Rubini and Ohio Humanities. Virginia Hamilton was born and raised in Yellow Springs. Discover how this young African American writer became one of the most celebrated authors of children’s literature. Julie K. Rubini is a children’s book author and founder of Claire’s Day, Ohio’s largest children’s book festival. Register for this free education program through this Zoom link. For more information, email InfoNAAMCC@ohiohistory.org

Monday, Feb. 15, 7 p.m.: Behind the Mask: Black Power in Comics, co-hosted by the Wright Memorial Public Library. Storytellers have always been at the forefront of political and social change. It’s no different for Black comic creators, who have historically used their work to shine a light on how everyday people can overcome injustice and become heroes. Register for this free education program through this Zoom link. For more information, email InfoNAAMCC@ohiohistory.org

Sunday, Feb. 21, 4 p.m.: Harriet Beecher Stowe House Queens of the Queen City: Cincinnati Stories of African American Women, presented by Hadley Drodge, assistant curator, NAAMCC Since the 1800s, Ohio was at the heart of social change led by African American women. It was the first free state established from the Northwest Territory, and it is home to some of the earliest universities for African Americans. RSVP for this discussion through this Eventbrite.com link. Program fee: $7 non-members. Free for Harriet Beecher Stowe House members.

Sat., Feb. 27, Noon: The “Art of Soul!” Awards Ceremony and Exhibit closing event will feature an artist panel discussion, a virtual Art of Soul tour, and an awards ceremony. Register for this free education program through this Zoom link. For more information, email InfoNAAMCC@ohiohistory.org.

Thursday, March 11, 7 p.m.: “Remember the Ladies:” The 1850 Women’s Rights Convention in Salem, OH, presented by Cathy Nelson and Ohio Humanities. The fight for women’s equality began over two centuries ago. Learn about their pervasive struggle through letters and speeches from the fearless and tireless women who fought for their rights, from Abigail Adams to Sojourner Truth and others, at the 1850 Women’s Rights Convention in Salem, Ohio. Register for this free education program through this Zoom link. For more information, email InfoNAAMCC@ohiohistory.org

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