Throughout the month of February, many organizations and institutions — from libraries, to museums to art nonprofits — will be celebrating Black History Month. Below is a list of our six can’t-miss events. Mark your calendars! By Jessica Allen.
Say It Loud
The Center for Architecture
536 LaGuardia Place
New York, NY 10012
Just two percent of the country’s total licensed architects are African American. Showcasing the noteworthy projects and accomplishments of these individuals and encouraging young people are the goals of “Say It Loud.” This exhibition at the Center for Architecture features projects from some 20 designers, along with a timeline covering the history of black architects in the city, as well as interviews and quotes about the experiences of African-American designers and architects. Talented area high school students will also be recognized. Now through Saturday, April 1, free.
Open House at the Apollo
253 West 125th Street
New York, NY 10027
If you’ve ever dreamed of singing at the Apollo, now’s your chance to get close to the theater’s famous stage. Once a year, the Apollo Theater opens its doors and invites people to learn more about its storied history and famous performances. This year’s event is hosted by Billy Mitchell, also known as Mr. Apollo, because of his wide-ranging knowledge about the venue. You can watch excerpts from a documentary about social justice movements at historically black universities, hear up-and-coming musicians, and take an inter-generational swing dance lesson. Saturday, February 4, 2 to 6 pm, free.
Harlem Fine Arts Show
490 Riverside Drive
New York, NY 10027
The largest traveling African Diasporic art show in the United States arrives in Harlem just in time for Black History Month. Taking its cue from the Harlem Renaissance, the festival seeks to promote “fine arts of the African Diaspora,” while providing “economic empowerment, educational opportunities, and professional recognition within the multicultural community.” Scheduled events include a youth empowerment day and a gospel brunch in honor of African-American nurses. Thursday, February 16, through Sunday, February 19, see schedule for details, tickets required.
George Washington Carver Workshop
Queens Botanical Garden
43-50 Main Street
Queens, NY 11355
Dr. George Washington Carver revolutionized the field of agriculture, developing tons of techniques to maintain soil health and foster crop growth. He also made significant contributions to botany, industrial engineering, medicine, and botanical illustration, among other endeavors. Learn more about the “Wizard of Tuskegee,” as this polymath was known, at this kid-friendly, plant-focused workshop. Participants will make a painting with plants and a healing lotion to take home. Tuesday, February 21, 1 to 2:30 pm, $6, advance registration required.
A Chamber Music Celebration of Black History Month
128 Pierrepont Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201
The Brooklyn Historical Society has a range of events going on throughout February to celebrate Black History Month, largely focused on black voices in the arts. One panel looks at the “marketability of black literature” through the lens of bestsellers Colson Whitehead and Zadie Smith, while another talk covers Civil War-era New York. We’re particularly excited about the chamber music concert featuring work by African-American lyricists and composers by Warp Trio, among others. Thursday, February 23, 7:30 pm, tickets required.
Black In 19th-Century Brooklyn
500 25th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11232
Best Places To Visit In Brooklyn: Historic Sites
In conjunction with Weeksville Heritage Center, Green-Wood Cemetery will be offering a trolley tour of its lovely grounds. Stops include the final resting places of Jean-Michel Basquiat; Susan Smith McKinney Steward, the first black female doctor in New York State; and Margaret Pine, the last woman to live as a slave in the state. You’ll then head to Weeksville, a multidisciplinary museum dedicated to the history of this part of Crown Heights, which housed one of the largest communities of free African Americans prior to the Civil War. Saturday, February 25, 11 am to 3 pm, $40, tickets required.
Jessica Allen is a New York-based writer.