Since its designation in 1976, the United States has celebrated Black History Month annually in February. President Gerald Ford called upon the country to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of Black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” In Columbus, there are plenty of ways to do just that. Below, we’ve rounded up a number of events, exhibitions and activities for people of all ages to help you get started.
#ArtUnitesCbus, a Black Lives Matter public art initiative
Throughout February | From the Greater Columbus Arts Council
Explore murals erected throughout the community in June 2020 that support the Black Lives Matter Movement, pay tribute to George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and spread messages of love and hope.
Climate Changing: On Artists, Institutions, and the Social Environment
Daily through May 9, 2021 | Wexner Center for the Arts
This new exhibition explores how contemporary artists engage with social issues and shape institutions - an engagement that’s all the more critical during the entwined health crises of systemic racism and COVID-19. Together the works in the exhibition ask: how can we collectively create a climate for change?
Raggin’ On: The Art of Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson’s House and Journals
Daily through Oct. 3, 2021 | Columbus Museum of Art
This groundbreaking exhibition presents seven decades of Aminah Robinson’s art and writing, and celebrates her vision of the neighborhood she cherished. Visitors are invited to experience her home and creative process firsthand to better understand her intention “to celebrate the everyday lives and culture of Black people and their endurance through centuries of injustice.” Private, curator led tours are available for those interested.
Limited Edition Artist Collaboration
Through a partnership with ZenGenius, Columbus artists’ voices are amplified within the community, celebrating both location and national creative heroes. The first featured artist is Bryant Anthony, better known as BEE1NE. He draws inspiration from street aesthetics, women, brand development and pop culture and his exclusive work is available for sale on the website and is displayed in the ZenGenius Marketplace.
Washington Gladden Social Justice Park
Visit the first park in the nation dedicated to the theme of social justice, located downtown at the corner of Broad Street and Cleveland Avenue. Designed to bring Columbus together to build the path to a better future through art, education and constructive dialogues, the park serves as an introduction to Columbus’ social justice pioneers. Don’t miss the new sculpture – “Our Single Garment of Destiny” – dedicated on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and inspired by his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.”
“Science: Let’s React!”
Feb. 18: 1 p.m. | Columbus Metropolitan Library
Celebrate African American achievements in science with educator Jeff White. Kids ages 5-11 will learn about notable scientists while engaging in fun science activities.
The Color of Science with Nicole Jackson
Feb. 4: 12 p.m. | COSI
This digital series features live one-on-one interviews with COSI President Dr. Frederic Bertley and some of the country’s brightest scientists who are women, persons of color, and/or within the LGBTQ community. February’s event features Nicole Jackson, learning scientist and chief technology officer for Duet Health.
Before Her Time: The Life of Virginia Hamilton
Feb. 11: 11 a.m. | Ohio History Center
Learn about the life and legacy of Virginia Hamilton, a Yellow Springs native who became one of the most celebrated authors of children’s literature. This virtual program is designed for life-long learners and 8th to 12th grade students and teachers.
The Evolution of American Cuisine
Feb. 18: 7 p.m. | Ohio History Center
This virtual discussion will explore three historical influences on American cuisine – enslaved people, immigrants and Indigenous peoples. This virtual event costs $20 for non-members and registration details will be available soon.
Meet Author Kwame Alexander
Feb. 4: 1 p.m. | Columbus Metropolitan Library
Teens grades 8 through 12 are invited to a virtual half-hour Q&A with Kwame Alexander. Alexander is a poet, educator and bestselling author of 35 books, including Becoming Muhammad Ali, The Undefeated, The Crossover and Booked.
Local History Discussion: The King Arts Complex
Feb. 4: 6:30 p.m. | Columbus Metropolitan Library
Learn about the library’s King Arts Complex Collection, which contains photographs from the Columbus Call & Post, an African-American newspaper published from 1962-1995. Panelists will share the historical impact and importance of preserving local Black history through this digital collection.
The Horrors of Slavery, Told by the Formerly Enslaved
Feb. 5: 7 p.m. | Ohio History Center
Join Ohio History Center’s virtual monthly discussion series “After Uncle Tom’s Cabin – Black Voices for Justice” centering on the works of Frederick Douglass, Josiah Henson and Solomon Northup. A $5 donation is recommended.
Fighting to Serve: A Conversation with a Tuskegee Airman
Feb. 6: 10 a.m. | National Veterans Memorial and Museum
NVMM welcomes Col. Harold Brown (Retired), one of the famed Tuskegee Airmen, for the next Virtual Rally Point. Col. Brown will share his experience as a member of the Red Tailed Angels escorting bombers over Europe as well as being shot down and held as a POW in Germany.
The Artistic Journey of Lesa Cline-Ransome
Feb. 11: 1 p.m. | Columbus Metropolitan Library
Kids grades 3-5 are invited to a discussion with the author of Game Changers. Cline-Ransome will share her journey as author, her love of reading, the lack of representation in the books that she read as a child and how that transformed her interest in the subjects she now writes about.
Wednesdays@2: Raggin’ On Conversation
Feb. 17: 2 p.m. | Columbus Museum of Art
This online discussion will seek to answer the question, “how can art and art institutions disrupt systemic racism?”. Panelists and exhibition catalog contributors Ramona Austin and Lisa Farrington will explore this idea through the lens of Aminah Robinson’s art in conversation with curators Carole Genshaft and Deidre Hamlar.