I’m in complete denial that it is September! How can the year go by so fast? Well, whether I like it or not, time does move on, but that doesn’t mean that I have to miss out on all of the fantastic events, exhibits, travel, festivals and more happening all around the country and beyond.
Through Sept. 16: National Black Arts Festival (Atlanta, Ga.)
- The National Black Arts Festival is “one of the premier national and international presenters of the art, music and culture of people of African descent,” with a mission “to engage, cultivate and educate diverse audiences about the arts and culture of the African Diaspora and provide opportunities for artistic and creative expression.” The founding organization accomplishes this through year-round programming, education and public programs and a summer festival. The summer festival features a variety of activities, including a gala, an international marketplace, children’s education village, classic films, dance, visual arts and artists’ receptions, and numerous musical performances by local and international talent. 404-730-7315, http://nbaf.org/2013events
Through Oct. 20: “Things That Cannot Be Seen Any Other Way: The Art of Manuel Mendive” (Los Angeles)
- Regarded as one of the foremost contemporary artists in Cuba and the Caribbean, Manuel Mendive “began his career in the early 1960s during a period when dominant Cuban abstract expressionism was waning, which paved new ground by moving beyond the reliance on mainstream Western art forms such as cubism and surrealism.”
- Now through Oct. 20, the California African American Museum will present the exhibition, “Things That Cannot Be Seen Any Other Way: The Art of Manuel Mendive.” The exhibition—highlighted by drawings, paintings, sculptures and performances from the early 1960s to the present, giving special focus to discrete themes common across his work, including religion, nationalism and memory—features the 50-year career of this prominent Afro-Cuban artist, and is the first of its kind in the U.S. to focus exclusively on the contemporary visual and material culture of the Afro-Cuban religion, Santería.
- Other events associated with the exhibition include “Black and Cuba,” a documentary following minority students who traveled from the Ivy League halls of Harvard University to Cuba.
Through Dec. 29″ “Art Speaks: 50 Years Forward” (Birmingham, Ala.)
- The work of several of the world’s finest contemporary artists including Theaster Gates, Hank Willis Thomas, Dawoud Bey, Jefferson Pinder and Shinique Smith will be among the highlights of an unprecedented series of projects that uses contemporary art to tell the story of the Civil Rights Movement in “Art Speaks: 50 Years Forward.” Presented at the Birmingham Museum Art, the projects are in commemoration of the nearly 50 years that have passed since a bomb blast ripped through the walls of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, killing four innocent little girls as well as two boys in the resulting violence later that day. 205-254-2565, http://artsbma.org/artspeaks
- “Etched in Collective History” runs Aug. 18-Nov. 17.
- “Dawoud Bey: The Birmingham Project” runs Sept. 8-Dec. 2.
- “Question Bridge: Black Males” runs Oct. 6-Dec. 29.
Through Nov. 10
- “American People, Black Light: Faith Ringgold’s Paintings of the 1960s” (Washington, D.C.): Held at the National Museum of Women in the Arts, the exhibit—hailed as “an unprecedented artistic exploration of the intersections of race, gender and class made in direct response to social upheaval of the times”—encompasses some 45 works from artist Faith Ringgold’s landmark series “American People” (1963–67) and “Black Light” (1967–71), along with related murals and political posters. Together, they represent the first comprehensive survey of her politically charged paintings of the 1960s, which explores the emotional and often controversial issues at the forefront of the artist’s experience of racial inequality in our country at this historic and tumultuous time. 202-783-5000, www.nmwa.org/exhibitions/american-people-black-light
Through Jan. 20, 2014
- “Barbara Chase-Riboud: The Malcolm XSteles” (Philadelphia, Pa.): Barbara Chase-Riboud is an internationally acclaimed visual artist and award-winning writer and poet, best known for her 1979 historical novel Sally Hemings. This exhibit at the Philadelphia Museum of Art brings together more than 40 of her works from Europe and the U.S. It not only examines her artistic career, but focuses primarily on her important Malcolm X sculptures and drawings. All of her various works are lauded for their unique fusion of elements, her cultural, political and artistic life experiences and her interpretation of the context of the American Civil Rights Movement. 215-763-8100, www.philamuseum.org
- African-American Day Parade (Harlem, N.Y.): Billed as the “largest Black parade in America,” Harlem’s African-American Day Parade features a salute to Black colleges, bands from 12 states, Black dignitaries and celebrities, a showcase of positive Black achievements, queens and organizations reflecting African culture. 212-348-3080, www.africanamericandayparade.org
- Monterey Jazz Festival (Monterey, Calif.): The Monterey Jazz Festival—the longest running jazz festival in the world—is celebrating its 56th anniversary this year. Headliners include Dave Holland, the 2013 Next Generation Jazz Orchestra, Bobby McFerrin, George Benson, Joe Lovano and a host of others. In all, the festival features 500 artists, 90 performances, eight stages and more than 30 hours of live music during the weekend. Exhibitions, music clinics, shopping and international cuisine are also among the activities that draw thousands of fans every year. 888-248-6499, 831-373-3366, www.montereyjazzfestival.org
- The 16th annual Baltimore County African-American Festival (Baltimore, Md.): Created to highlight numerous aspects of African-American culture through poetry, historical exhibits, dance, cuisine and more, this free annual event encompasses a financial empowerment zone, health and wellness village, poetry, dance, music, historical exhibits, children’s activities and a great deal more. 410-887-5557, www.aaculturalfestival.com
Lysa Allman-Baldwin writes for numerous online and print publications, including as the cultural travel writer for www.Examiner.com and as a senior travel writer for SoulOfAmerica.com, an Afrocentric travel website. Lysa can be reached at email@example.com.