Well, here we are, already into the second month of the year! As daunting as it may seem that time is flying by so fast, it’s equally as exciting to see the wealth of ongoing and current events taking place that are sure to delight and inspire. Enjoy!
Through Feb. 2: Harlem Fine Arts Show (Harlem, N.Y.)
Presented in partnership with the NFL Players Association and held at the Harlem’s historic Riverfront Church, the annual Harlem Fine Arts Show attracts more than 40,000 visitors each year. The five-day event allows attendees—ranging from art enthusiasts, to educators, art collectors, students and others from throughout the New York metropolitan region—the unique opportunity to not only enjoy a wide array of art from over 80 artists and galleries reflecting the African Diaspora, through photography, contemporary paintings and sculpture, but also to discuss these works with many of the individual artists during several meet-and-greet sessions. 914-980-4427, http://hfas.org
Through Feb. 23: 18th annual Hilton Head Island Gullah Celebration (Hilton Head, S.C.)
Showcasing the rich cultural heritage of the Gullah people and their history on Hilton Head Island, the annual Gullah Celebration has been recognized by the Southeast Tourism Society as one of the “Top 20 Events in the Southeast.” The fun includes a wide array of events designed to attract, entertain and educate local residents, as well as regional, national and international travelers, with storytellers; African dance and Gospel music; an arts, crafts and food expo; a 5K run; youth event; live entertainment and more. 914-363-9299, www.gullahcelebration.com
Through March 23, 2014: “Kongo Across the Waters” (Gainesville, Fla.)
Presented at the Harn Museum of Art in Gainesville, Fla., “Kongo Across the Waters” addresses the cultural and artistic themes within Kongo culture and its connections with African-American art and culture in the U.S. The exhibition will encompass five major themes: “Kongo and the Atlantic World,” “Kongo Across the Waters,” “Kongo in the Age of Empire,” “Kongo in African-American Cultures” and “Contemporary Kongo.” Each theme depicts a diverse aspect of this culture in terms of its history, archaeology, language, leadership, religion and more. This exhibition also coincides with the 500th commemoration of when Juan Garrido, the first African conquistador, came to the Americas. 352-392-9826, www.harn.ufl.edu
Through April 19: Black College Expo (various locations)
Representing close to 50 historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs), the Black College Expo is designed to provide “high school and college students with a unique educational and entertaining experience, during which many students from high school and transferring college students are admitted to colleges on the spot.” Collegiate booths; a Career Recruitment Pavilion; Think Green Pavilion; seminars; a career, internship and vocational expo; step show; and scholarship presentations are among the many expo events. www.thecollegeexpo.org
- Feb. 8: Atlanta, Ga.
- Feb. 22 Los Angeles
- March 8: Washington, D.C./Maryland
- April 19: Houston, Texas
Through April 28: UniverSoul Circus (various locations)
As arguably the most soulful circus on the planet, the UniverSoul Circus presents an entertaining, family-friendly show produced, directed and managed by primarily people of color. Its entertainers are world-class acts from around the globe, including clowns, aerialists, Caribbean and hip-hop dancers, magicians, contortionists, wild animal tamers, daredevils and more. www.universoulcircus.com
- Feb. 5-Feb. 10: Tampa, Fla.
- Feb. 12-March 2: Atlan ta, Ga.
- March 6-March 9: Raleigh, N.C.
- March 20-March 30: Bronx, N.Y.
- April 10-April 20: Brooklyn, N.Y.
- May 1–May 11: mQueens, N.Y.
- May 22-26: Newark, N.J.
Through Nov. 15: “From the Western Front and Beyond: The Writings of World War I” (New York City)
Presented by the New York Society Library in honor of the 100th anniversary of World War I, “From the Western Front and Beyond: The Writings of World War I” offers a glimpse at “the library’s little-known but wide-ranging collection of books written between 1914 and 1918, most of which were acquired during the war and are still in circulation today,” says the exhibition’s organizers. The exhibit encompasses works of poetry, memoirs, literary writings, fiction, propaganda and more, all providing unique, first-hand insights into this tumultuous time in our world history. 212-288-6900, www.nysoclib.org
Feb. 6-17: 22nd annual Pan African Film and Arts Festival (Los Angeles)
The annual Pan African Film & Arts Festival, America’s largest and most prestigious Black film festival, presents over 150 films from the U.S., Latin America, Africa, the Caribbean, the South Pacific, Canada and Europe—all reinforcing positive images and showcasing the diversity and complexity of people of African descent. Festival activities encompass an opening night gala, spoken word fest, student fest, artist fest, children’s festival, a variety of performance artists and musical performers, and numerous panels and workshops, just to name a few. 310-337-4737, www.paff.org
Feb. 15-17: 51st annual Coconut Grove Arts Festival (Coconut Grove, Fla.)
One of the nation’s premier outdoor fine arts festivals, the Coconut Grove Arts Festival will be celebrating its 51st anniversary this year. Each year, the festival—ranked in the “Top 5 in America’s Best Art Fairs 2013”—attracts more than 150,000 people to this three-day event, which is held in the streets of the heart of Coconut Grove, just south of downtown Miami. A wealth of fantastic culinary, visual and performance art is just the beginning of the fun. 305-447-0401, www.cgaf.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 firstname.lastname@example.org.