Art and Community Events to Celebrate Black History Month

Eddie Rye and Fred Brown at Black Community Festival Parade Seattle, WA, 1982. Photo courtesy of Keith Williams/Flyright Productions

This month enjoy Black history, Black arts, Black artists, and Black heritage through a virtual or drive-in event. We have compiled a few opportunities throughout Black History Month to get involved. Don’t forget to follow these organizations and artists to learn about future events and to stay involved in Black-focused arts year-round; the importance of Black voices is not prescribed to one month.

August Wilson Reading Challenge

February 2021

Celebrate Black History Month with Seattle Rep by joining the August Wilson Reading Challenge. To ramp up for the 11th annual August Wilson Monologue Challenge, Seattle Rep is inviting the community to read all 10 plays in August Wilson’s American Century Cycle during February. Get involved by sharing your inspiration for participation and why Wilson’s works are important to you.

Beginning on February 12, Seattle Rep will host virtual book club meetings to delve deeper into the Century Cycle and discuss the plays with others. 

Learn more about the event and where to find the plays here

African Dance Class


Join a class this month with Gansango Music & Dance. Every Monday and Wednesday at 10 a.m. or Fridays at 7 p.m., you can join an online class with Etienne Cakpo where you will learn contemporary African dance and traditional dance from Benin. All levels are welcome!

Register for a class here.

Sites of Power


“Sites of Power”is the latest Black Imagination exhibition-slash-experience co-created in community to center and amplify the resonance of intersectional Black voices. Viral conceptual artist, Natasha Marin, led the evocative iteration of this on-going project with award-winning director, Jay O’Leary Woods. Including living testimonies, audio files, videos, and visual art, there is plenty here to enjoy.

Listen, watch and imagine with the online exhibit here.

A Night at the Opera: Celebrating Black Voices

February 13 at 6:30 p.m.

Northwest African American Museum and Seattle Opera present a live, drive-in event at the Museum of Flight. The event will present contemporary Black singers, ranging from soprano to baritone, performing pieces that highlight and celebrate Black history. Performers include Frederick Ballentine, Damien Geter, Jasmine Habersham and Jorell Williams.

Purchase tickets for the event here.

Charcoal, Wood, and Metal: Charmaine Lurch’s “Being, Belonging and Grace”

February 16 at 12 p.m.

Wa Na Wari presents a virtual lecture by Katherine McKittrick, Professor of Gender Studies at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. Drawing on Sylvia Wynter’s “rethinking aesthetics” and Andrea Fatona’s “undulating depths of fields,” this paper will theorize the charcoal drawings of visual artist Charmaine Lurch as unwieldy and provisional moments of joy. Rather than exalting Black joy, the paper will demonstrate how Lurch’s aesthetic decisions visually gesture blackness as a location of entanglement, one that captures brief moments of happiness—relief, actually—and nests them within the broader context of racial violence, colonialism and extraction.

Learn more about the event and join here.

Black Theatre Beyond the Politics of Representation

February 23 at 5 p.m.

Intiman Theatre presents a Black History Month virtual conversation with Stacie McCormick, PhD and Wind Dell Woods, MFA/PhD, hosted by Jasmine Jamillah Mahmoud, PhD. Discussing questions such as, what are the tensions embedded in the politics of representation for Black theatre artists? How can Black theatre become a liberatory space that pierces the veneer of how blackness gets to be represented on stage?

Register for the event here.

When History is Your Story

February 24 at 6:30 p.m.

Co-presented by the Black Heritage Society of Washington State and MOHAI, this virtual event features places, people and legacies shared by community members Eddie Rye, Ryan Donaldson, and Chardonnay Beaver. Hear stories of how moments have impacted their lives as they answer the question: how does history shape who you are?

Register for the free event here

Truth & Meaning at Play: The Work of a Contemporary Dramaturg

February 26 at 5:30 p.m.

Cal Shakes Resident Dramaturg Phillipa Kelly speaks with Dr. Martine Kei Green-Rogers in this virtual series. Green-Rogers will describe how she and director Ron OJ Parson have approached the staging of August Wilson’s plays. In the same spirit of Wilson pushing the truths (the good and the bad) of the Black experience into a larger limelight until the day he died, Green-Rogers will discuss how her work on Wilson’s canon at the Court Theatre with Parson resists, complicates, and exposes the patterns of oppression that Black people in the U.S. experience while also celebrating the joy that is being Black in the U.S.

Register for the event here.

Call & Response

February 28 at 4 p.m.

Living Jazz presents a unique series of intimate conversations featuring some of the world’s most iconic jazz musicians. This event focuses on the role of the artist as a catalyst for change with Grammy award-winning bassist Christian McBride.

Moderated by Andre Kimo Stone Guess, McBride will speak candidly about the inspiration behind their music, their struggles and victories, what it means to be an artist during these challenging times, and what the future holds for the music industry. The virtual event will include a question-and-answer segment with audience participation.  

Register for the event here.