From art exhibits to panel discussions, a list of events for Black History Month in Kalamazoo

KALAMAZOO, MI – As the calendar pages are flipped in February and Black History Month is once again celebrated, many events are taking place in and around Kalamazoo with a keen ear for culture and history blacks.

Panel discussions, art exhibits, presentations, an evening of quizzes and soul food, and youth-oriented events are all planned. Here is a sampling of some of the events planned for this coming month:

“Africa, Imagined” exhibition at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts: An exhibition inspired by the ideas, truths and myths surrounding African art, “Africa, Imagined: Reflections on Modern and Contemporary Art,” is on view at the museum, 314 S. Park St., throughout throughout February. The exhibition, which opened on January 22, features mainly West African artwork spanning the 20th and 21st centuries, and focuses on three main themes: escapism, social research and cultural recovery.

The exhibition will be open to the public from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday and from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, until May 1. Adult admission is $5, children under 12 are free, and older students pay $2. Visit for more information and other upcoming events at the museum.

The first black American POW arrives in Portage: Shoshana Johnson, a second-generation Army veteran and author of “I’m Still Standing: From Captive U.S. Soldier to Free Citizen – My Journey Home,” will be in Portage on Feb. 5 to share her story of being made prisoner of war in 2003 in Iraq.

The book signing and presentation will include a question and answer session and is free and open to the public. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and the show begins at 6 p.m. at the Air Zoo, 6151 Portage Road. A limited number of books will be available for purchase.

Evening quizzes and soul food: Billed as a “game night like no other,” attendees will have their knowledge of black history, culture, performances, and music tested, while enjoying delicious Southern cuisine. The event, hosted by the Black Arts & Cultural Center, will take place from 6-9 p.m., Friday, February 25, at 359 S. Kalamazoo Mall, Suite 102. Tickets are $20 per person and can be purchased online at the Black Arts and Culture Center website.

What time to live: A conversation about the past and the future will be hosted by the Black Arts & Cultural Center. A panel of local activists plan a conversation centered around growing up and being part of the civil rights movement as well as being involved in the Black Lives Matter movement.

The panel will be a live chat at the cultural center, but closed to attendees due to the recent surge in coronavirus cases. The discussion will be visible in real time as well as archived on the cultural center’s Facebook page. The time is tentatively set for 12:00-1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, February 9, but subject to change. Please follow social media sites and the main cultural center website for up-to-date information.

Black Arts exhibition: The third annual event is hosted by the Center for New Media at Kalamazoo Valley Community College. The show, which will highlight the works of local black artists, “will provide a shared connection to the rich black cultural heritage of the Kalamazoo region.”

Organized in collaboration with the Black Arts Cultural Center and the Metropolitan Kalamazoo Branch of the NAACP, the Black Arts Exhibit opens Friday, February 4 and can be viewed online throughout February on the Center’s Facebook page. for New Media. . The physical works will be exhibited in the Arcus Gallery, located on KVCC’s Arcadia Commons campus at 100 E. Michigan Ave. in downtown Kalamazoo. The exhibit can be viewed during gallery hours, which are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday and Wednesday to Friday each week.

The Kalamazoo Public Library is hosting a series of presentations: From an “Anti-Racism Conversation” scheduled for Feb. 8 to Uprooting White Supremacy in Organizations” on Feb. 9 and “Fair Hiring Practices” on Feb. 17, the Library has many online discussions scheduled for the Black History Month.

Visit the Kalamazoo Public Library website for a complete schedule.

Career Exploration and Planning Workshop Build Your Future: Aimed at high school students, Michigan State University’s 4-H program has partnered with the Black Arts & Cultural Center to present a program to help students explore their careers and plan for their future.

The six-week program begins Tuesday, February 1 at the Black Arts & Cultural Center and will be held at 4:30 p.m. each week at the center, located at 359 S. Kalamazoo Mall, Suite 102. All necessary materials will be provided. free of charge.

A round table: “Sharing the black experience:” The discussion is one of several events hosted by Kellogg Community College for Black History Month. Panelists include KCC President Adrien Bennings, actor/singer Altamiece Cooper, educator Kenneth Jackson, Southwestern Michigan Urban League President/CEO Kyra Wallace, and Battle Creek Community Foundation Development Officer Lynn Ward Gray .

The free event will take place from 6:30-8 p.m. on Thursday, February 3 at the Binda Performing Arts Center, 450 North Ave. at Battle Creek.

Also on MLive:

America’s first black POW to speak at Air Zoo event in Portage

“Africa, Imagined” exhibition opens January 22 at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts

Kalamazoo Plant Failed to Cap Wastewater Clarifier to Reduce Toxic Gas Odor as Recommended in Report

William E. Bennett