Explore diverse expressions of African-American experience


A sampling of art exhibitions across metro Atlanta keyed to Black History Month:

Diversity in ‘Artists as Friends’

Collector-curator James W. Jackson’s goal for the Hudgens Center for the Arts exhibition “Artists as Friends: A Celebration of Self-Expression, Creativity & Friendships” was to simultaneously show the individualism of each Georgia artist and the impact that friendship has made on a peer’s creative process. The exhibit speaks to diversity in another way: Eight of the 12 artists included are African-American, a strong lineup that includes Amalia Amaki, Tina Dunkley, Stefanie Jackson, Phyllis Stephens and Freddie Styles.

Through March 21. $5. $3 children, students, seniors (free on Family Day, Feb. 7). 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway, Building 300, Duluth. 770-623-6002, www.thehudgens.org.

Celestial inspiration in African art

Emory University’s Michael C. Carlos Museum opens “African Cosmos: Stellar Arts,” a major exhibit organized by the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African Art, on Jan. 31. Featuring more than 70 works of art from throughout the African continent, the exhibit explores how the sun, moon, stars and celestial phenomena such as lightning and rainbows have served as sources of inspiration in the creation of African art from ancient times to the present. (Through June 21.)

Also on view at the Carlos: “Creating Matter: The Prints of Mildred Thompson,” showing the late Atlanta artist’s interest in the cosmos and the creation of the world. (Through May 17.)

$8, $6 students, ages 6-17 and seniors. 571 S. Kilgo Circle, Atlanta. 404-727-4282, www.carlos.emory.edu.

Spelman showcases Hassinger

Spelman College Museum of Fine Art opens “Maren Hassinger … Dreaming,” an exhibit by the sculptor, performance artist and director of the Maryland Institute College of Art’s Rinehart School of Sculpture, with a 6:30 p.m. Feb. 12 public reception. Bringing a substantial body of Hassinger’s work to the Southeast for the first time, “Dreaming” finds the artist exploring sustainability with installations comprised of newspapers, plastic bags, leaves and other unconventional materials.

Through May 16. Suggested donation: $3. 350 Spelman Lane, Atlanta. 404-270-5607, http://museum.spelman.edu.

High pictures black and white America

The High Museum of Art is hosting several exhibits that essay the African-American experience from different angles, including:

  • "Gordon Parks: Segregation Story," drawn from a 1956 color photo essay for Life magazine that chronicled the lives of an extended black family in Alabama under the shadow of Jim Crow. (Through June 7.)
  • "A Painter's Profile: The High Celebrates Romare Bearden" centers on a recent major High Museum acquisition by one of the 20th century's most celebrated artists, the large (44 inches by 56 inches) late-career collage "Profile/Part II, The Thirties: Artist With Painting and Model" (1981). It's Bearden's only known self-portrait. (Through May 31.)
  • "Dox Thrash: An American Journey" is comprised of 43 works on paper by the Georgia native (1893-1965) who left home at age 15 as part of the Great Migration and whose work captures black life in the lead-up to the civil rights movement. (Through May 10.)

$19.50; $16.50 ages 65 and older and students (ID required); $12 ages 6-17. 1280 Peachtree St. N.E., Atlanta. 404-733-4444, www.high.org.

Focus on black males at Hammonds House

The Auburn Avenue Research Library’s Satellite Gallery at Hammonds House Museum hosts “Open Season: The Fair Game Project,” works by Atlanta artist Shanequa Gay exploring perceptions of black males in contemporary American culture.

Through March 29. $4, $2 students and ages 55 and up. 503 Peeples St., Atlanta. 404-612-0500, hammondshouse.org.

‘Afro Visions’ in Marietta

The Marietta/Cobb Museum of Art exhibits “Corey Barksdale and Felix Berroa: Afro Vision.” Barksdale is an Atlanta artist inspired by jazz and African-American culture. Dominican Republic-born Berroa paints mostly women and children — because, the Atlanta artist has written, they are “considered in society as ‘weakest.’ They are actually the most tender and beautiful.”

Through March 29. $8; students (ages 6-18 or with ID) and ages 65 and up, $5. 30 Atlanta St., Marietta. 770-528-1444, www.mariettacobbartmuseum.org.

From Ethiopia to Atlanta

The Marcus Jewish Community Center of Atlanta has just opened “Chalom Yashan — A Journey Back Home,” works by Hirut Yosef. Drawing inspiration from her Ethiopian roots, Yosef, who now calls Atlanta home, honors strong African women, using vibrant color and traditional design.

Through March 31. Artist talk and reception: 4-6 p.m. Feb. 8. Katz Family Mainstreet Gallery in the MJCCA, 5342 Tilly Mill Road, Dunwoody. 678-812-4002, www.atlantajcc.org.


Black History Month always brings a strong representation of African-American cultural expressions to Atlanta, but especially so this year. Top performing arts and other events include:

Roswell’s deep ‘Roots’

The metro area’s most extensive Black History Month celebration, Roswell Roots returns with 28 events for its 14th February, including art exhibitions, concerts, theater productions, storytelling and a pound cake cook-off. Most of them are free.

Among the highlights: blues musician Ruthie Foster in concert, 8 p.m. Feb. 7 at Roswell Cultural Arts Center; a talk by former NBA All-Star Joe Barry Carroll and signing of his self-illustrated memoir, “Growing Up … in Words and Images,” 2 p.m. Feb. 14 at the Roswell Branch Library; an open-hearth cooking demonstration by Clarissa Clifton, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Feb. 21 at Smith Plantation; and a Unity Concert featuring singers from Morehouse Glee Club and Zion Missionary Baptist Church and Pleasant Hill Missionary Baptist Church, 4 p.m. Feb. 28 at Zion.

A first-time event, a Bid Whist Card Party, 7-10 p.m. Feb. 6 at the East Roswell Park Recreation Center, will celebrate the Atlanta-based American Bridge Association, founded in 1932 as an outlet for African-Americans to play organized bridge. It will include a history talk, games and lessons.

770-594-6187, www.roswellroots.com.

30 years of empowering movement

Three decades ago, choreographer Jawole Willa Jo Zollar and her collaborators brought movement to the civil rights and women’s movements. On the “Power in Movement: Celebrating 30 Years” tour that brings the dance group to the Rialto Center for the Arts at 8 p.m. Jan. 31, it will perform pieces inspired by the Great Migration’s influence on the jazz clubs of Harlem and Zollar’s native Kansas City (“Hep Hep Sweet Sweet”) and the life of John Coltrane (“Walking With ‘Trane”).

Tickets start at $34. 80 Forsyth St. N.W., Atlanta. 404-413-9849, www.rialtocenter.org.

The tunes, turmoil of ‘Detroit ‘67’

In True Colors Theatre Company’s production of Dominique Morisseau’s “Detroit ‘67,” an African-American sister and brother turn the basement of their late parents’ home in the Motor City into an after-hours club filled with Motown music. Then, as riots grip Detroit and a mysterious white woman is found badly beaten in the streets and brought to the house to recuperate, the siblings’ relationship grows more strained.

Feb. 10-March 8. $15-$60. Southwest Arts Center, 915 New Hope Road, 1-877-725-8849, www.truecolorstheatre.org.

Ailey bringing ‘Odetta’

It’s a time of heady tributes for Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, which makes its annual tour stop at the Fox Theatre, performing six shows (of three programs), from Feb. 11 to 15.

On behalf of Ailey, who launched the company in 1958, its third artistic director, Robert Battle, accepted the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, from President Barack Obama in late November. And in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act, the Ailey troupe is bringing its season premiere of "Odetta," Matthew Rushing's tribute to the powerful singer. As usual, all performances will be capped by Ailey's classic "Revelations." (Programs details are listed under the calendar at www.alvinailey.org.)

Special ticket deals include:

  • Every ticket in the house for the new Ailey Fan Night on Feb. 11 is $25 (not counting ticket fees; no fees if you purchase at the Fox box office).
  • Tickets are $10 off for WSB Family2Family Night on Feb. 12 (available at Fox box office, phone, online). Students also may purchase tickets for this performance for $10 off in advance with valid student ID (must be purchased at box office). Both offers are subject to availability.
  • Matinee tickets on Feb. 14 are buy one, get one half off, with a free post-performance Q&A with the dancers.

Tickets start at $25. 660 Peachtree St. N.E., Atlanta, 1-855-285-8499, www.foxtheatre.org.

Two History Center programs

  • The Atlanta History Center presents "Struggles and Strides," a day of activities, museum theater performances, and guest lectures that explore the African-American experience from the Great Migration to the civil rights movement, 11 a.m-4 p.m. Feb. 7.
  • The History Center also hosts a lecture at 8 p.m. Feb. 18 by University of Tennessee history professor Tom Chaffin, author of "Giant's Causeway: Frederick Douglass's Irish Odyssey and the Making of an American Visionary." The book details the orator's transformation into a leader in the American struggle for equality.

$16.50; $13 ages 65 and up and students 13 and up; $11 ages 4-12. 130 W. Paces Ferry Road, Atlanta. 404-814-4000, www.atlantahistorycenter.com/family.

Mayfield, Carter top Emory Jazz

Emory Jazz Fest presents Irvin Mayfield and the New Orleans Jazz Orchestra at 8 p.m. Feb. 7 ($50); jazz violinist Regina Carter with the Gary Motley Trio at 8 p.m. Feb. 13 ($20); and Big Band Night at 8 p.m. Feb. 14 (free), all at the Schwartz Center for Performing Arts, 1700 N. Decatur Road, Atlanta. Also coming to the Schwartz Center: Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, Feb. 5-7 ($30).

404-727-5050, arts.emory.edu.

Screening movement documentaries

Fulton County District 5 Commissioner Marvin Arrington Jr. hosts the Black History Film Festival, showcasing documentaries about the civil rights movement, including “February One: The Story of the Greensboro Four” and “Donald L. Hollowell: Foot Soldier for Equal Justice.” The screening, 1-5 p.m. Feb. 21, is at the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library System’s new Wolf Creek Branch.

Free. 3100 Enon Road, Atlanta. 404-613-4255, www.afpls.org/news.