This February, in celebration of Black History Month, Discover Jersey Arts honors the work and impact of African American voices in the arts.
The contributions of African American artists have been vast — from The Harlem Renaissance, to the Black Arts Movement through today. Discover Jersey Arts, an ArtPride New Jersey Foundation program, celebrates the contributions of both artists and organizations throughout New Jersey — highlighting events, performances, exhibitions, artist spotlights, feature stories, podcasts and more.
“ArtPride is committed to highlighting artists and arts organizations from historically excluded communities all year long. The arts have always been a means of healing and justice, and ArtPride continues its celebration of the artistic voices from African American communities in New Jersey during Black History Month,” said Adam Perle, President and CEO of ArtPride NJ. “We encourage everyone to explore the variety of performances, exhibits, workshops and discussions this month and throughout the year.”
Featured programming will include:
Feature Event: Raisin at the Axelrod Performing Arts Center in Deal Park, N.J. — Lorraine Hansberry’s classic “A Raisin in the Sun” is transformed into a soulful, inspiring musical of a proud Black family’s quest for a better life. Tony Award winner for Best Musical, Raisin ran for over two years on Broadway and enjoyed a record-breaking national tour, including 40 major cities in the U.S. and Canada, being seen by 3.5 million people. This production will be directed by Evelyn Collins (founder of the Denzel Washington School of the Arts) and be a significant part of New Jersey’s Black History Month observations.
Artist Spotlight: Yahaya Kamate — Associate artistic director of the Seventh Principle Performance Company and the founder of Kamate Traders Dance Company, Yahaya Kamate has performed worldwide and soloed with companies including the National Ballet Cote D’Ivorie, Ballet D’Afrique, and Mask Dance Company. Kamate has taught at Mark Morris Dance Center, Audiences of NJ and NY, Alvin Ailey Dance Theater, and Center for Modern Dance Education. He has been with Seventh Principle as a principal artist and choreographer since 1997.
Feature Event: Arts of Global Africa: Virtual Tour at The Newark Museum of Art —The arts of Africa are as varied as the continent itself; millions of people of African descent live around the world, extending African creative expression well beyond the continent’s boundaries. Join a Virtual Gallery Tour to view the works at The Newark Museum of Art that highlight the continent’s diversity of materials, ideas, and forms and integrate historical and contemporary art.
Feature Exhibition: “Cycle of Creativity: Alison Saar and the Toni Morrison Papers” at Princeton University Art Museum, on view February 25, 2023 – Sunday, July 9, 2023 — This exhibition brings sculpture, prints, and textiles by the mixed-media artist Alison Saar into conversation with the work of Toni Morrison, whose vast trove of papers from her career as a novelist, essayist, playwright, professor, and editor are held in the Princeton University Library. Saar and Morrison share a dedication to giving voice to the Black American experience, drawing inspiration from past generations, and creating space for future cultural production through a dynamic that Saar calls a “cycle of creativity.” The exhibition explores themes that resonate in the works of both Saar and Morrison — musicality, labor, and ancestors — through various facets of each artist’s practice.
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