On Saturday, February 27, the Kennedy Heights Arts Center presents A Celebration of the Harlem Renaissance in collaboration with Juneteenth Cincinnati. This month-long exhibit celebrates the achievements and legacy of the African American cultural revival during the early 20th century.
A Celebration of the Harlem Renaissance will include a series of free, virtual performances over Saturdays in March. In addition to a visual art exhibit, viewers can expect jazz performances, a poetry reading, and performance by Revolution Dance Theatre.
Ellen Muse-Lindeman is the executive director of the Kennedy Heights Community Arts Center. She says the relationship between the arts center and Juneteenth Cincinnati goes back to 2012 when they first collaborated on a 25th Anniversary celebration of the Juneteenth holiday.
“We were honored when Lydia (Juneteenth's president) approached us about collaborating on a celebration of the Harlem Renaissance for Black History Month,” Muse-Lindeman says.
“This project is important for paying homage to a watershed era for African American arts at a time when the voices of African Americans were largely absent from cultural and political life of America — and for lifting up the voices of African American artists today.”
She says the goal of the project is to “honor those who were the original pioneers of a Black Lives Matter movement that reshaped the way society would see and respect people of color.”
The centerpiece of the project is an exhibition of commissioned new works by 12 contemporary artists inspired by the Harlem Renaissance, curated by Lex Nycole and Gee Horton. The pieces will be on display in the Kennedy Heights Arts Center's Lindner Gallery, as well as online.
Muse-Lindeman says, “We have brought together a phenomenal group of artists, curators, musicians, poets, dancers — those creating their own renaissance in Cincinnati today. And so the legacy continues.”
A Celebration of the Harlem Renaissance runs from February 27 to March 27 is free and accessible via the project website, www.renaissanceincincy.org.