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Celebrate Black History Month in Downtown Indianapolis

Indianapolis Artsgarden

The Indianapolis Artsgarden is the home of the Art and Soul Celebration. AroundIndy.com staff photo.

By Brittany Smith
Indianapolis Downtown, Inc.

February is Black History Month and venues throughout Downtown are offering a wide range of events celebrating African-American heritage and traditions. For a complete calendar of events, search online at www.indydt.com.

Experience living Black History on Indiana Avenue

Indiana Avenue is a powerful version of the American dream through an African-American lens.  The Avenue is the historic African-American commercial, entertainment and worship center.  Today’s landscape is filled with enduring landmarks, a burgeoning university campus, contemporary residences and a lush waterway.  Indiana Avenue truly is rhythm reborn. The rich heritage comes to life on stage, in public art, museums, art galleries, nightlife and in the church. Visit www.DiscoverIndianaAvenue.com for more information about Indiana Avenue.

Also located on Indiana Avenue is the historic Madame Walker Theatre Center. The Madame Walker Theatre Center, housed in the historic Madame C.J. Walker Building, has long symbolized the spirit of creativity and community pride in Downtown Indianapolis. Join Jeff Henderson, an award-winning chef and bestselling author, for his inspiring journey from serving nearly a decade in prison to becoming the Executive Chef at Café Bellagio and Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas Feb. 16. Celebrate Black History Month with the Walker Theatre by spending your lunch hour at Soul Food Friday, Feb. 24th. Soul Food Friday features an independent African-American caterer or restaurant with music. Also join the Madame Walker Theatre for Jazz on the Avenue Feb. 24 in the Ballroom for live jazz and cocktails. Call 236.2099 or visit www.walkertheatre.com for more information.

Art & Soul at the Indianapolis Artsgarden

Don’t miss more than 15 FREE performances throughout the month of February as part of the 16th annual Art & Soul in the Indianapolis Artsgarden, which kicks off Jan. 27.  This annual celebration of African-American art and artists celebrates Black History Month.  The performances feature a broad range of musical, dance, spoken word, poetry and living history from both established and emerging artists. Highlights throughout the month of February include Bashiri Asad, Cynthia Layne, the Asante Children’s Theatre and many more. For more details and a schedule of events, visit www.indyarts.org or call 317-631-3301.

Learn about Black history

Experience the plight of slaves on a dangerous journey for freedom in Follow the Drinking Gourd, a SpaceQuest Planetarium show at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis Feb. 1 – 29. For more information, visit www.childrensmusem.org.

Head to the Central Library to observe the works of locally-prominent African-American artists in the 24th annual “Meet the Artists” exhibit Feb. 3 – March 31. This year’s theme is “A Post Super Bowl Extravaganza.” Works representing a variety of artistic mediums can be viewed throughout the Library.

Visit the Indiana State Museum to see REPRESENT: Art by African-Americans now – July 15. Don’t miss REPRESENT Family Day, Feb. 11! Enjoy the inspirational sounds of a gospel choir, move to the rhythm of high-energy dancing, experience a cultural organizations fair, create your own adinkra cloth, explore the exhibit and more. This celebration of Black History Month will provide you with a day full of family fun and a new appreciation for the long history of African-American artists here in Indiana.

The ISO’s FREE Celebration of Black History concert honors the significant impact of African-American culture on classical and symphonic music, as well as the superb artistry and creativity of black artists, composers and conductors.  Join the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra for the 27th Anniversary Celebration of Black History Concert Feb. 15 at 7:30 p.m. conducted by Indianapolis native Kazem Abdullah. Relive The Magic of Motown with a tribute to the biggest movers and shakers of an unforgettable era Feb. 17 & 18. Featuring soulful sounds, theatrical panache and inspired arrangements of the vocal quartet Spectrum, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra will take you back to the 60s with stirring renditions of the music that defined a generation.

The Indiana Historical Society and Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library invite children and families to learn about Indiana’s rich African-American history by participating in the Indiana Black History Challenge. The Challenge encourages contestants to investigate famous African-American Hoosiers and their contributions to society now – Feb. 29.

For more information, visit http://indydt.com/, or call 317-237-2222.

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