ARTS Presents: Lunch + Learn

Celebrating Black History Month

Friday, February 19 | 12-1 p.m.
Bertha Knight Landes Room at City Hall
600 4th Ave, Seattle, WA 98104

Please join us for a special Lunch + Learn, celebrating Black History Month. Artists Barbara Earl Thomas, Aramis Hamer and C. Davida Ingram will present their work and Ingram will moderate a conversation about how their artwork reflects their cultural heritage. Curated by Ruri Yampolsky, Public Art Program Director, Seattle Office of Arts & Culture.

Please bring your lunch; beverages and food for thought will be provided.

Please RSVP here by Tuesday, February 16, 2016.

Celebrating Black History Month in Seattle

February marks the beginning of Black History Month, but residents of Seattle are able to celebrate and learn about the rich cultural history of Blacks and African-Americans all year long. In honor of Black History Month we have compiled a few events to mark on your calendar in February and throughout the year.

Northwest African American Museum
Black Quarterly – Gentrification
February 4, 6:30 – 8 p.m.
Free
The Black Quarterly brings people together to break bread and delve deeper into a world of topics. February’s conversation topic: Changing Neighborhoods, Displacement, Personal & Cultural Ownership of Community.  Hosted by Inye Wokoma.

With the fluidity of a dinner table conversation, the Black Quarterly takes socially pertinent topics and creates a space for deeper and honest discussion about the dreams and challenges we face as a society. While the table is set for a limited number of guests, the goal is for the fruits of the conversation to ripple into the community as participants learn from each other’s diverse perspectives. The conversation, whenever possible, will also extend directly into the greater community through social media. 

Dialogues in Art: Exhibitions on Racial Injustice
Sign of the Times
Seattle Presents Gallery opening
Thursday, February 4, 4 – 5:30 p.m.
Free
In Sign of The Times Johnson reveals statistics and data that counter the negative media representations of African-Americans. The exhibition will feature artistic representations of data that illustrate the increase of graduation rates of African-Americans from the 60’s; and the increase of marriage in straight and LGBTQ Black homes. Sign of the Times not only demonstrates the power of data and how it is shared but pairs with Black History Month by having a black artist actively re-write history.

Dialogues in Art: Exhibitions on Racial Injustice is a yearlong series of exhibitions that explore artists’ and curators’ interpretations of racial injustice and systemic racism impacting Black and African-American people throughout America. 

Museum of History and Industry
Black History Month Celebration
Saturday, February 13, 11 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
$7
Get immersed in Seattle Hip-Hop culture and history through special film screenings, performances, and photography. Participate in a community panel discussion continuing the Town Hall Seattle conversation on the role of Black Lives Matter and the civil rights movement in Hip-Hop.

ARTS Presents: Lunch + Learn
Celebrating Black History Month
Friday, February 19, 12 – 1 p.m.
Free

Please join us for a special Lunch + Learn, celebrating Black History Month. Artists Barbara Earl Thomas, Aramis Hamer and C. Davida Ingram will present their work and Ingram will moderate a conversation about how their artwork reflects their cultural heritage. Please bring your lunch; beverages and food for thought will be provided.

Northwest African American Museum
Complex Exchange – Tradition & Innovation
February 24, 7 – 9 p.m.
Free
RANDERSON ROMUALDO CORDEIRO, 2008, KEHINDE WILEY
A Program Partnership with Seattle Art Museum
Complex Exchange pairs Seattle community members from varying disciplines in a series of conversations related to issues of race, power, and politics of representation.

Artists, technologists, activists, writers, and community builders tackle themes inspired by the exhibitions Kehinde Wiley: A New Republic—on view at the Seattle Art Museum, and The Harmon and Harriet Kelly Collection of African American Art: Works on Paper—on view at NAAM.

EMP Museum
Through the Eyes of Art
Sky Church at EMP Museum
Friday, February 26, 7 – 11 p.m.
$15 ($10 EMP members) All ages.
Presented by EMP Museum and Brandkings, Through the Eyes of Art is the city’s premier Black History Month celebration. Now in its third year, the event will take an artistic look at the topic of Black Love featuring live performances from Draze and others, presentation of the Servant of the People Award honoring gospel singer Pat Wright and Gregg Alex (Matt Talbot Center), and an art show from some of Seattle’s top painters and photographers. Visit Black History Month at EMP to learn about other events.

2016 Black Music Summit
Saturday, February 27, 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
The 2016 Black Music Summit will bring together music stakeholders including musicians, artists, technologists, promoters, venues, media, educators, community organizers and others to discuss the music industry, innovation and future of Black music in the Central Area, Seattle and beyond.  The theme of the event will be innovation and explore the future of Black music at the intersection of art, technology and business. Tickets are available at http://blackmusicsummit.com/

Celebrate Black culture anytime:

STG Presents: Re:definition Gallery, Curated by Jonathan Moore & Tariqa Waters, Featuring works by Ari Glass & Aramis Hamer
The Paramount Theatre
911 Pine Street
Seattle, WA 98101
Re:definition aims to redefine historic cultural space in the form of an art gallery for local visual artists, with rotating exhibits occurring throughout the year. Current exhibit on display through May 31, 2016.

As a society, we prescribe definitions to our spaces and faces, in an effort to put the world around us into context. Via participation with a significant number of arts managers in our area, Seattle Theatre Group has gained an increased sensitivity to how definitions can be limiting, outdated and in many cases, hurtful. To expand the conversation on the importance of space and how it can be illuminating, STG will be showcasing three visual art exhibits featuring Black artists and their work.

Spectrum Dance Theater
201516 Season #RACEish
An exploration of America’s 240 years of (failed) race relations. #RACEish is a series of productions that boldly disrupt the current conversation around race – a conversation that has become tinny, familiar, insular, limited, narrowed by political correctness, self-censored, afraid to offend and peopled by people that think alike.

Intiman Theater Summer Festival
July 2016
Award-winning director and University of Washington School of Drama professor Valerie Curtis-Newton will serve as co-curator of the 2016 Intiman Theatre Festival, which will be devoted to great American playwrights who are also inter-generational black female writers.

Seattle Parks and Recreation remembers Sam Smith

Sam Smith with a group from VFW in his office, May 1989.
Photo courtesy of the Seattle Municipal Archives.

In September 1998, the central portion of the I-90 lid was renamed Sam Smith Park to honor Seattle’s first African American City Councilmember.

In the course of a political career that spanned 34 years, Sam Smith served five terms in the Washington State Legislature (the second black member) and five terms on the Seattle City Council.

Smith represented the 37th district in Olympia beginning in 1958. One of his priorities in Olympia was promoting a bill that banned discrimination based on religion and race in the rental or sale of homes.

When Smith became a City Councilmember, he continued to focus on civil rights. In his first year, he successfully championed the adoption of a municipal Open Housing Law. Throughout his career, Smith also pushed for the hiring of African American police officers and firefighters, and, as the long-time chairman of the Utilities Committee, opposed the increase of power, water and garbage rates for low-income residents. He served as City Council President from 1974-1977 and again from 1986-1989, and chaired the Public Safety Committee, Housing and Human Services Committee, and the Labor Committee, in addition to Utilities.

Smith is remembered for his many efforts to promote social justice and to bridge the cultural and political gulf that separated Seattle’s black and white communities.

The I-90 lid was named for Smith based on the nominations of citizens, the Washington Black Heritage Society and the Urban League of Greater Seattle.

Sam Smith Park encompasses the largest and most central part of the I-90 lid. It has a play area for children, picnic tables and tennis courts. It is the site of Blue Dog Pond and the Urban Peace Circle, a sculpture by Seattle sculptor Gerard Tsutakawa, dedicated to children killed by gun violence in Seattle’s inner city.

Seattle Parks and Recreation remembers Powell Barnett

Powell Barnett being shown development plans by John O. Andrew, former Chair of the Board of Parks Commissioners (left), Hans A. Thompson, former Seattle Parks and Recreation Superintendent, and Roy Lehner of the David Jensen Association in October 1970.
Photo courtesy of the Seattle Municipal Archives

The 4.4-acre park that lies between East Alder and East Jefferson streets was named for civil rights activist and community leader Powell Barnett in 1969.

Barnett’s father, an ex-slave, was recruited to work in the coal mines in Roslyn, Washington in 1889. Barnett worked in the mines as a young man, but moved to Seattle in 1906 to explore other opportunities. He worked as a sub-foreman installing street car lines and later helped build downtown hotels. He clerked for State Senator Frank Connor and served as a maintenance man at the King County Courthouse before retiring at age 71.

Barnett is remembered for his passion to improve race relations in the city. He organized the Leschi Improvement Council and became the first president in 1967, in addition to organizing the East Madison YMCA and serving as board chairman.

Barnett helped bring together different races in the YMCA and was the first African American to become a member of the once all-white Musicians Union, Local 76.

Powell Barnett Park has a children’s play area, summer wading pool, basketball hoops and tricycle maze.