February marks National Black History Month in the United States – a month honoring the history and achievements of Black Americans. In Flint & Genesee, there are some longstanding events in the community that locals and visitors can enjoy. Additionally, local institutions are hosting events or exhibitions that are themed around the month.
Learn how you can celebrate Black History Month this year in Flint & Genesee.
Flint Institute of Arts
The local fine arts museum is showing three exhibitions during February that connect to Black culture and history. The first exhibit, Expressions: Works on Paper by African American Artists presents a selection of works on paper by African American artists acquired by the Flint Institute of Arts over the last decade. The second exhibit, Ezra Ube Videoworks: Volume 1 features four video works by artist Ezra Wube, each uniquely referencing time, urban experience, and cross-cultural mobility. Born in Ethiopia, Wube is a mixed media artist that lives and works in New York City. The third exhibit, Ways of Seeing: The Paul R. Jones Collection of American Art at The University of Alabama, includes one of the largest and most comprehensive collections of 20th-century African-American art in the world, amassed over decades by Paul Raymond Jones, who was described by Art & Antiques magazine as “one of the top art collectors in the country.”
African American Film Series
Each year, Communities First, Inc. presents the African American Film Series. The last film in the series, Balloon Man, shows on Feb. 9 at the Flint Institute of Arts. After being drafted by the Buffalo Bills, tragedy forces Bill Costen out of his dream. Saying goodbye to a career on the turf, he takes to the air, becoming the first African American Hot-Air Balloon Master Pilot in the world. A panel discussion will be held on Feb. 11 on YouTube and Facebook Live.
Greater Flint Arts Council
Each February, Greater Flint Arts Council (GFAC) features its African American Artists of Michigan All Media exhibition. The exhibit runs Feb. 10-Mar. 3 with an opening reception at February's Flint ARTWALK on Feb. 10 from 6-9 p.m. The reception includes music from Phil Young and Friends as well as food and drinks.
The New McCree Theatre
The New McCree Theatre's mission is to tell the African American story in the African American voice. The local theatre is performing The Soul of Etta James, a musical bio by Charles H. Winfrey, from Feb. 16-Mar. 4.
The MW Gallery hosts the Mott-Warsh Collection, a private collection of fine art created by artists of the African diaspora and others who reflect on it. The gallery hosts guided tours on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.
Genesee District Library
The GDL will host its 22nd Annual Black History Month Brunch virtually on Saturday, Feb. 4 at the Genesys Conference & Banquet Center in Grand Blanc. The 2023 honorees include Mr. Norm Bryant, Dr. Shane Jackson. Sgt. Tanya Meeks and Mr. Ronald S. Brown from Flint Odessey House. Entertainment during the event includes keynote speaker Nikki Giovanni, Gwen Pennyman-Hemphill, and the Kuungana Drum and Dance Company.