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Black History Month in University Circle

Celebrate Black History Month in University Circle! Enjoy special programs and activities throughout the month to honor Black History. Learning about and being inspired by influential Black figures, both historical and modern, is an excellent way to honor the legacy and impact of their accomplishments all year round. 

Please contact the individual museums and institutions for more information on these events.

University Circle Inc.

Cozad-Bates House Interpretive Center

The Cozad-Bates House is the only pre-Civil War home remaining in University Circle. A new interpretive center highlights this area’s history as a center of anti-slavery activism and honors those seeking freedom through indoor exhibits and outdoor installations.

Saturdays, Noon - 4:00 p.m. | FREE


The Cleveland Museum of Art

Lunchtime Lecture: Collaboration in the CMA's African Art Galleries

Every museum display is the result of collaboration. In this “behind-the-scenes stories” talk, Kristen Windmuller-Luna, curator of African art, highlights objects whose presentations benefited from recent collaborations with CMA conservators and mount makers, a contemporary Nigerian artist, and a bird expert. 

Tuesday, February 7 | Noon | FREE


Arts of Africa: Gallery Rotation

Several works acquired during the CMA’s first 25 years show the long institutional history of African arts. These include a central African elite’s luxurious wooden sandals and a Zimbabwean ceremonial axe with ties to both the historical Great Zimbabwe and modern independence movements. Among these early acquisitions are pieces made by the royal Asante goldsmiths’ guild; these visitor favorites are reinstalled with new texts regarding their spiritual meaning and artists’ techniques.

On Display through July 2 | Hours vary | FREE


Cleveland Cultural Gardens

African American Garden

The pavilion depicts stages of the slave passage to the new world with its polished black granite sculptural walls which create a sensation of compression, tension and apprehension. The Door of No Return is the sandstone portal addressing the notion of unknown transition. The Infinity Fountain echoes the illusion of the tranquility of the Atlantic Ocean as seen through the actual Doorway of No Return.

Open Daily | Dawn to Dusk | FREE


Cleveland History Center

History on Tap: A Celebration of Black Culture

Join CHC for happy hour at the Cleveland History Center to celebrate Black History Month with our History on Tap event! Focusing on the life and works of Allen E. Cole and the ongoing perspective of black culture through art in Cleveland, they will host interdisciplinary artists from Cleveland’s ever-expanding visual arts community.

Thursday, February 23 | 5:00 pm | $


African American Archives

The African American Archives of the Western Reserve Historical Society was established in 1970. Its purpose is to collect, preserve and make accessible historic documents, photographs, memorabilia, art, and artifacts pertaining to African American life, history and culture in Northeast Ohio. The collection includes manuscripts, photographs, microfilm, and newspaper collections. Museum artifacts are specific to the African American experience and cover a wide range of topics and categories of primary importance to the body of Black history.

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Carl & Louis Stokes Making History

This exhibit honors Mayor Carl B. Stokes and his brother, Congressman Louis Stokes, and is built as a continuation of their legacy of leadership, advocacy and action.

The stories of the political careers of Carl & Louis Stokes illuminate and define broader issues in African-American and American urban history. While the exhibit celebrates the achievements of Carl and Louis Stokes, it also uses their experiences to reflect on and explore topics such as the Civil Rights Movement, social and economic disparity and the rise and importance of heroes and exemplars.

Dates & Times Vary | $

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Partnerships, Portraits, and the Power of Photojournalism: Black History According to Allen E. and Frances T. Cole

This exhibit considers key themes in the history of Black Cleveland within the larger context of American history and the art of photography. The exhibition, part of the Past Masters, Master Teachers, and Modern Artists series; commemorates the centenary of the establishment of the Coles’ home-based studio in 1922 and the 10th anniversary of the publication of Through the Lens of Allen E. Cole: A Photographic History of African Americans in Cleveland, Ohio.

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Black Moses: The Art of Rev. Albert Wagner

Reverend Albert Wagner is a globally recognized artist and part of a movement called “visionary” or “outsider” art. Outsider art is art created by untrained artists who are driven to their work by obsession, or in Albert Wagner’s case, divine revelation.

Dates & Times Vary | $

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Karamu House

Red Summer

Featuring music, dance, poetry, and artists and collaborators from the artistic community of Cleveland, Red Summer will excavate many of the unheard stories of that summer and explore what we as a nation have learned since.

Feb. 24 through March 5 | Times Vary | $


moCa Cleveland

Nina Chanel Abney: Big Butch Synergy

Nina Chanel Abney uses a unique language of coded icons, numbers, and figures in paintings and collages that communicate urgent messages about resistance, love, and hope. For this exhibition, she debuts a new body of work presented in two shows, one at ICA Miami, Big Butch Energy, and one at moCa Cleveland, Big Butch Synergy. The series explores and celebrates expressions of Black masculine women and those who resist hetero- or cis-normative gender roles. In moCa’s multi-space presentation, Abney will create a site-responsive monumental artwork on the museum’s ground floor and a new series of gallery-installed large-scale paintings that all teem with her bold, pictorial language and characteristically impactful expressions.

Dates & Times Vary | Free

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Black Arts Showcase

Now in its second year, the Black Arts Showcase, developed by artist and Community Engagement & Education Coordinator Bobbi Reagins, celebrates the various forms of artistic expression and creativity deeply embedded in African American culture.

Saturday, February 18 | 12:00-4:00 p.m. | Free

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The Music Settlement

Linking Legacies Concert

The Linking Legacies concert, curated and performed by tenor Matthew Jones, cellist Khari Joyner, violist Chris Jenkins, and pianist Dianna White-Gould, features African American classical artists performing and living in Ohio, and honors classical compositions by African American composers with deep ties to Northeast Ohio. TMS will host the event on Friday, February 24 at 7:00 PM at its historic University Circle campus.

Friday, February 24 | 7:00 p.m. | $

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Mt. Zion

Stitch, Breathe, Speak: The George Floyd Quilts

Beginning Friday, February 17, Stitch, Breathe, Speak: The George Floyd Quilts, an exhibit of nine quilts capturing the last words of George Floyd's life, will be on exhibit in the Gallery at Shinn House. 

Dates & Times Vary | Free

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Cleveland Botanical Garden

Race & Place: A Conversation with Author Carolyn Finney

Using both academic and artistic ways of knowing, Finney’s work explores the important intersection of race and place, challenging us to question and expand the language of mainstream environmentalism to include a multitude of Black experiences on the land. Her writing incorporates environmental history, arts and culture, and social justice to highlight the past, present, and future of African Americans and the outdoors. The talk will take place in Woodland Hall.

Saturday, February 25 | 1:00-3:00 p.m. | $

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