Event Spotlight: I, Too, Sing America

Melissa Kossler Dutton
Live performances, such as this one at a Gallery Hop, have been a hallmark of the yearlong celebration.

Columbus is celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Harlem Renaissance with events designed to educate Central Ohioans about the historic cultural rebirth while shining a light on artistic happenings taking place in our city today.

DubbedI, Too, Sing America: The Harlem Renaissance at 100, the yearlong initiative highlights Columbus' connection to the African-American artists and performers who drove the intellectual, social and artistic explosion that occurred in Harlem a century ago, said Yohannan Terrell, CEO of Warhol & Wall St., which is organizing the celebration. Many of them traveled here to perform in the King-Lincoln District, which was a hub of theaters and artist activity, he said.

The celebration, named for a poem written by Langston Hughes, is designed to educate people about the Harlem Renaissance and also to provide opportunities to be exposed to the arts. Terrell encourages families to attend the festivities. “You want your child to experience a variety of cultures and kinds of art,” he said. “Experiences like that help kids discover themselves.”

He in particular recommends visiting the Short North, where local artists have painted 12 murals inspired by the Harlem Renaissance. “Art doesn't just have to be in the classroom,” he said. “It's on the streets and in buildings. It's everywhere.”

Here is a list of family-friendly events planned for November. For performance times and more information, go tocbusharlem100.org.

Nov. 3-4

The Magic of the Harlem Renaissance – This musical production from the Lincoln Theatre Association highlights African-American artists who created and influenced the Harlem Renaissance. Lincoln Theatre, 769 E. Long St., Columbus. Tickets start at $26.50.

Nov. 4

Harlem Renaissance Poetry & Prose Reading – Local poets Vernell Bristow, Marcus Jackson and Negesti Kaudo will read works of key Harlem Renaissance figures and their own. CCAD Canzani Center, 60 Cleveland Ave., Columbus. Free.

Nov. 16

Dance Theatre of Harlem – The Dance Theatre of Harlem performs classic and contemporary pieces. Palace Theatre, 34 W. Broad St., Columbus. Tickets start at $30.

Nov. 18

Seize the Music – This installment of the Carpe Diem string quartet's Seize the Music concert series focuses on the Harlem Renaissance. Columbus Museum of Art, 480 E. Broad St., Columbus. Tickets start at $10.