Middlesex County celebrates Black History Month and more this February with a spectrum of arts & culture events

Middlesex County celebrates Black History Month and more this  February with a spectrum of arts & culture events

(MIDDLESEX COUNTY, NJ) — The Arts Institute of Middlesex County is presenting, promoting, and supporting a multitude of arts and culture events, exhibitions, and shows throughout the month of February. The month is packed with exciting programming primarily centered around Black History Month.

While the pandemic has affected in-person events, the Arts Institute is partnering with organizations to provide engaging and thought-provoking experiences. The County’s Arts Institute has helped partners navigate this new environment with engaging and thought-provoking experiences. These events can be accessed virtually and are free to enjoy for all County residents and beyond.

The events take place virtually throughout Middlesex County. Registration details and links to live stream events are available here.

NAACP Metuchen Edison Piscataway Area Branch​​ – February 2nd at 7:00pm. Please join us live via Zoom to virtually unveil the newest stamp from the Black Heritage series. For 2021, the United States Post Office will be honoring late playwright August Wilson. Mrs. Akia Thrope of the NAACP Metuchen Edison Piscataway Area Branch will be leading an interactive conversation done by civil and human rights activity, Mr. Kevin Powell entitled “History is a People’s Memory: Celebrating Ourselves, Celebrating Diversity”. Mr. Powell is also an author who recently released his newest book, “When We Free the World.” To join us via Zoom, click here

This program is funded by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, Discover Jersey Arts, and Middlesex County.

The Colored Museum – February 2-28. ​In the early ‘90s, Crossroads’ creative team was approached by a funder of the acclaimed television program Great Performances. They were asked, “if you could film any one Crossroads production for a national broadcast, what would it be?” The team unhesitatingly chose The Colored Museum, written by an emerging playwright named George C. Wolfe. It was a daring choice among the more traditional offerings from theaters nationwide, but their faith in their artist-in-residence was unwavering. Thirty years later, this brilliant, razor-sharp satire has earned itself an unshakeable place in the canon of Great American Theater, and is still being produced across America and throughout the world. Crossroads is proud to present to you the PBS broadcast of The Colored Museum in its entirety. For more info, click here


Screening & Panel Discussion: The Moral Responsibility of the Artist​​ – February 2nd at 7:00pm. The Zimmerli, Windows of Understanding, and Rutgers Global present Art After Hours on February 2. The Zoom program focuses on a listening session of “The Moral Responsibility of the Artist,” James Baldwin’s speech at the University of Chicago in 1963. It is followed by a panel of brief personal reflections from Mason Gross School of the Arts faculty members about the intersections of their art and social practice, as well as a live Q&A. Featured speakers include: Frederick Curry, Marc Handelman, Heather Hart, Marshall Jones, and Jo-El Lopez. Find details on Zimmerli at Home Virtual Events and view recordings of previous events on Videos.

The program is part of this year’s Windows of Understanding public art project, now in its fourth year of pairing artists with organizations to bring attention to positive strides being made by local social justice initiatives. Works are on view at venues throughout New Brunswick, Highland Park, and Metuchen through February 28. For more info, click here

Black History Month Art & Story Time​​ – February 3rd at 4:00pm. Join the Civic League of Greater New Brunswick as we explore the artwork and life of Romare Bearden, a 20th-century American artist of African, Cherokee, and Italian decent. Enjoy a reading of “My Hands Sing The Blues” written by Jeanne Walker Harvey and illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon. After the story, we will hunt for paper scraps and create a collage from whatever you have on hand just like Bearden. We will share a variety of our favorite picture books that honor black history to enjoy this month and the whole year through! All ages are welcome! If you have additional supplies on-hand, you can bring: a pair of scissors, glue, paper scraps, and a sheet of blank paper. To register, click here​

Windows of Understanding – Wellness & Healing Sessions​​​ – February 4th, 11th, 18th, 25th at 6:00pm​. Join us for a series of interactive sessions around different meditation and yoga practices every Thursday in February at 6:00pm via Zoom. For more info, click here

A Month of Gospel Music – Saturdays in February at 7:00pm. Every Saturday in February, join pastors and speakers from New Brunswick’s historic African American churches as they share their history and lift their voices in song. This is the virtual version of “An Evening of Gospel Choirs,” now in its 38th year. It’s a celebration you won’t want to miss! For more info, click here

Harriet Tubman and Ona Judge: Two Women Who Resisted​​​ – February 10th at 7:00pm. Dr. Linda Caldwell-Epps shares the histories of Ona Judge and Harriet Tubman, two enslaved women who fought their way to freedom in the late 18th and 19th centuries. Participants will learn how these two women shared a desire for freedom at all costs, and the drive to determine their futures. Their story of resistance can be traced through American history and it serves as a model for people today who are resisting and protesting for what they believe to their as citizens. To register, please call the library at 732-287-2298 or visit us online by clicking here 

This program is funded by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, Discover Jersey Arts, and Middlesex County.

Beatmakers & Barrier Breakers: Creating Communities through Music​​ – February 11th at 3:30pm. In celebration of Black History Month, join local DJs, producers, and emcees as they talk about the importance of creating music, whether they are doing it in front of a live audience or for a virtual crowd. Learn how the art form has adapted to the pandemic to continue bringing people together despite the changes in social gatherings. To register, please contact [email protected]​  For accessibility requests or questions, please contact [email protected]


An event by the Folklife Program for New Jersey. Grant funding has been provided by the Middlesex County Board of County Commissioners, and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, a partner of the National Endowment for the Arts.

Hubert Harrison: The Father of Harlem Radicalism ​​​- February 25th at 7:00pm. After coming to the U.S, in 1900, St. Croix-born, Harlem-based Hubert Harrison (1883-1927) served as the founder of the Liberty League and was a pioneer lack activist in the Freethought Movement. Often known as the father of Harlem Radicalism, he helped transform the 135th Street Public Library into an international center for research in Black culture (known today as the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture). 

Please join us for Dr. Perry’s Zoom presentation which is based on his two-volume Columbia University press biography – “Hubert Harrison: The Voice of Harlem Radicalism, 1993-1918” and the recently published “Hubert Harrison: The Struggle for Equality, 1918-1927.” Dr. Jeffrey B. Perry is an archivist, bibliophile, and historian, preserved and inventoried the “Hubert H. Harrison Papers” and helped to place them at the Rare Books and Manuscript Library, Columbia University. To register, please call the library at 732-287-2298 or visit us online by clicking here

This program is funded by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, Discover Jersey Arts, and Middlesex County.

George Street Playhouse: Bad Dates​​​ February 14th — March 7th. “A one-woman rom-com featuring 600 pairs of shoes and a string of unsatisfactory dates, Bad Dates was called “miraculously contrived to turn Ms. Rebeck’s show into a poignant slice of urban life that also happens to be drop-dead funny” by The Wall Street Journal. For more info, click here

American Repertory Ballet: Auditions​​​. American Repertory Ballet (ARB) is welcoming a new Artistic Director Designate, Ethan Stiefel and is now accepting audition materials! ARB is a founding resident company of the New Brunswick Performing Arts Center (NBPAC), where the studios and theaters are easily accessible to New York City and north/central New Jersey. ARB is an equal opportunity employer. For more info, click here

BLOOM: Explore Growth and Self-Expression through Art​​​ – February 13th at 2:00pm. This spring, the Zimmerli Art Museum is partnering with Sisterwork, a New Brunswick start-up committed to addressing intergenerational poverty in New Jersey, for the new series BLOOM: Explore Growth and Self-Expression through Art. The public is invited to participate in any or all of the workshops, which take place on the second Saturdays of February 13, March 13, and April 10. Each session invites participants to engage with artwork in the Zimmerli’s collections through mindfulness, movement, and storytelling. Sessions are free and open to the public.


Registration is not required. Workshops are conducted with both English and Spanish instruction. Please visit Zimmerli At Home for details and Zoom information.

2/13 – Strike a Pose: Our Bodies as Works of Art

3/13 – Life Portraits: Share Your Stories through Art Making

4/10 – Thrive: Sketching Your Growth through Botany

To join Zoom Meeting, click here

Moderated Discussion Featuring Sarah Collins Rudolph – February 16th at 6:30pm. Sarah Collins Rudolph, sole survivor of the 16th Street Baptist Church Bombing will discuss her spiritual journey of healing. The discussion will be moderated by an NAACP youth leader. For more info, click here

New Jersey Film Festival  January 30th – February 21st. The Virtual Spring 2021 New Jersey Film Festival Schedule has been announced. Learn more here.


Windows of Understanding – Community Conversation: Public Health & Healing – February 24th at​ 7:30pm​. Hosted by Metuchen Human Relations Commission featuring the Metuchen First Aid Squad and Women Aware. Discussion will focus on illuminating the timely work of the Metuchen First Aid Squad and Women Aware of New Brunswick. The featured artist interpreting those agencies include Dominisque Brancato, Lauren Rabinowitz, Luciana Mallozzi, Martina Hanna, Amalya Sherman and Janice Fried. For more info, click here

New Brunswick Tomorrow, coLAB & Esperanza Neighborhood Project​​​. ​Make sure to check out these two new murals in New Brunswick, created through a partnership between New Brunswick Tomorrow and coLAB Arts. Partial funding for the mural on the right was provided by the Middlesex County Board of County Commissioners through a grant award from the Middlesex County Cultural and Arts Trust Fund and through a grant award from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.

To honor Black History Month, the Arts Institute will present a series of videos and content online. Please visit throughout the month of February for more exciting programs.

originally published: 01/28/2021

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