February is recognized as Black History Month, and here in Los Angeles, there are many ways to celebrate the accomplishments of African-Americans in the United States. Celebrating the heritage and achievements of Black Americans is something that doesn’t need to be limited to just one month, especially here in Los Angeles.
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19th Annual African-American Art Festival
STAR Eco Station
10101 Jefferson Blvd., Culver City, CA 90232
The 19th Annual African-American Art Festival is happening on Saturday, February 9th from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm. This free, outdoor festival features live entertainment, children’s art exhibits, African drumming and dancing, games, local vendors, and more. Tours of the STAR Eco Station are available for a fee (adults $8; seniors $7; and children 16 and under $6).
Our Voice: Celebrating the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Awards
630 W. 5th St., Los Angeles, CA 90071
“Named for Mrs. Coretta Scott King, these awards recognize the works of outstanding African American authors and illustrators and uphold the vital importance of children’s literature that celebrates African American life and culture.” This exhibit is on display until February 9th, 2020.
African American Art Festival
STAR Eco Station
10101 Jefferson Blvd., Culver City, CA 90232
The Annual African-American Art Festival is happening on Saturday, February 8th from 11:00 am to 4:00 pm. This free, outdoor festival features live entertainment, children’s art exhibits, African drumming and dancing, games, local vendors, and more. Tours of the STAR Eco Station are available for a fee (adults $8; seniors $7; and children 16 and under $6).
African American Heritage Month Events
Los Angeles Public Library System
The Los Angeles Public Library System is hosting many events throughout the month in honor of African American Heritage Month. Some of the planned activities include story times, workshops, documentary screenings, live performances, and much more. Check the website for a detailed list of events.
California African American Museum (CAAM)
600 State Dr., Los Angeles, CA 90037
The California African American Museum is located within Exposition Park. The collection here consists of over 4,000 items dating back to the 1800’s all the way up to the present. The Museum’s collection includes paintings, historical documents, sculptures, films, artifacts, and photos. “CAAM aims to represent the diverse contributions of African Americans in the United States, but also to interpret how the past has affected identity in the present.” The Museum hosts a number of special events and programs throughout the year, including family-friendly programs. Check the website for a schedule of upcoming events. Admission is free; parking is $12. The Museum is closed on Mondays as well as Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day.
Black History Month Events
County of Los Angeles Public Library
The County of Los Angeles Public Library system is celebrating Black History Month all throughout February. Some of the planned activities include family art activities, live dance and musical performances, documentary screenings, story times, and more. Check the website for a detailed list of events. And click here to learn more about the County Library’s African American Resource Center (located at the A. C. Bilbrew Branch Library).
Black History Parade and Cultural Faire
Anaheim hosts an annual Black History Parade and Cultural Faire on the first Saturday in February (this year, February 1st). The events begin at 10:00 am and end at 4:00 pm. Check the website for details and the parade route.
28th Annual Pan African Film + Arts Festival
Cinemark 15 BHC
4020 Marlton Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90008
The 28th Annual Pan African Film + Arts Festival is happening February 13th through February 23rd. The Pan African Film Festival (PAFF) was established in 1992 and is “dedicated to racial tolerance through the exhibition of film, art and creative expression.” The Festival highlights both new and old films, as well as fine art and crafts. A variety of events are planned, and ticket information is available online.
Annual Black History Parade and Festival
Parade ends (and site of Festival is) at Robinson Park
1081 N. Fair Oaks Ave., Pasadena, CA 91103
The Annual Black History Parade and Festival is happening on Saturday, February 15th. The parade begins at 10:00 am. After the parade, the Black History Festival will continue until 4 pm. The Festival features food, music, displays, fun activities for kids, and more.
African American Firefighter Museum
1401 S. Central Ave., Los Angeles, CA
The African American Firefighter Museum (AAFFM) opened in 1997. It is recognized as the “only free standing African American Firefighter Museum in the United States.” Families will view vintage fire apparatus, photos, artifacts, and much more. The AAFFM is located in historic Fire Station #30 which was once a segregated firehouse. The Museum is open Tuesday and Thursday from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm and on Sundays from 1:00 pm to 4:00 pm.
18th Annual African-American Festival
Aquarium of the Pacific
100 Aquarium Way, Long Beach, CA 90802
The Aquarium of the Pacific hosts its annual African-American Festival on Saturday, February 22nd and Sunday, February 23rd (from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm each day). This special event celebrates “the rich diversity of African-American and African cultures.” Families will enjoy live musical and dance performances, arts and crafts, storytellers, and more. The Festival is included in general Aquarium admission.
The Museum of African American Art
Macy’s 3rd Floor – Baldwin Hills Crenshaw
4005 Crenshaw Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90008
Many Los Angeles residents may not even realize the Museum of African American Art exists. But it’s time to change that. Currently on display is No Crystal Stair: The Photography of John Simmons. The exhibition will be on display until March 29th. The Museum is open Thursday through Sunday, from 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm each day.
2020 Black History Month Festival
Leimert Park Village Plaza
4337 Degnan Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90008
The 2020 Black History Month Festival is happening on Sunday, February 16th from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm. This free community event is a day designed to celebrate “heritage, culture, and acknowledge Black History Month” and features art, food, music, vendors, and more.
The Mayme A. Clayton Library and Museum
4130 Overland Ave., Culver City, CA 90230
The collection at the Mayme A. Clayton Library and Museum (MCLM) “contains over two million rare books, films, documents, photographs, artifacts, and works of art related to the history and culture of African Americans in the United States, with a special focus on Southern California and the American West.” The Museum is hosting a special event on Saturday, February 23rd titled “Celebrating Black Leadership in Culver City.” Guided tours are available by appointment and can be made by calling 310-202-1647.
Leimert Park Artwalk
3333 43rd Pl., Los Angeles, CA 90008
Families can participate in the Leimert Park Art Walk on the last Sunday of each month. Families will enjoy art, music, culture, and good company at this free event. Check the website for details.
Betye Saar: Call and Response
Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA)
5905 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036
“Betye Saar (b. 1926, Los Angeles) is one of the most talented artists of her generation.” However, “she is not as well known as her talents deserve, however, no doubt largely because she is a black woman who came of age in the 1960s outside of New York City.” This special exhibition (on display through April 5th, 2020) looks at “the relationship between preliminary sketches in small notebooks, which Saar has made throughout her career, and finished works.” The exhibit covers the span of Saar’s career and is the “first exhibition at a California museum to address her entire career and the first anywhere to focus on her sketchbooks.” The Museum is closed on Wednesdays.
African Dance Competition LA 2020
California African American Museum
600 State Dr., Los Angeles, CA 90037
The African Dance Competition is a special Black History Month event happening on Saturday, February 29th from 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm. The competition “is in recognition of our youth’s efforts to promote and preserve African culture through dance and other art forms.” Tickets are available online and begin at $20.
Black History Month Thursdays
Pretend City Children’s Museum
29 Hubble, Irvine, CA 92618
Each Thursday during the month of February (February 6, 13, 20, and 27) Pretend City Children’s Museum will “learn about an influential African American figure in American History.” Children will learn through songs, stories, art activities, and more. All activities are included in general museum admission ($13.95 per visitor).
39th Annual Black Doll Show: Jubilee, Celebrations in Color
William Grant Still Arts Center
2520 W. View St., Los Angeles, CA 90016
Families can visit the 39th Annual Black Doll Show now through February 15th. This year’s theme is “Psychedollia” and showcases a “movement in joy, through Black life, music, art, fashion and popular culture.” The annual Doll Show serves as a “celebration of the monumental and small, ordinary and extraordinary events that depict Black life in all its facets.” Admission is free.
Balthazar: A Black African King in Medieval and Renaissance Art
The Getty Center
Getty Center Dr. and Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles, CA
“Early medieval legends reported that one of the three kings who paid homage to the newborn Christ Child in Bethlehem was from Africa. But it would be nearly one thousand years before artists began representing Balthazar, the youngest of the magi, as a Black African. This special exhibition is on display until February 16th.