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Paintings, Plays And Puppets Mark Black History Month In St. Louis

St. Louisans can explore the area's broad past including black history through larger-than-life puppets, Gee’s Bend, Ala., quilters and exhibits by members of the Alliance of Black Art Galleries.

The recently formed Alliance of Black Art Galleries will debut its first collaborative exhibit in February in connection with St. Louis’ 250th birthday celebration.

“St. Louis Through Artists’ Eyes” opens Feb. 1 with "We Have Not Forgotten" at Gya Community Art Galleryon Locust Avenue. Through visual art and text, the Gya exhibit will explore local history and some of the African Americans who helped make it. 
"Celebrating the Past," the Alliance's second exhibition in the series, opens Feb. 8 at 10th Street Gallerynear Washington Avenue.

But Alliance members wants to emphasize the “St. Louis Through Artists’ Eyes” series commemorates not just black history but all history. On Feb. 22, Salon 53 private gallery, another of the Alliance members, will open “2-5-Oh! Surprise, Sadness and Struggle in the Mound City.” The term “Mound City” refers to local structures made of earth by Native American Mississippian tribes more than 1,000 years ago.

Credit Provided by Freida Wheaton
Joy L. Wade's 'Of Brick and Cobblestone' will be part of the Salon 53 exhibit.

The displacement of Native American cultures, slavery, redlining in housing, and other racial and cultural divides are among the themes explored in ““2-5-Oh!” which is curated by Salon 53 owner Freida Wheaton, who first conceived the Alliance concept.

Events During Black History Month Include

'For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf'
Missouri History Museum, Lindell and DeBaliviere in Forest Park, 5700 Lindell Blvd., 63112
When: Thursday, Jan. 30-Feb. 9
How much: $35-$45
Tickets/Information: Black Rep website

‘And the Verdict Is ... a Campus Response to the Trayvon Martin Case’
Metcalf Theater, SIUE campus, Edwardsville, 62026
When: 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Jan. 31-Feb 1; 2 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 2
How much: Free
Tickets: call 618-650-2774 or email at theater-tickets@siue.edu
Information: SIUE Theater/Dance Facebook page

‘We Have Not Forgotten’
Gya Community Art Gallery, 2700 Locust Ave., 63103
When: Saturday, Feb. 1
How much: Free
Information: Gya website and stl250 website

‘Afrofuturism’ two-part lecture
Missouri History Museum, Lindell and DeBaliviere in Forest Park, 5700 Lindell Blvd., 63112
When: 3-5 p.m. Sundays, Feb. 3 and 23
How much: Free
Information: History Museum website

Credit Provided by Deanna Jent
Marty Casey and Jacqueline Thompson as Alice and Sadie in Gee’s Bend.

‘Gee’s Bend’ presented by Mustard Seed Theatre
Fontbonne Theatre, 6800 Wydown Blvd., 63105
When: Opens 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 7; runs Thursday-Sunday through Feb. 23
How much: $20/$25
Tickets: Mustard Seed tickets website
Information: Mustard Seed website

‘Samba’ featuring Afriky Lolo
COCA, 524 Trinity Avenue, 63130
When: 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 8
How much: $16 and $18
Tickets/Information: COCA website

'Celebrating the Past'
10th Street Art Gallery, 49 N. 10th St., 63101
When: Opens 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 8
How much: Free
Information: 10th Street websiteand  stl250 website

Wil Haygood
Author of “The Butler, A Witness to History”
When: 2 p.m. Feb. 9
Where: Central Library Auditorium, 101 Olive St., 63103
Information: slplfoundation.org/about/events/

St. Louis Symphony's 'Lift Every Voice' with Jennifer Holliday
Powell Hall, 718 North Grand Blvd., 63103
When: 7:30 p.m., Friday, Feb. 14
How much: $20-$25
Tickets/Information: Symphony website

Ayana Mathis
Author of “The Twelve Tribes of Hattie”
When: 7-9 p.m. Feb. 15
Where: St. Louis County Library Headquarters, 1640 S. Lindbergh, 63131
Information: www.slcl.org/black-history-celebration

Gitana Productions’ ‘Living the Dream: 50 Years and Beyond’ Public Performances
Carpenter Branch Library, 3309 South Grand Blvd., 63118 and Christ Southern Missionary Baptist Church, 5630 Page Blvd., 63112
When: Library 2 p.m. Saturday, Feb 22; church 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 23
How much: Free
Information: Gitana website

‘2-5-Oh! Surprise, Sadness and Struggle in the Mound City’
Salon 53, a private residential gallery, 4932 Maffitt Pl., 63113
When: 2-6 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 22
How much: Free; by reservation only; call 314-494-4660 or email FreiWhea@aol.com  
Information: stl250 website

Nancy is a veteran journalist whose career spans television, radio, print and online media. Her passions include the arts and social justice, and she particularly delights in the stories of people living and working in that intersection.