Newark Museum Celebrates MLK Day With Performances and Special Tour

King's iconic "I Have a Dream" speech will be screened hourly in the afternoon.

Stephen Somerstein, Martin Luther King Jr. looking out at the crowd at Montgomery. Now recreated in the Selma movie poster, the photographer snapped this shot by taking advantage of the moment. "You don’t ask people, you don’t discuss it, you just do it. . . . I had 30 seconds to take the photograph," he remembered.
Photo: Stephen Somerstein.

New Jersey’s Newark Museum is marking Martin Luther King Jr. Day with a day of film screenings, performance, and tours of its art collection.

In honor of the occasion, museum admission, usually $15, will be free on Monday, January 18, 2016. “Imagine what would happen if everyone committed themselves to the ideal of freedom and justice for all,” the museum asks on the event website.

Docents will give a themed tour of the museum titled “The Art of the Civil Rights Movement” at 1:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m., highlighting works in the museum collection by 20th-century African American artists such as Barbara Chase-Riboud, Mel Edwards, Vincent Smith, Robert Colescott, and Ben Jones.

Joseph Stella, <em>The Voice of the City of New York Interpreted</em> (1920–22). Photo: courtesy the Newark Museum.

A 12:30 p.m. tour aimed at teenage visitors will examine the museum’s newly-installed gallery “The Harlem Renaissance and the City in the Machine Age.” The centerpiece of the exhibition is Joseph Stella’s multi-panel masterpiece, The Voice of the City of New York.

King’s iconic “I Have a Dream” speech will be screened hourly between 12:30 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. The Southern Poverty Law Center‘s 40-minute film, Selma: The Bridge to the Ballot, an Octavia Spencer-narrated documentary about those who fought for equal voting rights during the Civil Right’s Movement, will be shown at 1:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m.

At 2:30 p.m., opera singer Kevin Maynor will honor King and Mahatma Gandhi with a combination of spoken word and multimedia imagery, while photographer Akntola Hanif has curated “A Spoken Word Odyssey through the Collections,” with performances at 3:30 p.m.

All-ages activities will also include an MLK-themed scavenger hunt through the permanent collection, as well as a series of arts and crafts projects in which visitors will be invited to make personal peace books as well as a massive group portrait celebrating the diversity of the Newark community.

“Our art collections—which span the globe from the Americas to Asia  to Africa—also reflect the diversity of our community and world,” museum director and CDEO Steven Kern wrote in an email to artnet News.

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