Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day With These Art Events

Cultural institutions honor the great civil rights leader.

Martin Luther King Jr. Courtesy of the Newark Museum.
Martin Luther King Jr. Courtesy of the Newark Museum.

Since 1986, the third Monday of January has been recognized as Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a federal holiday. An American Baptist minister who championed nonviolent civil disobedience as a means for advancing civil rights, King is considered one of the best orators in the history of the US. Though he was assassinated in 1968, King’s legacy has served as an inspiration to countless Americans, and many artists. Check out some of the local cultural institutions marking the holiday this long weekend.

Friday, January 13–Saturday, January 14

Schomburg's 5th Annual Black Comic Book Festival. Courtesy of the New York Public Library.

Schomburg’s 5th Annual Black Comic Book Festival. Courtesy of the New York Public Library.

1. “5th Annual Black Comic Book Festival” at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
The New York Public Library has timed its fifth annual Black Comic Book Festival to the holiday weekend. Described by Schomburg director of education and exhibitions Deirdre Hollman as “by, of and for the people,” the festival features a wide range of programming including panel discussions, film screenings, cosplay, and artwork from black comic creators from across the country.

Location: Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Latimer/Edison Gallery, 515 Malcolm X Boulevard
Price: Free
Time: 10 a.m.–6:45 p.m.

Saturday, January 14–Sunday, January 15

A child with his artwork. Courtesy of Wave Hill.

A child with his artwork. Courtesy of Wave Hill.

2. Family Art Project: A Hand in Freedom at Wave Hill 
This family friendly event invites children to create artwork inspired by King’s message of justice and freedom, tracing the outline of their hands. Fabric, yarn, markers, and other crafting materials will be provided.

Location: Wave Hill House, West 249th Street and Independence Avenue
Price: Free with general admission; $8 adults/$4 students and seniors/$2 children; free until noon on Saturday
Time: 10 a.m.–1 p.m.

Sunday, January 15–Monday, January 16

View of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. addressing a crowd gathered outside the United Nations following a march from Central Park on April 15, 1967. In his speech, Dr. King decried the Vietnam War as a racist war. Courtesy of the Museum of the City of New York.

View of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. addressing a crowd gathered outside the United Nations following a march from Central Park on April 15, 1967. In his speech, Dr. King decried the Vietnam War as a racist war. Courtesy of the Museum of the City of New York.

3. Martin Luther King Jr. Day at the Museum of the City of New York 
To honor King, the Museum of the City of New York will welcome the New York City Gospel Choir for a performance of Motown classics and gospel hymns. The museum is also exhibiting three photos and a painting connected to the 1958 stabbing that almost claimed King’s life in “Saving Martin Luther King Jr.’s Life in Harlem.”

Come back again on Monday where programming hosted in connected with the exhibition “Activist New York” will teach families about New Yorkers’ role in the Civil Rights movement, and invite them to create posters about issuing currently facing the country.

Location: Museum of the City of New York, 1220 Fifth Avenue at East 103rd Street
Price: Free with general admission; $18 adults
Time: Performance Sunday, hourly, 12 p.m.–4 p.m.; “Activist New York” program Monday, 11 a.m.–2 p.m.

Monday, January 16

Martin Luther King Jr. Courtesy of the Newark Museum.

Martin Luther King Jr. Courtesy of the Newark Museum.

4. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration at the Newark Museum 
In what has become an annual tradition, admission to the Newark Museum will be free on Monday in celebration of King’s life and accomplishments. Activities for the day will include a film screening of the famed “I Have a Dream” speech, a performance from the Premiere Dance Theatre Company of Montclair, and a gallery tour highlighting the institution’s holdings in African American art.

Location: Newark Museum, 49 Washington Street, Newark, New Jersey
Price: Free
Time: 12 p.m.–4 p.m.

 


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