It’s beginning to feel a lot like “Black Art Month” here in Columbus. There’s so much happening that there’s really no excuse to stay home. So why even try?
Let’s start with Najee Dorsey and the work that he’s been doing at the BAIA House located at 1433 17 St., one of the city’s newest galleries.
Najee, as some may recall, is the artist from Blytheville, Ark., who held an exhibit at the Columbus Museum titled "Leaving Mississippi – Reflections on Heroes and Folklore." He’s known mostly for his vibrant multimedia artwork depicting southern life on canvas. But, these days, Najee has been experimenting with another medium, and he wants the public to check it out.
His show, “Moving Earth: Works in Clay at the Black Art in America Gallery,” will open Dec. 3, from 2 to 7 p.m., and run through Jan. 8.
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“2016 marks a pivotal point for me, as I’ve spent this year creating more sculptures than collages,” Najee said in a recent text to my cell phone. “Who knows what the future brings, but I’m enjoying the fruits of that labor.”
Najee and other local black artists are also involved in a Dec. 4 event called “The Hampton Years,” a staged reading presented by a group called “In Other Words” and Najee’s organization, Black Art in America. That event will be held 2:30 p.m. at an outdoor theater at Swift Mill Lofts, 1506 6th Ave.
The play, written by nationally acclaimed playwright Jacqueline Lawton, chronicles the true story of two famous black visual artists, John Biggers and Samella Sanders Lewis, as they developed their talents while college students at Hampton Institute in the 1940s.
But that’s not all going on this month. There’s also the “Reflection: African American Life from the Myrna Colley-Lee Collection” at Columbus Museum, which runs until Jan. 15. The exhibit features works by Romare Bearden, Betye Saar, Ernest Crichlow, Norman Lewis, Radcliffe Bailey and other famous artists. It includes 50 pieces of work, including paintings, works on paper, photographs, and fabric items.
Then, of course, there’s the historic Liberty Theatre Cultural Center at 813 8th Ave. You can always count on the folks there to put on a show for the holidays. This year, the production is “Go Tell It on the Mountain,” which will be performed Dec. 3, 4, 10, and 11. Saturday shows are at 7:30 and Sunday shows at 4:30 p.m.
Director Ta’Varis Wilson, Musical Director Ish Harris and Choreographer Christopher De’Angelo are graduates of Albany State University’s speech and theater program, said Liberty Theatre Director Shae Anderson. They also performed in recent shows at the Springer Opera House, including Chorus Line and Sister Act.
“There’s some amazing talent here in the community that a lot people don’t know about, and this is an excellent opportunity to see what the city has to offer,” Anderson said. “It’s open to the entire community. We welcome people of all races.”