With museums, cultural centers and concert halls throughout Chicagoland commemorating Black History Month, there may be no better time to explore your cultural heritage than now.
With exhibitions ranging from artistic to scientific and productions showcasing everything from African traditional to Detroit rhythm and blues, we're not kidding when we say that this year's Black History celebration offers something for everyone.
If museums are your thing: "To Conserve a Legacy: American Art from Historically Black Colleges and Universities," opens Feb. 26 at the Art Institute of Chicago, 111 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago.
The first nationally touring exhibition of its kind showcases works by "black academy" members Henry Ossawa Tanner (dubbed the "dean of American black artists" by W.E.B. DuBois), Horace Pippin, collagist Romare Bearden, sculptor Edmonia Lewis, Elizabeth Catlett, Aaron Douglas (one of the Harlem Renaissance's most famous artists), primitivist William H. Johnson, Charles White and Hale Woodruff among others.
Rounding out this 100-year survey of American art are works by modernists Georgia O'Keefe, Marsden Hartley and Arthur G. Dove. The museum celebrates the opening of the exhibition with a free concert by the Fisk Jubilee Singers at 1:30 p.m. Feb. 26.
Admission is $8 for adults, $5 for children. (312) 443-3600 or www.artic.edu.
"Tracings: Out of the Africas," the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs' exploration of the customs and traditions of five regions in Africa continues with a performance by Mizizi Ya Utamaduni (or "roots of our nation") Tuesday at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington St. The ensemble performs traditional songs and poetry from Kenya and Uganda from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Cultural Center's Grand Army of the Republic Hall. The month-long program concludes Wednesday with the Bantabaa!, a West African welcoming ceremony featuring Georgia Sea Island Singers and a marketplace where local artisans display and sell their African- inspired crafts.
Wednesday's program also honors the men and women who died at Goree Island, Senegal, the westernmost point from which slaves were taken to the New World.
Admission to the Cultural Center events is free. (312) 346-3278 or www.ci.chi.il.us/Tourism/CulturalCenter/.
Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry observes Black History Month with the exhibition "Defying Tradition: African American Women in Science and Technology." The exhibition, which continues through March 5, salutes the female pioneers who broke down gender barriers in the fields of mathematics, engineering, science, communication and space technology.
Accompanying the exhibit is a West African dance performance by Ayodele (10:15 and 11:30 a.m. today); African folk tales (10:15 and 11:30 a.m. Tuesday) and ballet set to rap music (10:15 and 11:30 a.m. Feb. 28).
Lui Lui Satterfield, a former member of Earth, Wind & Fire and the Pharaohs and fellow former Pharoah, Warren Bingham perform at 2 p.m. Saturday in a concert featuring a dance tribute to Dr. Mae Jemison, the first black female astronaut.
Performances conclude Feb. 26 with a concert featuring Marlena Smalls and the Hallelujah Singers, an ensemble dedicated to preserving the traditions unique to the South Carolina Sea Islands. Show time is 2 p.m.
The museum is at 57th Street and Lake Shore Drive. Admission is $7 for adults, $3.50 for children (free on Tuesday). There's an additional fee for parking and Omnimax. …