Destination Directory

Your Guide to the Harlem Renaissance 100th Anniversary Celebration in Columbus

The Harlem Renaissance was an explosion of African-American culture, art, literature and social change in the New York City neighborhood during the early 20th century. Yet city lines could not contain the movement.

The Harlem Renaissance spread rapidly across the country to cities like Columbus, Ohio.

In celebration of the movement's 100th anniversary, Columbus arts organizations have teamed up to create I Too, Sing America: The Harlem Renaissance at 100—the only such celebration in the United States outside of New York.

The event, which began during Black History Month this year and runs through January 2019, will feature experiences and explorations throughout the city and across all disciplines, including photography, literature, painting, music, spoken word, dance and theater.

Programming is still in progress. Here's a snapshot of the confirmed events and exhibitions:

The Work of Emory Douglas
The Denison Museum will feature the thoughtful and provocative work of Emory Douglas, renowned revolutionary artist and Minister of Culture for the Black Panther Party. Douglas served as the art director and lead illustrator for the party's newspaper, for which he created widely distributed prints that reflect American history and society during the 1960s and 1970s. The exhibition is on display through May 4, 2018.

Wexner Center for the Arts
In September 2018, Wexner Center for the Arts will feature Mickalene Thomas' portraits of women of color and their powerful spirit of strength and self-confidence. The center will also present Duke Ellington & Friends: Jazz Greats on Film, a series of six short films produced by Paramount Pictures between 1929 and 1935 that highlight some of the greatest musical performers of the Harlem Renaissance.

Shuffle Along
CATCO, in collaboration with the Lincoln Theatre Association, will produce Shuffle Along. The 1921 musical by Noble Sissle and Eubie Blake put African-American performers in the Broadway spotlight.

I, Too, Sing America
On view October 19, 2018 – January 20, 2019, the Columbus Museum of Art will premier I, Too, Sing America. The exhibition of paintings, works on paper, books, sheet music, ephemera and photography includes works by artists of the Harlem Renaissance, including Jacob Lawrence, Romare Beardon and Aaron Douglas. The exhibition is being curated by Will Haygood, author and journalist, who grew up in Columbus toward the end of the Harlem Renaissance movement there.

A Speakeasy-Inspired Performance
On November 17, 2018, the King Arts Complex will host a 1920s speakeasy-inspired performance in Nicholson Auditorium in partnership with BalletMet, featuring dance, live music and spoken-word artists.

Stay up to date on events and discover more at

Written by Cassie Westrate, staff writer for Groups Today

Photo Courtesy of King Arts Complex.