Thursday January 9, 2020
Tags for: The Cleveland Museum of Art Honors the Life of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. through Performance and Art-Inspired Experiences Monday, January 20
  • Press Release

The Cleveland Museum of Art Honors the Life of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. through Performance and Art-Inspired Experiences Monday, January 20

exterior of the CMA building


Cleveland (January 9, 2020) — On Monday, January 20, the Cleveland Museum of Art opens its doors for a free daylong celebration honoring Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who shared a wealth of wisdom on how to create a more just, humane and peaceful world. Celebrate his legacy through art, dance, theater, spoken word and music. Enjoy art activities led by guest artist Van Taylor Monroe, family art stories, facilitated in-gallery discussions, live gospel and jazz music by Hubb’s Groove and a Martin Luther King & Black History Tribute featuring dance, music, poetry and theater performances by the young artists from the Cleveland Foundation’s Arts Mastery Initiative. 

The museum and its galleries are open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., with activities and performances from 11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Schedule of Activities

Art Activities, Ames Family Atrium, 11 a.m.–4 p.m. 

Van Taylor Monroe, Guest Artist

Van Taylor Monroe became a social media sensation in 2008 when a pair of his hand-painted, customized sneakers featuring Barack Obama went viral. Today, the celebrated sneakers are on view at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington, DC, and his artistic practice has grown to include photography, film, murals and more. See a display of Monroe’s work and design a hat you can wear (limited supply) or a paper shoe template inspired by the civil rights movement with the art activities Art Liberates the Mind and Soles of Activism.

Music, Ames Family Atrium, 11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. 

Enjoy a mix of gospel, jazz and funk music by local band Hubb’s Groove.

Martin Luther King & Black History Tribute, Ames Family Atrium, 1–2 p.m. 

Attend performances by young artists from the Cleveland Foundation’s Arts Mastery Initiative, including Cleveland Public Theatre’s Cleveland Act Now, Rainey Institute’s El Sistema@Rainey (music), Sisterhood and Twelve Literary Arts (poetry, creative writing and performance), Tri-C’s Vocal and Dance Mastery programs and the Cleveland Classical Guitar Society Education Program.

Brave in This Cold World, a poetry performance 

Ronnea Worley of Sisterhood

Short original play inspired by the life experiences and theater explorations of the young artists of Lakeview Terrace

Cleveland Public Theatre’s Cleveland Act Now

Poetry performance 

Twelve Literary Arts 

Select vocal works inspired by the teachings of Dr. King 

Tri-C Vocal Arts Mastery

Lift Every Voice and Sing and A-flat by Black Violin 

Rainey Institute’s El Sistema@Rainey 

Beyond Ferguson, a music selection written in response to the tragic shooting of Michael Brown that incorporates elements of Negro spirituals, jazz, hip-hop, African music and an excerpt from W. E. B. DuBois 

Cleveland Classical Guitar Society Education Program 

Selections inspired by Dr. King’s message of hope and justice

Tri-C Dance Academy and Dance Mastery Program

The Cleveland Foundation’s Arts Mastery Initiative represents an action toward a bigger dream for equality by helping to ensure that students in every community have access to the same opportunities to succeed, including quality arts education programs. The Cleveland Museum of Art is proud to be among the institutions that deliver year-round, mastery-level arts training that allows youth to develop the qualities they need in adulthood. Thank you to the Cleveland Foundation and each arts mastery institution participating in today’s program.  

Ingalls Library Book Display, Ames Family Atrium, 11 a.m.–4 p.m.

The CMA’s Ingalls Library and Museum Archives is open to everyone interested in learning more about its collections, the museum’s history and art in general. Stop by their table to learn more and view a book display related to artists in the museum’s collection who were highly energized by themes central to the civil rights movement.

Art Stories, 10:30–11:45 a.m. and 1:30–2:45 p.m.

Hear two stories about African American artists in the museum’s collection: In Her Hands: The Story of Sculptor Augusta Savage by Alan Schroeder and Jake Makes a World: Jacob Lawrence, an Artist in Harlem by Sharifa Rhodes-Pitts. Ages 4 and up. 

Conversation Starters from the Collection, noon–1 p.m. and 3:30–4:30 p.m. 

How can artworks relate stories that enable conversations about our history, experiences and identities to further conversations about racial equity and reconciliation in the United States? Learn about works in the museum’s collection by artists who were energized by themes central to the civil rights movement, including Edmonia Lewis’s Indian Combat (facilitated by Michelle R. Smith) and Norman Lewis’s Alabama (facilitated by Dr. Naazneen Diwan). Each artwork will be presented by a facilitator at noon and at 3:30 p.m. Ages 12 and up.  

Facilitator Bios

Michelle R. Smith is a poet, educator, blogger and cultural facilitator living and working in Twinsburg, OH. She is the author of the poetry volume Ariel in Black and the forthcoming The Vagina Analogues. She is also the creator and co-producer of BLAX MUSEUM: A Tribute to Art & Excellence. BLAX MUSEUM is a yearly talent showcase for Black artists from northeast Ohio, open to all forms and dedicated to honoring notable Black figures in American history and culture.

Dr. Naazneen Diwan is a queer Muslim poet, social justice educator and spiritual activist. She is currently on the brink of two exciting launches: the completion of her first poetry collection, 99 Names, and the beginning of the Muslim Writers Collective, an art activist organization based in Cleveland. With a PhD in gender studies, her biggest accomplishments to date include learning how to eat a mango on a train without a knife and her Arabic 101 skit during her freshman year of college about the moral consequences of cheating.

Self-Guided Tour of Works by African American Artists, All Day

Download ArtLens App to take a self-guided tour of artworks by African American artists currently on view. Need an ArtLens tutorial? Stop by the ArtLens Wall for a brief overview with a technician. Learn how the app can be used to create and navigate your own tours, access visitor- or museum-created tours, search the collection and more.  

The CMA has been celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day with activities since the 1970s and opened the museum on the holiday beginning in 1999. Learn more about the event in the CMA Thinker article “Celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Day at the CMA: Q&A with Deidre McPherson, Director of Community Programs.”

Contact the Museum's Media Relations Team:
(216) 707-2261