CITY ARTS : Celebrating the Richness of Black Culture

February is Black History Month.

Carter G. Woodson, an African American historian, came up with the idea in 1926 to devote one week to celebrate and study black history and culture. During the American Bicentennial Celebration in 1976 "Negro History Week" was expanded to Black History Month.

Here are some local events:

* "The Artists' Salute to Black History Month," one of the nation's most extensive exhibits of African American art, which opened Saturday at Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza.

More than 150 artists from 20 states will display their works through Feb. 12 on the mall's two levels. Participants include John Biggers, Noah Purifoy, Synthia St. James, Tina Allen, Paul Goodnight, Varnette Honeywood, Sheryl Lee Ralph and Ruth Waddy. Featured artist Ernie Barnes will autograph copies of his new book, "From Pads to Palette."

The theme of this year's exhibit is "Our Elders . . . Our Foundation." An exhibit, workshops and other activities for senior citizens wil be featured. A "Legends" gallery will spotlight the achievements of artists David Butler, Clementine Hunter, Purifoy and Waddy.

All events are free. The exhibit is open during regular mall hours.

Information: (213) 939-0250.


* Students from the Children's Storytelling Workshop will perform "Market Day in Trinidad," today at 2 p.m. at Arima, 3432 W. 43rd St., Leimert Park. The story is about a little girl from South-Central Los Angeles who visits Trinidad, her mother's homeland. The performance, produced by Marilyn McConnie, is free. Information: (310) 859-5831.


* An award-winning documentary about the civil rights movement in Mississippi is scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday at the Southern California Library for Social Studies and Research. "Freedom On My Mind," voted best documentary at the Sundance Film Festival, examines the 1961-64 Mississippi voter registration campaigns through interviews and film and television footage set to blues and gospel music. A donation of $5 is requested. The library is at 6120 S. Vermont Ave. Information: (213) 759-6063.


* David G. Brown, creator of the African American comic book hero "L.A. Phoenix," will give a lecture at 2 p.m. Feb. 11 at the Central Library, 630 W. Fifth St., Downtown. Brown will explain why he created the comic book and discuss drawing techniques and the art industry. For more information on the library's Black History Month events, call (213) 228-7000.


* Jacob Lawrence, Elizabeth Catlett, Romare Bearden and Charles White will display their works as part of the exhibit "Free Within Ourselves" at the M. Hanks Gallery, 3008 Main St., Santa Monica; through March 4; call gallery for hours (310) 392-8820 (free).

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