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SOMERS, Wis. – February is Black History Month. The University of Wisconsin-Parkside will debut its first annual Wisconsin Black Art & Culture Expo in partnership with Mahogany Gallery, 142 Washington Ave., in Racine.

Scott Terry, owner of Mahogany Gallery, came up with the concept of the expo. He began collaborating with Colette Bell, who is the Coordinator of Retention Programs for UW-Parkside’s Office of Multicultural Affairs, and Lesley Walker, Dean of the College of Arts and Humanities at Parkside.

The Expo is “a unique and collaborative means to honor Black History Month in a more robust and significant way that connects communities, from Milwaukee, to Racine, to Kenosha and beyond,” said Terry.

Art & Culture Expo Happenings

Throughout the month, both university and community members are invited to attend the many events lined up to celebrate and recognize the significant historical and cultural contributions that have been made in the United States by African Americans.

Feb. 2, 5 p.m. – 7 p.m.: Black History Month Kick-off, includes authentic cuisine and Parkside alum and artists performing culturally-relevant pieces at The Den.

Feb. 3, 4 p.m. – 5 p.m.: Parkside is hosting a panel discussion, moderated by artist and educator, Mutope Johnson. Made possible by a collaboration with Wisconsin Black Art & Culture Expo.

Feb. 5, 7 p.m. – 10 p.m.: Mahogany Gallery introduces “Legacies & Resilience Art Exhibition,” the official art show for the Wisconsin Black Art & Culture Expo, led by gallery owner Scott Terry.

Feb. 8, 9:30 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.: Executive producer of “The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder,” Calvin Brown, Jr., shares some of his experience working in the entertainment industry at Parkside. (This is being offered on Zoom.)

Feb. 9, 6 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.: A viewing of a documentary on the life of Dick Gregory will be held at Parkside.

Feb. 11, noon – 1 p.m.: The New York City jazz ensemble, the Greg Murphy Trio, plays a free concert at Parkside.

Feb. 11, 8 p.m. – 11 p.m.: Scott Terry hosts New York City jazz ensemble, the Greg Murphy Trio at Mahogany Gallery.

Feb. 18, noon – 1 p.m.: Bill McMurray, Grammy Award-winning baritone, will be performing at Parkside.

Feb. 19, 8 p.m. – 11 p.m.: Mahogany Gallery will host an evening of poetry entitled, “Power to the People! A Tribute to Black Poetry.”

Feb. 25, noon – 2 p.m.: The 23rd Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration honors the life and legacy of Dr. King. Performances from the University Chorale, Jazz Ensemble and other artists within the campus community beginning at noon, with a reception following at 1 p.m.

Other events will be happening throughout the month, including student-led activities in art, music and film. The Black Student Union (BSU) will be hosting the Essence Ball on Feb. 26 as well.

Leaders Speak Out on Black History Significance

The collaborative partnerships between Black-owned businesses, Black creatives, universities, students, and the corporate community in chorus to celebrate Black contributions in the Arts is a bold affirmation that Black History and Black creatives are important, relevant, and integral to society and our ongoing narrative as a people and community.

Scott Terry, owner, Mahogany Gallery

It has been a tremendous learning experience working with Scott Terry over these last few months. With his help, I am sure that UW-Parkside has been able to program its strongest Black History Month to date. We’re especially looking forward to the Artist Panel, moderated by Mutope Johnson, that will explore building a career in the arts as a person of color.

Lesley Walker, Dean of the College of Arts and Humanities at Parkside

We thought students who were interested in the field (arts and culture), needed to know that it’s possible to be a financially stable and successful artist.

Colette Bell, Coordinator of Retention Programs for UW-Parkside’s Office of Multicultural Affairs

Several people, offices and organizations were involved in the planning and execution of UW-Parkside’s Black History Month events, including the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs (OMSA), Parkside’s Advancement team, the Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, the UWP Library, the College of Arts and Humanities, and the Black Student Union (BSU).

More information can be found by visiting UW-Parkside’s Office of Multicultural Affairs and Mahogany Galleries websites.

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