Black History Month in Pittsburgh: Your family-friendly events guide is here!
Image above courtesy of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.
With warmer temperatures, a fun line-up of events and spirited celebrations of Black History Month throughout the city: This February promises to be one to remember. Celebrating Black History in Pittsburgh becomes a transformative experience for families, especially children, as it weaves together art, history, literature, and community engagement.
So, gather the kids, mark your calendars and immerse yourselves in a month-long journey of honoring and celebrating the rich contributions and narratives that shape our community. Here’s what’s on tap for Black History Month in Pittsburgh:
Celebrate Black History Month by cultivating artistic curiosity at the Kid’s Museum.
- Monoprinting with Frank Bowling and Evangeline Montgomery (Now through Feb 21): At the art studio, young artists can dive into the world of Frank Bowling and Evangeline Montgomery, exploring color, design, and form through hands-on mono-printing activities. This interactive event fosters a sense of curiosity and creativity, allowing children to express themselves artistically.
- Teenie Harris Photo Studio (Now through Feb 11): Delve into the captivating images of the legendary Teenie Harris and contemporary photographer Dominick McDuffie. Kids can engage with the photographers’ work, learning the art of visual storytelling through the lens of Pittsburgh’s vibrant African American community.
For a deeper dive into the captivating history of Pittsburgh’s African American community, head to the Carnegie Art Museum to browse the Charles “Teenie” Harris Archive. This archival treasure captures the essence of everyday Black life from the 1930s to the 1970s, showcasing pivotal moments from World War II to the Civil Rights movement.
Harris’s lens offers a unique perspective, and the digitized collection, accessible online, extends an open invitation to explore and engage with the captivating narrative.
- Youth Writers Camp (Feb. 10 and Feb. 24, 11:00 AM): The Youth Writers Camp offers an opportunity for young minds to explore monologues from August Wilson’s plays. Through literary analysis, children gain insights into Wilson’s work, fostering a deeper appreciation for storytelling and encouraging critical thinking skills.
- Storytime Spotlight: “My Hair Ain’t Nappy” by Helen Smith is an empowering Storytime Spotlight. Children are invited to a live reading and engaging conversation, promoting self-love, acceptance, and appreciation of differences.
This long-term exhibition provides an immersive exploration of over 250 years of African American history. From rare artifacts to touch-screen interactive activities, children can engage with the evolution of the region’s African American community, making history tangible and accessible.
And for a touch of nature, visit the From Slavery to Freedom Garden at the Frick Environmental Center, developed in collaboration with the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy. The garden showcases plants that played a role in the journey to freedom during the 19th century. This family-friendly exhibit offers a very hands-on approach to learning about the African Diaspora by exploring the plants cultivated for food and medicinal purposes. By connecting the botanical journey with historical narratives, the experience is both educational and sensory.
In collaboration with the Black Girl Hockey Club, the Pittsburgh Penguins are planning an open skate on Feb. 6, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., at the historic Hunt Armory for one and all. This is a unique opportunity for families to experience sports, camaraderie, and learn about Black history in an unexpected setting. RSVP here to participate. Feel free to invite friends and family, too!
In Living Color: African American Colorized History Virtual Reality Experience at the Trust Arts Education Center
Explore African American history through a brand-new lens with this immersive virtual reality art gallery on Feb. 10 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Presented by artist Randall Coleman, the experience reimagines historical black-and-white stories in vibrant color, providing a fresh perspective for children.
Afterward, Randall will teach families how to replicate this colorizing effect themselves, turning history into an engaging and interactive experience.
The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh (various dates/library locations)
The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh serves as a vibrant hub, fostering a deep appreciation for Black culture and literature while encouraging creativity and exploration among the younger generation. The library offers a great array of events for families seeking to immerse themselves in the celebration of Black History Month.
From the dynamic “Color Me Divine” workshop by PBJ Customs, providing a safe space for children to explore self-care and healing through art, to the fast-paced “Black History Month: 30 Books in 30 Minutes,” where library staff race against the clock to share their favorite book recommendations, the literary exploration is rich and diverse.
Cue’s Creative Workshops for Kids, led by library card artist Cue Perry, offer a stimulating 60-minute intro to drawing, painting and color theory. An afternoon with poet Terrance Hayes is a multi-media author event, while the local author event featuring D. Angel provides a unique opportunity for children to engage with a transformative life story. These events culminate in the interactive Azure Family Concerts, celebrating African American musicians and composers, and offering children a sensory-friendly live music program.
Lastly, the City of Pittsburgh pays homage to the groundbreaking Freedom House Ambulance Service, showcasing a Black History Month display in the City-County Building throughout February. Open weekdays through Feb. 29 (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.), this tribute honors the pioneering work of the first all-Black paramedics, highlighting their role in reshaping emergency medical services.