Observances of Black History month get off to an early start Sunday with an opening reception for a new art exhibit at the Noyes Cultural Arts Center.

The exhibit, Renaissance Reloaded: Art in Black Chicago, Then and Now, features works of 42 African-American artists.

The opening reception runs from 3 to 5 p.m. Sunday. The exhibit will be on display from Saturday through March 21.

More information about the exhibit is available online.

In addition, a range of Black History Month events are being held on the Northwestern University campus:

  • Performances of “The Bluest Eye,” by Lydia R. Diamond, based on a novel by Toni Morrison, directed by Rives Collins continue at the Josephine Louis Theater through Feb. 5.
  • Michelle Alexander, “The New Jim Crow” Lecture and Book Signing, 5 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 1, Harris Hall, Room 107, 1881 Sheridan Road. Alexander’s highly praised book, “The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness,” published in fall 2010, has sparked conversation about ways mass incarceration has come to resemble forms of racial control of a different era.
  • The Sweet Goddess Project,” 8 p.m. Friday, Feb. 3, and 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 4, Ballroom Theater of the Marjorie Ward Marshall Dance Center, 10 Arts Circle Drive. “The Sweet Goddess Project” is a multimedia dance theater work that explores the experiences of women in Chicago House music.
  • MSA INC: The Black Revolution on Campus featuring Martha Biondi, noon, Wednesday, Feb. 8, University Hall, Room 201, 1897 Sheridan Road. The black power movement left its mark in numerous ways on college campuses around the nation, including Northwestern. Biondi, associate professor of African American studies at Northwestern’s Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, will share her groundbreaking research, taking a fresh look at how this important period of American history helped shape some of our country’s finest minds.
  • Roland Pattillo, M.D., and The History of HeLa Cell Use in Biomedical Research, noon, Tuesday, Feb. 14, McCormick Tribune Center, 1870 Campus Drive. Pattillo, a specialist in obstetrics and gynecologic oncology at the Morehouse School of Medicine, was one of George Gey’s students at Johns Hopkins University. Gey was the researcher who grew the first HeLa cells taken during a biopsy when Henrietta Lacks was being treated for cervical cancer. These cultured cells gave rise to the HeLa cell line. More information here.
  • Guest artist Hugh Masekela, “The Jabulani Tour,” 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 18, Pick-Staiger Concert Hall, 50 Arts Circle Drive. Legendary composer and instrumentalist (trumpet, flugelhorn and cornet) Hugh Masekela has long been a major player on the international jazz, pop and world music scenes as well as a champion of human rights in his native South Africa. Perhaps best known for his 1968 hit “Grazing in the Grass,” he has collaborated with superstars Bob Marley, Herb Alpert, Harry Belafonte, Paul Simon and Ladysmith Black Mambazo. On tour with his high-energy band of South African musicians to promote his forthcoming album “Jabulani,” Masekela will present a program of pop, jazz, ballads and traditional South African music.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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