In Madison, African American artists — poets, writers, visual artists, and dancers — have historically been change agents through their crafts. Celebrate this year's 2024 Black History Month theme: "African Americans and the Arts," which spans the many impacts Black Americans have had on visual arts, music, cultural movements, and more. In February, experiences all over Madison showcase Black artists who fuse creative expressions and rhythmic cadences to highlight the 'art of resistance' and the artists who used their crafts to uplift the people, speak the truth, and inspire a nation.  

Award-winning play "The Meeting" by Jeff Stetson at Madison College 

If Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. talked today, what would they talk about? The Milwaukee-based company Nobleman Theater Troupe answers this question by presenting the award-winning performance, "The Meeting" by Jeff Stetson, about the fictional compelling discussion between Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on Saturday, February 10, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. at Madison College.

Traveling back to the 1960s, following the notorious attack on Malcolm X's home, this play pits together each leader's values, philosophies, intentions, and experiences, allowing the audience to listen to what these two men would have said. What would the conversation be like?  

Our very own University of Wisconsin-Madison alumnus, Denzel Taylor of the Nobleman Theater Troupe, is directing this play. After each performance, Madison College will host a talk-back featuring the cast and community leaders, including Dane County Executive Joe Parisi, Wisconsin State Representative Shelia Stubbs, District 33 Supervisor Dana Pellebon, Black Men Coalition Of Dane County CEO Corey Marionneaux, Dane County Sheriff Kalvin Barrett and more. It is a performance and a conversation wrapped in one experience.  

Explore the Arts with a Purpose 

Dzigbodi Akyea art exhibition

Get acquainted with Madison artists who create art for change and to awaken consciousness. The Black Women's Affinity Group (BWAG) of Madison College is hosting the Third Annual Dzigbodi Akyea art exhibition, which is dedicated and named after a beloved colleague at Madison College. Network with the rest of the community at the gallery opening reception on Thursday, February 1, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Truax. Their exhibits have become popular, providing an opportunity for increased awareness and discussion with colleagues and the broader community about "Restoring the Black Woman." The show will be displayed at Madison College's Gallery at Truax through February 29. 

Black History Month Art exhibition with LOUD

LOUD (Latinos Organizing for Understanding and Development) continues its efforts to recognize artistic diversity in Dane County. Catch their opening reception on Friday, February 2, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the LOUD Gallery at Omega School. The Black History Month art exhibition will remain February 2 through 29, including a list of Madison artists: Matthew Braunginn, Sharon Bjyrd, Jerry Butler, Issis Macias, Alina Puente Oby, Edward Wade, and Michael Ward.  

Explore the Dance and Music that Changed the World 

If you are interested in the roots that changed music history forever, join these experiences that offer glimpses of its impact. Take a deep dive into how Madison's music and dance culture is more than a ballet dancer's pirouette and a drummer's fast-footed rhythm. You will find in Madison that each movement and sound has a history, each angle and tone expresses an emotion, and a whole story can be embodied in a song. 

Black Heritage Celebration 

Enjoy a variety of performances at the Black Heritage Celebration at the Madison Children's Museum on February 22, from 4 to 8 p.m. This event honors the contributions of Black people in our community and features Black artists, musicians and leaders. This experience includes performances from Leotha Stanley and local Ghanaian drumming group Atimevu, a hambone workshop with Nedra Bobo-Boyles, food from Madison Black-owned restaurants, crafts in the Art Studio, and a special museum-wide scavenger hunt. This experience is free.

Moonshine 2024

Check out the work of our very own Chris Walker, the founding artistic director of the First Wave program in the Office of Multicultural Arts Initiatives and the director of the Division of the Arts at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Under his guidance, the UW-Madison Dance Department will present Moonshine 2024 on February 23, at 3:30 p.m. in the Margaret H'Doubler Performance Space, Lathrop Hall.

This free experience celebrates Black History Month with live music, contemporary theater and dance performances that include West African, Afro-Caribbean Dancehall, Hip Hop dance forms and more. This experience is made possible with massive support from the Division of the Arts, the WUD Global Connections Committee, the Office of Diversity, Equity & Educational Achievement, the Office of Multicultural Arts Initiatives, and the Black Cultural Center.