Five Things to Enjoy During Black History Month

Art, theatre, music, ballet, and more

While acknowledging that a month would have to be as long as a millennium to even start encompassing the achievements of Black Americans, we're grabbing this theme as the week's curatorial focus, glad for a federally recognized opportunity to highlight artists of color who bring a diversity of vigor and aesthetic vibrance to the theatres and galleries and performance halls of our rapidly expanding city.

Jamel Shabazz: "Peace to the Queen" at the Carver Museum

Jamel Shabazz: Peace to the Queen

A retrospective of the work of photographer, humanitarian, and educator Jamel Shabazz, spanning four decades and featuring candid portraits of women of color – as curated by Ja'nell Ajani. "At a moment when Black and Brown women are more visibly leading the charge around movements for racial and economic justice, this exhibition has materialized and aligned at a critical moment in American history and Shabazz's career." Reception: Thu., Feb. 24, 6:30-9pm. Carver Museum, 1165 Angelina, 512/974-4926.

Conspirare: I Believe

Craig Hella Johnson and his Grammy-winning Conspirare cohort, following quickly on Tuesday's performance of Margaret Bonds' Credo, present Benedict Sheehan'sLiturgy of St. John Chrysostom in a show that includes the world premiere of the composer's new Credo movement with text of W.E.B. DuBois – commissioned for this concert. Fri.-Sat., Feb. 18-19, 8pm. St. Martin's Lutheran Church, 606 W. 15th, 512/476-5775. $25 and up.

Duke Ellington's The Nutcracker Suite

Austin's own Ballet Afrique presents the city's first all-Black en pointe dance company in a bright interpretation of this holiday classic – set in Harlem during the Harlem Renaissance period of the 1920s and '30s – to tell the story of a family's resilience, triumphs, and magic through the Great Depression and in the time of Jim Crow. With music composed by, of course, the great Duke Ellington. Sat., Feb. 19, 7pm. Paramount Theatre, 713 Congress, 512/472-5470. $30.

Austin Shakespeare: The Glass Menagerie

In this staged reading of Tennessee Williams' classic, Marc Pouhé portrays Tom, remembering his journey as a young poet, tangling with his lively Southern mother (Franchelle S. Dorn) and his sensitive sister Laura (Khali Sykes). Now cast as an African American family, the production also features Kenah Benefield as the "gentleman caller." Bonus: live violin accompaniment by Bennie Braswell. Directed by Ann Ciccolella with projections by L.B. Bartholomee. Feb. 17-20. Thu.-Sat., 7:30pm; Sun., 3pm. Long Center for the Performing Arts, 701 W. Riverside, 512/474-5664. $24 and up.

Jaylen Pigford at Ivester Contemporary

Jaylen Pigford: Digging for Daisies

This solo exhibition of stunning new paintings by Jaylen Pigford features a reoccurring lone figure that appears in each canvas, accompanied by scattered objects and varying settings "to indicate a prevalent sense of confusion and disorientation. Despite the circumstances the figure faces, positivity radiates from within each piece in the form of bright color, crisp edges, and pattern." Result: The walls of this Canopy-based gallery are vivid with Pigford's symbolist brilliance. Through March 5. Ivester Contemporary, 916 Springdale #107. Free.

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Five Things, Women and Their Work, George Washington Carver Museum, Ivester Contemporary, Conspirare, Ariel René Jackson, Ja'nell Ajani, Jaylen Pigford, Digging for Daisies, A Welcoming Place, Peace to the Queen, The Glass Menagerie

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