The Harlem Renaissance Series

The Harlem Renaissance was an explosion of African-American art and culture in Harlem that started in 1918 and spanned the 1920s and 1930s. During January and February, Kansas City, Kansas Public Library will have art exhibits, movies, book clubs, concerts, and more, all celebrating the movement and people of Harlem - including an artist from Kansas.

Aaron Douglas Artwork

The Art of Aaron Douglas

January and February | Main Library

View a digital exhibit of work created by Topeka-born artist Aaron Douglas. Douglas is considered one of the most influential artists of the Harlem Renaissance. Born on May 26, 1899, Douglas resided in Topeka until graduating from high school. He moved to Harlem in 1925 and began developing his art and style. He was a major figure in the Harlem Renaissance and his works influenced others for years after. He also helped set the stage for other African-American artists to enter the public realm through his involvement with the Harlem Artists Guild. Learn more at the Kansapedia website by clicking here.

Nelson-Atkins Museum

The Art of Aaron Douglas at the Nelson-Atkins Museum

6-8 p.m. | Thursday, February 1 | Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, 4525 Oak St., Kansas City, MO

Join us at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art for a special viewing and disussion of Aaron Douglas's Study for Aspects of Negro Life: An Idyll of the Deep South, as well as other important works of art by African-American artists. This event is limited to patrons 13 years of age and older. Seats are limited. Click here to register online.

Book Discussion

Book Discussion on The Harlem Renaissance: Hub of African American Cultue

6-8 p.m. | Thursday, February 8 | Second Floor Auditorium | Main Library

Celebrate Black History Month with a book discussion of the title The Harlem Renaissance: Hub of African American Culture, 1920-1930 by Steven Watson. Complete with 70 photos, this book demonstrates the important history of one of America's most influential cultural phenomenons. Seats are limited. Click here to register.

Been Rich All my Life

Harlem Renaissance Documentary Night: Been Rich All My Life

5:30-7 p.m. | Monday, February 12 | Bear's Den | Turner Community Library

They performed with the likes of Bill (Bojangles) Robinson, Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald; led the strike at the Apollo Theater that established the American Guild of Variety Artists; and toured in the first black USO show (stealing "for colored only" signs off trains in the South).

Meet the age-defying Silver Belles, still "bustin' a move" and donning sequins for sold-out crowds in 2006. From their days in chorus lines of the Harlem Renaissance, their love of dance and of each other hasn't wavered, and the film sparkles with their candor and sly humor. Despite any setbacks, they never lose their gratitude for where their feet have taken them. Click here for more information.


African-American Art with the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

6-7:30 p.m. | Thursday, February 15 | Conference Room B | South Branch Library

As part of our Harlem Renaissance series, explore your creative side with an art project with the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Nelson-Atkins staff will provide information on several African-American Artists and lead the group in an art project in the style of those artists. Seats for this program are limited. . Click here to register online. This event is limited to patrons 13 years of age and older.

Please note that this program previously was styled differently, but has changed at the request of the Nelson-Atkins Museum. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Harlem & Beyond

Screening of Harlem Renaissance & Beyond

6:30-8:30 p.m. | Thursday, February 15 | Second Floor Auditorium | Main Library

Join us for a screening of the documentary The Harlem Renaissance & Beyond. The documentary exams current black literature and illustrates changes in black literature following the Harlem Renaissance. Seats are limited for this program. Click here to register online.


Harlem Renaissance Storytime

1-2 p.m. | Saturday, February 17 | Craft Room | Main Library

Join us as we celebrate the poetry and music of the Harlem Renaissance with stories, songs and crafts for children of all ages. We'll have a jazz parade and make musical crafts. Refreshments will be provided. Click here for more information.


A Night at the Savoy

7-9 p.m. | Saturday, February 17 | Café Area | Main Library

Grab your dancing shoes and travel back in time to the Harlem Renaissance! Join us for a night of 1920s music featuring the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra playing the songs made popular in venues like the Savoy Ballroom and the Cotton Club. Come as you are or dress up in your best 1920s inspired outfits to listen and dance the night away.

The first 100 people to arrive will get a free copy of God's Trombones: Seven Negro Sermons in Verse by James Weldon Johnson, featuring original illustrations by Kansas-born Harlem Renaissance artist Aaron Douglas.

This is event is 100 percent free; no tickets required. Click here for more information on our calendar or click here to see the event on Facebook.


Calendar of Events

Check out our calendar for daily programs at any of our branches or mobile libraries.


Programs this Month



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