2016 MLK Day was the coldest Monday this winter, yet people started to pour into The King Arts Complex Building around noon. King Arts Complex staff prepared a four hour long Open House program for its community to celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday. We dance, sing, perform, speak up, service, and march on his birthday as a day of remembrance of his legacy.
King Arts Complex arranged performances by community arts groups and artists showcasing their passion to make our dreams come alive. As an important cultural and arts organization in King Lincoln District, we exemplified the artistic significance of African American culture in transforming people’s life. From gospel music to spiritual dance, from classical music to jazz improvisation, the audience at Pythian Theater were deeply engaged and motivated. Clapping and dancing together with the performers were throughout the four hour show.
On the other side of King Arts Complex Building, Barbara Nicholson Auditorium was decorated with Dr. King’s “Pledge of Nonviolence”. Signatures of pledgers from year 2012 to 2015 were hang alongside. Audiences enjoyed spoken word performances and King Arts Complex Children’s theater show. With DJ Rich Nyce playing the background music, everyone took their time visiting information booths and creating their MLK Day March signs.
At the same time, Elijah Pierce Gallery and “Cargo: The Middle Passage ” attracted people’s eyeballs by bringing them back to the unforgettable history of Columbus Near East Side and African American predecessors. In the dance room, a family friendly workshop had been going on throughout our open house. Kids, moms, and grandmas got together creating their own panels of arts and eventually everyone’s work went to a big art project—a huge panel made of all smaller panels. This project perfectly reflected the collective endeavor of our community, just like the Dr. King portrait made by gum balls displayed in King Arts Complex lobby.
As the day came to an end, the wind became bleak. Yet the fire inside people encouraged them to go into the coldness to start the final showcase of their ardor on this special day—The City of Columbus MLK Day March still gathered hundreds of people to parade with the signs of freedom.
As our Open House Keynote Speaker Rev. Dr. C. Dexter Wise said during the event: “When I think of Dr. King, I think of dream. But people nowadays are sleeping when we are supposed to be awake….So can everybody do me a favor? Turn to your neighbor and tell him ‘It is time to wake up.’” We see thousands of widely awake audience at King Arts Complex 2016 MLK Day Open House. Today, we see dream and ardent hearts chasing after it. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. the icon of freedom has inspired millions of people to stand up for their rights, and today, we honor his legacy and continue fighting for our dreams.
(Photo Credits: Terry Gilliam)