The Northwest African American Museum’s reopening

There will be a celebration on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day along with new exhibits.

The outside of the Northwest African American Museum on a sunny day.

NAAM has hosted events virtually and in other locations over the past three years.

Photo via NAAM

Welcome back. After closing due to the pandemic in 2020, the Northwest African American Museum (NAAM) will open its doors once again on Monday, Jan. 16 with a major Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebration.

The museum debuted debuted 14 years ago in the old Colman School Building, hosting talks, readings, programs, and exhibits to educate visitors on Black history through a local lens. Here’s what’s happening at NAAM — and how to join Monday’s family-friendly festivities, which are free (donations encouraged).

Enjoying the views 🖼️

Inside, you’ll noticed refreshed spaces at the museum like the entry display now called the Hallway of Healing and Hope and a Community Living Room that showcases the works of local Black artists from Onyx Fine Arts Collective. NAAM will spend this upcoming spring refreshing other areas as well.

These featured exhibits will be on display starting Monday and running through Juneteenth:

  • Making a Way: Jacob Lawrence and the Northwest Black Experience | The Northwest painter referred to his style as “dynamic cubism.”
  • The Colors of Life: African American Abstract Art and the Regathering of Community | View vibrant works by artists LoMar Metoyer, Yeggy Michael, Shantell Jackson, and Vincent Keele.
  • A Long Walk to Hope: The Photography of Seattle’s Martin Luther King, Jr. March | Peruse powerful images from photographer Susan Fried.
  • Notables of the Northwest Hallway | You’ll see pics from famous local musicians, alongside a thoughtful quote from each.

Note: After Monday, admission at the museum is $10 for adults, $5 for youth 18-and-under, and free for children three-and-under.

A museum display showing abstract paintings at the Northwest African American Museum

“Colors of Life” shows the works of various Northwest African and African American artists.

Photo via NAAM

MLK Jr. Day schedule 🗓️

In addition to guided tours of the galleries and exhibits mentioned, guests will find Civil Rights film screenings and a conversation with actor-director Jesse Williams via interactive video.

Here’s what else is on docket from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. on Monday:

  • Activities for kids, including soccer training with the Seattle Sounders, storytime, and face painting
  • Food trucks
  • Talks from spoken word artist Tia-Nache and local historian Dr. Daudi Abe
  • Musical performances by NAAM’s African American Cultural Ensemble
  • Voter registration and a hygiene supply drive

Bonus: If you stick around after 5 p.m., there will be a 21+ after party until 8 p.m. featuring local DJ Chukundi “Kun Luv” Salisbury.

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