Museum Nights brings ‘Kongo’

Families enjoy arts and crafts during a Museum Nights event. (Photo courtesy of Harn Museum)

Published: Wednesday, February 5, 2014 at 2:14 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, February 5, 2014 at 2:14 p.m.

Visitors will experience a feast for the senses and enjoy African art, culture, music and history at Kongo at the Harn Museum Nights in conjunction with the "Kongo Across the Waters" exhibit.



* What: Kongo at the Harn Museum Nights and Family Day.

* When: Museum nights, 6-9 p.m. Feb. 13; Family Day, 1-4 p.m. Feb. 15.

* Where: Harn Museum of Art, SW 34th Street and Hull Road.

* Cost: Free, and open to the community.

* Information: Call 352-392-9826 or visit

And those attending Family Day, also in conjunction with the exhibit, can learn African dance moves and create jewelry.

Museum Nights will be held from 6-9 p.m. Feb. 13 and Family Day will be held from 1-4 p.m. Feb. 15, both at the Harn Museum at SW 34th Street and Hull Road.

"Visitors learn about the art through all the senses," said Tami Wroath, director of marketing and public relations at the Harn. "Seeing the art, the performances, and the traditional African attire, hearing the music and the poetry, and tasting the food."

Wroath said both events will be free and open to the community and revolve around the "Kongo Across the Waters" exhibit, which opened in October and will run through March 23. The exhibit shows artwork from the early Kongo Kingdom and also America, as well as striking connections between the art and culture of the Kongo Kingdom of western Central Africa and African-American art and culture. It also sheds light on the little-known fact that the first Europeans and the first Africans in North America arrived simultaneously as conquistadors.

Museum Nights will feature African dance performances and a traditional African attire fashion show by the University of Florida African Student Union, drum performances by UF's Agbedidi Africa, and food with African influence. In addition, participants will have the opportunity to do art activities, including making memory jars and writing love poems with UF student poets-in-residence, and tour the "Kongo" exhibit.

"Poetry is another way for the audience to connect with the exhibition," Wroath said, adding that the exhibit has drawn nearly 30,000 visitors so far.

During Family Day, Wroath said participants will have an opportunity to create jewelry and personal adornment items and learn African dance with local dance instructor Noni Jones.

"At Family Day, Noni Jones will teach African dances," Wroath said. "Children and adults can enjoy art activities and see the contemporary art and how African art has influenced art (in America)."

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