Celebrating Cultural Heritage at the King Arts Complex
And that’s what Dr. King’s message was and what the King Arts Complex is all about — bringing together people of all faiths and races under one roof to learn about the past in order to change the world for future generations.
Although I was born in Columbus, my first real memories are of growing up in Cleveland. Through my work with the Ohio Tourism Division and from my many weekend trips “up north” during my college days at Ohio University in Athens, however, I have come to appreciate Columbus for the ethnically-diverse city it is, and for the celebrations of all cultures.
My most recent trip down I-71 South was this past January on the national holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. While many people see the King holiday as a day off, I was proud to encounter thousands of Ohioans on Columbus’ east side at the King Arts Complex — using their day off from work to educate themselves and their families about Dr. King and Black heritage.
There were dancers, art projects for the kids, singers, an art gallery and guest speakers, all spreading the message of racial equality and tolerance for others. There were faces of so many races present, from Asian college students, to a diverse group of singers, to a young Indian boy giving a speech he wrote about what freedom means to him. I imagine that Dr. King would have been proud that people of all races and ages were gathering together not so much to celebrate him, but to celebrate us.
That was the message of Dr. King and is the cornerstone of the King Arts Complex. The facility brings together people of all faiths and races under one roof to learn about the past in order to change the world for future generations. I’m reminded of a quote attributed to Gen. Colin Powell: “None of us can change our yesterdays, but all of us can change our tomorrows.”
While the King Arts Complex is named for Martin Luther King, Jr., and I visited on the King holiday, the exhibitions, events and educational programs are offered year-round. I’m excited about the Books-To-Movies film series that will take place there in February for Black History Month, but what makes me happiest is the King Arts Complex provides a place where we can all connect to our unique American roots.