Penn State College of Arts and Architecture
Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State

2019–20 Focus
The American Experience: Through an African-American Lens

“Perhaps the mission of an artist is to interpret beauty to people—the beauty within themselves.”
Langston Hughes

Empathy, community, understanding, and curiosity can be sparked and built by experiencing life through the eyes of another. The Center for the Performing Arts at Penn State provides opportunities to learn and understand each other through interacting with artists and experiencing the passionate, authentic expression of their culture and history.

This season, we have curated eight presentations that tell the stories of African-American life in the United States throughout several centuries. Through music, dance, and theatre, we will share in the telling.


Imani Winds and Catalyst Quartet
(im)migration: music of change

7:30 p.m. Wednesday, September 18
Schwab Auditorium

It’s All About Love
Starring Maceo Parker
and Featuring the Maceo Parker Big Band

7:30 p.m. Thursday, September 26
Eisenhower Auditorium

Harlem 100: Celebrating the 100th Anniversary
of the Harlem Renaissance
featuring Mwenso and The Shakes
with special guests Brianna Thomas,
Michela Marino Lerman, and Vuyo Sotashe

7:30 p.m. Tuesday, October 22
Eisenhower Auditorium

Dance Theatre of Harlem
50th Anniversary Tour

7:30 p.m. Tuesday, November 12
Eisenhower Auditorium

Step Afrika!

7:30 p.m. Friday, January 31
Eisenhower Auditorium

Lizz Wright
7:30 p.m. Wednesday, February 5
Schwab Auditorium

Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra
with Wynton Marsalis
Masters of Form: From Mingus to Monk

7:30 p.m. Thursday, April 2 CANCELED
Eisenhower Auditorium

7:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 15 CANCELED
Eisenhower Auditorium

Sandra Zaremba and Richard Brown provide support for engagement programming related to the eight performances.

Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture

In order to promote reflection, contextualization, and a deeper understanding of the journey of African Americans, consider promoting to your classes the online resource available to students, educators, and families at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.