Black History Month

Online Programs | Beginning February 2021

The MacLaren Art Centre is excited to host a roster of virtual programs, films, events and exhibitions reflecting on Black History Month. Stay tuned to this site, as more programs will be upcoming throughout the month and beyond!

What’s On @ the Gallery


NFB Short Films

Black Soul by Martine Chartrand

2000 | 9 min

Martine Chartrand’s animated short dives into the heart of Black culture with an exhilarating trip though history. Watch as a young boy traces his roots through the stories his grandmother shares with him about the events that shaped their cultural heritage.

Christopher Changes His Name by Cilia Sawadogo

2000 | 6 min

This animated short for children tells the story of Christopher, a little boy who didn’t want to be called Christopher anymore. Such a common name! When Aunty Gail from Trinidad tells him a story about a Tiger, Christopher changes his name to Tiger. But then he finds a better name. When he has trouble cashing a birthday cheque, he realizes maybe he should stick with his original name… or maybe not?

Joe by Jill Haras & Jill Haras

2002 | 8 min

This animated short tells the story of Seraphim “Joe” Fortes, one of Vancouver’s most beloved citizens. Born in the West Indies, Joe Fortes swam in English Bay for over than 30 years. A self-appointed lifeguard at first, he became so famous that the city of Vancouver finally rewarded him with a salary for doing what he loved best. He taught thousands of people to swim and saved over a hundred lives. Yet there were some who did not respect him because of his skin colour. Through his determination, kindness and love for children, Joe helped shift attitudes.

The Magic of Anansi by Jamie Mason

2001 | 6 min

This animated short tells the story of Anansi, a little spider who is tired of being snubbed by other the jungle animals, especially Mr. Tiger. As Anansi plots and schemes to change things, he realizes he can’t gain respect by putting others down.

Part of the Talespinners collection, which uses vibrant animation to bring popular children’s stories from a wide range of cultural communities to the screen.

Virtual Exhibition Tours

Installation view of Erika DeFreitas: everything she inspires remains, belongs to light, MacLaren Art Centre, 2020. Photo: Andre Beneateau

Erika DeFreitas: everything she inspires remains, belongs to light

Curated by Emily McKibbon

The process of writing art history is one of amplification and repetition. In Erika DeFreitas: everything she inspires remains, belongs to light, DeFreitas’ poetic gestures reimagine a canon in which Black women’s artistic labour is as valued and commemorated as the work of their contemporaries.

Related programming:

Portrait of John Hartman Award recipient Erika DeFreitas

Zoom Q&A with Erika DeFreitas and Daisy Desrosiers

Available on YouTube

Parents and toddler drawing together

Virtual Self-Guided Activity Sheet for Families

Download the PDF

Master Class: Art Writing with Daisy Desrosiers

February 20, 10 am to 3 pm

From the Archive:

Portrait of John Hartman Award recipient Erika DeFreitas

Sovfoto: Binder 172

2014

Art-Making Activities for Families

Virtual Family Sunday: All in the Message

Sunday, February 21, 1:30 to 3 pm
Instructed by regional artist Angela Francis

In partnership with Making Change

In acknowledgment of Black History Month and Erika DeFreitas: everything she inspires remains, belongs to light, families will learn more about this exhibition and create a large illustrated and collaged poster, exploring their take on anti-racism and inclusion. Advance registration required.

Virtual Family Sunday: Caribbean Paper Masks

Sunday, March 21, 1:30 to 3 pm
Instructed by regional artist Angela Francis

In partnership with Making Change

Families will learn more about Caribbean carnival culture and the artistry and purpose of mask-making as a part of masquerade performance. Using the art of collage and a variety of coloured and textured papers, families will create their own vibrant mask. Advance registration required.

What’s on in the Community


The City of Barrie

Diverse Voices Unite

Sunday, February 15, 10 to 11 am

In partnership with the City of Barrie

Listen to dignitaries, performing artists, students, community partners, and special guests talk about Canadian Black History with the vision towards diversity and unity.

Barrie Public Library

Children’s Books for Black History 365

Learn about Black history 365 days of the year! Celebrate the many achievements and contributions of Black Canadians who, throughout history, have done so much to make Canada the culturally diverse, compassionate, and prosperous nation it is today.

Check out these books from our children’s collection highlighting famous Black people throughout history, Black authors, and stories about Black people, both fictional and real.

Adult Books for Black History 365

Learn about Black history 365 days of the year! Celebrate the many achievements and contributions of Black Canadians who, throughout history, have done so much to make Canada the culturally diverse, compassionate, and prosperous nation it is today.

Check out these books highlighting famous Black people throughout history, Black authors, and stories about Black people, both fictional and real.

The Office Of The Lieutenant Governor Of Ontario

Black History Month: Designing Leadership in a Time of Change

Monday, February 8, 2 to 3:30 pm

The Honourable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, invites you to join her in celebrating Black History Month with a discussion on Black leadership in the arts and culture sectors.

Speakers will discuss the importance of reimagining the purpose of museums given their colonial underpinnings and how museums can better serve all communities. They will also offer their perspectives about systemic barriers to advancement in the arts and culture sector and how their leadership practice unfolds.

With Support From: