PADUCAH – West Kentucky Community and Technical College will celebrate Black History Month with several events throughout February.

Two exhibits at the college’s Paducah School of Art and Design - Our Legacy, Our Future - Paintings by Joan Dance and Watercolor by Darlene O’Hara are currently open. Both exhibits will remain on display through Feb. 25 in the Bill Ford Gallery at 905 Harrison Street. The exhibitions are free and open to the public.

Joan Dance is a Paducah native and noted African American folk artist. Her exhibit includes nearly 70 paintings and mixed media works on paper. PSAD Director Paul Aho said Dance’s works are from her studio as well as Paducah collectors who have embraced her vision and distinct mix of humor and storytelling to convey a history and culture of Paducah otherwise largely unseen and untold.

Darlene O’Hara is a noted artist, who lived in Paducah with her husband, Dr. Len O’Hara, while he served as president of Paducah Community College (now WKCTC) from 1991-2001. Her watercolor portraits of notable African-American women Althea Gibson, Katherine Dunham, Wilma Rudolph, and Eva Jessye celebrate their accomplishments and role in opening doors for later generations of black artists and athletes.

Gallery hours are Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

On Saturday, Feb. 1 at 3 p.m., the college’s Student Art & Design Club will host the second special art installation recognizing the legacy of notable African Americans from Paducah. The unveiling of the portrait exhibit will be held at 203 Broadway with a reception to follow at 126 Market House Square. The event is free and open to the public

A Showcase of Talent will be held in the WKCTC Student Center on Wednesday, Feb. 3 at 11 a.m. The event, which is hosted by EM-P.O.W.E.R. student organization, will include campus, community poets, vocalists and actors.

Ranky Tanky, a 2020 Grammy nominee for Best Regional Roots Album, will perform in the college’s Clemens Fine Arts Center Saturday, February 8 at 7:30 p.m. The soulful songs of the Gullah culture are brought to life by this band of native South Carolinians who mix the low country traditions with large doses of jazz, gospel, funk and R&B. Gullah comes from West African language and means “a people blessed by God”. Tickets for the show can be purchased online at artsinfocus.org or by calling Julie Moore at 270-534-3212.

A film is based on the true story of Harriet Tubman will be shown at Maiden Alley Cinema Monday, Feb. 10 at 6 p.m. Tubman was an abolitionist who escaped from slavery in 1849 and brought hundreds of other slaves to their freedom through the Underground Railroad.

The film is sponsored by WKCTC’s Diversity and Inclusion and Student Development/Activities offices. A free reception will be held prior to the movie at 5:15 p.m. 

For more information, contact Chevene Duncan-Herring 270-534-3209, chevene.duncan-herring@kctcs.edu.

Andrew Maraniss, New York Times bestselling author of Strong Inside, will return to WKCTC February 24 at 11 a.m. in Crouse Hall 101. He will share about his new book Games of Deception, the remarkable true story of the birth of Olympic basketball at the 1936 Summer Games in Germany during Hitler’s reign. For more information, contact Sueann Hely 270-534-3273, sueann.hely@kctcs.edu.

For more information about the Black History Month events, contact Chevene Duncan-Herring, WKCTC diversity and inclusion director, at 270-534-3209 or chevene.duncan-herring@kctcs.edu

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