The Martin Luther King Jr. Performing and Cultural Arts Complex connects community through the arts. The King Arts complex hosts many cultural and educational activities, and community events in the King-Lincoln District on the near East side.
The Center aims to educate and celebrate the significant contributions of African-Americans to the culture and history of America and the world.
The King Arts Complex typically hosts Youth Arts Academies during the Columbus City Schools spring, summer and winter breaks. The academies offer professional quality performing arts opportunities for students studying dance, music, and theater. They also offer free after school programming for grades 4-8. Check the website for information about upcoming youth programs.
SOAR On Saturdays
Soar on Saturdays is a free dance access program that provides young students ages 8-12 the opportunity to explore movement over the course of a free six-week dance class. At the end of each six-week session, students share what they have learned with parents, friends, and family at an in-studio demonstration (pending Covid restrictions). Class size is limited. Registration is first-come, first-served.
No previous dance training is necessary. Classes are Saturday from 2-3 pm at BalletMet, 322 Mount Vernon Avenue, Columbus, OH 43215. Find registration details here.
Annual events with King Arts Complex
Each year the King Arts Complex presents an MLK Day Open House. This annual event brings children, families, and friends together to enjoy musical and live theatrical performances. Visitors of all ages learn about the civil rights movement, participate in art activities, view current art exhibitions and make new friends.
Monday, January 17, 2022 (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day)
Noon to 4 PM at the Ohio History Center
Join the King Arts Complex to explore the impact of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The 2022 theme is “Exemplify: The Dream” and keynote speaker is Senator Hearcel Craig (OH-15). The MLK Day Open House is also an opportunity to participate in art activities with Seeds of Caring and to explore the Ohio History Center. There will be giveaways as well!
The 2022 MLK Day Open House features performances by Leap of Faith Dance Studio, Franklinton High School Steel Band, Roger Parish, Larry Robertson, NIA Performing Arts Ensemble, Transit Arts and Antonio Lamar.
Free admission and free parking.
Ohio History Center, 800 E 17th Ave, Columbus, OH 43211
TBA for 2022. Held during select Summer months on Thursday evenings, this free outdoor music festival allows attendees to enjoy performances by an all-star line-up of some of central Ohio’s hottest musicians.
The Martin Luther King Jr. Performing and Cultural Arts Complex
835 Mt. Vernon Ave.
Columbus, Ohio 43203
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Past events; tba for 2022
Kwanzaa Youth Winter Academy
December 20-23 & December 27-30, 2021 (M-Thurs) | 9 AM – 4 PM
Kindergarten through 8th grade (Ages 5 – 13)
KWANZAA is an African-American celebration of family, community and culture. Youth participants will learn about the principles of KWANZAA by working with local, visual, and performing artists. There is something for everyone at the 2021 Winter Academy. Find registration details on the website.
Programming: $125 per child
Registration Fee: $25 per child
Check out other upcoming Kwanzaa celebrations in Columbus.