The Ramsdell Regional Center for the Arts, listed in the National Register of Historic Places, is located in Manistee, Michigan on the ancestral land of the Anishinaabe people. This historic opera house in rural Michigan was erected in 1902 only 38 years after the institution of slavery was finally abolished in the United States. It is important to remember that there were African Americans who journeyed here to Northern Michigan, and that they, along with the other European immigrant groups and the Anishinaabe people already here, are a part of the history and fabric of the region.

Joining the RRCA in this celebration of Black History Month is MARJDI, a group of concerned citizens who have come together to promote racial justice, diversity and inclusion in the region.

This exhibition features works by contemporary African American artists who currently reside or are from rural Michigan and will open the month-long celebration of Black History Month at the RRCA called: Journey of Discovery: Honoring the contributions of African Americans in rural Michigan.

The Journey of Discovery Art Exhibition is on display in the Hardy Hall Art Gallery from January 25 through February 25, 2023. There will be an opening reception on February 4, 2023, from 5:00-7:00pm.

Wednesday-Sunday, 12-3 pm and Wednesday evenings, 5-7 pm

Exhibiting Artists:

Georgia Allen
Tyree Broadway
  Paul Collins
Rufus Snoddy
Nicolena Stubbs
Imani Swain
Danielle Thesiger
George Thomas


Join us for an Artist Reception on Saturday, February 4 from 5-7pm in Hardy Hall at the Ramsdell Regional Center for the Arts. View the Journey of Discovery exhibition, meet the artists and mingle with art enthusiasts.

This event is open to the public and no registration is required.

The Green Book: Guide to Freedom
Documentary by The Smithsonian
Sat, Feb 11 from 7-8:30 pm
Free event

In 1936, Victor Hugo Green, a Harlem postman, began publishing a guide for African American travelers modeled after a similar publication for Jewish travelers. The Green Book, as it was known, was an instant success providing black travelers of the era with information on hotels, restaurants, service stations, and other facilities where they would be welcomed. In the era of Jim Crow and “sundown towns,” this knowledge was not just helpful—it could be lifesaving.

The Green Book ceased publication in 1967, and the guidebook that for years had offered “travel without embarrassment” was lost to history. Few today remember its critical role in expanding horizons for African Americans.

For more information on this film and to reserve your FREE ticket, CLICK HERE!

Crys Matthews
Live in Concert!
Thurs, Feb 16 from 7-9 pm
Free event

“Crys Matthews is among the brightest stars of the new generation of social justice music-
makers. A powerful lyricist whose songs of compassionate dissent reflect her lived experience as what she lightheartedly calls ‘the poster-child for intersectionality.’”

Matthews began performing in 2010, but cemented her acclaim at Lincoln Center as the 2017 New Song Music and Performance Competition grand prize winner. She is a former drum major and classically-trained clarinetist turned folk singer.

Her latest album, “Changemaker” tackles heavy topics like immigration, the opioid crisis, Black Lives Matter, and gun safety, but she assures the listener, “…it is my duty to keep breathing hope and encouragement into the people who listen to my music.”

For more information on this concert and to reserve your FREE ticket, CLICK HERE!

Anna-Lisa Cox, Ph.D.

“With Liberty and Justice for All: The Black Pioneers Who Upheld the Values of the American Revolution in Frontier Michigan and Manistee”

Sat, Feb 18 from 2-3pm
Free event

Dr. Anna-Lisa Cox is an award-winning American historian who specializes in the history of racism in the 19th century, with a focus on the North. Her original research underpinned two exhibits at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture, and her essays are featured in a number of publications including The Washington Post, The Smithsonian Magazine, and The New York Times.

Her recent book, The Bone and Sinew of the Land, on the long-denied history of African American pioneers who settled the Midwest before the Civil War. In addition to frequently being invited to lecture at universities and other organizations nationally and internationally, she is an in-demand guest on radio and television shows, including NPR’s All Things Considered.

Dr. Cox has served as an historical consultant and researcher for museums, media outlets, and other organizations. Dr. Cox is a Non-Resident Fellow at Harvard University’s Hutchins Center for African and African American Research where she recently completed a year-long project for the Library of Congress Folklife Center, collecting oral histories from multi-generational African American farmers in the Midwest. She is at work on two new book projects, including one on the African Americans who surrounded and influenced the young Abraham Lincoln.

For more information on this lecture and to reserve your FREE ticket, CLICK HERE!

The RRCA presents regular exhibitions that feature local and regional artists and brings national and international art to the community. We present a wide variety of work, such as individual, group, or thematic shows, that reflect the community’s diverse interests and challenge conventional thinking.


  • Art must be original and not shown within the last 3 years in the Hardy Hall art gallery
  • All work must be submitted appropriately presented, with framing in good condition, glass as needed, and proper hangers (no saw tooth hangers)
  • All work will remain in the gallery during the exhibition
  • Artists are responsible for their own expenses. No expenses will be covered by the RRCA without approval.
  • The RRCA retains 30% of art sold
  • The RRCA reserves the right to reject any work

Art Exhibitions – coming in 2023