Jacksonville's Ritz Theatre and LaVilla Museum has a colorful schedule for February 2010.
From music to dance to spoken word, the Ritz team invites patrons to "celebrate black history month with Jacksonville's premier institution dedicated to African-American culture."
Fresh off the facility's tenth anniversary of its' full restoration in 1999, the Ritz plays a a significant part in the history of Northeast Florida.
The theater originally opened in 1929. For decades, it served as an artistic hub for the culturally-rich LaVilla community formerly known as the "Harlem of the South".
Serving as a launchpad for numerous entertainers like legendary Grammy® winner Ray Charles, the building became a movie house before waning interest and neighborhood changes forced operators to close its' doors.
Today, the complex houses both the Ritz Theatre and the LaVilla Museum, a walk-through exhibit of the local African-American experience.
Ritz/LaVilla is a city property, and is run by a dedicated, on-site team who organizes and coordinates various activities year 'round. Regular events include an amateur night competition and the popular all-city youth chorus, Ritz Voices.
The highlight of this year's black history month observance is a performance from celebrated jazz artist Rachelle Ferrell on February 13.