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February 09, 1992|BERKLEY HUDSON

A gospel quintet and an artist who works from her wheelchair will call forth the bounty of the African-American experience as part of Black History Month festivities for children and adults today in Pasadena.

Appearing at the Armory Center for the Arts, James Calhoun and his Gospel Soul Messengers will perform songs that trace the trials, tribulations and celebrations of the black experience from Africa to the Americas.

"Even for black people, Black History Month bridges the gap and helps people understand that black people, as Americans, have not only a rich history but also a rich tradition of music that helped us progress to where we are," said Calhoun, 31, of Compton.

His group, sponsored by the Los Angles-based Performing Tree, will sing traditional work songs, spirituals, blues, hymns, street cries and chants.

There will be two free shows, at 1:30 p.m. and 2:45 p.m. The center is at 145 N. Raymond Ave.

Also that afternoon at the center, sculpture and batik artist Riua Akinshegun will help children ages 5 and up, along with adults, learn to make wearable art that celebrates the "heroes and sheroes" of contemporary black America.

Akinshegun, 47, rendered a paraplegic from a gunshot wound, is well-known as a Los Angeles disabled artist exploring the healing power of art. She wants participants in her two workshops "to gain knowledge as well as an art experience."

The free workshops are at 1 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.

And later, for those who want to contribute to the continuation of such efforts, the newly opened California Pizza Kitchen in Pasadena is hosting a benefit for the center's arts education programs.

Tickets ($40 for adults, and $15 for children) provide all-you-

can-eat pizza, salad, drinks and dessert. In addition, two Armory Center artists, Carolyn Potter and Meriel Bogen, will teach children how to make pizza sculpture that is art, not food.

The benefit runs from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. at 99 N. Los Robles Ave.

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