WOMEN WRITERS Women authors must fight to be noticed and stay relevant in a competitive literary market. Join the YWCA Berkeley/Oakland’s Festival of Women Authors that celebrates the work of female writers. Organized annually since 1995, the Festival of Women Authors will host speakers and put on workshops that empower. This year, the festival will spotlight two writers: Megan Stielstra, author of The Wrong Way to Save Your Life, and Meredith May, author of The Honey Bus. Last year’s guests include Elizabeth Farnsworth, Yangsze Choo, Paulette Boudreaux, and Lauren Markham. Come out to support women authors. $30 general reservation. Saturday, Feb. 6. 9:30 a.m.
PASTEL ART Spring is around the corner and so is the brilliant foliage of the Bay Area. If you’re a fan of recreating nature through art, check out artist Clark Mitchell’s pastel demonstration hosted by the El Cerrito Art Association. Mitchell renders beautiful local landscapes—gardens, valleys, lakes, mountains—in pastels and has competed in plein air art competitions throughout the country. Join him as he demonstrates how he uses soft pastels, working from a photo reference or an existing pastel painting, to create a breathtaking landscape rendering. Live and dream in pastel colors. Monday, Feb. 8. 7-9 p.m. Free.
INTO AFRICA If you’re a National Geographic fan, chances are you’ve seen photographer Frans Lanting’s work. His show “Into Africa,” on exhibit at the David Brower Center, was developed in collaboration with the World Wildlife Fund and the Smithsonian Institution. In this digital and in-person (by appointment) exhibit, you’ll be taken on a tour through marvelous African landscapes through images and words recorded by Lanting. You’ll watch three short films and a video tour with behind the scene tales from Lanting and collaborator Chris Eckstrom. Take a ride through the African continent with this show — that’s one way to travel during the pandemic.
NATURAL DYE Want to combine your love for art and your respect for nature? Then join in on BAMPFA’s workshop, “Journeys in Natural Dyeing: Local Color and Design.” You’ll be led by textile artists and authors Kristine Vejar and Adrienne Rodriguez, who co-own the Oakland-based natural dyeing studio and textile shop, A Verb for Keeping Warm. The artists will teach you how to create colors from locally grown and found plant materials. They’ll introduce you to a series of techniques and design choices that can help you find the widest possible color palette. Get creative with nature. Saturday, Feb. 6. 11 a.m. Free.
MANDELA It’s Black History Month, a great opportunity to learn about the rich legacy forged by Black leaders and citizens. The Marsh Theatre is putting on Darryl Van Leer’s play, “Nelson Mandela: Let Freedom Reign.” The one-man play reflects on the life of President Nelson Mandela from his early life leading up to his equal rights struggle against apartheid. You’ll see renditions of his famous “I am prepared to die” speech and his inauguration speech from when he became South Africa’s first democratically elected Black president. Listen, learn, and be inspired. Saturday, Feb. 6. 7:30 p.m.