Juneteenth filled with food, concerts, art events

Concerts, readings, movies, a fish and chicken fry, an art reception and sale, and the opening of a new east Gainesville community center are all part of Gainesville’s month-long celebration of emancipation.

The Journey to Juneteenth events, which kicked off Friday with an Emancipation Day celebration, continue through Juneteenth on Sunday, June 19.

Juneteenth marks the day in 1865 when Maj. Gen. George Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas, to announce and enforce the Emancipation Proclamation. Floridians celebrate Emancipation Day a month early because on May 20, 1865, Brig. Gen. Edward McCook made a similar announcement in Tallahassee.

Juneteenth National Independence Day was made an official U.S. holiday in 2021.

This weekend

This Friday features a performance in Bo Diddley Plaza by The Lee Boys, a family ensemble out of the Miami area. The group is part of the “sacred steel” tradition, in which steel guitars and other blues beats and sounds are fused with gospel music.

The Lee Boys were among three recipients of the 2022 Florida Folk Heritage Award and their music is available to stream on Spotify. The free concert is scheduled for 7 p.m.

Upcoming – June 3-5

The closing reception for an exhibition of the work of Gainesville artist Alyne Harris is scheduled for 5 to 8 p.m. on June 3 at the Thomas Center. The art sale wraps up from 1 to 4 p.m. on June 4.

The Between Heaven & Earth – The Paintings of Alyne Harris exhibit has run since June 2021 at the Galleries of the Historic Thomas Center, and is drawn from artwork owned by the city of Gainesville.  

Gainesville purchased approximately 400 pieces of Harris’ art from a private collection in 2019 and is keeping a portion of those pieces for its permanent collection Of This Place. Around 200 pieces from that collection – priced from $50 to $500 – will be available to purchase at the June 3-4 sale. Proceeds from the sale will be used to maintain the collection.

Harris also will be present at the event and selling new pieces of her work.

On June 5, the Newberry branch of the Alachua County Library District will feature a talk by Antoinette Chanel, the founder of Feathered Press Indie Publisher, which helps authors self-publish. Chanel’s talk will focus on the importance of Juneteenth and what it means to her work as an artist, an author and an advocate.

The Juneteenth: Celebration of Freedom featuring Chanel requires registration in advance.

Also on June 5, the A. Quinn Jones Museum and Cultural Center, will host the first of three showings of the 2012 documentary “Charles Bradley: Soul of America.” Bradley, who spent the first eight years of his life in Gainesville, was in his early 60s when he released his debut album and it landed on Rolling Stone magazine’s top albums of 2011. The documentary dives into the soul singer’s long journey to success

The museum, located at 1013 N.W. Seventh Ave., will show the documentary at 4 p.m. on June 5

Upcoming June 10-12

The Charles Bradley documentary will be shown again at the A. Quinn Jones Museum at 7 p.m. on June 10 and 11.

The Gainesville chapter of Smooth Flava Dance will host a community line dance party from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on June 12 at Bo Diddley Plaza. 

Alachua County’s Poet Laureate E. Stanley Richard will be one of the featured readers at a Juneteenth Celebration Read-In at 2:30 p.m. on June 12 at the Alachua Branch of the ACLD.   Dayna Miller, an Alachua city commissioner, and Carol Velasques Richardson, a member of the Alachua County Arts Council and an A. Quinn Jones Museum coordinator, also are scheduled to read at the event.

The event will also feature a performance from a youth musical group as well remarks from Alachua Mayor Gib Coerper. Local author Tabitha Jenkins will chat with patrons, and attendees can enjoy crafts and refreshments as well.

Upcoming June 15-16 

Several of the ALCD’s Storytime on the Green events, which are geared for infants to 5-year-olds, will be focused on Juneteenth-related stories on June 15 and 16. The Storytime’s feature songs, stories and books.

Floyd Cooper’s “Juneteenth for Mazie”; Troy Andrews and Bryan Collier’s “Trombone Shorty”; and Shelly Rotner and Sheila M. Kelly’s “Shades of People” will be among the books featured at the Storytime events, which start at 10:30 a.m.

The June 15 Storytimes on the Green are scheduled for 10:30 a.m. at the Headquarters Library, the Hawthorne Branch, the Archer Branch and the High Springs Branch.

The June 16 Storytimes on the Green are scheduled for 10:30 a.m. at the Waldo Branch and at the Veterans Memorial Park playground (with the Tower Road Branch team). A Depot Park Story Time event also is scheduled at 10:30 a.m. that day.

The Cone Park Branch will have its Juneteenth Storytime on the Green at 3 p.m. on June 17.

Rachel Cook, the public relations and marketing manager for the ACLD, said that in addition to the Storytimes, each branch was planning a Juneteenth program. The full list of Juneteenth-related ACLD events is available from the library’s website.

Clarence R Kelly Center and Park will officially re-open on Juneteenth
The Clarence R Kelly Center and Park will officially re-open on Juneteenth.

Upcoming June 17-19

The weekend of Juneteenth kicks off with a Juneteenth Breakfast at 7:30 to 9 a.m. on June 17 at the Cotton Club Museum and Cultural Center, at 837 S.E. 7th Ave. The breakfast tickets are $25 and can be purchased through the museum’s events page.

The June 18 events start with an early morning Journey to Juneteenth Freedom Walk at 7 a.m. The 5k walk, which travels into nearby historic neighborhoods, begins and ends at Depot Park, at 874 S.E. Fourth St. The free event also features music and live performances, presentations and games following the walk.

Shady Grove Primitive Baptist Church, at 804 S.W. Fifth St., will host the free Porters Quarters Fish and Chicken Fry from noon to 4 p.m. on June 18. 

The inaugural Freedom Fest 2022 rounds out the Saturday events with a series of musical performances from local and regional artists in Bo Diddley Plaza. Freedom Fest, which runs from 5 to 9 p.m. on June 18, will also feature food trucks, organizational and business vendors and arts and crafts for children.

On Juneteenth, Gainesville will officially re-open the Clarence R. Kelly Community Center and Park at 3 p.m. The updates to the park at 1701 NE Eighth Ave. include a new 3,800-square-foot community center, a new playground, adult fitness equipment, a lighted basketball court and a fenced community garden.

The $2.3 million project was funded through the half-cent Wild Spaces & Public Places tax.

Finally, at 6 p.m. on June 19, the A. Quinn Jones Museum will host “Blue Pioneers and Progeny,” which is an art exhibit and concert with Billy Buchanan. Dubbed the “Ambassador of Rock ‘n Soul,” Buchanan is a performer and songwriter who has released 10 albums as a solo artist and two with the group Fusebox.

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