Not just another Hallmark holiday

by Keesha Dixon, Juneteenth Festival Co-Chair

Juneteenth? What does that mean? Well, you are in luck! This is an actual holiday that doesn’t require gifts, candy or flowers. Whew! On June 19, 1865, the end of the Civil War officially freed all of the country’s slaves. Juneteenth, a combination of the words June and nineteenth, is also known as Freedom Day or Emancipation Day.

A bit of background … Though the Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves officially on Jan. 1, 1863, It was several years before the news reached slaves in Texas, a Confederate state. But in June of 1865, Texas slaves learned of their new freedom. Officially, Juneteenth is on June 19, but the Indiana State Museum is having its Juneteenth Festival on Saturday, June 23 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The Juneteenth Festival will encourage family and friends to celebrate freedom and diversity with arts and crafts, music, storytelling and more. There will be music by Lamar Campbell & Spirit of Praise and Staci McCrackin & Euphony. Storyteller extraordinaire Stevi Butler, spoken word artist Rehema McNeil and visual artist Walter Lobyn Hamilton will discuss and present their work. There will be craft activities, a Community Organization Fair, documentaries and Civil War re-enactors too!

I hope we will see you at the Indiana State Museum on June 23!

Hitting the ground running

by Bruce Williams, Director of Multicultural Audiences

Okay, so this is my first blog as a new employee at the Indiana State Museum. This is such a perfect job for me that I am pinching myself to make sure I’m not dreaming. But if I were, I’d ask that you not wake me. As Director of Multicultural Audiences I get to do what I enjoy doing most — being creative, developing multicultural programs and building audiences.

Since joining the staff a few months ago, I have taken on the “BIG” task of planning REPRESENT Family Day, an exciting full-day event done in conjunction with Black History Month. The event is a public program of the museum’s new exhibit REPRESENT. You’ll see lots of cool stuff in this collection by Hoosier African-American artists, especially Dark Fantasy by emerging artist Walter Lobyn Hamilton. This is a large work of art featuring a woman made from cracked vinyl records. There are 40 pieces in the show you do not want to miss seeing.

So if you are thinking that downtown Indianapolis will be deserted with nothing to do one week following Super Bowl XVLI, don’t kid yourself. We will be rocking at the Indiana State Museum to the gospel sounds of national recording artists Napoleon Williams and True Friends True Praise. Krash Krew will have everyone on their feet dancing and hip hop verbal artists Counter Culture will inspire us with contemporary stories of struggle and courage. This is definitely not the event to pass over.

So between times, I need you to pull out your iPhone and mark this date “busy!”  See ya Feb. 11!