The DART Board: Juneteenth

By Peggy Roalf   Wednesday June 16, 2021


Saturday, June 19, marks the anniversary of what we know as Juneteenth. According to the Smithsonian Institution, in 1865, two years after the Emancipation Proclamation, 2,000 Union troops arrived in Galveston Bay, Texas, and over 250,000 enslaved Africans were declared free by the executive decree known as General Order No. 3. Today, Juneteenth celebrations take place largely in the form of regional parades, programs, catered events and family/community reunions. In 2020, Juneteenth was established as a holiday in New York State, a major step in acknowledging the significance of the historical legacy of African Americans’ struggle for equality. – Jarvis Watson, Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at School of visual Arts Above: Rashid Johnson's Red Stage at Astor Place; photo Filip Wolak, courtesy of Creative Time



Rashid Johnson’s Red Stage, located at the historical crossroads of art and insurgency, is, according to Creative Time curator Diya Vij,  an emergency call to artists and creatives to experiment, collaborate, and gather in an act of resurgence. The minimalist sculpture — akin to a bandshell stage — is rendered in steel and powder-coated in a color Johnson describes as “alarm red.” This color evolved from the artist’s series of Anxious Red drawings, which he created in response to the global coronavirus pandemic. Info

Situated at Astor Place, Red Stage revives the intersections of performance and protest. Known prior to settler colonialism as “Kintecoying,” or “Crossroads of Three Nations,” Astor Place today is considered the space where the East and West Villages meet, where tensions play out, rules are contested, and new ideas and organizations form. 

Numerous seeds of rebellion have fomented in Astor Place throughout its history: from Frederick Douglas’ 1863 Delivery of “The Proclamation and a Negro Army” address at Cooper Union, a scathing indictment of the North’s hypocritical embroilments in the slave economy, to the formation of avant-garde educational centers for socialist and anarchist ideas, the Chinese Students Alliance’s dissent against China’s actions in the Sino-Soviet war and most recently, the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests.

With Red Stage, Rasheed Johnson extends an open invitation for artists, makers, and passersby to reclaim space through performance and experimentation. The month-long series of free public programs promises opportunities for audience members — as well as those just enjoying the great urban outdoors — to dance, sing karaoke, and once again engage in cultural dialogue—live on the city streets.

Saturday, June 19, join in for a painting workshop by Black Painters Academy that honors the Black community, and celebrate with Joe’s Pub and Make Music New York with a night of live musical performances by CelisseChé Buford, and Mal Sounds, and the Juneteenth Legacy Project. The complete schedule is here And there is still time for the public to propose their own programming: “Book [the People’s Stage]. According to Vij, “it’s open and available to everyone.” 



Celebrate Juneteenth Live on the plazas of Lincoln Center | Saturday June 19th

A site-specific experience at Lincoln Center with vocalists Nona Hendryx, Marcelle Davies-Lashley and Kimberly Nichole performing original music by Vernon Reid and Nona Hendryx, with lyrics by Lynn Nottage. The show, curated by artist Carl Hancock Rux, will unfold in four parts across the campus and feature specially made paper costumes by designer Dianne Smith. Free tickets to June’s Restart Stages events will be made available through the TodayTix Lottery, the Official Ticketing Partner of Restart Stages. The TodayTix Lottery will open for entries two weeks before the performance and close three days prior to the performance at 12:59pm. Tickets here



Celebrate Juneteenth with worthless studios at Alice Austin House | Saturday, June 19th, 1-4 pm

On Juneteenth worthless studios will feature performances by BIPOC and LGBTQ poets and musicians on a stage made from reclaimed plywood as part of The Plywood Protection Project . 

These performances, occurring between 1pm and 4pm, will be produced by NY PopsUp. This plywood was previously used to board up storefronts in NYC during the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests, but then collected by the organization and distributed to artists to be used for public art. Register for the event here!



Celebrate Juneteenth with Museum of the City of New York | Freedom Songs

Featuring Kenyatta Emmanuel and Shanell Gabriel, Friday June 18, 4pm

An afternoon of song and spoken word reflections celebrating freedom and commemorating the ending of American slavery.

Free! Seating is first-come-first-served. Register here.


Celebrate Afro Caribbean Joy and Resilience on Juneteenth | Saturday, June 19, 2-6 pm

El Museo del Barrio is going to Brooklyn! This Juneteenth, in celebration of Afro-Caribbean joy and resilience, join us for our first in-person Super Sabado, featuring roller-skating presented by Butter Roll; art-making workshops inspired by La Trienal; and live music by DJ's Ultraviolet, Nina Vicious, and Bembona. Skate rentals will be provided by Skaterobics on a first come, first serve basis. In collaboration with El Puente and Hope Community Gardens. Info



Honor Juneteenth at the Brooklyn Museum | Satruday June 19, 

Honor Juneteenth and support the ongoing movement for Black lives and liberation on the museum's steps to hear music and remarks by local community leaders before Good Company Bike Club kicks off their Freedom Ride, a daylong tour of historic Brooklyn locations and landmarks relevant to the Black community, including stops at Black-owned restaurants to rest and replenish. In the evening, enjoy live music, food provided by Black Chef Movement, and mindfulness at sunset with Meditating for Black Lives, who use the principles and practices of various meditation traditions to support community efforts to heal oppression. All-day long, stop by to share what honoring Juneteenth means to you and participate in community portraits by Brooklyn photography collective Souls in Focus. 

The Brooklyn Museum, outdoors on the plaza at 200 Eastern Parkway, Brooklyn, NY Info


Opening day for Brooklyn Resists | Saturday June 19th, starting 11:30 am

Brooklyn Resists is the first major Brooklyn Public Library's Center for Brooklyn History project since its creation last year and made in response to the outcry for justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and countless Black Americans murdered by police and anti-Black violence. This exhibition will be projected on the exterior of the building and will tell the stories of Black resistance in Brooklyn from the beginning of the Civil Rights movement to today using historic texts and images and photos from the 2020 protests. 

There will also be an open call for images to be placed on the online version of the installation, where the Brooklyn community to add their personal, lived experiences, histories, and stories to CBH’s collections of photography, oral histories, and ephemera documenting the movement in Brooklyn.

For the unveiling, there will be a special celebration starting at 11:30am with African drumming and storytelling. Brooklyn Public Library Center for Brooklyn History, 128 Pierrepont Street, Brooklyn, NY Info


Celebrate Juneteenth with the New York Public Library

Join NYPL to celebrate Juneteenth with a full array of offerings—from the culminating day of the Schomburg Center's Literary Festival to a special performance with The Lot Radio broadcast online and at the Library for the Performing Arts. Find events, reading recommendations, historical resources, and more from the Library to commemorate the historic day in 1865 when news of the Emancipation Proclamation reached enslaved Black people in Galveston, Texas, heralding the end of slavery in the United States. Info