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Celebration Juneteeth with The Amistad Center for Arts and Culture

By Tiffani Jones: Northend Agents Newspaper, July 6, 2011- Vol. 37 No. 8

Juneteenth - (a portmanteau of June and nineteenth) - commemorates the announcement of the abolition of slavery in Texas two years after the Emancipation Proclamation was signed in 1863 and is recognized as an official holiday in 37 U.S. states. This month at the Amistad Center for Arts and Culture was no exception! The cultural arts organization kicked off this years Juneteenth tribute with a series of events at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Arts (where theyre housed). The roster included a luncheon and Family Day; which included a full day of activities featuring workshops, mask art, and a concert performed by Jumoke Academy Choir of Hartford. Festivities were rounded out with the Juneteenth Celebration Gala, which took place this Friday, June 17th. Jubilation was the theme of this years fete. And From 8pm to midnight, Hartfords well-heeled lot jubilantly danced the night away in their finest Afro-centric and formal regalia as the DJ spun familiar tunes that got event-goers excited enough to throw their hands up with familiarity of the sets list of songs as others mingled with one another while they enjoyed wine, cocktails, and a well-placed buffet of appetizers. This was my first time attending the Amistad Centers Juneteenth celebration. In fact, this was my very first time attending any such celebration for that matter. I enjoyed myself immensely, although I mostly observed. In addition to the dancing, it was quite a wonderful site to see local dignitaries relaxed in their formal wear and mingling amongst each other effortlessly, despite it being a black-tie affair. There was no stuffiness stifling Avery Court, which was illuminated in wonderful violet-blue tinted lighting. Folks noshed on food and desserts catered by Grants of West Hartford and sipped on specialty cocktails such as Lemon-basil Martinis as they walked around the fountain sculpture of Venus and Satyr. Beverage sponsorship allowed guests to enjoy complimentary Black Hennessy, creations made with Belvedere vodka, and liqueurs from New Britain based producer, Peel. More importantly, exhibits were still open past business hours for Juneteenth revelers to enjoy. Exhibits include works by African-American sculptor and printmaker Elizabeth Catlett; whose Seated Woman sculpture is currently on display, Edna Manleys Negro Aroused, and a compelling print by New York born photographer, Dawoud Bey. For more information about The Amistad Center at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, peruse the website: amistadartandculture.org or call 860.527.0803

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