Do Yourself a Favor — Meet Black Artists on Juneteenth

Juneteenth celebrates the date—June 19,1865—of the announcement in Galveston of General Order No. 3 by Union Army general Gordon Granger, proclaiming freedom from slavery in Texas, two-and-a-half years after Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation and two months after Lee’s surrender formally ended the Civil War. Implementation in Texas had been slow and inconsistent before Granger’s announcement as enforcement generally followed the advance of Union troops, and Texas, the most remote of the slave states, had a sparse Union military presence throughout the war. Although emancipation didn’t happen overnight for everyone—in some cases, enslavers withheld the information until after harvest season—celebrations broke out among newly freed Black people, and Juneteenth was born.

Unfortunately, inequalities continue today between communities separated by class and color, including here in Asheville. We can learn from each other on Juneteenth, now a federal holiday. SHAC suggests an art tour to meet some of our favorite creative people and places where the Black and Brown Experience may be fully explored and enjoyed.

Portrait of a woman
Portrait of Lucille Randolf by Joseph A. Pearson

Joseph Pearson, a SHAC Featured Artist, will be exhibiting his important Women of Distinction show at Pink Dog Creative and at YMI on Eagle Street alongside that of accomplished artist and community leader Shirley WhitesidesOne of Joseph’s pieces will also be shown at SHAC Celebrates: YEAR One in a special exhibition of our first year Featured Artists at Foundation Studio, 27 Foundy Street on June 12th with a preview party from 5-6 pm.

Micah MacKenzie’s work will be on display at the art gallery at the First Congregational United Church of Christ at 20 Oak Street. Known around town as one of Asheville’s finest fashion and wedding photographers, Micah’s additional range of talent will be on display in his paintings and mixed media pieces. The church, a short walk from Eagle Street, has created strong communal programming reaching out to YMI to build longstanding and meaningful relationships in their co-joined neighborhoods. Ongoing shows in their street front gallery will regularly feature Black area artists 

Black Wall Street Still Lives at J Hackett’s GRINDfest at Pink Dog Creative on Depot St. with creative programs throughout the weekend. GRINDfest, Asheville’s newest festival, is a celebration of Black Business and Entrepreneurship, and its highlights include the play “Savagery, A Therapeutic Play,” at 7 pm on Friday, a Black Marketplace beginning at 10 am on Saturday followed by a unique “Roots Reveal” challenge shedding new light on Black genealogy and heritage. Besides the Main Stage performance on Saturday night, this inspiring weekend will conclude at noon on Sunday with a Community Awards presentation and “Food from Around the World.”

Don’t miss these creative opportunities to meet, know and make a difference in strengthening relationships towards a stronger Asheville.