The Academy Art Museum is pleased to announce the 12th Annual Juneteenth Celebration on Saturday, June 17 from noon – 3 pm, presented by AAM, Building African American Minds (BAAM), the Frederick Douglass Honor Society, the Talbot County Free Library and Play in Color. This free outdoor block party features musical and spoken word performances, a hands-on art project for families, vendors selling hand made goods, a basketball half-court with a free throw competition, and delicious food vendors, as well as an exhibition of woodcuts by Baltimore-based artist LaToya Hobbs in the Museum’s galleries.
Archeologists from The Ottery Group will also present artifacts unearthed from a recent archeological study commissioned by AAM on land once owned by James and Henny Freeman, the earliest documented free Black landowning family in Easton, MD, and now the site of a future Museum annex.
AAM would like to thank Lead Sponsor Morgan Stanley: Lisa Hunter and Shane Hatfield at Morgan Stanley for supporting this year’s celebration. Additional support for this event is provided by Bay Imprint, Easton Utilities, Granville Fund of MSCF, Bette S. Kenzie, Maryland Public Television, Catherine Collins McCoy, Talbot Arts, and Beverly and Richard Tilghman.
Devon Beck, Juneteenth’s MC will perform a spoken word piece for the event. Beck is a leader, builder, and connector who has held leadership roles in education, community development, and the music business. After receiving his undergraduate degree from University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Devon began working in the school system, mentoring and leading young students with those very lessons. Currently, he is the Facilitator of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for Talbot County Board of Education and guides leaders and organizations to remove barriers to inclusion. As Co-Founder with Shelton Hawkins of Play In Color, an organization that uses basketball to build community, Beck continues to make strides to leave a positive impact on the community.
Ruby Fisher is a freshman at Saint Michaels High School. Fisher has had seven years of voice lessons and four years of choir and has performed in many musicals.
Munit and Z Lovebugs are an adorable family band featuring vocalist Munit (Mama) on ukulele and drums, Gabriel (son) on bass, vocalist Meezan (daughter) on ukulele and trumpet, and singer Ayana (the youngest and the firecracker of the band)! They love playing songs of love, peace, positivity, and joy from around the world that make us feel good. Strangers turn into friends and a community is born as they perform and get the audience singing along to their originals and to classic and funky songs that many know and love.
Tavair Tapp first took the stage as The Sagacious Traveler in late 2021 in his hometown of Columbia, Missouri. A singer-songwriter, he has an eclectic lyrical range, from whimsically fun to reflectively somber. Now a resident of Maryland’s Eastern Shore, he performs acoustic versions of originals and covers at local music venues, coffee shops, bars, and festivals throughout MD, DE, and VA. He has two singles available on all streaming platforms: “Neapolitan Ice Cream” (2021) and “Sincerely, Your Dearest Friend” (2022).
Arkansas-born, Baltimore-based painter and printmaker LaToya Hobbs creates beautiful portraits of Black women to explore themes of family, beauty, adornment, cultural identity, and sisterhood.
Hobbs holds a BA in Painting from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and an MFA in Printmaking from Purdue University. Her work is housed in the collections of the Harvard Art Museum, the Getty Research Institute, and the Baltimore Museum of Art. She is also a professor at the Maryland Institute College of Art.
Drawing inspiration from the book The Black Fives: The Epic Story of Basketball’s Forgotten Era by Claude Johnson, which chronicles the early basketball teams formed by African American churches, athletic and social clubs pre-racial integration, Play in Color is hosting a free throw competition at the Juneteenth Celebration. A limited-editioned Juneteenth basketball, designed by Play in Color co-founder Shelton Hawkins, will be on sale at the event. Proceeds will help fund future Juneteenth Celebrations at AAM.
Archeologists Lyle Torp and Dr. Matthew Palus will share initial findings and artifacts from an archaeological study of land once owned by James and Henny Freeman, the earliest documented free Black landowning family in Easton, MD, who lived on the site from 1787- 1828. The site is part of the Hill community, an early free Black settlement in the nation. AAM commissioned the study in advance of developing the property into a Museum annex.
Food and Vendors
Juneteenth fan favorites Chubb’s BBQ and Danielle’s Pit Stop will be back to serve their delicious food again this year. Other food vendors include Spanky’s Soul Food and Creative Creation BBQ. Juneteenth food vendors will share a space with the neighboring Delmarva Pride Festival on the corner of Harrison and South Streets.
The celebration will also include fourteen non-profit booths and a number of local vendors with handmade goods for sale including macramé and fiber art objects by Double Rainbow Designs, ceramic art pieces made by Down2Earth Pottery, Kenneth Fisher’s hand-painted mailboxes, and Antiguan and Barbudan seed work jewelry and other goods by Botanique.
As the premier art museum on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, the Academy Art Museum presents high-quality exhibitions and a full range of art classes for visitors of all ages. Past exhibitions have featured artists such as James Turrell, Robert Rauschenberg, Mark Rothko, Pat Steir and Richard Diebenkorn. The permanent collection focuses on works on paper by American and European artists from four centuries including recent acquisitions by Graciela Iturbide and Zanele Muholi. Arts educational programs range from life drawing lessons to digital art instruction, and include lunchtime and cocktail hour concerts, lectures and special art events, as well as a Fall Craft Show celebrating 26 years. AAM also provides arts education to school children from the region and is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. To continue the institutional movement of offering free public programming and to give barrier-free access to art, AAM eliminated admission fees in 2023.
Location: 106 South Street, Easton, Maryland
Hours: Tuesday-Wednesday 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, Thursday-Friday 10:00 am to 7:00 pm, and Saturday-Sunday 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. Closed Mondays and Federal holidays.