VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — The Virginia Beach Cultural Affairs Department announced a series of free arts and cultural events to celebrate Juneteenth.
The holiday dates back to 1865 and is the official date when slavery was abolished throughout the country. Governor Northam declared it a state holiday last year.
“Every year we celebrate July 4th, Independence Day … but that freedom we celebrate did not include everyone … it’s time we elevate this, not just a celebration by and for some Virginians, but one acknowledged and celebrated by all of us because that’s how important this event is,” Northam said last year.
This year’s events in Virginia Beach will begin on June 17 and run to the official holiday on June 19.
“We’re so happy to be able to use the power of the cultural arts to bring people together in-person for this important celebration,” said Emily Labows, Director of the Virginia Beach Cultural Affairs Department. “We look forward to providing our community with a variety of cultural experiences to connect with their friends, family and neighbors, all while learning about important histories.”
The schedule of events is:
- Thoroughgood House Expanded Tour Hours; Special Juneteenth-related Tour will take place at the Thoroughgood House which will be open for free tours from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Fridays, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.
- Virginia Beach Public Art Walk: “Portraits from a Place of Grace” Cultural Affairs will host a FREE Public Art Walk at the future home of the Virginia African American Cultural Center (VAACC) to view the public art installation “Portraits from a Place of Grace.”
- #VBArts on Tour Pop Up Performance in the ViBe Creative District will be a series of joint pop-up musical and poetry performances featuring the Virginia African American Cultural Center, Tidewater Bluegrass Music Association/St. Juliens Creek Revival and Teens With a Purpose.
- VBGIGS Presents “Hidden History: The Banjo” which is a 60-minute performance that includes an array of music, dance, and spoken word poetry from talented local artists including Rita Cohen from Tidewater African Cultural Alliance, Corey and LaQuita Staten from Atumpan Edutainment, Bill Armstrong from Tidewater Bluegrass Music Association, Kanya Edmonds and Author Kween Yakini. The performance will begin at 2:30 p.m. on June 19 at the Sandler Center for the Performing Arts Miller Studio Theatre
- African American Music Month Celebration will be held June 20 from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Renaissance Academy grounds and feature TFC Band, with their signature musical blend of Classic Soul, Motown, Funk and more. The event will also feature Becky Livas and a Hampton Roads Youth Poet Laureate Ambassador from Teens With a Purpose.
Learn more about the events.