In partnership with organizers of Kansas City’s JuneteenthKC event, The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art will kick off the City’s 2017 celebration of Juneteenth with a free day of visual and literary arts, music, entertainment and education. The event, to be held on June 10, includes a full-day of activities from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Come with your walking shoes on, because the activities take full advantage of the Nelson-Atkins sprawling grounds, galleries, restaurant and auditorium.

Participants can enjoy a Kansas City 2 Step demonstration, lemonade and picnic fare, plus artist demonstrations by: Gullah basket weavers from South Carolina; Kansas City textile artist Nedra Bonds; Kansas City muralist Michael Toombs; former Charlotte Street Foundation Artists-in-Residence Paul Anthony Smith, and 18th and Vine Poet Laureate Glen North, who is also the director of education and public programs for the Black Archives of Mid-America.

A special guest artist for the event is Renee Stout, a Washington, D.C. based artist whose paintings and sculptures have earned her international recognition. Stout’s assemblages incorporate found objects, African symbols, remnants of stories and letters, and vintage photographs. Her fascination with fortunetellers and the healing power of Voodoo priests, show up in her art, and make her an excellent person for the museum to have speak in celebration of their recent acquisition of a Nkisi Nkondi – an African power figure, carved in the likeness of a human being, who is meant to protect villages and other locations from witches or evildoers. The Atkins Nkisi Nkondi is part of the museum’s African Art Collection. Stout’s presentation will be from Noon to 12:45 p.m. in Atkins Auditorium.

Stout will discuss appropriation and how the creative process can be a source of healing and empowerment and how her early encounters with African art at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History continue to inspire and influence her work as an artist.

Since any festival isn’t complete without something to eat, the Nelson-Atkins festival organizers are bringing in Chef Marcus Locke of Locked Down Cuisine and the team from Magnolia’s on the Move Southern Cuisine to supplement their dynamic chefs at the museum’s Rozelle Court Restaurant. The food will be available for purchase.

The Nelson-Atkins Juneteenth event is an addition to the museum’s schedule of festivals and cultural events that attract more than 32,000 visitors a year: Chinese New Year, Passport to India, Kansas City’s Big Picnic, Deaf Culture Day, American Indian Culture Celebration and the Day of the Dead.

For a complete schedule of events planned for the museum’s Juneteeth celebration, go to the museum’s website.

All activities and performances are FREE and open to the public. Off-site parking and shuttle service will be available at Kauffman Gardens, 4800 Rockhill Rd. from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.

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