CT Open House Day | Juneteenth Family Day

June 13, 2020 all-day
Artmaking activities

Celebrate creativity, community, and freedom with family-friendly art-making and close looking activities. Dive into more Juneteenth celebrations with The Amistad Center for Art & Culture, including a historic narrative of Juneteenth told by storyteller Valerie Tutson, an interactive drumming exercise led by African drummer Alvin Carter, performance by FriendZWorldMusic dancers, and a collage-inspired art activity and discussion by artist Kesha Bruce.


  • Juneteenth is the oldest known celebration commemorating the end of slavery in the United States.
  • Dating back to 1865, it was on June 19th that Union soldiers, led by Major General Gordon Granger, landed at Galveston, Texas with the news that the Civil War had ended and that the enslaved were now free.
  • Note that this was two and a half years after President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation, which had become official on January 1, 1863. 
  • The Emancipation Proclamation had little impact in Texas due to the minimal number of Union troops to enforce the new Executive Order.
  • June 19th, 2020 will mark the 155th anniversary of Juneteenth. 


Artist: Alma Thomas, American, 1891–1978
Title: Red Azaleas Jubilee
Date: 1976
Media: Acrylic on canvas

Alma Thomas is known for her joyous abstractions. Her signature style is based on floral patterns that allowed her the freedom to shorten geometric brushstrokes into colorful mosaics that reflect nature’s triumph. 

  • Can you identify what shapes and lines are repeated in this painting? 
  • Zoom in and out of the image, how does the work change as you look at it up close? 
  • In this painting Thomas was inspired by nature, specifically the azalea shrub’s red blooms. Take a look at your outdoor surroundings. Is there anything in nature that you would want to paint? What colors and shapes would you emphasize?

Watch Youth and Community Programs Manager Marisely Gonzalez create an abstract painting inspired by Alma Thomas’s floral patterns. Grab your paintbrush and design your own floral artwork.


Artist: Ed Johnetta Miller, American, born 1945
Title: Spirit of the Cloth
Date: 1993
Media: Cotton

Societies of weavers in West Africa recorded community stories in cloth to make Kente, Kuba, and other textiles that could teach through design. Repurposed in America, textiles evolved into everyday objects that shared both sacred stories and family history. Miller’s weaving and improvisational quilting uses cloth remnants representing the Diaspora to illustrate history, tradition, and technique. 

  • Fun Fact: This object is a rare example of a double sided quilt. Both the “front” and the “back” reveal a different composition.  
  • What do you notice about the work? 
  • A closer inspection reveals a variety of different prints and colors. Does any print stand out to you?  
  • If you could design a family quilt of your own, what fabrics would you include? Is there a special reason why you would choose that material?


Listen to Docent Joanne Eudy discuss Kehinde Wiley’s Portrait of Toks Adewetan (The King of Glory)

Artist: Kehinde Wiley, American, born 1977 
Title: Portrait of Toks Adewetan (The King of Glory)
Date: 2016
Media: Oil on canvas

  • What are some of the details that you see in this portrait? What do you think they might tell us about this person? 
    ¿Cuáles son algunos de los detalles que ves en este retrato? ¿Qué crees que puedan decirnos estos detalles sobre esta persona
  • How is Toks Adewetan posing? Try standing the same way and talk about how this pose makes you feel. How would you describe the expression on his face? 
    De qué manera está posando Toks Adewetan? Trata de pararte de la misma manera y habla de cómo te hace sentir esta postura. ¿Cómo describirías la expresión de su cara?
  • Draw a self-portrait! What do you want to say about yourself through your portrait? What will you wear? How will you pose? What will be in the background? Share your portrait with someone and talk about the decisions you made. 
    ¡Dibuja un auto retrato! ¿Qué quieres decir sobre ti a través de tu retrato? ¿Qué ropa usarás? ¿Cómo posarás? ¿Qué estará en el fondo? Comparte tu retrato con alguien y platica sobre las decisiones que tomaste. 
Presented in partnership with The Amistad Center for Art & Culture.
Second Saturdays for Families is funded by Aetna. Additional support is provided by the J. Walton Bissell Foundation, the Ensworth Charitable Foundation, and the George A. and Grace L. Long Foundation, Charles Nelson Robinson Fund, Bank of America, N.A., Trustee. Program supplies are generously donated by S&S Worldwide.