Toledo Museum of Art Hosts a Juneteenth Celebration

Artist James Dickerson and TMA’s Rhonda Sewell (right) speak to a visitor about the Community Gallery’s Juneteenth exhibit

The Truth Staff

The Toledo Museum of Art held its annual Juneteenth celebration of Friday, June 21, with a variety of festivities spread throughout the day and everywhere within the facility. The purpose was “to highlight and celebrate the legacies and influence of Black artists and culture,” noted the Museum in program material.

The day began in the morning with hands on activities in the Family Center as families were encouraged to create works of art together.

At 4:00 p.m. in Gallery 1 the “Africa Unmasked” installation was open and docents available for African Art teaching. Also at 4:00 visitors had the opportunity to use pencil and p[aper and draw throughout the galleries.

James “dirtykics” Dickerson and his collection of photographs held sway in the Community Gallery starting at 5:00. Dickerson is known as a street photographer focusing on Black Americans living in central city Toledo.

His photos, which are typically spontaneous, have been displayed in various studios such as River House Arts, Gathered Glassblowing Studio, Toledo School for the Arts and Communica. He has also been published in Harper’s Bazaar, the New York Times and by Columbia University and The Ohio State University.

His art was, appropriately enough, on display in the Community Gallery, a gallery conceived about a year ago by Rhonda Sewell, the Museum Director of Advocacy and External Affairs. The Community Gallery, managed by Jennifer Gantley, supports local artists and is the only gallery in the Museum “where artists can make money on their art,” said Sewell.

Later in the evening the Urban Art Orchestra – jazz, hip-hop, R & B band out of Detroit, kepy visitors entertained in the Great Gallery. The band’s leader, De’Sean Jones, is a Grammy-nominated composer and arranger.