Juneteenth Art Walk

Downtown businesses are the host locations for the second Juneteenth Art Walk. The community is welcome to stroll the district and view art created by local artists. The theme this year is “And Still We Rise, Strong, Loud, and Proud”

Patrons will have the opportunity to bid on artwork during a live auction at Douglass Activity Center (925 Yuma St.) on Thursday, June 15th. Proceeds will support future Juneteenth celebrations and artists will receive 50% of the proceeds of the sold canvas painting!

Visit the online auction here:


  • Online bidding ends at noon on Wednesday, June 14.
  • Online bids will carry over to the live auction on Thursday, June 15 at 7pm at the Douglass Activity Center, 925 Yuma Street.
  • Fifty percent of the proceeds are shared with the artists and the remainder goes to support future Manhattan Juneteenth Celebrations.


Kyliah Kellerman – 401 Poyntz Ave – Gaia Salon



This world we live in is so full of hate because of the color of our skin, our personal liking, where we come from, who we love, what we believe in or don’t believe in. Beautiful things always come from all colors, all love, and all kindness. I look for and love all the small things in life, those are the things that will not fail, but will always continue to grow and be good. 






Devi Rathod-Wilbur – 419 Poyntz Ave – G. Thomas Jewelers

I’m a member of the Juneteenth Committee.  Total proceeds from my pieces are donated back to MHK Juneteenth.
I started out my arts career as a commercial graphics artist.  I specialize in pen and ink drawings.  I also draw in graphite and charcoal, paint in oils, acrylics, and watercolor, as well as create pottery and sculptures.
The three pieces for this show are a tryptic based on the theme “And Still We Rise…, Strong, Loud, and Proud.”  The three pieces of the tryptic each include black heroes from history, including some from today, and roughly follow a timeline from the days of slavery to the present.  There was not enough room for every person whom I admire, so I chose a representation.  Each of these people have had a significant and positive impact on black lives in America.
The names are written on the back of each of the canvases, and I’m hoping that almost everyone can identify each person and their contributions to society without looking on the back.  If you don’t know these people, you should.The heroes on each of the canvases are titled as follows, with the names of each portrait and that person’s significance to black history:

Malcom X Muslim minister and 1960s Civil Rights Activist
James Baldwin Author
Angela Davis Professor and 1960s Civil Rights Activist
Frederick Douglass National leader of the Abolitionists movement, former slave, writer.
Fannie Lou Hamer Women’s and Civil Rights Activist, Vice-chair of the Freedom Democratic Party
Ida B. Wells Investigative Journalist, an original founder of the NAACP


Kamala Harris First black and first female Vice President
Colin Kaepernick Civil Rights Activist and NFL QB who started the Take-a-Knee movement
Tyler Perry Actor, producer, author
Dr. Alexa Canady First black female neurosurgeon
Bessie Coleman  First black female pilot
Colin Powell U.S. Army General, first black U.S. Secretary of State


Neil deGrasse Tyson Astrophysicist, Winner of the NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal
Oprah Winfrey Actress, producer, author.  1st 20th-Century black billionaire.  
Stacey Abrams Politician, activist, author
Barack Obama First Black U.S. President, community organizer, author
Maya Angelou Poet, 1960s Civil Rights Activist, SNCC coordinator, author
Ayo (Opal) Tometi Human Rights Activist, co-founder of Black Lives Matter, writer


Rose Ndegwa – 409 Poyntz Ave – Twelve: A Fellowship Boutique









The Dawn – By Rose Ndegwa (Kushan Arts)

Sunrise and sea waves

There is a timelessness about both

An Endurance  through the ages 

We will face stormy days 

And battle through dark nights

But just like the sun faithfully rises over the seas

We arise 

A showcase of might, resilience and beauty


The Dusk – By Rose Ndegwa (Kushan Arts)

I took my wife and daughter out tonight 

I took them out to the City Park 

To watch the sun, setting over our city 


I did not mention the impending layoffs at work 

The uncertainty of the future 

I paid no attention to the encroaching darkness


“It is beautiful, Daddy, my five year old shouted. 

“Another great day”, my wife replied. 


“Daddy, where does the sun go at night?”

I do not know where the sun goes, but this I do know: when it rises, I also arise. 

Aloud, I replied, “It goes to bed. To prepare for a great day tomorrow”

Kellie Dillinger – 409 Poyntz Ave – Twelve: A Fellowship Boutique


I’m a self-taught artist who enjoys painting the Flint Hills and its chance encounters.  I take every opportunity to catch this beautiful landscape as it presents itself. My family has a herd of bison and raise Morgan horses which are a big part of my work. I’ll continue catching small moments along this journey and turn them into paintings myself and others can enjoy.

These buffalo soldiers are regulars at the Lawrence Christmas Parade every year.  I was so happy to be able to incorporate them into this year’s Juneteenth artwork.

Hilary Wahlen – 106 S. 4th St. – TheraPie


I chose to illustrate two women who I believe perfectly represent the essence of this year’s Manhattan Juneteenth theme: “And Still We Rise…Strong, Loud, and Proud.
On the left side, I chose to illustrate the world-renowned African American contralto singer, Marian Anderson. She sang at the Lincoln Memorial on Easter Sunday in May 1939 – 74 years AFTER the proclamation for freedom for slaves in Texas.

Over 75,000 people attended the performance, which was broadcast live on the radio.  It was a bold protest against racial intolerance as the audience was non-segregated. It especially inspired a 10-year-old Martin Luther King, Jr., who had listened on the radio.
Over her lifetime, she continued to gain recognition and respect.
She sang for both President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s and President John F. Kennedy’s inauguration and received multiple awards for achievements in arts and culture.
I took some artistic license with my illustration of Marian.  The original photos of Marion performing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial were all black and white.  I chose to add some color to her– although muted, to make her stand out and from the Lincoln statue behind her.  In addition, her small figure almost disappeared behind the multiple radio microphones on stage in front of her.  She wore a gorgeous gown with an orange bodice with jeweled turquoise, navy and gold trim atop a black skirt, while wearing a mink coat because of the extreme cold on that Easter day.
For simplicity’s sake, I only have shown her with one microphone so that you could actually see her. The entire wardrobe she wore that day is in the collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.

On the right side, my second woman to illustrate was Kansas City, Kansas native Janelle Monáe Robinson.
Janelle Monae is an American singer/songwriter, actress, producer, fashion icon, and published author.
She is also considered a “Afrofuturist” with her highly theatrical and stylized concept albums.
By definition, “Afrofuturism” is a cultural aesthetic, philosophy of science, and history that explores the intersection of the African diaspora culture through technoculture and speculative fiction.
Janelle has garnered eight Grammy nominations and has developed her own label imprint, Wondaland Arts Society.
Monáe has also earned great success as an actor, starring in the films including Moonlight, Hidden Figures, Harriet, The Glorias, an Antebellum and Knives Out 2.
On television, she has been on the show Homecoming, and is reported to act as Josephine Baker in the TV series De La Resistance.
In April 2022, Janelle released her first book, The Memory Librarian: And Other Stories of Dirty Computer.
Janelle is a good representative of this year’s Manhattan Juneteenth theme: “And Still We Rise…Strong, Loud, and Proud.
She has been quoted saying the following: “I’m still growing. But as I’m continuing to climb, I try to stay grounded and remember where I’ve come from.  I love speaking about the future. It gives us the chance to do and be something greater.

Kate Wood – 409 Poyntz Ave – 409 Gallery


I’m a charcoal artist that loves to capture the imperfections of life. I mainly use graphite, colored pencils, markers, charcoal, and digital mediums.  Most of my inspiration comes from portraits, unique poses, and beautiful pictures.  I’ve been drawing since I was young, and I always enjoyed it.  I was diagnosed with ADHA when I was young as well and art has been an outlet for my ADHD outbursts. I am also in school to become an EMT and art continued to help me through long nights and burn out. Art is something I continue to rely on to bring me peace of mind and it helps me unwind after a stressful day. In high school I won several art awards from colleges in the area and my art teacher introduced me to the Juneteenth auction. I decided to participate in the Juneteenth art auction to push myself out of my comfort zone and work with materials I don’t. normally use such as paint and watercolor. I participated in Juneteenth last year as well and I felt like I didn’t do very well but I didn’t let that stop me and I decided to try again. I want to learn from this experience and show myself not to give up and push myself to do better.

It forces me to think about how I can capture the theme while learning to navigate the medium. When I read the theme for this year I thought of bright, bold, strong colors swirling around the canvas. I wanted the image to be soft to the eye and messy.  Watercolor is a medium I struggle to use, and I wanted the piece to give the medium justice. I chose to use watercolor to help create the loose, swirling effect and to help blend the colors. I wanted to create a piece that I enjoyed creating.

I left my perfectionism go and let myself truly feel the medium. I took a different approach to the watercolor medium. I knew I wouldn’t be able to make a good piece with just watercolor, so I decided to make it a mixed media piece. I started with a watercolor base and added chalk pastels to soften the piece. I used metallic watercolor to add shine to the piece. I splashed some paint on the piece as well. I allowed myself to have fun with this piece. I used bold colors to emphasize “loud and strong”.  The proud aspect of the theme can be seen in the piece but it’s more personal because I wanted to create a piece I was proud of. I want my art to bring people joy and peace of mind like it does for me.

Sylvia Beeman – 401 Poyntz Ave – Gaia Salon


“Baobab Tree of Life—First Family” 

I chose the Baobab tree to illustrate the Strength, Resilience, Adaptability, Beauty, Ingenuity, and Dignity of Africa’s People and Her Diaspora.  The baobab is remarkable in appearance, its immense width often greater than its height.  Some individual trees are thought to be older than 4,000 years and one reputedly 6,000 years old.  There are eight species of baobab.  One (Adansonia digitata) ranges from South Africa to the Sudan and from Africa’s west to east coasts.  Six occur only on Madagascar, and another only in Northern Australia.  A ninth species was identified this past summer.  It’s leaves, shoots, and fleshy fruit with its protein and oil rich seeds, provide delectable and nourishing food for humans and wild and domestic animals.  Its trunk can store massive quantities of water which enabled the expansion of great African nations, like the Bantu, and sustained nomadic peoples like the Kalahari bushmen during times of draught and in areas far from open water systems.  The baobab’s green growth and bark have been ingeniously adapted over millennia for practical and medicinal purposes in more that 400 ways.  The baobab easily earns its nickname, “Tree of Life”.

The forms of an African man, woman, boy and girl, a family, meld in this painting with the trunk of a baobab tree to indicate their shared magnificence.  Additionally, humankind originated in Africa (and, I love trees and people!) so it seemed natural for me to fuse humans with a species, A. digitata, unique to Africa.  An African elephant and two giraffes honor the African family with their presence.  The golden sun beams through the baobab’s tangled branches while a singing golden African weaver bird proudly recounts a glorious history, shouts about a vibrant present, and proclaims a hopeful future for all people of African ancestry despite seemingly insurmountable challenges.     

Dana Eastes – 401 Poyntz Ave – Gaia Salon

My Juneteenth 2023 contribution is a mixed media (acrylic and watercolor) painting. The painting pays tribute to Maya Angelou’s book, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” and the 2023 Juneteenth theme “And Still we Rise, Strong, Proud, and Loud.”

I read the book, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” when it came out years ago. Growing up in a small Kansas town I was largely shielded from the African American experience. Maya Angelou’s book forced me the reader into her story in which I gratefully gained a deeper perspective and understanding of discrimination. This understanding benefitted my future teaching and raising my own children.

There is symbolism in the painting both obvious and subtle in which the viewer can interpret through their own experiences. Art and writing are largely an individual experience and can change perspectives where other avenues cannot succeed.

Kiara Glover – 423 Poyntz Ave – Flight Crew Coffee


My name is Kiara Glover, and I am a self-taught artist from the east coast. Expressing myself through creating in any form has been a part of my life. Drawing and Painting have always been my outlet for self-expression. I have created this piece not only to celebrate Juneteenth but also to celebrate women of color. I drew inspiration from everyday women that I witnessed standing up for what they believe, past and present. I purposefully wanted to depict women with big hair that I did not see much representation growing up. The Fists rise as a tribute to ancestors who fought for their freedom and equality for their descendants. Flowers bloom against the brick because people of color continue thriving despite our environment. The Red, Black, and Green symbolize all people of African Descendants brought here unjustly and found for freedom. The women stand tall and stand together with their hair out and head high, which is an act of defiance for those that would rather see them broken. Still, we rise as a reminder of what we continue to do since gaining our freedom. One woman has “Hope” on her shirt because, no matter the circumstances, we should never lose it. The purpose behind my piece is to not dwell on the hardships but also not to forget. I am the hopes and dreams of not one but many that came before me. I am blind to witness the Freedom we have to learn, grow, and continue our dreams were made possible by those before me. This is my tribute to them.

When thinking of strength and what being strong is and looks like, I think of the women I was and am still surrounded by that helped raise me. Each person took me by the hand during my lows or highs to guide me. They taught and encouraged me when I needed it most. The first thing that comes to mind when someone tells me to describe what loud is to me is: Loud is my big fluffy cloud-like afro. My hair is hard to tame because all it wants to do is stand up and stand out in the crowd. Those who meet me consider me soft-spoken, while my hair is the opposite and commands attention. I feel Pride when I see anyone that looks like me succeeding.  It is what I see when young girls fix each other’s crowns rather than tear each other down. Pride is what I feel for the dark skin I feel blessed with and the hair that stands tall on my head. I know what it feels like to be the first and only many times, but I am proud and hopeful that I will not be the last. It is clear that together as people, we are strong, and our voices are louder when we rise together.

Andrea Vinson & Richard Goens – 501 Poyntz Ave – Chamber of Commerce

This piece of art is the collaborative effort of two artists. One artist sketched while the other added color and texture. This piece has a lot of detail and even more meaning. Examine each area and use your imagination as I describe this gorgeous piece that illuminates where we came from and who we are today.

  • Crown- We are kings and queens who were taken from our homeland and made to suffer and endure a lot of pain. We are now beginning to regain our crowns and become the people we were always meant to be. 

Crown also refers to our hair. Our “crown “of glory. The hair many of us have struggled to maintain and love. The hair we are now beginning to embrace.

  • Our African roots extend beyond the United States. We were taken from Africa, deposited on the islands as well as the United States. Our Southern brothers and sisters in Texas and Louisiana areas make up another part of our culture. With West African, French, Spanish and Native influences, the Creole people and culture are born. And Mardi gras is a product of that culture. 
  • The beehive on the picture relates to the African honeybee, A.K.A the African Killer bee Apis melifera, which look an awful lot like the American honeybee. They only difference is that the Killer bee is a tad bit smaller in size. 
  • The four-pointed star is a symbol of mystery, infinity, harmony, and mystical forces. It is believed to be  designation of the trail, goal, and great endeavors because it points to the four cardinal directions. Our people have been spread across the world. We have a path, a destination, and a reason for our being. Our culture has influenced clothing and music around the world, in all these directions.
  • BLM, the acronym for Black Lives Matter. We matter. We have been mistreated and undervalued, even to this day. Our men are thrown into and under prisons and we are being killed for just being. Black Lives Matter, we are important, we deserve better, we deserve to be treated like human beings. It’s not about some racial agenda, it is so everyone will finally open their eyes and see our struggles!
  • The hills and mountain symbol that resembles triangles on this piece are in reference to Martin Luther King’s speech “I have a dream”. Throughout his speech he uses imagery of hills and mountains to invoke the future of the civil rights movement. Just as climbing a mountain requires enduring pain and difficulty in order to reach a glorious summit, MLK knows that civil rights activists will face tremendous obstacles, physical beatings, demoralizing insults, incarceration, and death, on the way to achieve their goals of freedom, justice, and equality for ALL. But the end result will be worthwhile.
  • One of the Infinity symbol meanings is Regeneration. This can refer to the boundless and unlimited capacity of God and to the eternal love we experience from God, or a reflection of the everlasting promises God has made toward his people. 
  • Madagascar- The yin Yang is depicted on Madagascar because it was settled by Asian settlers before mainland Africans settled there.
  • Other designs on this piece refer to the broken chains of slavery, the black star in the Ghana flag which is called the “Lodestar of African Freedom”, the Green, Black and Red colors that are depicted on the Pan-African flag. Green meaning abundance and wealth of the African motherland and The Red for the blood that unites all people of Black African ancestry and shed for liberation. Other designs are African tribal designs as well as symbolism for many different African and islander flags.

Marissa Benitez – 423 Poyntz Ave – Flight Crew Coffee

This year’s theme, “And Still We Rise… Strong, Loud, and Proud,” is meant to showcase people coming together and fighting for what they believe in whether it be for gender equality, racism, abortion, etc. When people come together and the louder and tougher we are the more we are heard and the more chances some type of change will occur.

This brings me to the bottom of my art piece. I drew multiple protest signs to symbolize people coming together to fight for their rights and stand up for those who may not be able to. My main focus was on the Black Lives Matter movement as well as the LGBTQ+ movement because I find these two matters to be the most prominent in this world today. I wanted to symbolize people coming together and fighting for their rights to be themselves. I kept the signs plain and without color because I still wanted my main focus to be on those who lost their lives fighting for their rights and fighting for trying to be who they are.

Not everything is sunshine and rainbows, especially in today’s world. There are lots of people who don’t agree with others and may turn to violent and aggressive methods to get people to agree with them even though it may lead to dangerous situations.

The top of my painting has a list of names of all the men, women, and children who have died either during BLM or LGBTQ+ rallies or protests. Some have even been killed while living their normal lives and were only targeted because they had a different skin color or identified as a different gender. Some names on here also represent a few police officers who were killed on duty while trying to protect peaceful protesters. For every single name that I listed, I read their entire story and every single one deserves to be heard, even the ones I may have missed or not listed. No one deserves to die just because they are different from others or they don’t look the same as some people do. It’s sad and disgusting that this is the type of world we live in today and I hope that everyone keeps banding together and keeps fighting to make a change.

In conclusion, we need to come together, rise up, and fight for our rights to live freely and peacefully. To be who we want to be, to love who we want, and to just be happy. We cannot keep living our lives every day in fear because some people don’t like the way we look or don’t like that we identify as someone else. In the end, it gets tiring and people begin to stop fighting, but my artwork as well as many others I’m sure, are here to let people know that we are all standing together and rising. Strong, Loud, and Proud.

Kyliah Kellerman – 406 Poyntz Ave – Manhattan Brewing Company



The Night Sky

This painting inspired a lot of my personal likings of how nature lives it’s life, no matter what us humans do. We often get caught up in worrying about money, bills, work, and everything life wants to throw at us. We get so caught up that sometimes we forget to stop and appreciate what’s right in front of us. Sunrises, sunsets, the moon, the stars, trees and etc. Some of life’s most priceless and beautiful moments are given to us by nature. I find peace and calmness in these moments. 




Deborah Umscheid – 409 Poyntz Ave – 409 Gallery

I am a Manhattan, Ks native, retired from Federal Civil Services at Fort Riley. I began painting in 2018 with the Manhattan Watercolor Studio Group which provides community, knowledge and insight into various styles. There are many subject choices in painting but I am especially drawn to people and local areas. I believe art tells a story helps all of us to connect. Being a youngster who liked to sit down at the kitchen table to listen when elders were visiting about the past or present has seemingly evolved into being an elder myself who sits at the art table with brush to paper – privileged to keep old narratives going or to begin new ones.

I painted these three women to give tribute to those who have come before. In their day and age, they rose and their strength, voices and convictions counted.

Marian Anderson, on the left, was an amazing contralto singer, born in 1897, who stood up and broke down racial barriers. She performed in front of the Lincoln Memorial in 1939, after she was denied permission to sign for an integrated audience at Washington’s DAR Constitution Hall.  The DAR has in recent years apologized for their group’s action/discrimination but at the time it was noted by the DAR and Ms. Anderson to be an oversight. It was said that Marian Anderson “stood for justice with a song.”  She sang “My Country Tis of Thee” but changed the word “of thee I sing” to “to thee we sing.” In later years, she explained: “We cannot live alone. And the thing that made this moment possible for you and for me has been brought about by many people whom we will never know.” “…she encountered intense racism in the U.S. long after that famous concert. She didn’t make her debut at New York’s Metropolitan Opera until 1955 – the first African-American soloist.

Rosa Parks, in the middle, born in 1913, rose/stood up for herself and for many others by refusing to give up her seat on a city bus in Montgomery, Alabama in 1965. Rosa appears slight in stature but we all know it doesn’t take a person of size to make a statement. I see her as rising loud by her quiet action and by being a woman of great strength.
On the far right is Fannie Lou Hamer, born in 1917. Fannie Lou was very active in civil rights. She was “known for her work in the struggle for voting rights.” She was co-founder of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, which challenged the local all-white Democratic party’s delegation and efforts to block black participation. Having only an 8th grade education, she spoke at the National Democratic Convention. She stated that “…she was ‘sick and tired of being sick and tired of being treated as a non-citizen.’ People from all over the world hear her.” She worked tirelessly for equality.

“And Still We Rise” certainly pertains to those of this day but the phrase speaks volumes, too, when one considers and reflects on those who came before.  And clearly it is:  “And Still We Rise.”

Felicia Jefferson – 431 Poyntz Ave – Bargain Boutique



I feel that we all come to a place where we should take the opportunity to rise above all matter of oppression.


We should look back at our accomplishments and know as a collective of people, we are strong. Strong in number, strong in value and in community.


The dancer on the image represents these traits our city holds. It takes preparation and dedication in order to choreograph a dance.  And as long as your “dance” holds these values to improve community, it deserves to be celebrated loud and very proud…Blessings Manhattan, always my City!


Constance Birdsong – 406 Poyntz Ave – Manhattan Brewing Company

“And Still We Rise…Strong, Loud & Proud”

I chose to draw a fist coming up through the mountains!

For me it represents struggle past and present…

Rising up against adversity.

Staying strong as each day comes to see another.

Loud enough to speak up or show up.

And proud to say that I’m still here.

JeNiyah Jones – 317 Poyntz Ave – Finn’s Pub

My painting represents a bold black girl standing out to society!!!

Deb Hanes-Nelson – 106 S 4th St. – TheraPie


My art training is a mixture of parental encouragement, support of a wonderful husband, workshops, watercolor associations, watercolor and art groups, CDs, books, experimentations and practice off and on for almost seven decades. I started painting in just watercolor in 2003, and after a spiritual experience in 2005 I knew this is what I was meant to do in retirement years. After 35 years with the church, I retired in 2015. My husband built me a studio to house all my stuff, including a handful of students. I teach 3 half days per week and paint over the extended weekends. I am a member of the Manhattan Watercolor Studio, Columbian Artists, and the Portrait Society of America.  For more information and to see more of my art you are welcomed to stop by my studio in Centralia, KS and check out my website at: www.debhanes-nelson.com.

Although I am a non-slavery descendent, I am a retired United Methodist Church Pastor with a long-time history of friends and family who are bi-racial and/or mixed religious faiths. Inclusiveness is in my blood if not by birth, but by faith, belief, and practice. That, I am aware, does not give me personal insights into the horrors of slavery, nor the suffering of the descendants of slavery.  It does give me a responsibility to be supportive of all people, so when a friend of mixed race has asked me to donate a painting to a Juneteenth celebration, and a blended race family has a daughter who lives the Juneteenth 2023 theme of “And Still We Rise…Strong, Loud, and Proud,” I feel a calling to paint.

My painting is entitled, “Bold (def: Loud and Proud), Psalm 138:3”.  I used a photo with permission a friend took of her daughter who lives her wigs and has a big personality.  She is definitely Ms. Attitude! I used the “Strong” colors of her wig and outfit, and the bold colors of Juneteenth for the surrounding background. The black hands at the base of the painting are a reminder of her heritage and give rise to the boldness this young lady has, but as we know, was a privilege not afforded her to her ancestors. The incompleteness of her image indicates we are all still in progress.

Kaylyn Parker – 418 Poyntz Ave – Arrow Bodega


My name is Kaylyn Parker, I am sixteen years old, and have been painting for a quite a few years now. I would like to start this by thanking the Juneteenth organization for hosting such an amazing event. This is an incredible experience for young artists such as me.  I will be forever grateful to contribute to this cause and continue to inspire others to join in also. 

My first inspirations came from the works of Bob Ross. I love the way he effortlessly slaps paint on a canvas and it’s almost magically a masterpiece. The way he captures the true beauty of nature and makes each painting feel like home really caught my attention. So for the first few paintings I did, I followed every move he took in his videos. I wanted to paint just like him.

After learning his techniques I started getting more comfortable with painting without his videos. I still stuck with the idea of realistic landscapes, however after a while I decided I should step away and try to make something I would enjoy more. I wanted to create a scene from my mind, not from a pretty picture I took on my phone.

That leads me to last year’s Juneteenth. My first true attempt at a stylized painting. I felt so free to paint whatever I thought fit the prompt. No pressure to follow every move of a master. This was my time to create something for myself, for others to enjoy, and to represent something beautiful. Last year’s prompt was Freedom, Strength, and Resilience. I chose to paint a phoenix rising from the ashes to represent the rebirth we experience in ourselves.

This year I chose to represent the rebirth we experience together. The painting is set here in the wonderful plains of Kansas, three characters are shown in the middle wading through the grass working together to hold up a huge globe. A storm in the background represents the troubles different people have when it comes to working together. Their feet are getting caught in the grass making it difficult to walk, to represent how difficult it can be to get along.

The woman on the left is having trouble reaching the globe, showing that even with these problems people still chose to help. Finally the three people represent a few stereotypes that you may think would not get along or ever work together, but this painting shows that even despite all their differences and the difficulties they may experience with each other they are willing to try.

For even with the weight of the world on our shoulders, still we rise together Strong, Loud, and Proud.

Betsy Bean – 106 S. 4th St. – TheraPie


My name is Betsy Bean and I’m thankful to the Manhattan community for this hands-on opportunity to expand my understanding of the Juneteenth celebration and our history. This acrylic painting was inspired by Ben Haith’s Juneteenth flag and was influenced by the quilting legacy of women in the arts.

When looking at the Juneteenth flag, I chose to incorporate the arc and the nova burst into my painting. In the painting, the arched horizon rises, where past and future meet.  The nova burst is like that of the flag, but also a group of songbirds taking flight to represent the power of spirit.

The painting is geometric and abstract. Knowing that quilting is an important aspect of storytelling and women of color in the arts, I sought out more information about quilts for this project. Quilts represent community and hope, and in this spirit, I’d just like to say Happy Juneteenth Day!

Michael Gray – 318 Poyntz Ave – The Boutique


The painting is done with acrylic on board and is a representation of a person rising from the Earth and changing from stone, wood, and other natural elements into flesh.  The Earth elements represent strength, resilience, and life’s adaptability while the sun shining in the forehead represents intellect, hope, and the dawning of a new day. 

In order to rise, one must either start on the ground or fall.  The downtrodden, marginalized, and oppressed take their strength from surviving adversity and yet still overcome obstacles set in their way to become more than the sum of their hardships.