Juneteenth Art Walk
Downtown businesses are the host locations for the first ever Juneteenth Art Walk. The community is welcome to stroll the district and view art created by local artists. The theme this year is “Freedom. Strength. Resilience.”
Patrons will have the opportunity to bid on artwork during a live auction at Douglass Activity Center (925 Yuma St.) on Thursday, June 16th. Proceeds will support future Juneteenth celebrations and artists will receive 50% of the proceeds of the sold canvas painting!
Hilary Wahlen – 425 Poyntz Ave
My name is Hilary Wahlen, and I am a native of Manhattan, and a local artist and sculptor. I received my degree in Sculpture at Kansas State University, and my art is always based on history – and how it affects members of a family.
My title of this year’s Juneteenth painting is “Freedom, Strength, Resilience: A Mother’s Legacy.” The woman on the left of the painting is Marjorie Dorestine McBrier Johnson. She was my Kindergarten teacher at Woodrow Wilson elementary school, and was also the only teacher in Manhattan to teach before and after segregation. Mrs. Johnson represents “Freedom” – in this painting – of education. Her daughter, Linnetta Hill, is in the middle of the painting. She was a friend and high school classmate of my mother. She had an incredible musical gift, and she taught numerous students how to play the piano and cello, and she and her husband started their own music ministry.
Linnetta represents “Strength” – in this painting – from her deep religious faith. Linnetta’s daughter, Gwendelrae Hicks, is on the right side of the painting. She was a high school classmate of my sister. Gwendelrae became the youngest AND first black female licensed mortician in the state of Kansas. She represents “Resilience” – in this painting – in the face of loss of loved ones.
Both Mrs. Johnson and Linnetta Hill have passed on, so I placed corsages on their dresses (as a woman would wear on Mother’s Day); and placed all three women against a backdrop of a heavenly sky.
The dresses the women are wearing are designs that were created this past spring by a partnership between Spelman and Morehouse Colleges, and Ralph Lauren, inspired by the traditional white eyelet dresses for the annual “White Dress Ceremony”.I thought the color appropriate to symbolize both of the passing of Mrs. Johnson and Linetta. Gwendelrae’s dress is of the same design, but in purple – her favorite color, as she is also still with us.
When I spoke to Gwendelrae about creating this painting, I asked for her mother and grandmother’s favorite colors as well. She remembers her grandmother really liked mint green, so that is why I used that color for both her corsage in the upper portrait, and the color of her clothing below, where she is teaching her students. Gwendelrae said her mother’s favorite color was red. That is why it is in her corsage and the color of her choir robe below. When Gwendelrae bought flowers for her mother’s funeral, it was a combination of both red and purple. I used those color choices in Linetta’s corsage, but also on the coffin. However, I chose to not place the decedent in red – but rather in an anonymous navy blue – because I didn’t want Gwendelrae illustrated as permanently grieving her mother. Gwendelrae represents the strongest form of resilience that I could ever imagine. I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to honor these incredible women.
May 27, 2022
Kayla Brandenburgh – 330 Poyntz Ave
Originally from Hoyt KS and having most of my schooling done in Topeka at the Seaman school district I had little to no art classes until Jr high. I am mostly self-taught and enjoy working with a mixture of mediums. When planning this piece, I began by making a list of things that came to mind when thinking of freedom, strength, and resilience. From there I researched the most common colors thought of in correlation to these three words; freedom is blue, strength is red, and resilience is brown. While the brown got lost in the making I showed resilience in the wavy and vine like texture of the background as well as creating a piece that is visible even in pure darkness. A multitude of mediums were used in the creation of this piece including cotton balls, embroidery string, 3D fabric paint, and acrylic paints.
Paulicia Bender-Williams – 501 Poyntz Ave
Paulicia Bender is a Manhattan KS artist who discovered her love of creating at a very young age. She is known for her ‘Paulicias’- intricate, unique handcrafted greeting cards for every occasion.
The Painting: In considering this year’s Juneteenth theme, “Freedom. Strength. Resilience.”, one thing kept coming to mind- my faith, Ifa. As someone who has practiced a traditional African religion for over five years now, I have an appreciation and understanding of how faith kept our people grounded before, during, and after the Middle Passage and colonialism. Religion plays a vital cultural role in the lives of many African Americans and, with dire consequences, our freedom to practice and worship as we chose was stripped away from us when we arrived to America in chains. The indigenous religions of our African ancestors provided a framework for navigation of life’s challenges, helped maintain positivity in the face of adversity, and connected them to the strength of a higher power and the knowledge that we have some control over every situation faced. The tenacity of African Traditional Religious is apparent in every aspect of African American life, from the way we worship, our superstitions, to the way we bury our dead. It is among the reasons deep Southern Black culture closely mirrors that of West Africa. No matter what we’ve endured as a people, fragments of who we were and are still remain in our collective culture to this day. It is the utmost form of resilience.
My mixed media painting, “Joy of the Ibeji”, depicts an important Orisha, the Ibeji (Twins) preparing to welcome their Mother.
Brynna Allen – 323 Poyntz Ave
My name is Brynna Allen, and I have been painting for the past ten years. While I have never had the opportunity to take formal art classes or have any experience in art education, I have worked to hone and develop my skills, mainly centering them around nature and landscape sceneries. In the past I have only sold and donated paintings to local auctions to help raise money for different events, but I hope to continue to branch to bigger platforms in time.
I haven’t had the opportunity to paint with a set theme before, so I wanted to step way outside of my comfort zone. I think one of the most beautiful aspects of freedom is really the passion and strength that has to be found in the heart. As people in a fractured world, we often times conform to society and its standards. I think true freedom, strength of the heart and resilience, however, is represented when we make a stand against those standards. We should not let society cage us in its ideals of what we should be. Standing up and fighting for that freedom is an inward heart decision we should have to make every day. Do we let the world cage us, or do we fight back and start to see the beauty that can be found in freedom? It’s messy and different, but I believe it is so worth it.
Devi Wilbur – 327 Poyntz Ave
I am an artist as well as an engineer working in Manhattan, KS . I started out my arts career as a commercial graphics artist back before computer graphics when art was completed by hand. I’ve since ventured outside of the realm of pen and ink illustrations, but still specialize in pen and ink drawings. I paint in oils, acrylics, and watercolor, as well as create pottery and sculptures. The work is out of my home studio in Niles, Kansas. I maintain active memberships in Ottawa County Arts and Humanities (founding member, former VP, and instructor), the Salina Arts Center (instructor), The Topeka Arts Guild, The Northern Topeka Arts District, the Columbian Artists Group (instructor), and the Kansas Figure Drawing Group. I am nationally licensed and have sold art worldwide, including in Europe, the UK, and Asia. Some pieces have received awards, including Best in Show and People’s Choice.
Although I present as white, I am from multi-ethnic southern family and had a great, great grandmother who was enslaved, and many of my family members look and identify as black, including two of my children. I was born in Birmingham, Alabama and lived there in 1963 when the 16th Street Baptist Church was bombed. We moved to Detroit and were there during the riots of 1968. I remember the marches, Dr. King, Medgar Evers, Freedom Summer murders, Stokely Carmichael, SNCC, Malcolm X, Shirley Chisolm, Fannie Lou Hamer, and so much more. Today, I am an activist with Reverend Barber’s The Poor People’s Campaign. I got involved in this Juneteenth project because I wanted to help raise funds for this important event, and therefore I am donating my pare of the proceeds back.
The piece for this show is entitled “From Great Ancestors to Graduate.” It’s a mixed media (watercolor, pen and ink, and pastel). I approached it from the female perspective, because in my family our strength and resilience are derived from our matriarchs. The symbols for Freedom, Strength, and Resilience are hidden in the graduate’s gown, but can only be seen in daylight. Although the canvas is painted (in white pastel) to the edge, there are boundaries which are decreasingly restrictive surrounding both women. We must continue the good work necessary to make these boundaries disappear. It will take Strength and Resilience to get true Freedom. We are not there yet.
Sheikhanha E. Muhammad – 406 Poyntz Ave
The hardships of the people who have only been free to an extent but still face more steps to be free – free from the burdens we still face.
“In the After Life”
“My ancestors survived all troubles of life and death and through me they have lived”
Adversities my ancestors failed.
Enjoy (reactive) as much as I did making it.
Ariah Small – 318 Poyntz Ave
My name is Ariah Kathleen Small and I am from Manhattan, Kansas. I am turning 9 years old this summer. I’ve been creating art since I was a toddler. My favorite type of art is abstract art. I like to paint, create characters, draw, dye my hair and do makeup. It’s all art! I want to be a fashion designer or an art teacher. I did a lot of research on Juneteenth to get ideas for this art piece. It reflects the freedom, strength, and resilience of young black women.
Kyliah Kellermann – 327 Poyntz Ave
James Taylor – 304 Poyntz Ave
I am James Taylor a working artist who graduated from K-State in 2005 where I studied under Yoshiro “Yoshi” Ikeda. I have worked and shown nationally, most recently being invited to show at ArtsKC Gallery for the “I Am…” show sponsored by NAAPKC. My art plays on themes that society has trouble talking about like depression, suicide, and racism to force a conversation to cause change. With the year’s theme for the Juneteenth Celebration being Freedom, Strength, Resilience my mind first went to recent attacks on Women’s bodies. What person best personifies Freedom, Strength, and Resilience for women’s right than Ruth Bader Ginsberg. Change can’t happen if you don’t speak up!
Kaylyn Parker – 414 Poyntz Ave
My name is Kaylyn Parker, and I am 15 years old. I didn’t start painting until a few years ago. I have always loved art, especially drawing, but my love for painting didn’t start until I discovered Bob Ross. His happy little trees sparked something in me. I wanted to create the beautiful landscapes and capture nature as he did. Little did I know it would not be easy. That first attempt at a mountain was rough, however I have come a long way. I still use his techniques today to develop my own style. Using freedom, strength, and resilience to inspire me I’ve made this piece. The background is a foggy dark smoking expanse of burnt trees. The foreground rising from the scorched ashes is a Phoenix. Whom represents those three words. The bird is a symbol of rebirth, being born again from the ashes. The colors in the background are cool and dark to provide emphasis on the fiery creature and all its glory, and to put emphasis on the fact that people are too like Phoenix’s being reborn from our ashes.
AniQueia Shay Garvin – 419 Poyntz Ave
I am AniQueia Shay, an acrylic painter here in Manhattan. I wear many hats, but two of my favorites are auntie, and artist. I’ve been painting since 2015 I’ve always been a creative person, but I was not aware I could paint the way I do. My medium of choice is acrylic. The fact that it dries fast is appealing to me because I like to get things done. My goals as far as my art goes are to paint the biggest painting I’ve ever painted, and to have a worldwide painting. The farthest one of my paintings has gone is Jamaica so my fingers are crossed for somewhere farther than that! Painting has been a fun and inspiring outlet for me, and it is my hope that it is inspiring to someone else, too!
Seven T. Arizona-Black – 323 Poyntz Ave
My name is Seven Arizona-Black . Kansas native born in Ottawa Kansas. Moved to Manhattan Kansas about a year after birth. Manhattan High School alumni and K-State education. Multi-media artist (drawing, painting, music reviews, sculpture, musician, actor, weirdo).
My piece is representing strength, freedom, and resilience in several ways. It is Graffiti throw up derived and inspired. The image is from a photo taken from a Texas celebration of Juneteenth (June 19, 1900). The Monarch Butterfly represents strength and freedom. A beautiful delicate creature that migrates through great obstacles to survive. The Rainbow represents that we as humans all have to be resilient in ourselves and each other, for it takes all of us to complete the rainbow. Resilience is the batter to make strength and freedom.
Karen Hummel – 419 Poyntz Ave
Karen Hummel artist statement. I have always enjoyed sketching, and have returned to artwork in retirement, joining with members of the Manhattan Arts Center Watercolor Studio to encourage each other in developing our talents.
The symbolism in the piece, Redline Blues is as follows: A portrait of a Blues musician is depicted against a rock wall. Above the musician’s head is a red line, dripping blood, transforming into a musical staff with notes as it progresses to the right. The red line represents the racial discrimination in housing real estate and lending practices historically prevalent in this country, and the musical staff represents the transcendence of blues music. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the American Jazz Museum at 18th & Vine in Kansas City.
Savannah Smith – 330 Poyntz Ave
Shortly before I started this piece I was reading about Merry Clayton, an incredible NOLA-based soul singer who’s worked with the likes of the Rolling Stones, Tori Amos, Carole King, and so many more. With the Stones, she can be heard on their track “Gimme Shelter”, where she came to the recording studio at night in her pajamas, only took a few takes to record, and shortly after tragically miscarried. Merry continues to perform to this day, despite the loss of her 1969 pregnancy and later the loss of both her legs in a 2014 car accident. I found her work and her story to be awe inspiring, and I hope you find them that way, too!
I’m Savannah Smith and I’m a Manhattan native! I bartend over at Auntie Mae’s Parlor, and creating makes me happy.
Dave Baker – 414 Poyntz Ave
I am an amateur artist who loves to paint things that remind me of my childhood. Being inspired by this year’s Juneteenth theme, Freedom, Strength, Resilience, I used three baseball pitches to demonstrate their importance in the game, paralleling their importance in life.
Sherri Baker – 404 Poyntz Ave
Sherri Baker is a Manhattan native, currently living in Kansas City.
Blood in the Water
The painting is inspired by and in honored of our ancestors who did not survive the Middle Passage on slave ships across the Atlantic Ocean to North America into slavery. Although their physical bodies died, their spirits have continued on as evidenced by their descendants who have exemplified Freedom, Strength and Resilience into the 21st century.
“This is He who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ not only by water. but by water and blood.
And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth.” I John 5:8