The Laguna Beach Cultural Arts Center and Neighborhood Congregational Church have partnered to create Juneteenth Jubilee, a celebration of history and cultures that will include an array of events and activities at both venues.
On Monday, June 19, the Juneteenth national holiday, at 1 p.m., the Cultural Arts Center will show “Ted Hawkins: Amazing Grace,” a film about the resilience of the human spirit embodied by the late musician Ted Hawkins, followed by a talk with the film’s director Janice Engel and his manager, Nancy Meyer; at 2:30 p.m., a stirring presentation by Los Angeles poet, storyteller, and author Dorothy Randall Gray, and at 3:30 p.m., a concert by renowned Chicago Blues musician and social activist Brother Yusef. Admission to any or all of this lineup are $15 for youth 21 and under, $25 general, $50 VIP seating and refreshments. lbculturalartscenter.org
On Wednesday, June 21, at 7 p.m., the Cultural Arts Center will offer a free screening of “Summer of Soul,” the joyous, inspiring documentary about a 1969 Harlem music festival that featured a superlative lineup of Black musicians. Admission is free, donations welcome.
Continuing the emancipation celebration are events on Saturday, June 24, at the Neighborhood Congregational Church, 340 St. Ann’s Drive at Glenneyre. At 5:30 p.m., guests are invited to enjoy a Tibetan meal prepared by Nawang Jungtuktsang of Cafe Zambala in Emeryville, Calif. and Tenpa Dorjee of Tibet Handicrafts in Laguna Beach.
At 6 p.m., the four powerful female voices of Los Angeles Black group VISION will perform a soul-stirring concert. Tickets to the dinner and performance are $35 per person. All tickets are available at lbculturalartscenter.org.
The church will display artworks by two notable Black artists. Allyson Allen uses traditional materials to create unique, dimensional textile art, quilts, dolls, and handmade books. Her work often references social issues, Black history, and African folklore.
Many of her quilts are created specifically for storytelling presentations. Her works were displayed last year at the church and the Laguna Beach Cultural Arts Center after being ejected from the Wells Fargo Bank building in downtown Laguna for generating discomfort among bank patrons.
Also on display at the church will be Los Angeles artist Eugene Warren’s oversize sculpture series titled “A Guide for African Americans: How to Survive a Police Stop.” Warren’s art piece is designed to save lives. It includes step-by-step procedural instructions for drivers of color, especially young men, encouraging conversational exchange. His artistic and practical goal is to reduce shootings that arise out of police officers’ fear.
Part of the exhibition is a memorial of 50 Black and brown people killed during police encounters. Allen’s and Warren’s art will be on display at the church weekdays June 18–30 from 11 am to 2 p.m. Admission is free.
Neighborhood Congregational Church is a welcoming place of connection and acceptance led by the Rev. Rodrick Echols, “The Neighborhood” has a long history as a safe and welcoming venue. It is a center for community engagement with open dialogue, nonjudgmental exploration, and personal spiritual discovery. Neighborhood Congregational Church is located at 340 St. Ann’s Drive at Glenneyre Street, Laguna Beach.
The Laguna Beach Cultural Arts Center is a creative hub that offers a community space for music, film, drama, dance, poetry, visual arts, and video production. Beginning in 2022, the Center has presented several firsts in Laguna that are now annual events: Women’s History Month Film Festival, Make Earth Cool Again film series, Juneteenth, and a Regathering of its hippie community. The Center is off Coast Highway at 235 Forest Avenue, upstairs above the Promenade in Laguna Beach, the heart of Southern California’s premier art colony.