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Mosaic Templars Cultural Center previews Juneteenth events

Two visitors speak at the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center's 9th Street exhibit
Nathan Treece
Little Rock Public Radio
Two visitors speak at the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center's Ninth Street exhibit

Officials with Little Rock's Mosaic Templars Cultural Center previewed their annual Juneteenth celebration at a press conference on Tuesday. The event, known as “Juneteenth in Da Rock” is entering its 15th year.

This year’s celebration follows the museum’s grand reopening in December, which unveiled a new $3.5 million permanent exhibit.

The museum announced the celebration will begin on June 1 with a flag-raising ceremony.

The Juneteenth 5K walk/run is back in its third year. The annual run guides participants through some of Arkansas' most significant sites in Black history, including Little Rock Central High School and Philander Smith University. The walk/run kicks off a day-long street festival, which is scheduled for June 15.

Key Fletcher, executive director of the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, says she is excited to kick off the 2024 Juneteenth season, and says this year will offer updated programming.

"One of the things we're doing this year is 'Woven.' So we are weaving together our brand new exhibits along with Juneteenth. So what that's going to look like is having more interactive galleries and spaces inside of our museum that's reflective of Juneteenth," she said. "We're going to see more living history characters inside our museum; we're going to see more live music inside of our museum”

The Juneteenth Street Festival includes a variety of attractions, including over 100 vendors, food, live music, educational programming, and a health village.

The press conference was also a heads-up for artists and vendors who may want to show their handiwork at the event, as the museum announced vendor booths will be available to rent for free in 2024.

Another revamped program will be the Kid's Zone. Fletcher says the kid’s zone will feature new programming in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math, collectively known as STEAM.

“Our Kid's Zone is going to be powered by STEAM, so it's going to be specifically a place that has imagination, that has art, that has tech. So we are excited that families will be able to come in and have a really active immersion experience outdoors with our children’s space”

Mosaic Templars Cultural Center’s annual Juneteenth celebration is coming up June 15. The event website, JuneteenthLittleRock.com, will go live on March 1.

Nathan Treece is a reporter and local host of NPR's Morning Edition for Little Rock Public Radio.