WBTT to present Juneteenth Arts Festival

Categories: Stories of Impact, BELONGING AND CULTURE: Cultural Development & the Arts, BELONGING AND CULTURE: Uniting Community,

Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe is proud to host its first-ever Juneteenth Arts Festival. On Sunday, June 18, from 1-9 p.m., WBTT will host numerous businesses, organizations and food trucks (available all day), screen films from local filmmakers as well as students from Ringling College of Art & Design, and present spoken word and live music on an outdoor stage.

Highlights of the festival include two screenings of “Playing Through: The Story of Ann Gregory,” a film – written by Curtis Jordan, and directed by Balbinka Korzeniowska – that pays tribute to the first Black female golfer to play in a U.S. Golf Association tournament. Much of the filming took place at Sarasota’s Laurel Oak Country Club and other notable local venues. Several members of the WBTT artistic team were involved in the production, some on-screen and others behind the scenes, including actors in the troupe and students and alumni from WBTT’s Stage of Discovery musical theatre intensive program.

The screenings of "Playing Through," which are free through the generosity of its filmmaker, Curtis Jordan, and a generous festival sponsorship by The Community Foundation of Sarasota, take place in The Donelly Theatre at WBTT; the 7 p.m. screening has been closed but a second screening has just been added; time TBA.

There will also be an all-day outdoor stage for spoken word and live music, including a featured performance by “RAD,” a group comprising popular WBTT artists Raleigh Mosely II, Ariel Blue and Derric Gobourne Jr., as they perform an exciting selection of soul and R&B hits.

“As the oldest nationally celebrated commemoration of the ending of slavery in the U.S., Juneteenth holds great significance for the Black community as well as all those who believe in social justice and equal rights for all,” said WBTT Founder/Artistic Director Nate Jacobs. “Our organization’s mission is to promote and celebrate African American history and experience; our hope is to bring the community together to enjoy a diverse offering of arts experiences while recognizing this important historical milestone. We are delighted to celebrate this newly-created federal holiday.”

Presenting Sponsors are Dona & Sam Scott Foundation; Co-Sponsors are The Community Foundation of Sarasota County and Dr. Donald and Doris Johnson.

Takes place at WBTT (1012 N. Orange Ave., Sarasota). Entry to all events is free. For more information, call 941-366-1505 or contact Perterly Baptiste at pbaptiste@westcoastblacktheatre.org.

See this story as it originally appeared in Patch.com on June 5, 2023, here.