• Wed. Mar 29th, 2023


For the third year, Juneteenth Cincinnati and Kennedy Heights Arts Center are teaming up to present Voices of Freedom, a visual and performing arts series celebrating Black history from a contemporary perspective, from Feb. 25 to May 27, 2023.

The series includes an art exhibition and three performances, all taking place at Kennedy Heights Arts Center’s Lindner Annex.

“We are so excited to collaborate with Juneteenth Cincinnati and amazing artists and performers from the region on a month-long celebration of Black arts and expression,” said Ellen Muse, Kennedy Heights Arts Center executive director. 

The centerpiece of the project is a multi-disciplinary exhibition of new works by 10 local Black artists entitled When Liberation Comes. The exhibition is curated by Jeni Jenkins, who was a featured artist in the 2022 Voices of Freedom exhibit.

For Jenkins, the show is an invitation to envision.

“When liberation comes, what does it look like?” asked Jenkins. “What shape does it take? What’s at stake? What is lost, what is gained? While each artist’s experiences, perceptions, and visions are unique, their work contributes to the larger collective Black diasporic voice.”

Afro-Brazilian singer Legendari-E will perform March 18 as part of Voices of Freedom. Image provided by the songwriter and music producer from Mariana, Brazil and based in Cincinnati.

Featured artists include: Nytaya Babbitt, Brent Billingsley, James Brown, Cierra Fogle, Brandon Hawkins, Javarri Lewis, Josie Love Roebuck, Rashad Manuel Jr, Adoria Maxberry, and Annie Ruth.

Voices of Freedom will include a series of three performances featuring dance, spoken word and music by diverse artists exploring the quest for freedom throughout the African diaspora.

Dayton Contemporary Dance Theatre: Black History Mosaic
Saturday, March 4 at 7:30 pm

Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, a modern contemporary dance company rooted in the African American experience, will present Black History Mosaic. This show pieces together work from DCDC’s repertory that intersects our place in Black history past, present and future, and opens the door to dancing the African diaspora.

Cincy Poetry Cafe

Saturday, March 11 at 7:30 p.m. Taking inspiration from the Nuyorican Poets Café in New York City, this immersive event will feature spoken word performances by 10 diverse poets interspersed with live music by HeartSounds in an artful setting. Poets include Violeta Orozco, Manuel Iris, Norman Riggs, Makiah Malan, Kiyah Dean, ASlate, Jacqueline “Gifted” Johnson-Wilkinsin, MoPoetry Phillips and Victoria Cipriani. Curated by Regal Rhythms Poetry, LLC.

The Quest for Freedom

Saturday, March 18 at 7:30 p.m. As the conclusion of Voices of Freedom 2023, the center will highlight the quest for freedom throughout the African Diaspora. This event will feature dance, music and food representing Brazil and the Caribbean, ending with a Carnival-inspired experience with audience participation.

Performances by Cincy Brazil Samba Dancers, Estudio de Danca Daiene Weiss (Brazil), Afrakan Artist Alliance-Mokkojombie, Brazilian Capoeira Dancers and Legendari-E, with emcee Deondra Means. Curated by Andre Souza and Luiza Zinser. Latin and Caribbean street food by Mash Roots will complement your experience.

Cincy Brazil Salsa Dancers will perform March 18 as part of Voices of Freedom. Image provided by the artist.

Performances will take place at the Kennedy Heights Arts Center Lindner Annex, 6620 Montgomery Road. All events are free, but tickets are required, and space is limited. Reserve tickets online at kennedyarts.org or call 513-631-4278.

When Liberation Comes will remain on view in the KHAC Lindner Gallery through May 27, 2023. Gallery hours are Tuesday and Thursday from 12 to 5 p.m. and by appointment.

Juneteenth, an annual holiday on June 19th commemorating the end of slavery in the United States, has been celebrated by African Americans since the late 1800s. Cincinnati’s Juneteenth tradition began in 1988 as a neighborhood festival in Kennedy Heights, attracting some 1,500 participants to Daniel Drake Park. More information is available at www.juneteenthcincinnati.org.