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Published: Thursday, 6/11/2009

Museum celebrates culture


Live music and dance, films, visual art, gallery tours, stories, and poetry are part of Saturday s free Juneteenth Festival, noon to 5 p.m. at the Toledo Museum of Art.

It ll be the perfect place to buy lunch from vendors selling ribs, fish, ice cream, and fresh-squeezed lemonade on Monroe Street in front of the museum, and to chill with the sounds of Motown, jazz, and funk/hip hop.

The fifth annual event includes free parking (a $5 savings), and is an ideal opportunity to introduce kids and first-timers to the museum. That s just what the museum wants: the festival was initiated by the museum s committee for cultural diversity, which aims to expand awareness of local cultures and attract a rich cross-section of visitors. Among the many offerings, a docent will lead a 45-minute tour at 1:30 p.m. of highlights by African and African American artists in the gallery.

Only two activities, making glass beads and glass-painted tiles, carry a fee ($25; $15 for museum members) and age limit (14). Advance reservations for these popular classes can be made by calling the museum.

Over its five years, the festival has been scaled back considerably. Its first year, festival hours were 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.; in the three succeeding years, they were 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. This year s five-hour span is the result of a tightened museum budget, said Teri Sharp, a spokesman.

Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865, when Union Gen. Gordon Granger informed slaves in Galveston, Texas, that they had been freed by President Abraham Lincoln s Emancipation Proclamation 2 years earlier. It s a state holiday in Texas and is increasingly celebrated throughout the country.

The Toledo Museum of Art is at 2445 Monroe St. Information: 419-255-8000 and www.toledomuseum.org.

Contact Tahree Lane at: tlane@theblade.com or 419-724-6075.

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