News Release: Visit the Eiteljorg for the Juneteenth and Jazz Community Celebration June 17

Celebrate Juneteenth with live music, performances, activities and more; admission is FREE

The Freetown Village Singers are scheduled to perform at the Juneteenth and Jazz Community Celebration, Saturday June 17 at the Eiteljorg Museum.
Eiteljorg Museum file image.

For Immediate Release:
June 5, 2023

INDIANAPOLIS – The Eiteljorg Museum’s annual Juneteenth and Jazz Community Celebration returns Saturday, June 17. Admission is free that day, and events include jazz performances by Greg Sansing and the Jazzsetters and the Rob Dixon Quartet, as well as poetry readings, storytelling, art-making activities and more.

“With the help of numerous community partners, the Eiteljorg Museum hosted its first Juneteenth Community Celebration in 2015 on the 150th anniversary of Juneteenth. Our event became so popular that it has become an annual tradition. The museum’s free celebration has developed over the years to include a focus on cultural and musical performances,” said Alisa Nordholt-Dean, Eiteljorg vice president for public programs and Beeler family director of education. “Back in 2015, we were one of a few local Juneteenth events, and now we are part of what has become a city-wide celebration.”

The Eiteljorg will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 17 with free admission. Juneteenth festivities begin at 11 a.m. with a welcome from community activist, influencer and college professor Dr. Tammy L. Cooper, who recently joined the Eiteljorg Community Board of Advisors. In addition to music sets by two jazz groups, other performances include the hymn Lift Every Voice by vocalist Christopher Wilburn; songs by the African American heritage vocal group Freetown Village Singers; and poetry readings by Patrice Stokes. Performances will take place on the museum’s outdoor stage under The Sails. In case of inclement weather, they will be moved indoors.

Visitors can enjoy family-friendly activities such as creating Juneteenth buttons and designing a music poster. Food trucks will be available in nearby White River State Park. The Eiteljorg’s volunteer Guides will be in the galleries discussing artwork in current exhibitions throughout the day. The event is presented in coordination with the neighboring Indiana State Museum, which will also offer free admission and Juneteenth activities the same day.

For a schedule of performers and a list of additional Juneteenth resources, visit the webpage,

“The history of Juneteenth unites the Eiteljorg community, family, and friends to celebrate history and freedom. The Eiteljorg Museum family is committed to honoring the importance of Juneteenth,” Cooper said. “Juneteenth recognizes the abolition of slavery in the United States – specifically, Juneteenth celebrates the ending of slavery in the last state, in Galveston, Texas, in June of 1865. We will celebrate and honor all those who fought for freedom and liberation. I am honored to celebrate Juneteenth at the Eiteljorg Museum.”

Juneteenth marks the day at the end of the Civil War in June 1865 when federal troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, to announce the war was over and that all enslaved people were freed, 2½ years after Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation. Having been observed since then in African American communities as Juneteenth, Jubilee Day or Freedom Day, the holiday is traditionally celebrated with barbecues, parades, prayer services and more. Juneteenth officially became a federal holiday in 2021.

“It was so exciting to see Juneteenth gain federal holiday status and broad recognition over the years, and we look forward to continuing to welcome guests from across the community to the Eiteljorg for this annual celebration of freedom,” Nordholt-Dean added.

Annual operating support is provided by the City of Indianapolis through the Indy Arts Council and the Indiana Arts Commission. During the Juneteenth and Jazz Community Celebration, visitors also can explore the Eiteljorg Museum’s current exhibitions with free admission on June 17, including panels from the popular RED/BLACK: Related Through History exhibition.

Community activist, influencer and college professor Dr. Tammy L. Cooper, who recently joined the Eiteljorg Community Board of Advisors, is one of the organizers of the Juneteenth and Jazz Community Celebration, which is free at the Eiteljorg Museum on June 17.

Eiteljorg Museum file image.

About the Eiteljorg
A cultural pillar for nearly 34 years in downtown Indianapolis’ scenic White River State Park, the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art seeks to inspire an appreciation and understanding of the arts, histories and cultures of the Native peoples of North America and of the American West by telling amazing stories. Located on the Central Canal at 500 West Washington St., the Eiteljorg is a 501c3 nonprofit organization.


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