The Kehrein Center For the Arts Foundation Welcomes the Inaugural Experience of The Black Aura: A Weekend of Liberation & the Arts June 28th-29th

The Kehrein Center For the Arts Foundation Welcomes the Inaugural Experience of The Black Aura: A Weekend of Liberation & the Arts June 28th-29th

The KCAF Welcomes Opal Lee, Mother of the National Juneteenth Holiday to Celebrate the Resilience and Humanity of Black People in the Arts

CHICAGO (May 15, 2024) — The Kehrein Center for the Arts Foundation is thrilled to present "The Black Aura: A Weekend of Liberation & the Arts" taking place on June 28-29, 2024, at 5628 W. Washington Blvd., Chicago, IL. Positioned between Juneteenth and Independence Day, this weekend event will foster an immersive interaction among artists and community residents, providing opportunities to uncover new artistic talents and deepen our understanding of shared history and identities, ultimately strengthening community bonds in the Austin area and beyond.

This anticipated weekend will emphasize Black liberation through various immersive experiences. Highlights include a ribbon-cutting ceremony inaugurating "The Black Aura", followed by a workshop on topics such as the impact of house music on Black liberation in Chicago, and a film screening of “JUNETEENTH” accompanied by a dynamic panel discussion featuring a daughter of Dallas Fort Worth, Texas, Afton Battle (VP of Lyric Unlimited and Artistic Operations), Jarred Howard (CEO, The National Juneteenth Museum to be erected in 2025 in Dallas Fort Worth, Texas), and Opal Lee (Mother of the National Juneteenth Holiday). Friday evening will also feature a concert curated by Afton Battle herself.

The weekend will conclude with The Black Aura Awards Celebration Gala. The Bridge Award will be given to Linda Francis of the West Side for the continuous efforts she has made to connect the neighboring communities of Oak Park and Austin. The Cultivation Award will be given to Aisha Oliver of Roots to Fruit, and organization committed to serving and developing youth on the West Side, The Legacy Award will go to Congressman Danny K. Davis for his tenured and tireless support of the West Side, and The Distinguished Black Aura Award will be received by Anjanette Young for the relentless fortitude in embodying a multi-faceted passion for this city’s transformation and healing. The gala will also feature a liberation concert curated by KCAF’s Executive Director, Reesheda Graham Washington, to include performances by LaRob K. Rafael of Ear Taxi and Hearing in Color, Jasmine Barnes, Deborah D.E.E.P of Mouton, D’Composed, and our very own, Chicago Poet Laureate, avery r. young and the deacon board, as well as other local artists.

The weekend will also include our first arts activation in collaboration with Chicago’s own nationally recognized artistic curator and CEO of Chicago Scholars, Jeff Beckham, Jr. Jeff will curate a series of artists’ works toward the KCAF’s first installation to launch at The Black Aura and continue quarterly throughout the rest of the year.

"The Black Aura responds to the city's desire for a stronger sense of social and historical identity and clarity regarding the values of Juneteenth," said Reesheda Graham Washington, Executive Director of Kehrein Center for the Arts Foundation. "I am excited for our community to both learn about this great holiday, examine what our current state of liberation looks and feels like in the city of Chicago, and celebrate one of the richest and greatest gifts we have: Our History. Coming out of the experience, I want celebrants to walk away with a groundedness in their individual and collective giftedness and allow that to fuel how they continue to be valuable citizens of Chicago."

Sponsors of the KCAF in this inaugural activation of The Black Aura include Westside Health Authority, Lyric Unlimited: Learning & Civic Engagement, DCASE, State Representative La Shawn K. Ford, The Field Foundation, Illinois Arts Council, and Chicago Federation of Musicians.

For more information and tickets on The Black Aura: A Weekend of Liberation log on to The Black Aura: A Weekend of Liberation

The Black Aura: A Weekend of Liberation & the Arts June 28th-29th Folder 

Performers and Guest 

Connect with The Kehrein Center for the Arts:


FB: The Kehrein Center for the Arts

X: @kehreincentercs

About Kehrein Center for the Arts:

The Kehrein Center for the Arts Foundation aims to provide a home for artistic creative expression and civic engagement that animates and engages the human spirit in ways that prioritize the Black experience in the Austin Community and beyond! We have the honor of bringing arts opportunities to Austin and the Greater West Side of Chicago. Having held over 100 events to date, and having served over 70,000 individuals through our arts programming since our renovation that took place just before having to shutter our doors due to COVID-19, we are thrilled to now be looking to expand our offerings in ways that continue to elevate and promote arts activations that are for Black people, by Black people, educating and exposing the community to a wide range of artistry that also intentionally represents them. We strive to debunk racial and social myths upheld through underrepresentation and misrepresentation in the arts. We are highly committed to ensuring arts accessibility in ways that reflect the people who live, love, laugh, work, and play in Austin and on the Greater West Side.

Latest Stories

Latest Podcast

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Expert Tyronne Studemire