Juneteenth Celebrations of Freedom & Protest

Sometimes the greatest obstacle to the church’s work for justice is a streetsweeper. At The New York Avenue Presbyterian Church (NYAPC), we learned that lesson the hard way.

To celebrate Juneteenth this year, we hired local artist John D. Alexander to create a light display on our church building in downtown Washington, DC. His artwork, entitled Enlight of Solidarity: Juneteenth “Power to the People” Projection (pictured above), featured rainbow uplighting on the church columns and a Black power fist on the church tower. This original artistic creation was commissioned by NYAPC to celebrate Juneteenth and LGBTQ Pride Month. Master electrician Christion Jones also contributed to this project. Below, artist John D. Alexander stands in front of his creation. 

During the display, which began at 8:46 pm on June 19, 2020, the projected fist was abruptly lost when a city street sweeper passed by and cut our power. Artist John Alexander and his crew quickly proved themselves to be more than just artists, but also electrical experts, as well. A few minutes later, the light projection had returned!

In addition to the light display, NYAPC marked Juneteenth’s freedom celebrations by offering hospitality (snacks, bottled water, medical supplies, and restrooms) to Black Lives Matter protestors and with a Juneteenth art poster installation featuring member-created art (pictured below). For the poster installation, NYAPC members and friends created protest signs and artwork to be displayed on the side of our building (adjacent to protest hospitality). NYAPC members and staff, Karin Lohman, Meg House, and Rev. Billy Kluttz, curated and displayed artwork. 

A protestor walks by the Juneteenth Art Installation by NYAPC members.

All photos by Eric Bond. 

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