Black Artist Waystation holding Juneteenth celebrations in PCA&D Art Garden
Monday, June 14th, 2021
This time last year, PCA&D’s Art Garden was the epicenter of Lancaster’s Black Lives Matter protests and mourning — days of anger prompted by the recorded police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, and mourning the names and lives of so many others who have died in similar circumstances.
This week, in the presence of BLM artwork that still stands in the Art Garden, the college campus is one of four sites in YWCA Lancaster’s Black Artist Waystation Juneteenth celebrations.
These two summers — 2020 and 2021 — are inextricably tied together in When Summer Came: Give Us Liberty Not Death, photographed and curated by Shelby and Jordan Wormley of WE & Company, a locally based storytelling platform.
“We didn’t want the community to forget this is what took place,” Shelby Wormley says. “We wanted to keep those conversations going.”
So the Wormleys have curated nearly three dozen photos, quotes, and stories from people who participated in Lancaster’s protests last summer. The images and words have been transferred to a series of signs that will snake through the end of the Art Garden where protest speakers were centered a year ago.
A public Artist Talk for When Summer Came: Give Us Liberty Not Death will be held in the Art Garden Thursday, June 17, at 6 pm. The Wormleys’ exhibit will be open June 18-30.
“There’s always depictions of what happened; there was so much that people didn’t see,” Shelby Wormley says. “In the show, we have quotes from some of the protestors last year, some of the more prominent (as well as) folks who maybe came a few times.” The hope, she adds, is that viewers “kind of get a little bit of the story out of each of them.”
They’ve also arranged to place signs at some downtown businesses along the route which protesters marched, calling for a moment of silence.
“My goal,” Shelby Wormley says, “is really for people to see our full humanity from that experience, primarily at the Art Garden. The work of W.E. & Company, she adds, “focuses on telling people’s stories, so we wanted to be reflective of that.”
Black Artist Waystation
A “waystation” is definite as a stopping or resting place along a journey — an apt descriptor, Shelby Wormley says, for the role Lancaster County has often played in the long journey to Civil Rights.
The area “always had some hand in the movement forward for Civil Rights and justice in different ways. (The YWCA’s Black Artist Waystation) is a way to give Black artists in the community a platform to create art that’s reflective of the times.”
In addition to the Wormleys’ work, the full lineup of Black Artist Waystation Juneteenth exhibits includes:
- Gerri McCritty – Visual Art
Lancaster Museum of Art, 135 N. Lime St.
Public Artist Talk: Friday, June 18, noon.
Open exhibit: June 18-Sept. 1
In this viewer-interactive project, McCritty invites others to “step out of their box by sitting on another color of a box, other than the one they identify with. Doing this will show their willingness to learn about another race. The five boxes represent the five colors of the human race. Aethiopian or Black Race, Caucasian or White Race, Mongolian or Yellow Race, Native American or Red Race, & Malayan or Brown Race. Which color box do you identify with? I invite you to step out of your box and sit on another color.”
- Nathan Gadsden – Film
SOWE Pocket Park, Fremont and Filbert streets. Bring a lawn chair or blanket
Friday, June 18, and Saturday, June 19, 8 pm
Two film viewings take a lens inward to capture the effect that oppressive systems have on the Black and Brown community, and they claim Juneteenth as the first step towards liberation.
- Grace Berry – Performative & Visual Art
Saturday, June 19, noon, Reservoir Park, North Franklin and East King Streets
Saturday, June 19, 3 pm, Crystal Park, First Street|
All drummers are welcome; arrive for drummer circle a half-hour prior to each performance. Gather at the watermelon patch for an interactive performance to embrace how watermelon is uplifting to the spirit of Black life in the Afrikan diaspora. In the patch you will find sekeres and drummers, offering “an energizing connection to our ancestors’ ingenuity and strength.” See more at www.girlrillavintage.com.