Freedom School through Bella Ease has been working on visual art projects to display during Quincy’s second annual Juneteenth Celebration on Saturday, June 17, thanks to partnership funding from Arts Quincy.
Students in the program learned about the significance and history of the holiday which honors the end to slavery in the US and is considered the longest-running African American holiday. In 2021, it officially became a federal holiday.
Freedom School is one of three youth programs through Bella Ease serving primarily at-risk populations ages eight-24 years old with out-of-school programs and college/career programs. Bella Ease’s mission is to empower youth to achieve positive growth and improve opportunities for future success while reducing detrimental behavior.
Core services for the out-of-school programs include academics and education, life skills development, recreation/sports, artistic/cultural activities, positive adult mentoring, service projects, parental involvement and STEAM projects.
Carter Gholston, 14, says this was “a good idea for kids to have the opportunity to learn about Juneteenth. Painting these canvases is a fun, friendly way to express how we feel about the holiday.”
“As their leader, I think it is vital to expose children, or anyone, to their rich history,” says Brittney Thrower, Bella Ease, Coordinator, Freedom School. “Children especially should have a knowledge and awareness of where and what they come from, so that their journey to where they are headed makes that much more sense to them. Often times we label black history as just that, and forget that black history is history. We as a nation should be celebrating Juneteenth just like any other holiday. I want to thank Arts Quincy for donating the paint and canvases so that this lesson let the kids have a hands-on learning experience and have more fun.”
For more information, visit BellaEase.com. This project was sponsored by Arts Quincy’s Instant Arts program. To help support arts in education programming, visit ArtsQuincy.org/Support-Us.