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ENTERTAINMENT NOTES: Mosaic Templars hosts virtual events to celebrate Juneteenth

by Eric E. Harrison | June 15, 2021 at 6:42 a.m.
Singer Bijoux performs Saturday, via livestream, for the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center's Juneteenth celebration. (Democrat-Gazette file photo/Helaine R. Williams)

Elsewhere in entertainment, events and the arts:

MTCC Juneteenth

Mosaic Templars Cultural Center's annual Juneteenth Celebration gets underway at 1 p.m. Wednesday on the center's Facebook page ( with a program of poetry, music and dance, followed at 7 p.m. by a special, livestream forum dedicated to the "State of the Black Community" with panelists FranSha Anderson, Raven Cook, Ryan Davis and Scott Hamilton. MTCC Community Liaison Brian Rodgers will moderate.

The rest of the lineup, all via the center's Facebook page:

◼️ At 7 p.m. Thursday, a livestreamed forum, "Black Health: Covid-19 and Mental Health," spotlights health care and related issues for Arkansas' Black community, with updates on covid-19 and minority health, a cooking demonstration and discussion of mental health (and health care) concerns with panelists. ShaRhonda Love, Michael Murry, Charmaine Beasley and Shannon Hendrix. Jerrilyn Jones will moderate.

◼️ At 7 p.m. Friday, "Black Business: Making the Most of Your Personal Networks," examining the one-time West Ninth Street "The Black Business District" and the stories and histories of Arkansas' Black business entrepreneurs; panelists are Tamara Bates, Christean Bell, Scott Green, Maximillian R.X. Sprinkle and Wesley Peters. BK Simmons will moderate. Earlier in the day, the center will "air" sessions on financial literacy and home buying.

◼️ At 1 p.m. Saturday, the center marks African American Music Appreciation Month as well as Juneteenth, in partnership with the Arkansas Arts Council, with a livestreamed "extravaganza" featuring Rodney Block, Akeem Kemp, Bijoux and the Big John Miller Band.

Juneteenth marks the day — June 19, 1865 — that Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas, with news that the Civil War was over and enslaved people were free.

As a part of the celebration, the center will give away, today-Saturday, 100 "Juneteenth Family Fun Bags," with crafts, recipes, history and "goodies." To reserve one, call (501) 683-3610 or email [email protected] There's a limit of five bags reserved at a time.

And the center is hosting a Black Business Scavenger Hunt. To participate, take pictures of yourself and/or your family in front of a Black-owned restaurant, grocery store, clothing/retail store, salon or barber shop, a historically Black college and a historic site with ties to Black American history and email them to [email protected] by 5 p.m. Saturday. Participants will be entered into a drawing for a $50 gift card from an Arkansas Black-owned business.

'Ragtime' auditions

The Jonesboro-based Delta Symphony Orchestra and Link Theatre Company will hold auditions for 13 principal and secondary roles, as well as for the ensemble, for their co-production of a concert version of the Tony Award-winning musical "Ragtime" (music by Stephen Flaherty, lyrics by Lynn Ahrens, book by Terrence McNally, based on the novel by E.L. Doctorow), 2-6 p.m. Friday and June 25 and 1-6 p.m. June 27 at Studio 402, 402 Main St., 201 Olympic Drive, Jonesboro. Broadway veteran and Jonesboro native Matt Cavenaugh will direct. Neale Bartee will conduct the Delta Symphony. A list of available roles and full character breakdowns are available at Book an appointment via [email protected] or send a message through the theater's Facebok page. For more information, call (870) 761-8254.

Weekend auditions

The Weekend Theater, 1001 W. Seventh St., Little Rock, will hold auditions at 11 a.m. Saturday for Neil Simon's "The Odd Couple (female version)," Simon's comedy adapted for a predominantly female cast. Parts are available for six women and two men; auditions will require no advance preparation but those trying out should dress comfortably for freedom of movement and complete the audition form at Karena Malott and Sarah Scott Blakey Laxson will direct. Production dates are Aug. 13-29 (Friday and Saturday evenings and Sunday matinees). For more information or to discuss alternate audition options, email [email protected]

Winning essays:

Ashwin Marathe, a 2021 graduate of Bentonville High School who is attending Columbia University in the fall, is the winner of the Clinton Foundation's "Ideas Matter" scholarship essay contest. The contest encourages Arkansas high school students to address pressing challenges through turning their ideas into action plans. In his essay, Marathe addressed political polarization and how it obstructs civic engagement. He also received the Clinton Global Initiative University prize, which carries the opportunity to participate in the CGI U student program once enrolled in college.

This year's first runner-up is Richard Liu of Little Rock Central High School, who wrote about improving public health. Third place went to Aviance Haymon of the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts in Hot Springs for an essay focusing on maximizing the community impact of beauty and barber shops and using them as catalysts for economic development.

Small works sought

July 23 is the deadline for Arkansas artists to submit entries for the Arkansas Arts Council's 2022 "Small Works on Paper" touring exhibition that showcases works no larger than 18 inches by 24 inches. Members of the Arkansas Artist Registry, which is an online gallery (membership is free and open to all Arkansas artists ages 18 and older), can enter up to three works online via the Arts Council's website, Fee is $15 for the first entry, $20 for two entries, $25 for three. Works must have been completed within the last two years.

Juror Ronald Jackson will select a maximum of 40 pieces to tour with the exhibition, with as much as $2,000 available to buy art that will become part of the permanent "Small Works" permanent collection. The Arts Council will notify artists whose work he selects for the exhibition in September.

For more information, call (501) 324-9767 or email [email protected]


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