Family Day: Juneteenth
June 17 @ 1:00 am - 4:00 pm
Free Event – Join us for our free “Family Day” event as we recognize the histories and stories behind Juneteenth, while celebrating with artist, educator, and performer Anthony Michael Stokes. Anthony–alongside Ayo and Angeline patchwork puppets inspired by the traditions of the rag doll in African cultures and representing a collection of the Black diaspora’s hopes and dreams–will take you on an immersive journey through book reading/history lesson/performance that not only shares the importance of Juneteenth, but the message that we are all a collection of those people and experiences we have come across in our lives. Visitors will be invited to build their own puppets inspired by the art of patchwork and that reflects on the constellation of people and experiences that have made them the person they are today.
Anthony Michael Stokes is currently the theatre director at Jefferson/Silva High School. With B.F.A’s in music theatre and dance and a Masters in Education, he has also trained as a puppeteer with the Jim Henson Company, the Sesame Street Puppeteer workshop and was also awarded the Black Puppeteer Empowerment Grant from Puppet Showplace Theater, where he debuted his short puppet film “Bawba Sheep’s Black”. Stokes has been awarded grants from the Jim Henson Foundation to further develop his piece The Scarecrow,” and this year, he has been awarded a 2023 Foundation Production grant to aid in that premiere, and he has been named the 2023 Jim Henson Foundation Puppetry Residency Artist at the Eugene O’Neill Center. He recently directed the workshop reading of the new play Genesis for Titan Theatre Company in NYC. He has previously appeared as an actor with Titan Theatre Company off-Broadway in The African Company Presents Richard III (Papa Shakespeare) and in the radio play series production Rendezvous with Death. He has served as a resident director of El Paso Kids n Co as well as the program director for the summer music theatre program. He has worked in South Korea as a teaching artist. Other recent credits also include Next to Normal (Dan), Othello in Othello (SOTR), and the 1st national tour of Clifford, where he originated the roles of Charley/Mr. Partland. Proud AEA member.
This event is part of our “Still We Rise” exhibit, which traces the history of El Paso’s African American community. The exhibit focuses on the decades leading up to and following desegregation. Tracing back to the first documented African American individuals in El Paso, this exhibition highlights generations of Afro descendants’ contributions to the region as they built businesses, homes, and neighborhoods during slavery, Jim Crow era, and beyond. Based on the testimonies and oral histories of community, “Still We Rise” aims to showcase the joy and accomplishments of those who call El Paso home.
This exhibition and public programs are made possible thanks to the generous support of JP Morgan Chase, and the J. Edward and Helen M.C. Stern Foundation.