While Pensacola, Fla. is widely known for its gorgeous sugar-white sand beaches and emerald green waters, there is also a thriving arts scene waiting to be explored, and the Juneteenth Gallery Night on June 17, 2022 is the perfect time to experience it while vacationing artfully in this coastal destination. Each month, the iconic Palafox Street is closed to cars for Gallery Night, an event dedicated to taking art to the streets. The free community event features local artists, music, food and businesses, which makes it the perfect way to explore the culture of Pensacola. The 2022 Gallery Night schedule is focused on emphasizing the importance of Pensacola’s local culture and history, and in honor and celebration of Juneteenth, June’s Gallery Night will be dedicated to celebrating Pensacola’s rich Black history and the significance of the holiday.
Gulf Coast Black Heritage: Juneteenth Gallery Night in Pensacola, Florida
The Juneteenth Gallery Night will include featured artist Leo Green, a University of Southern Mississippi graduate whose work reflects and encourages social interaction and thought as he explores the 1990s hip-hop movement. Other performances and highlights of the evening will include “The Mad Violinist” Ashanti Floyd, a cultural fashion show and a performance by Ayoka African Drum and Dance. Attendees will also have the opportunity to peruse artwork from over 40 local artists and sample a variety of cultural food from five local food trucks.
Visitors can find evidence of the important contributions Black Americans have made all over the city including Fort Pickens, one of the few Union-occupied forts in the south during the American Civil War, that was accepted into the National Park Service’s Underground Railroad Network to Freedom in 2020. One of the clearest examples of the influence Black Americans have had on Pensacola can be found in the Belmont-Devilliers neighborhood. In the time of segregation, Belmont-DeVilliers was the commercial and cultural hub of Pensacola’s Black community. Known locally as The Blocks, the neighborhood was home to many Black-owned businesses, restaurants and music venues, including Abe’s 506 Club where such musical legends as Louis Armstrong, James Brown, Ray Charles, B.B. King and Aretha Franklin all performed. Today, the Belmont-Devilliers district stays true to its history, filled with offices, shops and restaurants that offer some of the best culinary offerings in Pensacola including Blue Dot Barbecue and Five Sisters Blues Cafe, among others.3