image

Historic Germantown in partnership with the Johnson House Historic Site and photographer Tieshka K. Smith, presents a brand new exhibit about the legacy and impact of the Philadelphia Juneteenth Festival.

Featuring close to seventy-five color photos, and showcasing years of festival posters and ephemera, this enthralling exhibit captures the evolution and dynamic relationship between the festival and the community, highlighting the festival’s efforts to support and magnify community voices in the fight for social and racial justice.

The exhibit will be open during normal museum hours; Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. starting Sept. 23.

“Historic Germantown is honored to sponsor this exhibit of Tieshka K. Smith’s photography, presented in the galleries of the Germantown Historical Society. The project serves as a model of true collaboration between HG, the artist, and the Johnson House Historic Site, a longtime consortium member and sponsor of the Philadelphia Juneteenth Festival. We expect that both near neighbors and visitors from around the country will be enlightened and inspired by this work and learn more about the evolution of Juneteenth celebrations in Germantown,” said Tuomi Forrest, Executive Director of Historic Germantown.

“In the heart of Germantown, Johnson House stands as a beacon of freedom. Today, our annual Philadelphia Juneteenth Festival is a testament to the enduring spirit of emancipation and the legacy of the freedom that we enjoy today. Our first Juneteenth celebration was held in 1998. Since then, the festival has grown substantially. It was critical to document Germantown’s Juneteenth celebration given its historic role in the abolition movement. And so, in 2015 we hired Tieshka Smith as the official photographer to document our Juneteenth journey. Tieshka delivered, capturing beauty, resilience, pain and centuries of struggle for Black and brown peoples. All of it is captured in the hundreds of frames she shot fueled by her own lived experiences. We invite all of Philadelphia to join in the experiences embedded in this exhibit. It is in our collective remembrances that will pave the path to a more equitable future. Together, we can honor the past, celebrate the present, and inspire hope for future generations yet to come,” said Cornelia Swinson, Executive Director of Johnson House

“It has been an absolute honor and privilege to serve as the Festival’s official event photographer over the last 8 years! Under Connie’s leadership and vision, I’ve had the opportunity to make hundreds, if not thousands, of images that consistently document what I call the joy exchange – the Festival is planned and executed from a place of joy and respect for our history, heritage and culture, and the community gives so much joy and gratitude back! One of the obvious goals for this exhibit is to present a visual chronicle of the Festival’s evolution and growth, but the other is to center the mission and social advocacy work of the Johnson House Historic Site and how its very existence is a testament to the lasting impact that historic sites can make in urban communities. Its vital significance and value to the Germantown neighborhood and the city of Philadelphia can’t be overstated, and it deserves our continued support,” said exhibit photographer Tieshka K. Smith.

Historic Germantown is a partnership of now 19 extraordinary historic houses, destinations, and museums in Northwest Philadelphia that have joined together to protect, preserve, and share some of Philadelphia’s prized historical assets.

Tieshka K. Smith (she/her) is a Philadelphia-based photographer and content creator. She uses as many tools at her disposal to challenge and disrupt the status quo. Her community-based artistic practice interrogates racism and classism in place making and civic identity formation; how neighborhood-level memories and values are shaped; and the ways in which the marginalization of people and ideas adversely affects American life and culture. Her photographs have been featured online, in print, and in galleries, museums and other community spaces here on the East Coast and in the Midwest, and are in a number of noteworthy private and public collections. Tieshka has received multiple commissions and grant awards for her work. Smith is a native of Chicago, Illinois, and is a proud alumna of Northwestern University (Evanston, IL) and DeVry University’s Keller Graduate School of Management. Her website is tieshkasmith.com.

Johnson House Historic Site, an Underground Railroad Station and Center for Social Advocacy, is a historic house museum that represents what everyday people have done and can do to make a difference in their community and beyond. For more information on Historic Germantown visit www.historicgermantownpa.org.