Second Annual

Chattanooga Festival of

Black Arts & Ideas

"Juneteenth Celebration"

June 13 - 19, 2019

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Chattanooga Festival of Black Arts & Ideas 

 Six Days of Performances, Visual Art Exhibitions, 

Food, Crafts, Vendors and Discussions

June 13-19

With a commitment to celebrating the extraordinary contributions of artists of African descent, the Second Annual Chattanooga Festival of Black Arts & Ideas continues with a slate of work showcasing the disciplines of music, dance, theatre, visual arts, film and literature during a week-long celebration, June 13-19, at varies locations throughout downtown Chattanooga.

This multi-disciplinary festival aims to spotlight emerging and established Black artists and build greater community awareness of the diversity of Black arts within Chattanooga and Hamilton County. The festival will also provide opportunities for discussions on topics that connect Black arts to other areas of the life in the community.

What our customers are saying

“The first and most important outcome I want the festival to achieve is to awaken the Greater Chattanooga community to the broad spectrum of exemplary work by Black artists in our own backyard. This celebration will allow other ethnicities to better understand and embrace the concept that while these works of art may be created by Black people and reflective of the Black condition, they more importantly speak to the human condition in ways that only the 

arts can do.”

- Ricardo "Ric" Morris, CFBA&I Founder & CEO

Ricardo "Ric" Morris

Highlights of the festival line-up include:

In its second year the 

Chattanooga Festival of Black Arts & Ideas 

will be held June 13 - June 19

Events will take place over six days in varying locations throughout the city of Chattanooga. 


We have expanded from producing only one activity each day  to a full day of activities and panel discussions. For example, last year's two hour film screening has been developed into the full-day  

Oscar Micheaux Black Film Festival to be held at the Palace Theater in Patton Parkway with a screening of "Super Fly" on Thursday, June 13 at 12 noon and a tribute to Spike Lee starting at 6:00 pm. 


In addition, a staged play reading last year has become the  August Wilson Playmakers Festival in partnership with the Chattanooga Theatre Centre (CTC) on Friday, June 14th. This partnership will allow CFBA&I to present a fully-realized play in addition to one or more staged readings by local, national and international Black playwrights. Plans have already been made for the CTC to produce one of August Wilson’s plays from his American Cycle Series each year over the next nine (9) years. 


On Saturday, June 15, the Chattanooga Public Library will host, Scratching Your Roots: A Black Genealogy Workshop hosted by former Tennessee State Representative Joanne Favors.   Later that day in celebration of Black Music Appreciation Month, CFBA&I will present the  Legacy Music Festival in the newly renovated Miller Park in the heart of downtown Chattanooga. What will remain the same in 2019 is that throughout the day a variety of music genres will be performed including, but not limited to jazz, rap, R&B, hip hop, classical, soul, gospel and blues music as well as spoken word. Visual artists, crafts people and other vendors will have designated areas along the park’s perimeter to exhibit and sale their work.  Immediately following the music festival there will be a meet and greet after party at Matilda Midnight120 E. 10th Street one block over from Miller Park. 

The Chattanooga Theatre Centre (CTC) will host spoken word events throughout the day starting with a free poetry workshop and open mic from 2 - 4 p.m. This event is open to all ages and writing levels and will feature a local visual artist as the poetic inspiration. From 6 - 8 p.m. local visual artists who are also poets will share poetry inspired by their own artistry in an event called, "Poetry Meets Paint." This event is also open to all ages and will include an interactive element allowing the audience to make comment and ask questions of the  artists. Then starting at 9:00 p.m. some of Chattanooga's most talented poets and spoken word artists will present an extraordinary evening of entertainment entitled, Shades of PoetryThis is a ticketed event for adults only. There is limited seating so get your tickets early. All of these spoken word events will be held at the Chattanooga Theatre Centre.


CFBA&I will join with gospel singer and songwriter Trent Williams to curate a collection of choirs/praise teams & soloists as we launch Chattanooga's first Black Dads Matter (BDM) Gospel Music Festival and Father's Day Brunch at the Hunter Museum of American Art .   


There will be a meet and greet reception and panel discussion during the Elizabeth Catlett Visual Arts Exhibition at the Bessie Smith Hall. This year's featured artists are local photographers, Shelly & Cecelia King.



CFBA&I will present Black dancers from around the city in the Juba Dance Festival featuring dancers in recital from the D. Williams Dance Academy. 


In commemoration of Juneteenth, there will be a dramatic reading by Wade Hinton of the Emancipation Proclamation accompanied by musical selections provided by Young Gifted and Black in Miller Park, located on Market Street in Downtown Chattanooga. As a grand finale, the group will sing the Negro National Anthem, "Lift Every Voice and Sing" with audience participation. 

JUNTEENTH - June 19, 1865

The date of the festival coincides with the internationally recognized observance of Juneteenth, a U.S. holiday that commemorates the June 19, 1865, announcement of the abolition of slavery in Texas and, more widely, the emancipation of African slaves throughout the former Confederacy.

The festival will close in the newly renovated Miller Park, where there will be a dramatic reading by a noteworthy Black Chattanoogan of the Emancipation Proclamation, accompanied by performances of traditional Negro Spirituals and the singing of the Negro National Anthem as arranged by internationally recognized Chattanooga composer and conductor, Dr. Roland M. Carter.

Our hope is to eventually add an educational component that would provide lesson plans for teachers in the Hamilton County Public Schools as well as other area schools to educate students about Juneteenth and other aspects of Black history.

See What People Are Saying

“With this second annual presentation of the festival, we continue to strive to gain a reputation for providing audiences with artistic experiences presented by Black artists that are extraordinary and enriching for the entire community.” 

- Ricardo "Ric" Morris,
CFBA&I Founder & CEO