Crossroad Festival: Exploring Jefferson County's Cultural Heritage

The Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas has received a Major Grant from the Arkansas Humanities Council to host the inaugural Crossroad Festival: Exploring Jefferson County's Cultural Heritage on February 22 – 24, 2018.  The festival is FREE and open to the public. The Crossroad Festival is a three-day event exploring the region’s French, Quapaw Indian, and African American cultural heritage from its historic roots to contemporary iterations through the interpretive lens of film, music, dance, and living history.


Dates:   Feb 22 - 24. 

 Times: Feb 22, 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm, Feb 23, 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm, & Feb 24, 10 am - 3 pm. 


The festival is free and open to the public, and supported in part by a Major Grant from the Arkansas Humanities Council and National Endowment for the Humanities. The event is locally sponsored by The City of Pine Bluff and Go Forward Pine Bluff. 


Thursday, Feb 22, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm:

Through film and discussion, we will explore our region's French cultural heritage from colonial era Arkansas Post and the immigrants from Arkansas’s first European establishment who settled in Jefferson County to the evident cultural influences early immigration to the Mississippi River Valley region had on the diversity and development of contemporary Cajun and Creole music.

Join us for a screening of the recent documentary, First Cousins: Cajun and Creole Music of South Louisiana, followed by a panel discussion featuring Dr. Moriah Istre (filmmaker) and Dr. Elista Istre (film producer) from Arkansas State University's Heritage Studies PhD Program.


Friday, Feb 23, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm:

Celebrate the achievements of Jefferson County-associated music legends "Big Bill" Broonzy, Sippie Wallace, Miles Davis, and Bobby Rush who all helped shape the sounds of the Delta.  Live performances by the Brian Austin Band, Detroit Johnny, and Milt Jackson & friends, narrated by Jimmy Cunningham of the Delta Rhythm & Bayous Alliance.


Saturday, Feb 24, 10 am – 3 pm:

Saturday morning, from 10 am – 12 pm, will be dedicated to dance performances, traditional crafts and foodways demos by members of the Quapaw Tribe of Oklahoma in the Catherine M. Bellamy Theatre at ASC. Throughout the morning, traditional crafts demos will be set -up in ASC's galleries, and outside on the patio, traditional foodstuff will be prepared for attendees. Additionally, exhibit panels detailing the Quapaw’s presence in Jefferson Co., e.g., land treaty negotiations, Chief Heckaton, legend of Saracen, archeological record, will be on display during the entire Saturday event. 


Saturday afternoon, from 1 pm – 3 pm, there will be a living history program on prominent African American residents of Jefferson County by the Arkansas based, living history group, Voices in the Past, in the Bellamy Theatre.  The group will interpret the stories of several of Pine Bluff and Jefferson County's artists, musicians, and business people, as well as WPA slave narratives collected from Jefferson County.


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