Kwanzaa celebration

Kwanzaa celebrates family, culture and community. This African American holiday is designed around seven principles that promote unity, self-determination, cooperation, community and faith. Originally created in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga, Kwanzaa is now celebrated by millions of people and is recognized as a significant winter holiday. On Sunday, December 30, the Saint Louis Art Museum will host Kwanzaa Celebration: Wearing Our CROWN, an afternoon of art making, performance and a self-guided tour and scavenger hunt.

Kwanzaa is a seven-day holiday that begins on December 26. Each year, the Saint Louis Art Museum hosts one of the city’s largest Kwanzaa celebrations. The Museum-wide event incorporates the Kwanzaa principle of the day and visitors can enjoy a variety of cultural activities. This year, the Museum’s celebration occurs on the fifth day of Kwanzaa and the principle of the day is Nia, the Swahili word for purpose. The afternoon’s events include a free art activity, performances in the Farrell Auditorium and a scavenger hunt. For more than 20 years the Art Museum has presented this Kwanzaa celebration in collaboration with Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., St. Louis Metropolitan Alumnae Chapter.

Beginning at noon on December 30, visitors can make their own wearable work of art in the form of an arm band, decorated with African patterns and jewels. This year’s theme, “Wearing Our CROWN,” is an acronym for compassionate, resilient, outstanding, worthy and noble. Families can show off their work of art and capture a special memory in the photo booth. Visitors wishing to attend the performance in the Farrell Auditorium can acquire tickets at the Museum on site only starting at noon on December 30. Tickets are limited and will be distributed while quantities last.

The Museum’s Kwanzaa performance includes storytelling by Kenya Ajanaku, African dancing and drumming by the Sunshine Cultural Arts Center’s Community Performance Ensemble, folklore and masquerade by Kunama Mtendaji and presentations by members of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., St Louis Metropolitan Alumnae Chapter. The performance begins with a procession of sorority members into the auditorium accompanied by live drumming and continues with presentations that focus on the day’s theme, “Wearing Our CROWN.” In addition to the art activity and performance, all visitors are encouraged to take a self-guided tour using a scavenger hunt to view works of art from the African galleries and contemporary works by prominent African American artists such as Kehinde Wiley. Scavenger hunts will be made available at the Museum’s information desks starting on December 26 through January 1, including the day of the Kwanzaa Celebration on December 30. Each scavenger hunt clue connects a work of art to one of the seven principles of Kwanzaa. For more information about the Museum’s annual Kwanzaa Celebration and other events, visit

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