The Town of Oakland is proud to announce the opening of the Healthy West Orange Arts and Heritage Center at the Town of Oakland on Fridays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Visitors of the Center will have the chance to explore the inaugural exhibition, “Est. 1887,” and rediscover Oakland’s rich history.
The Healthy West Orange Arts and Heritage Center at the Town of Oakland, located at 126 Petris Ave., is committed to preserving Oakland’s past, present and future. The Center gives visitors the opportunity to see the Town of Oakland like never before as they step into a gallery full of paintings, historical photos, artifacts and more – all featuring Oakland as its centerpiece.
The inaugural exhibit explores Oakland’s history as the industrial and social hub of Orange County more than 130 years ago. Conceptualized in conjunction with the Winter Garden Heritage Foundation (WGHF), it features framed historic photographs and content outlining Oakland’s early history. Additionally, the exhibit feature items relating to Oakland’s incorporation in 1887, such as minute books, the Town seal and artifacts borrowed from the Oakland Nature Preserve. A cornerstone piece at the Center is the historic Oakland Presbyterian Church-stained glass window. This window was made for the second Oakland Presbyterian Church building, a brick structure that rose on the southeast corner of Starr Street and Oakland Avenue in 1919.
The Center is celebrating Black History Month, highlighting how Oakland’s first African American elected officials helped shape the Town. Additionally, Center staff is working with Orange County Regional History Center historians to preserve and share oral histories of Oakland’s past, including descendants of those buried in the Historic African American Cemetery. The Town also plans to host a History Harvest in which all residents are invited to share their stories to be recorded and archived by the History Center and shared at the Center and on Oakland’s website.
“We’re so thrilled to welcome visitors to the much-anticipated Healthy West Orange Arts and Heritage Center at the Town of Oakland,” said Kathy Stark, Mayor of Oakland. “The Town is excited to share our rich history and love of the arts with the community, as we invite guests to step inside and learn about what makes Oakland such a special place. We’d also like to thank our valued donors, partners and community stakeholders for their support in sharing our vision.”
“This beautiful new Center will become an important part of life in Oakland, and will help us amplify our work in the community,” said West Orange Healthcare District Board Chair Rod Talbot. “The District launched the Healthy West Orange movement five years ago to engage directly with those who live and work here, promoting healthy lifestyles and encouraging people to eat well and stay active. Through our partnership with the Town of Oakland, the new Center will become a vibrant hub for health and wellness, and a new way for us to reach and motivate District residents.”
In the months to come, the Center will host health and wellness programming both inside and outside the Center, including a robust calendar of fitness classes, nutrition programs and special community events.
Center capacity is limited to 10 persons at a time. Visitors should maintain social distancing, observe local mask mandates and use hand sanitizer upon entry. For more information, visit www.oaklandfl.gov.
About the Healthy West Orange Arts and Heritage Center at the Town of Oakland
The Healthy West Orange Arts and Heritage Center is committed to preserving Oakland’s past, present and future. The Center supports the mission of Healthy West Orange, a grassroots movement to inspire west Orange County to become the healthiest community in the nation. Working with its partners, the Center will provide important tools and social connections to help residents eat well, stay active and enjoy life. This project is funded in part by a $1 million lead grant from the West Orange Healthcare District, as well as funding from Orange County Government through the Arts & Cultural Affairs Program and countless other donors. For more information, visit www.oaklandfl.gov/artsandheritage.
About the West Orange Healthcare District
The West Orange Healthcare District (WOHD) is an independent special healthcare district created in 1949 by the Florida Legislature and governed by a 16-member, volunteer board appointed by the Governor of Florida. Now in its 72nd year, the District has awarded more than $180 million in local community grants to enhance residents’ health and wellness. For more, visit www.wohd1949.org.