The Town of Oakland is inviting the public to celebrate the central role African Americans have played in American culture during the “Honoring Black History” art and heritage exhibition, on display through March at the Healthy West Orange Arts and Heritage Center at the Town of Oakland.
The exhibition, which opens today, Thursday, Feb. 3 at 11 a.m. at 126 W. Petris Ave., delves into the contributions of Black residents of Oakland, exploring the labor workforce of citrus growers when the citrus industry was king, how Black families formed distinct communities and how historic Black churches served as cornerstones of the community. Additionally, the exhibit highlights Oakland’s African American leaders, past and present.
Visitors will learn about the Town’s Historic African American Cemetery, which was established in 1882 with burials continuing through the 1940s. The cemetery is the resting place of emancipated persons and families who migrated to West Orange County. The exhibition features a replica of an archaeologically significant African American seashell folk grave marker, similar to that found at the cemetery.
The exhibit also offers personal insight into the Black experience in Oakland during the first half of the 20th century through oral history interviews, conducted in partnership with the Orange County Regional History Center.
Historic photos and artifacts are surrounded by art inspired by the Black experience and paying tribute to Black leaders, artists, athletes and musicians. Curated by Artscape, the works by artists including Maho Shing, Marisela Rodriguez, Nelson Cardenas, Pamela Bussey, Christina Georges and David Glinski, explore the rich cultural heritage of African Americans and pays tribute to the generations of African Americans who have shaped the world we live in today.
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. Working with its partners, the Center provides 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. 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. For more information, visit www.oaklandfl.gov/artsandheritage and www.facebook.com/HWOAHatOakland.
Conceived by artists, wine lovers and explorers of life, Artscape is a company specializing in bringing magic and adventure to like-minded seekers and art lovers. It brings some of the best local artists to unique experiences. Plus, it allows art enthusiasts to explore new places as they shop for art, enjoy food and more. For more information, visit www.artscapeart.com.