The Town of Oakland is inviting the public to a new art and history exhibition “’Hold Fast to Dreams’: Celebrating Black History in Oakland.” The exhibit’s soft opening will be held during Oakland Heritage Day from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Jan. 28 at the Healthy West Orange Arts and Heritage Center at the Town of Oakland, 126 W. Petris Ave.
The exhibit’s opening reception will be held on Feb. 9 from 5-7 p.m. and will feature a jazz performance by LeNard Rutledge and Friends, presented by HAPCO Music Foundation and the Town of Oakland, and food for purchase from Jacobs Joint food truck.
The exhibition delves into Oakland’s African American heritage, starting with the growing workforce of Oakland as a major economic hub after the Civil War, with bustling industries of citrus, lumber, and turpentine. Visitors will learn more about the arrival of the railroad and families who have lived in the area for generations. The exhibit also highlights many of Oakland’s African American leaders, both past and present. A special digital presentation focuses on the Town’s Historic African American Cemetery, which was established in 1882 and contains historically significant grave markers of emancipated persons.
Featured artists pay tribute to the Black experience and culture with a host of carefully curated mixed media pieces. They include Fritz-Lee Saint Paulin, Ileana Miquilena, Cameron Bims, Mike Goodge, Michael Luzzi, Constance Sartor, Anne Fanelli, Dave Minichiello, Lori Warren, Joe Warren, Jambvant Ramoutar, Laura Serdiuk, Ileana Miquilena, Cheryl McLean, Maho Shing, Michael Volpicelli, Bianca Booz, Ronda Richley, and Kathleen Bell.
The exhibit closes March 17. The Center is open Wednesday through Friday from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. and on the 1st Saturdays of the month. For more information, visit www.oaklandfl.gov/artsandheritage or www.facebook.com/HWOAHatOakland.