Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Gathering Inspiration for the Lake Apopka Farmworker Historical Mural

As the logistics for our Lake Apopka Farmworker Historical Mural are underway, the main artists for this project, Linda Lee and Sarah Downs, wanted a chance to get inspired by several art exhibits located in the Winter Park, Florida area.

While the mural is still in its formative stages, one of the focuses of the mural is going to be the history of the black communities in the Apopka area in central Florida; therefore, we wanted an opportunity to experience African-American art to inspire Linda and Sarah. Luckily, two art exhibits are currently displayed at the Hannibal Square Heritage Center and the Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College in Winter Park.

At the Hannibal Square Heritage Center, the current exhibit is, "Soul Utterings: Creative Works by Kianga Jinaki and John Mascoll". Jinaki just so happens to be an African-American quilter whose displayed pieces reflect the history and culture of black people in both African countries and the United States.

Coincidentally, the Hannibal Square Heritage Center was also hosting one of its quilt-making gatherings, which happen two Saturdays every month. While visiting, Linda was able to talk to other local quilters and observe some of their works, including quilter Lauren Austin, who is the artist that inspired Linda to make the Lake Apopka Farmworker Memorial Quilts nearly a decade ago! This was a great chance for FWAF to observe inspirational art and interact with other local quilters.

After the Heritage Center, we ventured to the Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College, where the current exhibit is, "African American Art in the 20th Century", which is visiting from the Smithsonian American Art Museum. There we were able to observe the different voices and expressions of African American art over time and from different areas of the world, giving us a lot of insight into different artistic visions.

Both exhibits at the Hannibal Square Heritage Center and the Cornell Fine Arts Museum featured artists and pieces that we will further discuss in our community meetings for the mural project. Having the opportunity to interact with such fantastic pieces of art was truly a privilege we will not forget! Additionally, the children's section at the Cornell Museum gave Linda's great-grandsons a well-deserved break from all the museum discussions!