Revealing The History And Strength Of African American Communities

One of the many historical photographs from the Mid-Century exhibit now showing at the Crealde School of Art.

Mid-Century Photo Exhibit Opens at Crealde Schol of Art

By Cassie Doria

The Crealde School of Art located in Winter Park, Florida was established in 1975 as a community based non-profit arts organization, and in 2007 in partnership with the City of Winter Park the Crealde’s second campus, Hannibal Square Heritage Center opened. If you have not had an opportunity to visit the Crealde School of Art up until now, you will be delighted to know that all exhibitions and lectures are free and open to the public.

In addition, this Fall may be the perfect time to visit Crealde since the organization will be showcasing an original, thought provoking and educational exhibit to the Central Florida community. “The exhibit originates out of the mission of Hannibal Square Center, where we celebrate the contributions of African Americans,” said Peter Schreyer, Crealde Executive Director and documentary photographer.

There is a cultural depth to Hannibal Square Heritage Center which honors the past, present, and future contributions of Winter Park’s historic African American community. Therefore, it is only becoming of the gallery to host an exhibition that explores the strength of three African-American communities in the 1940’s and 50’s in Florida prior to desegregation, urban renewal and the Civil Rights era.

The featured exhibit, “Mid-Century: A Photographic View of Three African-American Communities in Florida” are on display from September 9 through December 30, 2011. Opening festivities were held on Friday September 9th with an educational panel, followed by a reception and live jazz performance by the Chuck Archard Trio, featuring music from the 1940s and 1950s. The panel consisted of presentations from the Ritz Theatre and Museum, a Professor of History and African-American Studies at Daytona State College, the Southeast Museum of Photography, and the Heritage Center Manager and Chief Historian. 

The two-venue exhibit are held in the Jenkins Gallery at Crealde’s main campus, as well as in the Hannibal Square Heritage Center. The underlying purpose of the exhibit is to share the history of cultural strength in African American communities during the decades of the 40’s and 50’s through a series of sleek photographic and oral text pieces. Mid-Century will include Ellie Lee Weems’ images of Jacksonville’s LaVilla community, which was once referred to as the ‘Harlem of the South’ as well as Gordon Parks’ photographs of Daytona Beach’s Midway neighborhood and the family photographs of Winter Parks’ Hannibal Square community.

When describing the value of Mid-Century, Peter Schreyer  shared that “through the photography displayed in this specific exhibit attendees will be able to see a different time of life through the eyes of those in the community, as well as understand the cultural strength of the communities that were built against all of the odds that were put against them.” The Crealde School of Art is able to provide the Mid-Century exhibit to the general public thanksto the Southeast Museum of Photography in Daytona and The Ritz Theatre and Museum in Jacksonville.

For additional information on Crealde School of Art or the Mid-Century exhibit, please visit


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