TAVARES — The City of Tavares will introduce its newest art exhibit, “A Celebration of African-American Creativity,” during an opening reception on Friday, Feb. 3, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Tavares City Hall, located at 201 E. Main St.
The event is part of a two-day celebration to honor the city’s African-American heritage. On Saturday, Feb. 4, the Tavares African Heritage Organization is hosting the Second Annual African-American Heritage Festival from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Wooton Park, located across Main Street from City Hall.
Entertainment is expected to be top-notch at both spirited events. Accompanying the artwork of Highwaymen-artist Issac H. Knight, painter Brian Owens and textile artist Grace Edgill are the St. John’s Free Methodist Church choir, under the direction of Bernice Odums, Ayanna the Story Lady and Winter Park jazz saxophonist Victor Payano.
Entertainment at the African-American Heritage Festival will include music, steppers, rappers, singers and praise dancers. In addition, the festival will also have booths of arts, crafts, history and culture, in addition to activities for children and traditional festival fare.
The featured artists at the opening reception are well-known throughout the state and their artwork will remain on display in Tavares City Hall until Tuesday, Feb. 28. Knight became a Highwaymen and painter inadvertently while selling works by Alfred Hair and his brother-in-law Al Black. Intrigued by the painting style, he began painting under the tutelage of Black, and during the late 1960s, Knight sold paintings on the weekends and evenings, traveling as far north as Gainesville and as far south as Miami. Like many Highwaymen artists, he is best known for his scenery and landscape paintings.
Owens is an accomplished artist in several mediums. His larger than life bronze portrait of author Zora Neale Hurston will soon be installed in a new park in Central Florida. His public art commission portfolio also includes reliefs of four leaders of historic significance that are a permanent feature of downtown Atlanta and large sculptures for two new libraries in Central Florida. Owens is an accomplished oil portrait painter and his portfolio also includes a series of miniature acrylic paintings titled “Small Works” and a growing collection of ink drawings.
Grace Edgill creates and designs original works of art, including afro-centric wall hangings, scarves and shawls, patchwork neck ties, tunics and throws that offer a special touch of elegance. As an artist and teacher, she has worked with many fabric designers throughout the fashion district of New York City. Her artwork is so unique it has been sold in some of the most exclusive specialty shops such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Macy’s.
For more information about the City of Tavares art reception, call Tammey Rogers at (352) 742-6338. For more information about the Second Annual African-American Heritage Festival, call Michael Watkins at (352) 343-0578 or Sheila Short at (352) 742-3063.