Orlando Call For Artists

ORLANDO — The Orlando city government has issued a Call For Artists as part of its 2023 Black History Month Exhibition at Orlando City Hall.

The City hosts this celebration to highlight “the positive contributions of our African American residents by dedicating the month of February to the rich and diverse Black culture and heritage,” notes the city’s website. “Black history is an integral part of American history because Blacks have played an essential role in building and shaping this great country.”

This celebration will feature an opening reception of an art exhibition at City Hall’s Terrace Gallery that highlights this year’s theme, “Black Resistance,” which “recognizes how African Americans have fought repression and inspired folks to participate in civil rights and racial equity movements,” the city notes.

What is Orlando’s Call For Artists?

The City of Orlando is seeking local visual artists to display their artwork during this exhibit. The chosen artwork will be on display in Terrace Gallery from Friday, Feb. 3 to Sunday, April 30, 2023.

“Art is an intrinsic part of Black heritage and culture, and the city is offering an opportunity for artists to showcase the diverse richness of its history through the visual arts,” the city noted in a news release.

To be considered, submit your artwork by Tuesday, Jan. 2 2023 by 11:59 p.m. Selected artists will be notified by email with the date and time to deliver their works to City Hall.

Submit your work to Luis M. Martinez in the Office of Multicultural Affairs by emailing him at Luis.Martinez@orlando.gov. Be certain to include:

  • Your biography or resume. 
  • Photos of a minimum of five pieces of artwork in JPG format.  
  • Descriptions about each piece of artwork. 
  • Each submission must be labeled with:
    • Name of Artist 
    • Art Title  
    • Year Created 
    • Measurements 
    • Medium 

What Criteria Does Orlando Use to Judge the Art?

The city will be judging the submitted artwork by:

  • Appropriateness:
    • Artists are selected based on the appropriateness of their proposal to the project. 
  • Communication:
    • The artist must have the ability to clearly communicate concepts both visually and clearly through written materials. 
  • All 2-D art submitted for selection must be ‘wall ready’, with D rings or wire. 
  • Performance:
    • The artist must have a professional history of being able to work cooperatively and finish projects on time

Visit Orlando’s Wells’Built Museum During Black History Month

Downtown Orlando is also home to The Wells’ Built Hotel, which is a museum today that preserves so much of the city’s history.

It became a popular spot within the city’s African American community in its day, offering 20 rooms and a casino that attracted top talent like Ray Charles to perform there. Over the years, the hotel and casino served as a gathering place for weddings and other celebrations.

In 2001, the historic hotel took on a new life as The Wells’Built Museum of African American History and Culture. It now has two rooms that are home to unique memorabilia from Central Florida’s African-American community. The restored hotel is both a part of that museum, and is available as office space.

Wells'Built Museum of African American History and Culture

Today the hotel still contains the 20 rooms that once got rented out, but the rooms are mostly rented out as office space, save for one room that’s a part of the museum and shows what it looked like when it was still a hotel.

The casino has two rooms filled with artifacts from the region’s history, and nearly 90% of those artifacts are from Central Florida. That includes a glimpse at the famous musicians and entertainers who performed at the casino, prominent civil rights leaders like Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall who stayed at the hotel, and the changes within the community over the decades, such as the formation in 1945 of the Orlando Negro Chamber of Commerce.

The museum was added to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places on Feb. 4, 2000.

Michael Freeman is an Orlando journalist, playwright, and author of the book A Christmas Eve Story. Contact him at Freelineorlando@gmail.com.

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