Oakland Unveiling Citrus Exhibit

OAKLAND — While Florida may be known for its beaches and theme parks, but the Sunshine State has something else it’s known for, and that’s being a Citrus king. Florida is one of the world’s largest producers of citrus, and the state’s many visitor centers still offer a free glass of freshly squeezed orange juice to tourists coming to the state.

Now one Central Florida community is reviewing the region’s history as a citrus grower in a new art exhibit.

The Healthy West Orange Arts and Heritage Center in the town of Oakland will be hosting a special exhibit that opens on Thursday, June 29 and runs through Sept. 1, 2023. The theme will be Citrus Art and History.

What is Oakland’s Upcoming Citrus Exhibit About?

This unique art and history exhibition will shine a spotlight on Oakland’s origins in the citrus industry and the Great Vegetable Region. “Learn about the Oakland’s original citrus and vegetable farms, the major players in the industry, and contributions to Florida’s agricultural history,” noted Jessica Lovejoy, Oakland’s event planner, in a news release about the exhibit.

The Healthy West Orange Arts and Heritage Center is still encouraging artists to submit any works they have or can create with a theme related to citrus, agriculture, pastoral scenes, and still lifes. Send your photo, title, medium, and size or questions to arts&heritage@oaklandfl.gov.

In the meantime, there will be an opening reception for this exhibit on Thursday, June 29 from 5-7 p.m. at the Heritage Center, located at 126 W. Petris Ave. in Oakland. It’s an opportunity to not only learn more about Oakland’s historic agricultural roots and to view art by local artists, but also to hear banjo playing by Oakland resident Anthony Dixon.

“Afterwards, grab a sweet treat from Oakland General Store, the Town’s newest concessionaire, located on the West Orange Trail next to the Healthy West Orange Arts and Heritage Center,” Lovejoy noted.

Where is Oakland, Florida?

Established in 1887, Oakland is one of the oldest municipalities in Orange County and celebrated its 130th Anniversary in 2017. Their downtown once had an opera house, although a deadly fire decimated much of the downtown that never got rebuilt. Still, their historic City Hall dates back to 1911.

Oakland is also known for its parks and trails, which provide enormous recreational activities for area residents and visitors alike, who enjoy the beauty and natural wonder of parks such as Pollard Park, Speer Park, and VanderLey Park.

The town is also known for hosting the Healthy West Orange Arts and Heritage Center, which has permanent exhibits, including the historic Oakland Presbyterian Church’s illuminated stained-glass window that dates back to the 1919 brick structure, and a video presentation on the continuing historic preservation of Oakland’s Historic African-American Cemetery.

The Center is open Wednesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on the 4th Fridays of the month during the summer and on select Saturdays.

The mission of the Healthy West Orange Arts and Heritage Center is preserving Oakland’s past, present and future. The Center supports the mission of Healthy West Orange, a grassroots movement to inspire west Orange County to become the healthiest community in the nation.

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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