La Florida Exhibition

OAKLAND — The historic town of Oakland is hosting an opening reception on Thursday, Sept. 15 for its new combination art /history exhibition, “La Florida: Celebrating Florida’s Hispanic Heritage,” as part of a celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month.

The reception will be at at the Healthy West Orange Arts and Heritage, and the public is invited. The event runs from 5-7 p.m. at The Center, 126 W. Petris Ave.

What Is in the Exhibit La Florida?

As the town noted in a news release, this exhibition is an opportunity to “learn about the origin of Spanish Florida over 500 years ago and the fusion of culture that continues to enrich our state today, from Cuban cigars to baseball. Explore the Spanish pirates behind the famous Gasparilla festivities, discover Spanish architecture in Florida, and trace the birth of the oldest city in the U.S.”

The exhibition will include paintings and sculptures inspired by Hispanic heritage. All the works on display were created by prominent Florida artists, including:

  • Jose Pardo
  • Jesus Marin
  •  Francisco Arias
  • Alejandro Selmi
  • Violeta Militaru
  • Heather Lorenz
  • Fabian Pesci
  • Dave Minichiello
  • Joe Warren
  • Lori Warren
  • Kelley Batson-Howard
  • Erick Marquez
  • Aury Perez
  • George Stuart
  • Ivan Delgado
  • Roger Ballas
  • Carol Brown
  • Jambvant Ramoutar
  • Tom Eder
  • and Anne Fanelli.

During the opening reception, guests can meet the artists and purchase their work. As they do, the guests will be serenaded by a flamenco guitar performance by the Don Soledad Group.

The opening reception will also feature the Street Fusion Latin food truck, and light fare provided by the West Orange Creamery.

How Long Will The La Florida Exhibit Run?

La Florida runs Sept. 15 through Nov. 2 at The Center, which is open Wednesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and on select Saturdays. For more information, visit or

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The Healthy West Orange Arts and Heritage Center is committed to preserving Oakland’s past, present and future. This project is funded in part by a $1 million lead grant from the West Orange Healthcare District and funding from Orange County Government through the Arts & Cultural Affairs Program.

Michael Freeman is an Orlando journalist, playwright, and author of the book “Bloody Rabbit”. Contact him at

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