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Current Exhibits

Running Steer by Don Columbus

Cowboy Roots – Photography by Don Columbus

October 15, 2019 – January 25, 2020

Immokalee Pioneer Museum at Roberts Ranch

Stumbling unexpectedly upon Roberts Ranch three years ago, photographer Don Columbus was fascinated by the long-time depth of Florida’s cattle industry and the cultural roots of today’s cattle men and women, and the ranches they work. He has strived to capture details of this hard working “Real Florida” lifestyle through the lens of his camera; details that are often missed in the moment. His photographs give the viewer the opportunity not only to experience those moments in time, but to discover a richer present in them.

Don Columbus grew up I the suburbs of New York City where, in his words, “you won’t find any ranches, cattle or cowboys. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d be shooting a cattle drive or jamboree.” His love of photography began at age seven when he received his first camera. His creative journey has transitioned from taking snapshots to creating composed images.

The Perfect Balance, NAWA Exhibit

MS Conceptions: Juried Show of 31 Artists

October 2, 2019 – January 30, 2020

Marco Island Historical Museum

This exhibit includes select works of art from members of the Florida Chapter of the National Association of Women Artists (NAWA). The exhibit will be juried and judged by respected gallerist Joseph Panarelli of Quidley and Company, Naples, Boston, Nantucket, and Westport. The National Association of Women Artists was founded in New York City in 1889 to provide more opportunities to women artists to exhibit and network in a male-dominated industry. Its mission is to elevate the purpose, quality, and visibility of our best female artists.

Dick Jay workshop

Everglades Americana – The Art of Dick Jay

November 2, 2019 – February 2, 2020

Museum of the Everglades

When asked to describe his art, long-time Everglades area resident Dick Jay provides a one-word response: “Americana.” Born and raised in Michigan, Mr. Jay – a Korean War Veteran who flew with the Flying Tigers 74th Fighter Squadron – first spotted the Everglades City area from above while flying training missions from Eglin Air Force Base on Florida’s panhandle. He began visiting the region in the mid-1950s and would eventually retire to his current home on Plantation Key in the late 1980s.

As he immersed himself in the region’s unique culture and history, Dick Jay found himself compelled to capture the stories and scenes he was collecting through art. “I’m not creating anything new. I’m just recording it,” he states. Self-taught, except for a drawing class at Wayne State University, the 90-year old Jay’s distinctive folk-art style incorporates elements of everything from New England Primitivism to French Impressionism while maintaining a connection to his rough-and-tumble roots.

The works chosen for this exhibit capture scenes of everyday life in the 10,000 Islands both from the past and present. Mr. Jay’s paintings speak a universal language that is disarmingly homespun yet poignant and powerful. Explore stories of Florida’s last frontier through the eyes of Dick Jay, an American original.

Rising Above the Rails Exhibit_Image courtesy State Archives of Florida

Rising Above the Rails–The African American Railroad Experience

January 24, 2020 – May 2, 2020

Naples Depot Museum

The African American railroad experience is one of hard work and little recognition. From forced labor and harsh conditions while tracklaying in the southeastern United States to the degrading treatment while traveling on the rails as porters and maintenance workers, African American history is intimately tied to the history of railroading in the United States.

In Rising Above the Rails, we highlight the oft-ignored stories, both local and national, of African Americans who used their experience to improve the lives of themselves, the African American community, and the railroading community overall.

History of Farming Pineapples Exhibit_Image Courtesy State Archives of Florida

History of Farming Pineapples, Hurricanes and Flagler’s Over-Sea Railroad

February 1 – 29, 2020

Marco Island Historical Museum

The sweet-tasting pineapple has a history that goes back to 1493 when Christopher Columbus first brought the exotic fruit back to the New World. Fast-forward 400 years to the South Florida where the pineapple was the primary cash crop, growing commercially in the Keys and Ten Thousand Islands. Over the course of nearly six decades, pineapple growing proved to be a lucrative business. Though profitable, pineapple farming would ultimately be compromised by a series of hurricanes that struck between 1906 and 1910. Henry Flagler’s Over-Sea Railroad, too, would prove a factor in the demise of the pineapple industry. To learn more about the history of pineapple farming, the families who grew them and how to grow your own pineapple plant, visit unique and educational exhibit.

Zora Neale Hurston_Painting by Paul Arsenault

Images and Stories of the Regional African American Experience Through the Eyes of an Artist

February 1 – 29, 2020

Marco Island Historical Museum

Please join the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) of Collier County, as they present images and stories relating to their regional heritage through the eyes of an artist.

Over the course of his 46 years as a Naples-based painter, Paul Arsenault has captured places of historical significance to the regional African American community, including the McDonald Quarters and Gordon Pass in Naples and the church and loggers’ cabins in Copeland.  Arsenault’s painting of Florida’s official Tall Ship, the “Western Union” is also on display. This ship inspired the replication of the slave ship “Amistad,” which has since 2007 sailed the Atlantic and the Caribbean as part of UNESCO’s Slave Route Project.

African American history and culture has been documented in writing by several writers, including Zora Neale Hurston, whose portrait is the title painting for this exhibit.

D'Ernest Johnson

No Limits—The Influence of Athletics on Collier County’s African American Community

February 3, 2020 – March 14, 2020

Collier Museum at Government Center

Did you know that Collier County is the home of many professional athletes? The Collier County Museum and Gulf Coast High School’s Digital Design and Art classes are collaborating on an exhibition that highlights the County’s African American athletes for Black History Month 2020. The exhibit features the professional athletes produced in this area, as well as the coaches and programs that helped them to hone their skills.

Deep Lake Crew

Black History of the Everglades City Area—Exploring Our Stories

February 3 – 29, 2020

Museum of the Everglades

This exhibit will explore often overlooked aspects of Everglades City history including Barron Collier’s multicultural work force, the contributions of African-American workers to the building of the Tamiami Trail, the labor forces at Dupont & Deep Lake, lumber camps at Copeland & Jerome, and more. It will also discuss the area as a refuge for runaway slaves and how Augustus Swycover – one of the area’s first permanent residents – ran a successful sugar plantation that pre-dated that of the town founders. There will also be a discussion of Henry Short, an African-American resident who is said to have fired the shot that killed legendary outlaw Edgar Watson.