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Winter Park / Maitland Observer Friday, Apr. 20, 2018 1 year ago

Hannibal Square Heritage Center Folk and Urban Art Festival blends art and heritage

Residents can expect a day of local art and community at the festival on Saturday, April 21.
by: Tim Freed Managing Editor

The Hannibal Square Heritage Center will share plenty of stories of the community’s rich tradition at its ninth annual Folk and Urban Art Festival, which takes place Saturday, April 21, at the center.

The event will include everything from live African drumming and storytelling by Orisirisi to Cajun zydeco music from The Porch Dogs, along with food vendors and at least 20 local artists selling their creations. For the children, the event will host free origami lessons and an Aztec folk art workshop followed by a parade.

“The ultimate goal for me is always to bring together a diverse community,” Heritage Center manager and festival producer Barbara Chandler said. “I want the festival to reflect the community. We no longer live in a one-dimensional community — there’s so many layers.”

A portion of the festival also focuses on the history of the Hannibal Square community. 

Rollins College graduate and Hannibal Square resident Maria Bryant will lead a presentation that tells the stories of Gus Henderson — the publisher of a local African-American newspaper known as The Advocate — and Frank Israel and Walter B. Simpson — the first African-Americans to become elected city officials in Winter Park.

“We like the word ‘edu-tainment’ around here — to educate through entertainment,” Chandler said.

“What really came together this year was the history aspect in the storytelling form — taking some of these actual stories that are down stairs in the gallery and bringing them to life. … It’s re-enforcing the story.”

It ties into the Hannibal Square Heritage Center’s goal of helping people to embrace their heritage, whether it’s told through art, entertainment, singing or dancing.

The festival also has a strong focus on supporting local artists and gives them a place to sell their work, Chandler said.

“We like to think that we’re offering that kind of space for artists and for those that like to embrace community,” she said.

Hannibal Square is a wonderful place for a festival like this, Chandler said. It’s a community that’s captured her heart ever since she came to the Heritage Center as a volunteer years ago, she said.

It’s also reminded Chandler that regardless of where we all come from, we’re more alike than we are different.

“I fell in love with the fact the African-American local story was being told so profoundly — it was being told in a way that you could connect with it no matter where you were from,” Chandler said. “That’s always my charge to any and everyone — where ever you’re from, I don’t care if it’s Brazil, Peru, Haiti, there is a common thread … that weaves us together as a community. ”


Tim Freed is the Managing Editor for the West Orange Times & Observer and the Windermere Observer. He previously spent six years covering the Winter Park/Maitland area and is a graduate of the University of Central Florida....

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