On July 1, 1998, after decades of working the mineral-rich soil on the north shore of Lake Apopka, more than 2,500 farmworkers and their families were displaced when the "muck farms" were shut down forever.
Though the closure was imminent due to water pollution and the harmful effects of pesticide chemicals on the workers, the Farmworker Association of Florida (FWAF) was still concerned about preserving and commemorating this little-known part of Florida's agricultural history.
A project was initiated accordingly, beginning with research and oral history interviews, and evolving into a photo-documentary collaboration between Crealde School of Art faculty and students and a group of young adults and teenagers from the Apopka area, who were given cameras and a crash course in technical and compositional basics. These students used their new knowledge to produce a photographic record of their community via field trips to the farms, packing houses and labor camps. The resulting interpretive exhibit, The Last Harvest: A History and Tribute to the Life and Work of the Farmworkers on Lake Apopka, opens at the HCC-Ybor Art Gallery today.
At 11:30 a.m. Thurs., Oct. 6, Peter Schreyer — the Executive Director of the Crealde School of Art — gives a slide presentation, "Documentary Photography as Community and Public Art" (Second Floor, Visual Arts Building); he's also available to answer questions at the opening reception, which occurs later that day from 5 to 8 p.m. in the gallery.
The Last Harvest is on display through Oct. 28. The gallery is open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Mon., noon-8 p.m. Tues., and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Wed.-Fri. Performing Arts Building, corner of Palm Avenue and 15th Street, Ybor City.