(Sanford, Fla.) – The rich cultural history of the St. Johns River will be the subject of a slide presentation by art historian Mallory O’ Connor and author/naturalist Bill Belleville on Thursday, Nov. 19 in the historic downtown of Sanford.
The presentation, sponsored by the Sanford Historical Society, is from 5:30 to 6:30 pm. It’s immediately followed by a reception and book sale and signing from 6:30 to 8 pm.
The program begins in the Community Room of the North Branch (Sanford) of the Seminole County Library, located at 150 N. Palmetto, Sanford, 32771. The reception follows a block away at Maya Books & Music at the corner First St. and Magnolia Square (205 E. First St., Sanford, 32771). Dr. Robert Boswell, will also exhibit his nature photography of the St. Johns at Maya and will be there with O’Connor and Belleville to chat informally about the river. Wine and soft drinks will be served at the reception, and the Taste of Thyme restaurant will cater with snack foods.
The presentation at the library will be based on the recent coffee-table style art book Florida’s American Heritage River: Images From the St. Johns Region. The book was written by O’ Connor and DeLand photographer Gary Monroe; Belleville consulted on the book and wrote an extensive introduction. Belleville’s earlier book River of Lakes: A Journey on Florida’s St. Johns River was also used as for background research.
The coffee table style art book includes many color reproductions of art created in and around the river valley over the centuries, from earlier sketches to 19th century landscape art to contemporary art. River of Lakes and other nature titles will also be available for sale and signing.
The ecological, historical and cultural characteristics of the St. Johns River combine to make it one of America’s most unique waterways. For over 10,000 years, people have lived, worked, traveled and dreamed on or alongside the St. Johns, and its recorded history is among the oldest in the North America.
Because of the river’s cultural and historical significance, the St. Johns was officially designated an American Heritage River on July 30, 1998, one of only 14 rivers nationwide to receive this recognition. This designation provided a unique opportunity to publish a book focusing on the river’s ecological, cultural and historic role in order to call attention to the need for natural resource and environmental protection, economic revitalization, and historic and cultural preservation.
The one-hour documentary produced by Equinox Documentaries, Inc. about the St. Johns and the journey author Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings once made on it is now being distributed by PBS affiliates nationally. In Marjorie’s Wake retraced the trip author Rawlings and her neighbor Dessie Smith once made on the river. It features some on-camera observations by landscape artist Jim Draper about the capacity of the river to shape art. One of Draper’s oils of the Wekiva River is featured on the cover of Florida’s American Heritage River.
For more information, contact 407.321.6504 or 407.322.8825.