CF Appleton Museum of Art showcases contemporary Florida artists

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Posted July 2, 2023 |

Charles Eady, “Afros and Banjos,” 2021, Oil on canvas, 37 x 48 in. [Courtesy of College of Central Florida]

The Appleton Museum of Art, College of Central Florida (CF), will open two new solo exhibitions on July 1: “The Unscene South: Charles Eady Revisits History” and “Caught Up in History and Captured on Film: Randy Batista’s Photographs of Florida and Cuba.” Both shows will remain on view through Jan. 28, 2024.

In the second-floor Modern & Contemporary Galleries, “The Unscene South” will feature 25 paintings and mixed-media works by Ocala-based artist Charles Eady. Eady was born in South Carolina. Following his graduation from Claflin University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in art education, he has gone on to be an award-winning artist, author and educator who has exhibited nationally and internationally. Eady was one of five recipients of the 2022 State Teaching Artist Residency (STAR) program, which honors Florida public school art educators, according to the news release from CF.

The work featured in “The Unscene South” is inspired by the history of free Blacks in the South prior to the Emancipation Proclamation. The term “free Blacks” was used pre-Civil War as a designation identifying those who were free — free to live, work and own businesses and property. Several works are dedicated to the sport of horse racing, introduced to America during colonial times (1492-1763). It is the longest running sport in America, and Eady’s work highlights the lesser-known fact that many of the first jockeys were Black Americans, the release noted.

“In 1773, free people of color were able to petition for, and receive, land grants,” Eady wrote. “The amount of land they acquired was dependent on how many people resided within the household. I imagined how a pre-Revolutionary War jockey might envision horse racing as their ‘grant.’ Many were able to take advantage of the freedom horse racing ‘granted.’”

Eady will lead tours of the exhibit at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Aug. 5 at the Appleton as part of Free First Saturday events.

In the Appleton’s Balcony Gallery for Florida Artists, see Gainesville-based photographer Randy Batista’s solo exhibition, “Caught Up in History and Captured on Film.” Batista uses his lens to document his life and travel adventures. Comprised of silver-gelatin prints developed from film, the images in this show focus on Florida and Cuba, two places that have had a profound impact on the artist. Having lived in both locations, the artist’s awareness of place, time and cultural heritage are evident in his quiet but alluring street photography, landscapes and portraits, the news release stated.

Randy Batista, “Envuelto (Underwraps),” Havana, 1999, Silver gelatin print. [Courtesy of College of Central Florida]

With a Leica 24 mm lens, Batista captured club members of Centro Espanol de Tampa (The Spanish Center of Tampa) and their daily lives that he says highlights “communal times together smoking, drinking, newspaper reading, enjoying ice cream and socializing via dominoes and card games.” The photographer notes that he purposefully shot at low angles, such as table level, to capture being at the tables with these men. Some of the men didn’t react, while others either did quick poses or held newspapers up to cover their faces.

Batista’s photographs in Cuba were taken during various trips to places including Havana and the ancestral countryside of his youth. During these travels, Batista explained, he was a street photographer either walking about or riding his bicycle while shooting. He would stop and chat with people while taking their portraits, capturing images of cityscapes and rural landscapes, as well, the release noted.

The Appleton Museum of Art is located at 4333 E. Silver Springs Blvd., Ocala. For more information, visit

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