Some of Florida’s best writers, researchers and artists will come together on Friday, Oct. 20, to examine the Sunshine State’s uniquely blended historical, artistic and cultural milieu during what promises to be an engaging and informative dialogue hosted by Daytona State College. Florida: The State of the Humanities. . . A Symposium, to be held in conjunction with Daytona State’s annual Homecoming festivities, will take place from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Hosseini Center on the college’s Daytona Beach Campus, 1200 W. International Speedway Blvd. Admission is free and open to the public; however, registration is encouraged.
Symposium director, author and DSC photography professor Gary Monroe said the event’s presenting writers and artists will bring insightful perspectives about how Florida’s often quirky past is inextricably connected to its present.
“Florida has long been a place to invent and reinvent one’s self,” he said. “Whether scripted or visually documented, Florida’s narratives were built upon dreams and schemes. The humanities of our state deserve our attention. They convey the stories of our past and present; indeed, they can mold our future.”
Among the state’s leading humanities scholars slated to present are:
- Steven Seibert, executive director of the Florida Humanities Council, who will speak about Humanities and the Workplace.
- Rick Kilby, author of Finding the Fountain of Youth: Ponce de Leon and Florida’s Magical Waters, whose research yields refreshing insights into the myth and reality of Florida’s natural springs past and present.
- Dr. Ben Brotemarkle, executive director of the Florida Historical Society, who will offer the Complete History of Florida (in less than an hour!).
- Jean Ellen Wilson, a Ft. Pierce-based historian and author, who will share the story of Estes Wright, an unsung Florida civil rights pioneer whose 1930s Jim Crow-era murder was covered up for decades.
- Seth Bramson, better known as “Mr. FEC,” who is the only person in the country to bear the official title of company historian with an American railroad – the Florida East Coast Railway. His book, Speedway to Sunshine, is the official history of the company. Bramson also teaches at Barry University, Florida International University and Nova Southeastern University.
- Cathy Salustri, arts and entertainment editor of Creative Loafing Tampa and author of 2016’s Backroads of Paradise: A Journey to Rediscover Old Florida. Her presentation will focus on how President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Works Progress Administration (WPA) efforts helped shape the state’s history. Her book takes readers on a nostalgic tour of what has become Florida’s post-Interstate backroads and scenic routes, historic sites, natural wonders and notable man-made attractions – comparing the past views with the present landscape and commenting on the changes along the way.
- John Moran, co-director of the Springs Eternal Project, an exhibition that chronicles the decline of Florida’s springs due to pollution, excessive groundwater pumping and political neglect. Moran is among Florida’s leading conservation photographers, and has become a major voice in the fair use of our natural resources.
- James Pearson, director of Daytona State’s Southeast Museum of Photography, will speak about the museum’s rise to national prominence and its place as a local cultural and educational stalwart of photographic excellence.
An exhibition of Florida Highwaymen paintings also will be displayed throughout the symposium, courtesy of Lisa Stone Arts. Additionally, attendees are welcome to view an exhibit by artist-photographer Carlos Betancourt in the Southeast Museum of Photography, which is housed in the Hosseini Center.
Volusia and Flagler public school teachers attending the symposium will be eligible for service credits. For details on how to register, call (386) 506-3837 or email John.Brady@DaytonaState.edu.