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The African American Museum of the Arts at 325 S. Clara Ave. in DeLand is celebrating its 25th year.

The first of three special events during the anniversary month of October, a portrayal of famed civil-rights lawyer Thurgood Marshall by local actor Larry Murphy, took place at the Dr. Noble “Thin Man” Watts Amphitheater, across the street from the museum, on Oct. 12.

The annual “Thin Man” Watts Jazz Fest, sponsored by the AAMA and the MainStreet DeLand Association, will fill the amphitheater with music Saturday, Oct. 19.

And, the final anniversary event is an exhibit of documentary photography by local teens, titled “Storytellers 18: See Through Our Eyes” that will open later this month.

The exhibit is made possible by a partnership between the museum and Crealdé School of Art in Winter Park.

The students participated in a 10-week intensive course taught by Crealdé Executive Director Peter Schreyer, an award-winning photographer whose work has been on display at the Historic Volusia County Courthouse.

Schreyer’s photos include that of J.W. Wright’s grandson, James Wright, standing in front of the Wright Building at Clara and Voorhis avenues.

“It’s a bit of coming home kind of thing for me — a full circle,” Schreyer said.

The Wright Building, an important historical structure currently undergoing renovations, could one day house the students’ exhibit.

“The timing is just incredible with renovation of the Wright Building,” Schreyer said. “It’s a beautiful thing to be there at this intersection in history.”

“It was a pleasure to be a part of this project, and it was vital to document our community’s history through photographs,” said Audrey Fletcher-Lee, an active member of Greater Union First Baptist Church, which now owns the Wright Building kitty-corner from the church.

“By visually seeing our past and our future, we recognize and honor our children, our elders, and our community,” Fletcher-Lee said.

The photography exhibit includes works by students Rosalee Gilbert, Kenneth Jackson, Kristianna Holcombe, Myah Robinson, Naomi Graham, Jaquavion Gaines, Jada Edwards, Kendall Brown Jr. and Tavahny Gardner, and by Schreyer.

A reception and gallery talk, free and open to the public, are set for 4-6 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 26, at the AAMA. The project will be on display through Jan. 4.


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