Polk County teacher and students display work in Black History Month art show

HAINES CITY, Fla. - For the second year in a row, the Haines City Community Redevelopment Agency is celebrating Black History Month with a special art show at the Lake Eva Gallery.

The show is made up of artwork by local artist Kent Sean McAllister.

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"We're really excited to have Kent McAllister, a local school teacher, presenting his artwork on behalf of Black History Month," said Jane Water Murphy from the Haines City CRA. "The color in every single one of these canvasses actually tells a story."

That story, according to McAllister, starts with specific choices.

"My style is, it therapeutic, I love colors. Those are bold standpoints with strength in visuals," McAllister shared.

A bonus of the show, is that McAllister's work is shown alongside artwork from his students from Boone Middle School.

"You can really see Mr. McAllister's influence in their artwork," admitted Murphy. "To be able to bring your parents in to see your work hanging not only next to a celebrated artist but also your instructor, that is a very cool experience, and I love that we can do it here."

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McAllister encourages his students to dig deep into their own influences and experiences for their artwork.

"I hope that art coming out of my classroom is a conversation," he explained. "I try to push them to draw things from culture, from their own culture, because they don't get to talk about it all of the time."

"I really hope that every art lover that comes through this exhibit takes with them the history of how far we've come in America. It's very powerful," Murphy shared.

You can visit the gallery yourself and see the work of Kent Sean McAllister and his students. McAllister's art will also be showcased at another Black History art exhibit in Lakeland on Feb. 24.

A free artist reception will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 13 at 6 p.m., and the exhibit runs until Feb. 23 at the gallery at 303 Ledwith Ave. from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

For more information about the show and reception, click here.