This fall, the DeVilliers Cultural Heritage Society will kick off a Cultural Heritage Mural Project on the walls of Gumbo Gallery at 314 North DeVilliers Street. The first mural will depict the business history of the gallery’s building, located immediately south of Five Sisters Blues Cafe.
Gumbo Gallery and owner Sonja Griffin Evans have been at the forefront of recent arts initiatives in the Belmont-DeVilliers neighborhood, including the recently revived Artist’s Row market, held the third Saturday of each month. Evans and artist Danny L. Street will oversee the mural project, the latest effort directed at raising Pensacola’s profile as a cultural and heritage tourism destination.
De Villiers Community Art Project
The National ‘For Artists-By Artists’ Society, in partnership with the De Villiers Cultural Heritage Society, will create its first Cultural Heritage Mural; beginning this fall, on the walls of the Gumbo Gallery; located in the Historic Belmont De Villiers Business District. For the past four years, the De Villiers Cultural Heritage Society has been planning and organizing the Cultural Heritage Mural Project. Artist/educator Danny L. Street and cultural artist Sonja Griffin Evans will oversee the project.
This and future art projects are designed to create landmark art destinations and create exposure for the community and the city as a cultural arts destination. An additional goal of the mural project is to increase tourism and bring more foot traffic in the Belmont De Villiers Cultural Arts and Business District and aid in the promotion of local businesses and artists. These murals will serve as positive catalysts for economic and community development by specifically placing them in areas that are ripe for redevelopment and in neighborhoods with newly developed areas in need of an identity. The first mural will depict the business history of the building located at 314 North De Villiers Street. This building was once the home of China’s House of Flowers, and previously the Law office of Attorney, Charles Wilson.
Historic Belmont De Villiers was once a thriving African American community that included a business district that was the economic engine and cultural center for the black population of the region. During the 1970’s the community began to deteriorate from neglect. Fortunately, the community was kept alive by Blue Dot and other businesses and community leaders. And now, new life has been breathed into this historical business district. Within the past 4 years, the Belmont De Villiers business District has started to come to life. In 2009, the community became the project model for the ‘National Cultural Heritage Tourism Initiative’. A cultural marketing plan and project was developed to promote and market the community’s history and rebuilding efforts. These endeavors were greatly enhanced by the opening of Five Sisters Blues Café and the investment of other business owners and entrepreneurs. The combined efforts of everyone involved has aided significantly in the rebuilding of the business district. The Cultural Heritage Mural Project and other forthcoming arts and tourism marketing projects, will allow the business district, as stated by J.P. Newton, “Live Again!”
For more information or to support the efforts of the De Villiers Cultural Heritage Society logon to www.devilliersmuseum.com
Contact Information for this Press Release
Sonja Griffin Evans, President
De Villiers Cultural Heritage Society