Murals paint a picture of Sarasota's past

The Rosemary Arts and Design District (RADD) is enlisting artists from across the country to paint murals of the first settlers of Sarasota’s Overtown Historic District, the first Black community in Sarasota.  

"Since this area has been developed into the Rosemary district, the history of what was here originally, which was Overtown, has all but disappeared." shared Walter Gilbert the community engagement director with the Rosemary Arts and Design District. "These people are very important people and people that deserve to be honored and remembered."  

The county installed a historic marker to commemorate Overtown at Central Avenue and Boulevard of the Arts, but the murals will paint a bigger picture across the 20-acre area.

 The first mural to go up is of Willie Rogers, who was one of Overtown's earliest residents. The image shows Rogers leaning on a car outside of the Ace Theater.  

"We found this picture in our history archives and we decided we would put this one up first," Gilbert explained.  

Another mural will be dedicated to Lewis Colton who arrived in the area in 1884. He was a surveyor who helped mark off the land for the town of Sarasota.  

"Knowing your history is always important. Not for some people, but for all people. To know how you got to where you are you have to know where you came from," he said.  

RADD is looking for artists from across the country to paint the murals, and you can even sponsor one.  

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