New alt_space Exhibition in July June 12 2021

Where We Stand

July 3 - August 14, 2021
Opening Reception: Saturday, July 3, 4 - 7 PM
Artists Talk: Friday, July 16, 11 AM

Lenny Foster

Lenny Foster, The First School, archival photograph, 17 x 26 inches

bout the Exhibition:

Through his unique approach to visual storytelling, photographer Lenny Foster shines light on the largely unknown atrocities, struggles, and triumphs that tell the story of African Americans in St. Augustine. In addition to documenting the spaces where important historical events unfolded, Foster brings each scene to life by strategically placing shoes in his compositions to represent the individuals and the groups that stood there.

Foster explains that his decision to use shoes as a vehicle for storytelling “initially came as a result of the controversy surrounding the kneeling of professional athletes protesting racism in America and has expanded from there. Through the imagery and text in this exhibition, I aim to show who we are and where we have been as a people in this area.  This history is vast and rich: we have stood, sat and knelt for many a high and honorable cause, not to mention, the struggle for everyday existence.”

Through the photographs in this exhibition, Foster explores a range of significant moments, not just for St. Augustine, but for the country as a whole. Important landmarks include the site of Fort Mose, the first settlement for freed Africans and the Woolworths lunch counter where the St. Augustine Four were arrested at a sit-in during the Civil Rights Movement.

Important artists, writers and entertainers have also been referenced in this exhibition, as can be seen in the piece titled Ray’s Piano. Ray Charles attended the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind in St. Augustine where he learned to read braille music. The piano in this image is one that he was known to play at Odd Fellows Hall on Washington Street in Lincolnville, and it can now be found at the Lincolnville Museum and Cultural Center.

Overall, Foster explains that, “as my awareness of this history deepened, it became a major focus of my work. This series has provided me with an opportunity to combine my fine art photography with a historic and social awareness of the continuing struggle for justice, equal rights, freedom, and recognition by the people who are my ancestors, my heritage.  I feel honored to be able to share this history, through my work, with a broader public.”

   Woolworth's St. Augustine Lenny Foster

Lenny Foster, Giant Steps, archival photograph, 13.5 x 20 inches
Lenny Foster, Ray's Piano, archival photograph, 20 x 13.5 inches
Lenny Foster, The Sit In, archival photograph, 13.5 x 20 inches

About the Artist:

For twenty years, Lenny Foster owned and operated The Living Light Photography Gallery in Taos, New Mexico where he showcased his work.  He has exhibited widely at institutions in New Mexico that include The Harwood Museum, the Albuquerque Museum and the Hubbard Museum of the American West.  His work is also part of permanent collections in the Muhammed Ali Center in Louisville, Kentucky, The Ross Museum at Ohio Wesleyan University, Oklahoma University’s College of Allied health and The Snite Museum at The University of Notre Dame. In addition, he is honored to have his work in many private collections worldwide.  

In 2013, Foster published his first fine art book, Healing Hands, and in the summer of 2016, he published, Enchanted Land: A Taos Twenty Year Retrospective. In 2017 he published his first volume of haiku poetry and imagery inspired by his last month in Taos, while staying at the Historic Mabel Dodge Luhan House. 

Foster recently relocated to St. Augustine and the rich history, culture and architecture of his new hometown has been a great source of inspiration.

This exhibition has been funded by the St. John’s County Cultural Council and the Community Foundation of Northeast Florida.