Artist Guy LaBree was honored on March 18th with the Florida Folk Heritage Award. The Award is from the Florida Department of State, which has the state library and archives in Tallahassee, and was held at Mission San Luis.
From the program: “Guy LaBree is a self-taught artist and cultural advocate who grew up near the Seminole Reservation in Hollywood, Florida. Mr. LaBree’s early interactions with members of the Seminole Tribe fueled a lifelong passion for their traditional way of life. Over the years, he has worked closely with tribal elders and medicine men to accurately represent Seminole culture thorough the paintings of traditional stories and legends.”
If you have been to the tribal museums, you have no doubt seen his artwork on the wall or in books for sale in the museum gift shop. I believe he has an insight into the culture and traditions of the Seminoles that few outside the tribe will ever have.
He is a featured artist at nearly all the Tribal festivals, where you can see his paintings of Seminole history, culture, and native animals like bears or otters.
He paints scenes of the Seminole War, like this painting of the Battle of Okeechobee.
His beautiful works are in books, like Betty Mae Jumper’s “Legends of the Seminoles.”
And a recent book about his life by Carol Mahler, “Guy LaBree, Barefoot Artist of the Florida Seminoles.”
Currently his work is on display at the Collier County Museum until June, with items made by my Seminole Friends, Brian and Pedro Zepeda.
Mr. LaBree is also doing the artwork for the Seminole Heritage Trail interpretive panels at Fort Cooper State Park, and the Friends of Fort Cooper were the ones who nominated Mr. LaBree for this award, and were represented last night.
Here are I am with the Fort Cooper folks and Mr. LaBree.