Stephen Towns

Swimming Lessons at Paradise Park, 2022Available

Stephen Towns, Swimming Lessons at Paradise Park, 2022

The series Paradise Park was inspired by archival images of children in segregated parks.  Open from 1949 to 1969, Paradise Park was a popular tourist attraction for Black vacationers. It was designated as the Black only section of Silver Springs Park in Silver Springs, Florida. In their book Remembering Paradise Park, authors Lu Vickers and Cynthia Wilson-Graham noted that “Though the patrons of both parks shared the same river, they seldom crossed the invisible line in the water.”

Photographer Bruce Mozert’s images from the park were used in advertisements and postcards marked “for colored only”. Despite the jovial nature of these images, there is an undercurrent that this park was created in response to Jim Crow laws. The children in these paintings were the innocent bystanders of adult decisions. I chose to convey the freedom and playfulness of the children as they stand surrounded by lush backdrops that were meant to contain them.

Medium: Painting Materials used: Acrylic, Oil, Metal Leaf on Panel Size (cm): 101.6 x 101.6 cm Size (in): 40 x 40 in
Price upon request
Stephen Towns, Swimming Lessons at Paradise Park, 2022
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