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A Brush With History

Featured Photo from A Brush With History

A beautiful new mural helps keep the heritage of Goldsboro alive

A colorful new mural has brightened the exterior of an old building in Goldsboro, but the artwork is meant to do much more than beautify.

The large mural at 1017 Historic Goldsboro Boulevard (13th Street) is intended to showcase Goldsboro’s history and survival and to instill pride in community heritage.

Goldsboro, established in 1891, was the second-oldest community founded by African-Americans in the United States. Orange County’s Eatonville was the first. In 1911, however, Goldsboro lost its city charter when it was annexed into Sanford.

The mural, which was approved by Sanford’s Public Art Commission, adorns the west wall of what was once the old Star Theater. The mural is visible from the intersection of Historic Goldsboro Boulevard and Shepherd Avenue. During the era of segregation, the Star Theater was a popular movie house for black audiences in the Sanford area.

Joyce “Joy” Hayes of Oviedo painted the mural with the help of fellow artist Marcellus Walker of Orlando. Their imagery depicts several cornerstones of the Goldsboro community – family, church, education, civic pride, and business ownership.

Dr. Stephen Caldwell Wright, a Goldsboro native, spearheaded the project with Timothy D. Hudson, pastor of Shower Down of Blessings Church in Sanford, and Derrick M. Thomas, a real-estate agent in Sanford. The project was sponsored by the Gwendolyn Brooks Writers Association of Florida, founded by Dr. Wright, and Shower Down of Blessings Ministries, which owns the former Star Theater building. Dr. Wright, who remembers the theater in its heyday, hopes the now-vacant building will eventually be brought back to life as a thriving arts center.

“The theater was an integral part of the community, without a doubt,” the Sanford resident says. “It was multigenerational in terms of its attraction and impact.”

In addition to paying tribute to the past, the mural’s organizers hope it will inspire other artists and encourage responsible creative expression in the community.

“We’re very pleased with how it turned out,” says Dr. Wright. “It’s just so alive, especially the eyes of the figures in the mural. We hope that people who see the mural will appreciate the history of the building and the spirit of the people of Goldsboro and their ability to survive.”

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