Smithsonian exhibit opens at AACS

Just in time for summer, the African American Cultural Society in Palm Coast has a refreshing treat for those looking for something to do to beat the heat.

A partnership of the Smithsonian’s Traveling Exhibition Service and state humanities councils, the exhibit has been touring the country since 2016. During the national tour, the exhibit will have been seen in more than 180 locations in 30 states.

Water/Ways explores the Earth’s water cycle and water’s effect on the landscape, settlement and migration along with water’s impact on culture and spirituality. The exhibit examines how political and economic planning have been affected by access to water and control of water resources and the ways societies have protected water and renewed respect for the natural environment.

In conjunction with the exhibit, communities hosting Water/Ways develop local programs and educational activities to raise awareness and understanding of the importance of water and what it means to their residents and quality of life.

“With all the things that we do, all of the other exhibits and activities that we have, water is an integral part of everything,” said Sybil Lucas, AACS board member and cultural director. “It flows through all that we do.”

“Bringing this exhibit, I think it is going to but a keener focus on what we all have, but what we may not all appreciate,” she said.

As part of the exhibit’s run at the AACS, several events and activities are planned.

“There are a lot of pieces that go with this,” said Meshella Woods, AACS curator. “It is a community event and is intended to bring people out in our community and hopefully we get people from out-of-town as well.”

In conjunction with the Smithsonian exhibit, the African American Cultural Society is presenting a showing of work from local artists, including fine arts, sculpture and photography as a way of bringing in the community.

The organization is also partnering with Matanzas High School where history, science, English and art classes have created projects to be displayed.

“We are also planning to highlight the work of Mary McLeod Bethune in regards to Bethune Beach,” Woods said.

The AACS exhibit falls during the time when the recently completed statue of Mary McLeod Bethune is set to be officially unveiled and dedicated in National Statuary Hall in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.

Throughout the exhibit run, the AACS is presenting a series of programs and events every week on a topic related to water, including a children’s piece on water safety.

“Every Saturday we’re going to have almost a festival atmosphere where we are doing something with water,” according to Woods.

The exhibit runs through Sept. 3. For more information, go to