Florence celebrates Bicentennial with faces from the past

FLORENCE, Ala. – The city of Florence is celebrating their Bicentennial in 2018. On Monday, a once-in-a-lifetime collection of portraits went on display giving honor to the founding fathers and mothers.

In the early nineteenth century, very few had the financial means to have a portrait of themselves painted. Which makes this gallery collection quite special.

“If we don’t know where we’ve been; how can we really know where we are going,” stated Florence Historian Billy Ray Warren as he looked over the collection.

The Kennedy-Douglass Center for the Arts has spent months putting together “Faces of Florence: A Bicentennial Portrait Exhibit”. The men and women on display helped make Florence what it is today. They are the founding families who saw great potential in the area 200-years ago.

“They did so much philanthropy,” explained Warren. “They were very civic-minded. They wanted this town to flourish, and I think they have succeeded actually.”

Warren has a story to go behind every portrait. From the man who laid out the city, to the minister who was arrested in his pulpit during the Civil War.

Warren is excited residents are taking note of the Bicentennial, and he hopes the gallery will be heavily visited over the next month.

The “Faces of Florence” exhibit is free of charge to the public. It will remain open at the Kennedy-Douglass Center for the Arts through May 8th during regular museum hours.