A Celebration of the

Water and Wildlife of the Ocklawaha
Ocklawaha Mural, Art Exhibit and Artist Talks 

Water and Wildlife of the Ocklawaha Mural by Drake Arnold
Mural Creation: Sept. 26-Nov. 21, 13 NE 36th Ave., Ocala, Fl 34470

Ocklawaha Art and Photography Exhibit & Talks

Hope House at Fort King Presbyterian Church
NE 36th Ave., Ocala, Fl 34470

Hope House Exhibits Hours
Mon., Oct. 3, 10, 17, 24 – 5 to 7 pm,
Fri., Oct. 7, 14, 21, 28 – 10 to 4 pm
Sun., Oct. 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 – 12 to 4 pm

Hope for the Ocklawaha Artist Talks

Oct. 3, 10, 17, 24 – 6 p.m.

Bring folding chair or blanket, snacks and beverages provided.

Fort King Presbyterian Church

 SPONSORS:  The mural art was donated by Drake Arnold. Use of exhibit works was granted from generous artists. Fort King Presbyterian Church donated the mural supplies and funds for long-term maintenance through several anonymous donors through the Community Foundation for Ocala/Marion County. The City of Ocala provided the wall. Once the mural is completed, it will become a gift to the City of Ocala. The gallery space and volunteers were provided through a collaboration between The Hope House at Fort King Presbyterian Church and Free the Ocklawaha River Coalition for Everyone.

Water and Wildlife of the Ocklawaha Mural by Drake Arnold

Mural Creation: Sept. 26-Nov. 15, painting will not occur every day, hours will vary

Location: 13 NE 36th Ave., Ocala, Fl 34470

Artist Drake Arnold donated his talent to create this vivid, approximately 138-foot mural depicting The Water and Wildlife of the Ocklawaha River. Materials and maintenance funding were donated through the Fort King Presbyterian Church by anonymous donors.

Hope for the Ocklawaha Art and Photography Exhibit

Mon., Oct. 3, 10, 17, 24 – 5 to 7 pm
Fri., Oct. 7, 14, 21, 28 – 10 to 4 pm
Sun., Oct. 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 – 12 to 4 pm

Special small group visits on request: Contact mspontak@freetheOcklawaha.com

Featured Artists: Drake Arnold, Karen Chadwick, Reinier Munguia, Alan Youngblood

Other Artists: Will Dickey, Doug Eng, Mark Emery, John Moran, Margaret Tolbert

Location: Hope House at Fort King Presbyterian Church, 13 NE 36th Ave. Ocala, FL 34470


Hope for the Ocklawaha Artist Talks

Enjoy the talks under the spreading oak trees and playground of The Hope House, 13 NE 36th Ave. Ocala, FL.* Bring blanket or folding chair. Snack boxes and beverages provided. The Hope House exhibit will be open from 5-7 pm on these evenings. Talks will be moved inside in the event of poor weather.


Oct. 3, 6 p.m. - Alan Youngblood Photographer Talk: Tales of the Ocklawaha & Silver Springs
Youngblood has photographed so many stories of the Ocklawaha River from the impacts of a tropical storm, the explosion of invasive aquatic weeds, the changing fish of the Ocklawaha, angler stories, the plight of the bait shops, cleaning the Silver Springs’ glass-bottomed boats and more. Hear the stories behind his dramatic photos.


Oct. 10, 6 p.m. - Artist Talk; Award-winning Cinematographer and Photographer Mark Emery UPDATED TALK!
Mark Emery shares his photo and film experiences on the Ocklawaha and Silver Springs. Introduction by Margaret Spontak.


Oct. 17, 6 p.m. - Drake Arnold Artist Talk: The Water and Wildlife of the Ocklawaha River:  Mural Design and Other Works
Drake Arnold's dramatic murals can be found throughout the county and beyond. His talk centers around his mural designs for The Water and Wildlife of the Ocklawaha and other similar works.


Oct. 24, 6 p.m. - Karen Chadwick Sculpture Talk: Ocklawaha Wildlife
Captain Karen Chadwick, a graduate of Ringling School of Art, showcases her beautiful soapstone sculptures of the wildlife of the Ocklawaha River and other works. She has designed exhibits for environmental and education centers and museums across the state including the Silver River Museum.


For details contact Mspontak@FreetheOcklawaha.com or go to FreetheOcklawaha.com


Drake Arnold

Artist and Muralist

Drake Arnold is a native Marion County artist who primarily works in acrylic and digital media. Drake has an artistic resume that includes motion graphic design, glass blowing, murals, painting, digital animations, and interaction. His creations have multi genre elements of psychedelia, fantasy, nature, surrealism, and classical influence.

Drake is painting the 134-foot mural on the Hope House retaining wall. Drake offered to paint an Ocklawaha River themed mural for the Free the Ocklawaha River Coalition to build public awareness about the largest tributary to the St Johns River and one of Americas Most Endangered Rivers. The mural is a partnership with the City of Ocala, Free the Ocklawaha River Coalition, Ft. King Presbyterian Church, and anonymous donors.

The mural depicts the story of the plants and animals of the Ocklawaha River. Drake describes that his intent is to preserve images of the water, wildlife, and biodiversity of our region for future generations.

Drake is a music composition graduate of the College of Central Florida. He completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts and Digital Art at the University of Tampa.

In addition to his art projects, Drake manages Fractal Spirit, his apparel and merchandise business.



John Moran

Photographer and Water Advocate

Florida native John Moran has thrilled and distressed us for decades with his photographs of Florida waters. John is a visual storyteller and has honed his photographic art that captures both the breathtaking beauty and heartbreaking degradation of our waters.

John graduated University of Florida in Journalism and Communications. He had a stellar career as photojournalist at The Gainesville Sun for 23 years before becoming an independent nature photographer. John has been featured in national publications as an award-winning photographer and water advocate. He co-created the Springs Eternal Project with Lesley Gamble, a photographic exhibition of springs degradation over a 10–20-year period is informative and provocative. Springs Eternal was featured at the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville and

Jacksonville Museum of Science and History. John published two photography books: Journal of Light and Finding Yourself. His photographs are on display at the Harn Museum, regional galleries, and his web site. John’s complete collection is at Sweetwater Picture Framing.

website: johnmoranphoto.com


Karen Chadwick

River Captain and Artist

Karen Chadwick is a devoted sentinel for the Silver, Ocklawaha, and St Johns rivers. She is often a witness and chronicler of the beauty, nuance, and degradation of the rivers.

Karen is a fine arts graduate of the Ringling School of Art and Design. Captain Karen’s expertise in sculpture, carvings, renderings, painting, museum exhibit fabrications, history and navigation of the rivers has given us a renaissance expression of Florida past and present. Karen’s life like exhibit fabrications may be seen at the Silver River Museum.

Captain Karen has introduced many to the magic of the Silver, Ocklawaha, and St Johns rivers on her North Star Charter fleet. Her guided tours are educational and often provide seldom seen vistas of Florida waters and wildlife.

Karen has been a voice for Ocklawaha restoration for decades. Her art gives us glimpses of current river beauty and the legacy of centuries past.

website: northstarcharters.net


Reinier Munguía

Naturalist, Illustrator and Photographer

Reinier Munguia is a full-time naturalist, illustrator and photographer based in Lakeland, Florida.  His work has appeared in various publications including books, magazines, and scientific publications. He spends much of his time documenting wildlife and their struggles in our constantly changing environment. His passion for conservation and wildlife can be seen in numerous illustrations, and photographs and commissioned work for conservation organizations such as the Audubon Society and The Nature Conservancy.

In his spare time, he leads photography workshops in exotic destinations including Galapagos, Costa Rica, Panama, Africa, and others.

website: wildstockphotos.com

Will Dickey


 Will Dickey has been photographing Florida for almost 40 years. He is a regional and national award winner whose work has been featured in major publications.

Retiring from his photojournalism career at the Florida Times Union, Will turned his camera to the natural beauty of north east Florida. His special focus has been the Timucuan Preserve and the St Johns River tributaries.

Will shows his art at area and regional galleries and at art festivals. He recently published Special Places; photographs and stories of the Timucuan trail park system.

website: willdickey.com

Margaret Ross Tolbert

Artist and Springs Advocate

Margaret Ross Tolbert’s life changed the first time she went underwater at the springs in the Florida Springs Heartland, and she has been exploring, diving, drawing and writing about the springs and aquifers ever since. Her large-scale paintings, which invite the viewer into painted chronicle of immersion into the springs, have been featured in exhibits across the US, Europe and Asia. In projects such as AQUIFERious(aquiferious.org) and Proje-SU/ Water project ( proje-su.org ) she looks at springs and water through cultural and scientific lenses.

Her paintings are testament to the exploration and immersion into the springs and can be seen in the vicinity in installations at the Orlando International Airport, Airside 1, in Gainesville at UF Shands hospital. North and South Towers, UF Orthopedic Center, J. Wayne Reitz Union, The Women’s Center at North Florida Regional Medical Center, and Austin Cary Forest Campus.

Tolbert has made numerous visits to the Ocklawaha River especially during the intermittent drawdowns when the Lost Springs can be seen above and below the water’s surface. She is strongly affected by the plight of these springs and need for restoration of this beautiful and magnificent river. Her story is chronicled in the film Lost Springs, seen around the Southeastern US as a PBS film and at lostsprings.org. Tolbert is also an enthusiastic participant in the Great Florida Riverway, a film that delineates future scenarios for the Ocklawaha River (greatfloridariverway.com).

website: MargaretTolbert.com

Mark Emery

Award-winning Filmmaker, Musician, and Photographer

Mark Emery is an award-winning filmmaker, musician, and photographer. He most recently shot footage for BBC's Live Alaska, PBS Live, BBC Natural World - Florida: The Sunshine State, and several sections of a four-part series on North America for the Smithsonian Network.

Emmy grew up in Ocala Florida, worked at Silver Springs wrestling alligators and milking rattlesnakes for Ross Allen’s Reptile Institute. He and his wife Mary have now traveled to 35 countries producing, directing, and shooting scores of television shows and commercials about fish and wildlife for the BBC, National Geographic Television, The Navy Seals, The Discovery Channel, and a four-part series on North America for the Smithsonian Network.

In addition to his cinematography work, Mark and his music partner Tracy Collins have written and performed music for over 350 national television shows and commercials including scores for National Geographic Television and the Discovery Channel. Emery’s still photography has been published in National Geographic Magazine, Newsweek, The London Times, Outside Magazine, Outdoor Life, Florida Sportsman, and Alaska Magazine. He has spent his last 39 summers guiding and filming in Alaska.

website: MarkEmeryFilms.com

Alan Youngblood


Alan Youngblood, 62, has 35 years of professional photojournalism experience, always behind the camera but for the last 20 years, managing photographers too. He was named Gatehouse Still Photographer of the Year in 2018.

Alan has covered stories as far away as war-torn Europe to his own back yard. His passion and specialty is the water. Alan has been shooting underwater since becoming a certified scuba diver in 1986.

Alan is currently freelancing on still and video projects and has always consulted on Macintosh computers, photography, and workflow.

Alan is married and lives with his wife Chris and Brittany Spaniels Piper and Tess the puppy, along with and Tango the stunt pony in Southwest Marion County, Florida.

Follow Alan Youngblood on Facebook.

Anne MacKay

Anne MacKay is a Florida native, born in Jacksonville and grew up in Ocala. She spent two years are Agnes Scott College and graduated from UNC Chapel Hill with a degree in secondary education. She taught in Florida public schools for a brief time.

Anne is an avid gardener and a founding member and past chair of the Florida Wildlife Foundation. During her tenure, the Foundation established grant programs that annually provided more than $100,000 for native wildflower planning, research, planting, and education. She helped create the state wildflower license plate in 2000.

Anne is wife of former Governor Buddy MacKay. The couple has four sons, 10 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Buddy and Anne currently reside at Lake Weir, near Ocala. They are founding members and very active with Fort King Presbyterian Church in Ocala.

Art has been a hobby and passion of hers for many years. She is particularly drawn to creating pieces that capture Florida’s natural landscapes