2014 Florida Folk Heritage Award
Self-taught artist and cultural advocate, Guy LaBree grew up near the Seminole Reservation in Hollywood. Mr. LaBree’s early interactions with members of the Seminole Tribe fueled a lifelong passion for their traditional way of life. Over the years, he worked closely with tribal elders and medicine men to accurately represent Seminole culture by depicting traditional stories and legends in his paintings. His dedication to the Seminole people was recognized with many honors including the 2009 Steve Blackwell Living Hero Award and the 2011 Stetson Kennedy Foundation Fellow Man and Mother Earth Award. Mr. LaBree was also the first non-native artist invited to showcase his artworks in the Okalee Gift Shop on the Hollywood Reservation. Many of his vibrant oil paintings are in the Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum’s permanent collection, including the entire series of folktales featured in Betty Mae Jumper’s book Legends of the Seminoles. The highlight of Mr. LaBree's career was an opportunity to collaborate with Seminole medicine man Sonny Billie to produce artistic interpretations of the creation myth. The resulting two pieces, Genesis and Exodus, were included in the grand opening exhibit for the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian in 2004. As a folklife advocate guided by unparalleled sensitivity and understanding, Mr. LaBree devoted himself to bridging cultural and generational gaps with his paintings of traditional Seminole life until his death in 2015.