Peter Schreyer

CEO/Executive Director | Senior Faculty, Photography

Born and educated in Switzerland, Peter Schreyer immigrated to the United States in 1978. Since 1995, he has served as the CEO/Executive Director of Crealdé School of Art, and is the currently also serving as the school’s Acting Manager of Photography. His extensive teaching experience includes award-winning outreach programs in underserved communities. He is the past member of the summer teaching faculty at Penland School for the Arts and Crafts in North Carolina and Arrowmont Schools of Arts and Crafts in Tennessee. Peter Schreyer is committed to the traditional film process, both in his own photography and in teaching all levels of silver-based photographic and darkroom techniques.

Since 1980, his black-and-white social landscape and documentary photography about communities has been included in more than 100 one-person, juried and invitational museum and gallery exhibitions across the United States and Switzerland. Schreyer has received a wide range of public art commissions, research grants and recognitions awards for his black-and-white documentary photography on Florida’s changing communities. In 1993-94, he was one of three Central Floridians to receive a Visual Arts Fellowship Grant from the State of Florida.

Poster from “Small Stories from a Big Country,” Nov. 13, 2004-March 6, 2005, Swiss Camera Museum, Vevey, Switzerland

In 2004-2005, the Swiss Camera Museum (Vevey, Switzerland) held a major retrospective exhibition of Schreyer’s American documentary photography. Following his 2015 solo exhibition at the Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College (Winter Park, Florida) an entire series of Schreyer’s Central Florida archival photographs were purchased for the museum’s prestigious Alfond Collection of Contemporary Art.

Schreyer is the founder of the Hannibal Square Heritage Center in west Winter Park, a cultural facility that opened in 2007 to celebrate the heritage of the historical African-American neighborhood through documentary photography, oral history and public art. In 2009, Schreyer was named Arts Educator of the Year by United Arts of Central Florida. In 2016, he and the Hannibal Square Heritage Center were distinguished with a Diversity & Inclusion Award from the Florida Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs. Winter Park Magazine distinguished his impact on the arts in Winter Park in its selection of Influentials of 2017.

Schreyer has served on review panels locally as well as for the state of Florida, evaluating grant applications from individual artists and arts organizations. He is a frequent lecturer, juror and conductor of photographic tours throughout America and Europe. As the Arts representative, he recently served on the Visioning Steering Committee for the City of Winter Park.

Documentary Projects

  • The Lake: A Documentary Exploring the Land and People of Lake ApopkaProduced in 2017, in collaboration with the Winter Garden Heritage Foundation, a team of documentary photographers and plein air painters contributed black-and-white archival photographs, oral histories of places and people, and a series of plein air paintings that offer a contemporary and historic window into the culture and landscape of Central Florida’s Lake Apopka region. After the debut at Crealdé School of Art and Hannibal Square Heritage Center in Winter Park, Florida, the exhibition was presented at three Winter Garden locations and is available for travel.
    Orlando Weekly, Oct. 11, 2017
    West Orange Times & Observer, Jan. 17, 2018
  • Storytellers XVII: West of the East Coast Tracks – This 2017 installment of the Storytellers Teen Photography Documentary Program took place in the historic African-American community on the West Side of New Smyrna Beach, where 12 students were mentored and taught by Peter Schreyer. The project represents a partnership between Crealdé School of Art and the Mary S. Harrell Black Heritage Museum in New Smyrna Beach, where the exhibition was unveiled. It was then featured at the Atlantic Center for the Arts in New Smyrna Beach and the Museum of Arts & Sciences in Daytona Beach.
  • The Sage Project Phase I (2012) and Phase II (2019) – Hannibal Square Elders Tell Their Stories
 Permanent CollectionRecollections of a special group of 32 senior residents, ages 85 to 106, who resided in one of the nation’s oldest African-American communities are featured in a permanent collection of photographs and oral histories at the Hannibal Square Heritage Center, Winter Park, Florida. The documentary portraits by Peter Schreyer and oral histories collected by Heritage Center historians Fairolyn Livingston and Mary Daniels were created in the homes, churches or other familiar places in Winter Park that held special meaning for the participant.
    Orlando Sentinel, May 12, 2012
  • Trailer City: 
Portrait of a Community – This body of documentary work about the 70-year-old community of trailer homes situated on public land in Winter Garden explores disappearing Florida. It is a tribute to the heritage and history of rural communities and diverse neighborhoods; a visual and narrative exploration of the real Florida. After an inaugural showing at the Orange County Regional History Museum in Orlando, Florida, the exhibition was featured at Snap! Orlando and is now available for travel.
    Orlando Sentinel, Oct. 25, 2007


  • 2017, The Hannibal Square Heritage Center Collection, published by the Florida Historical Society
  • 1999, We the People … of Orange County, public art project of environmental portraits and oral histories, co-authored with Rick Lang
  • 1998, Small Town Orange County, public art project, co-authored with Rick Lang
  • 1992, A Sense of Place: Winter Park, Florida, collection of 65 photographs with text by Bernadine Clark

Artist's Statement

“As a young person growing up in Switzerland, I rebelled against the lack of changes in my home country. I found the age-old traditions stifling and limiting. In America, everything seemed possible! There were fewer restrictions on one’s dreams. I was taken by the differences between my home and this new place; the American people’s pioneering spirit, willingness to adapt and to embrace the new.

While I am still fascinated by the constantly changing character of America’s culture, I also have come to learn its price tag: uprooted communities, environmental destruction, out of control development and sprawl, and a lack of respect for the past — all resulting in a feeling of disconnect in many of its communities.

As an American photographer with Swiss roots, I am interested in places, people and communities that convey a sense of cultural identity, history and heritage. I never tire of exploring rural Florida, the historic African-American neighborhoods, the continually forming immigrant communities, the wide-open spaces of the West and small towns across America. I hope that my work will establish more than a photographic record, but will motivate others to become more aware of, to respect and to explore their own community’s history and heritage.”

Mr. Jim Wright, from "Community and Heritage: Environmental Portraits of Volusia County Residents" - 2001. Mr. Jim Wright, owner and restorer of historic commercial building on Wright’s Corner, DeLand, Florida. When completed in 1921, the red brick building represented the first business venture for African-Americans in DeLand. It was constructed by the DeLand Mercantile Association on land purchased from Mr. Wright’s grandfather. It originally housed a grocery and meat store, theater, pool hall, restaurant and a service station.
Beauclair Canal and Locks, from the "The Lake: A Documentary Exploring the Land and People of Lake Apopka," Winter Garden, Florida - 2017
Cows and Trees, from "Pieterlen, Switzerland" – 2013. To this day, cows are grazing in the meadow between the Sonnenhof neighborhood where I grew up and the nearby forest. Not visible to the eye is the Autobahn that is buried in a tunnel underneath the peaceful fields. While Pieterlen still represents itself with a mix of residential, industrial and agricultural character, there are actually only five remaining families who make their living in farming, according to Brigitte Sidler, elected Town Mayor. Included in the exhibition "Peter Schreyer: Returning Home," January 17 - April 5, 2015, Cornell Fine Arts Museum, Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida
Mrs. Katherine Ford, from "The Sage Project: Hannibal Square Elders Tell Their Stories
 Permanent Collection," Winter Park, Florida - 2012. "I was born in 1905 in Monticello, Florida to Mack and Katherine Rose Polk. I was the 10th girl and their 13th child. I married Randolph 'Rabbit' Ford after Christmas, 1923. We came to Winter Park in 1952." Mrs. Ford is shown in front of her Comstock Avenue home where she has lived since 1962. She made her passage to Glory on May 1, 2012 in that same home.
Snooks Place, from "Storytellers XVII: West of the East Coast Tracks," New Smyrna Beach, Florida - 2016. The wooden commercial building at 225 Dimmick Street has generally been referred to as Snooks Place since the mid-1940s, when Willie “Snooks” Cumming and Naomi Lee Cumming purchased it. They operated it as a juke joint, selling beer, wine, soda and snacks. Snooks Place also was known as the Star-Lite Beer Garden and served as a taxi stand, where residents could be safely shuttled through segregated New Smyrna Beach of the post-World War II era. The Cummings family operated this business for more than five decades, until Snooks' health began to fail in the 1990s. The building was demolished a week after this photograph was taken.
Rural Passenger Train Station, Lake City, FL - 2001. After nearly three decades of no passenger train service through the Florida Panhandle, Amtrak inaugurated America’s first real transcontinental train in the mid-1990s, connecting Florida with Southern California. Many small communities were excited about this prospect and constructed new railway stations along the new route. The Sunset Limited travels the 2,764 miles between Orlando and Los Angeles three times per week, making 39 stops, including one in Lake City, Florida. As a result of massive damages caused by Hurricane Katrina to the infrastructure of this rail line, service was suspended in 2006.
Peter Schreyer
Selected Awards
  • 2017, The InfluentialsWinter Park Magazine, Winter Park, Florida
  • 2016, State of Florida Diversity & Inclusion Award, recognizing Peter Schreyer’s leadership in establishing the Hannibal Square Heritage Center and for his long-standing relationship as a documentary photographer and educator in West Side Winter Park
  • 2010, Bank of America Neighborhood Hero Award
  • 2009, Arts Educator of the Year, United Arts of Central Florida Inc.
  • 2004 & 2005, United Arts of Central Florida Professional Development Grant
  • 1993-1994, Visual Arts Fellowship Grant Award, State of Florida
  • 1995, Rhea Marsh and Dorothy Lockhart Smith, Winter Park History Research Grant, Winter Park Public Library
Selected Exhibitions
  • 2019, A Proud Heritage: Documenting Winter Garden’s Historical African-American Community, Winter Garden City Hall, Winter Garden, Florida.
    Orange Observer, Feb. 27, 2019
  • 2015, Peter Schreyer: Returning Home, Cornell Fine Arts Museum, Rollins College, Winter Park, Florida.
    Cornell Fine Arts Museum website

    Orlando Weekly, Jan. 28, 2015

    Lenscratch Fine Art Photography Daily, Feb. 26, 2015
  • 2013, Peter Schreyer: Three Decades of Documenting Florida, solo exhibition, the Casa Feliz Historic Home Museum, Winter Park, Florida
  • 2010, The Lost Decades: Winter Garden in the 1980s and 1990s, inaugural solo exhibition commissioned for purchase by the Art in Public Places Program of the City of Winter Garden, City Hall Gallery.
  • 2008, Where Two Roads Meet, two-artist exhibition with Rick Lang, The Museum of Florida Art & Culture, South Florida Community College, Avon Park, Florida.
  • 2007, Symbiotic Relationships, an exploration of the personal stories of seven foreign-born artists who make Central Florida their home, Terrace Gallery, Orlando City Hall, Orlando, Florida.
  • 2005, Where Two Roads Meet, two-artist exhibition with Rick Lang, The Art Center, St. Petersburg, Florida.
  • 2004-2006, A Shared Legacy: Documentary Photography of Florida from the 1930s and Today, state-wide traveling exhibition.
  • 2004-2006, Small Stories from A Big Country,
 retrospective exhibition of 85 American photograph, Swiss Camera Museum, Vevey, Switzerland.
  • 2001, Beneath the Surface: Sixth Annual Photo Competition, Photographic Center Northwest, Seattle.
  • 2001, The 2000 National Photography Competition, Soho Photo Gallery, New York, New York.
  • 1993, Florida’s Lingering Past: A Change of Character, solo exhibition, Harris House, Atlantic Center of the Arts, New Smyrna Beach, Florida.
  • 1985, solo exhibition, Photo-Forum Gallery, Biel-Bienne, Switzerland.
  • 1984, solo exhibition, Catskill Center for Photography, Woodstock, New York.
Permanent Collections