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CONTENTS SPRING 2017
FEATURES 22 | THE WAGNER AFFAIR The charismatic wunderkind’s brief reign at Rollins was a disaster that divided the community, roiled the campus and reverberated for decades. Based on a work by Dr. Jack Lane with additional material by Randy Noles, digital image by Chip Weston 40 | FIT & FASHIONABLE At the Bert W. Martin Tennis Complex, adjacent to the Harold & Ted Alfond Sports Center at Rollins College, Kimberly from Modern Muse shows off the latest in fitness wear. Photographs by Rafael Tongol, styling by Marianne Ilunga, makeup and hair by Elsie Knab 76 | AN ENCORE FOR OPERA Thanks to passionate volunteers and a dynamic directorial duo, it’s a brand-new era for arias. By Michael McLeod, photographs by Rafael Tongol 86 | ON BLOOMS & NINNIES Winter Park artist Lynn Whipple’s work is hard to categorize, but a joy to experience. Here’s how she works. By Randy Noles 92 | PUBLISHER GETS BENCHED The Friends of Mead Garden Inc. recently held a communitywide Gratitude Reception for Winter Park Magazine and its editor and publisher, Randy Noles.
4 WIN T E R P A R K M A G A Z I N E | SP RI N G 2017
DEPARTMENTS PROFILE 14 | CHANGE AGENT The energetic new president of the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce is a homegrown force of nature who’s driven by success. Hers and yours. By Randy Noles, photographs by Rafael Tongol DINING 96 | JUST ADD A DASH OF LOVE The Rebroff family’s Buttermilk Bakery, featuring scratch-made pastries and savories, is as hot as a fresh-baked cookie. So be sure to get there early. By Rona Gindin, photographs by Rafael Tongol
SPECIAL SECTION LIVING WELL IN WINTER PARK A look at the Winter Park Health Foundation’s just-underway Center for Health & Wellbeing, as well as a review of several important but less high-profile programs that this indispensable organization quietly supports. Plus, a look at senior-friendly approaches to healthcare at Winter Park Memorial Hospital, and gardening and beekeeping tips from John Rife, founder of East End Market. By Dana S. Eagles, Rona Gindin and Darryl E. Owens
living well I N W I N T E R PA R K
HOW DOES YOUR GARDEN GROW?
John Rife on Homegrown Food and Homemade Honey.
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John Rife, owner of East End Market and home-gardening guru. Photo by Rafael Tongol.
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SELECTING THE INFLUENTIALS
or the past two years, Winter Park Magazine has published compilations of the city’s Most Influential People. But in a city filled with achievers — many of whom are passionately involved in civic affairs — we’ve only scratched the surface so far. So we’re doing it again in our summer issue. As usual, we’re asking past selectees to nominate others. But this year, I thought we’d cast an even wider net and ask our readers for their opinions. We’re also putting out a call on social media before winnowing our way through what will certainly be dozens of worthy contenders. I like the Most Influential People project because it always results in a mixture of mover-andshaker types with people you may not yet know — but who quietly make a difference. The list has included businesspeople, clergypeople, professors, politicians, philanthropists, city employees, arts administrators, volunteers, community activists
Who should be on Winter Park Magazine’s Most Influential list? We want to hear from you. Please email your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
6 WIN T E R P A R K M A G A ZI N E | SP RI N G 2017
and Winter Parkers from all walks of life. Even if they’ve agreed on little else, the selectees have shared a love for Winter Park. Indeed, one reason that 32789 is the most interesting zip code in Central Florida is because of its people. There’s a story worth telling at just about every address. So, who in Winter Park is exceptional in your opinion? Who has done — and continues to do — things that make the city a better place? Who impacts lives? I’d like to hear from you. Past selectees have included: Dan Bellows, Cindy Bowman LaFronz, Jeffrey Blydenburgh, Daniel Butts, Grant and Peg Cornwell, Julian Chambliss, Patrick Chapin, Carolyn Cooper, Mary Daniels, Jeff Eisenbarth, Sue Foreman, Shawn Garvey, Steve Goldman, Sarah Grafton, Jane Hames, Jill Hamilton Buss, Debra Hendrickson, Catherine Hinman, Phil Kean, Allan Keen, Linda Keen, Randy Knight, Debbie Komanski, Linda Kulmann, Steve Leary, Lambrine Macejewski, Anne Mooney, Ronnie Moore, Patty Maddox, David Odahowski, Betsy Rogers Owens, John Rife, Thad Seymour, Shawn Shaffer, Susan Skolfield, Sam Stark, Dori Stone, John and Gail Sinclair, Fr. Richard Walsh, Harold Ward, Bill Weir, Pete Weldon and Becky Wilson. They aren’t eligible again, but everyone else is. Please send me a brief email sharing who you believe belongs on this year’s list — maybe consider an “unsung hero” who doesn’t get the kudos that he or she ought to. In the email, please explain briefly why that person (or persons) ought to be recognized. We’ll have a big blowout in July — as we have for the past two years — celebrating the selectees and the city that they help to make such a special place. My email is: email@example.com.
Randy Noles Editor/Publisher firstname.lastname@example.org
Randy Noles EDITOR AND PUBLISHER Lorna Osborn SENIOR ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Kathy Byrd ASSOCIATE PUBLISHER Theresa Swanson GROUP PUBLISHER/NEW-HOME PUBLICATIONS Paula Chase ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Carolyn Edmunds GRAPHIC DESIGNER Dana S. Eagles Michael McLeod Darryl E. Owens CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Rona Gindin DINING EDITOR Marianne Ilunga FASHION EDITOR Marianne Popkins, Ned Popkins, Harry Wessel CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Rafael Tongol CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER Rick Walsh, Jim DeSimone FOUNDING PARTNERS
FLORIDA CITIES MEDIA LLC Daniel Denton PRESIDENT Randy Noles CONSULTING PUBLISHER Pam Flanagan GENERAL MANAGER
Copyright 2017 by Florida Home Media LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Florida Cities Media LLC. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part is prohibited without written permission of the copyright holder. Winter Park Magazine is published four times yearly by Florida Home Media LLC, 2700 Westhall Lane, Suite 220, Maitland, FL 32751
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AT 90, HER TALENT IS IN FULL BLOOM
Elizabeth “Cissy” Barr says she hasn’t slowed down a bit creatively. Barr was one of the original organizers of the Winter Park Autumn Art Festival, and continues to paint every day, often selling her work to benefit charitable causes.
PHOTO BY BOB MORRIS
n the sun-splashed studio at her condo overlooking Lake Osceola, artist Elizabeth “Cissy” Barr fills canvases with images beloved by Central Floridians, from towering stands of lakeside cypress at Kraft Azalea Gardens and peacocks preening on Genius Drive to tabebuia trees in glorious bloom and the sea-oat studded dunes of New Smyrna Beach, where she lived from 1989 until 2016. This issue’s cover painting, a scene of azaleas in full bloom inside Winter Park’s 48-acre Genius Drive Nature Preserve, is part of the collection at the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art, which is supported by the Elizabeth Morse Genius Foundation. The foundation owns the preserve, which is not typically open to the public. At 90, the acclaimed artist and Orlando native is more prolific than ever. She still takes on commissioned projects and devotes herself to creating paintings she often sells at auctions to support various charitable organizations. “I might be slowing down physically, but not creatively,” she says. “All I want to do is paint, paint, paint. It’s my joy.” Like many an artistic path, Barr’s was a winding one. After graduating from the University of Georgia, she took a job with the U.S. Department of State in Egypt. “It was 1950 and, you have to understand, back then it was somewhat unusual for a young, single woman to go off by herself halfway around the world,” she says. “Here was this wide-eyed Orlando girl seeing wonders she had never imagined.” It sparked Barr’s interest in painting, and she took classes in charcoal draw-
8 WIN T E R P A R K M A G A ZI N E | SP RI N G 2017
ing at a studio in Cairo. After completing her stint at the State Department, she returned to Florida and accepted a job as secretary to Martin Andersen, the legendary power broker/owner of the Orlando Sentinel. She later married Graham Barr, twin brother of Andersen’s wife, Gracia, who is remembered as one of Central Florida’s most notable philanthropists, with major donations to support the Orlando Museum of Art, the Orlando Science Center and numerous other institutions. Barr put painting aside to raise her three children, but took it up again after opening a store — Cissy’s Ye Olde Antique Shoppe — on Edgewater Drive. She originally focused on portraiture, but found it “too confining.” “It didn’t speak to my spirit of adventure,” says Barr, who traveled widely with her late husband on extended trips to China, through Europe and across the U.S. At her store, she displayed and promoted the work of local artists and, in 1973, was instrumental in launching the Winter Park Autumn Festival, now held annually on the second weekend of October. “At that time, the Winter Park Spring Art Festival had grown into a juried event that we felt was looking too much toward artists from outside of Florida,” she says. “We wanted an art festival that fully supported the work of local artists.” It was at the initial Autumn Art Festival that Barr sold her first piece. “I got $100 and I thought, gee, maybe I really can make a go of this,” she says. And 44 years later, she’s still going strong. — Bob Morris
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Betsy Gardner Eckbert says she has “a strong bias toward action.” The Type-A overachiever is planning some outside-the-box programs at the chamber.
CHANGE AGENT The energetic new president of the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce is a homegrown force of nature who’s driven by success. Hers and yours. BY RANDY NOLES PHOTOGRAPHS BY RAFAEL TONGOL
14 WI N T E R P A R K M A G A ZI N E | SP RI N G 2017
hen Betsy Gardner Eckbert decided that she wanted the job as president of the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce, she didn’t go after it meekly. “I write this letter to declare my candidacy,” reads her statement of interest, which was accompanied by an accomplishment-laden resumé. “With strong roots and 35 years of participation in the life of the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce, I feel I have the right mix of readiness and expertise to bring to the new role of president,” her statement continues. Of course, about 220 other candidates felt the same way about themselves. So Gardner Eckbert had to stand above and apart from the competition — which is nothing new for this Type-A overachiever. She was a campus leader at the University of Florida, a pharmaceutical-sales superstar, an executive at a U.K.-based consulting firm that mentors executive women and, most recently, cofounder of a company that markets UV-protective swimwear for kids worldwide. Gardner Eckbert’s combination of salesmanship, entrepreneurship, leadership development and grassroots advocacy landed her the job at the chamber, which is best known regionally for such signature events as the Taste of Winter Park and the Autumn Art Festival. Of course, it didn’t hurt that she’s also a dynamo with seemingly boundless energy, strong opinions and a relentless compulsion to retool complacent or outmoded operations. Perhaps most importantly, she has the skill set required to sell others on her vision. “I was definitely asked to be a change agent,” she says during a rapid-fire interview over lunch at the Power House restaurant on East Lyman Avenue, just steps from the chamber’s stately headquarters across from City Hall. Gardner Eckbert burns more calories exercising her intellect — and describing her goals — than most people do jogging. “I have a strong bias toward action,” she says, noting that today’s chambers must be more than social clubs. “You have to deliver value to members through everything you do,” she adds. “And you need metrics to back it up. After all, if the chamber can’t quantify its value to itself, then how can it quantify its value to members?” As is often the case in organizations when new leadership arrives, the chamber has had some turnover. Most notably, vice president Debra Hendrickson, who held the chamber’s No. 2 post for 13 years, resigned shortly after Gardner Eckbert was hired. Gracious statements were issued by Gardner Eckbert and Hendrickson, who was the force behind the chamber’s popular Leadership Winter Park program, which seeks to groom up-and-comers by offering a curriculum related to the city’s civic challenges and cultural assets. Gardner Eckbert, in fact, is a graduate of the similarly structured Leadership Orlando.
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Gardner Eckbert meets with chamber member Christopher Colli, who’s a project manager for design and construction at CTF Development International.
“I’ve know Betsy since she was in high school,” says consummate mover and shaker Jane Hames, president of Embassy Consultants and chairman of the chamber’s board of directors in 1985. “She has a magnetic, high level of energy.” Adds Hames: Anyone who doesn’t know her today will soon be drawn to her. She’s a task-oriented problem solver. She has a keen laser focus, a flattering gift for listening and an innate ability to prioritize efficiently. Oh, and she is scary smart.” Catherine Hinman, director of public affairs at the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art, says she thinks that Gardner Eckbert’s “energy and global perspective” will be good for the chamber. The museum, which attracted some 72,000 visitors to downtown Winter Park last year, is perhaps the city’s most widely known cultural asset. “There’s a very important marketing role to be played by the chamber,” adds Hinman, who thinks chambers in general need to become less event-focused. “My sense is that Betsy will have new ideas about ways to accomplish that.” Gardner Eckbert continues a purely coincidental tradition at the chamber of employing the offspring of politically powerful women. Her
16 W I N T E R P A R K M A G A ZI N E | SP RI N G 2017
predecessor, Patrick Chapin, was the son of Linda Chapin, the first Orange County chairman (now called county mayor). After six years at the chamber’s helm, Chapin resigned last summer to take a job as CEO for Business High Point Inc., the merged entity of the High Point Chamber of Commerce and High Point Partners in North Carolina. Shortly before his resignation, Chapin garnered national attention when he donated a kidney to a chamber member whom he barely knew. Gardner Eckbert is the daughter of the late Lydia Gardner, a teacher who was elected to the Orange County School Board and later as Orange County Clerk of Courts. Gardner, after whom the chamber’s Citizen of the Year award is named, died in 2013, just months after winning her fourth term as clerk. “I got my social consciousness from my mom,” Gardner Eckbert says. The newly minted chamber president may not donate any bodily organs — although you can’t rule anything out with her — but she does plan to help Winter Park’s business people thrive in other ways. For example, Gardner Eckbert says it’s time to look at each of the organization’s more than 100 events and programs with fresh eyes. Those that are demonstrably good for business will be made even better, she says, and those that aren’t may be revamped or replaced. She wants to create more “touchpoints” be-
tween the chamber and its members, and between chamber members themselves. That sounds like old-fashioned networking, but Gardner Eckbert says it’s important to get more CEO-level members participating in chamber programs. With key decision makers in the room, connections can yield a more immediate payoff. Among her new ideas is to promote entrepreneurship through a “maker faire,” perhaps in partnership with the Winter Park Public Library, which has a “makerspace” that includes a 3-D printer and video production equipment. She also envisions the chamber’s first floor becoming a co-working space — a sort of incubator for new ventures that will be made available on a competitive basis. Gardner Eckbert was born in Wellesley, Massachusetts. Her family moved to Winter Park when she was 11 years old so that her father, Jerry Gardner, could take a position at UCF as a music professor and organizer of the school’s fledgling marching band. He also directed the Florida Youth Wind Ensemble. Her mom taught at Maitland Middle School before embarking on a political career in 1986. As a Winter Park High School student, Gardner was a strong enough bassoonist to perform with in the UCF orchestra. She also played high school soccer and was active in student government and service clubs before graduating in 1987. She got a Bright Futures scholarship to attend
PROFILE the University of Florida, where, among many other activities, she was active in the Panhellenic Council, heading a diversity task force aimed at fostering collaboration among sororities. In particular, she sought to strengthen bonds with historically African-American chapters. “I thought about ways to bring people together,” she says. “You can become overwhelmed when you see what needs to be done. But we just started planning programs that bring women of all races together. And it all starts with hospitality; with asking, ‘How can I get to know you as a person?’” Gardner Eckbert, who graduated with a degree in history, was named UF’s Outstanding Female Leader in 1991. That same year she was elected to the University of Florida Hall of Fame, which recognizes seniors and graduate students for scholastic achievement and outstanding campus and community involvement. Although her history professors urged her to remain in school and work toward a history Ph.D., Gardner Eckbert accepted a position with Merck & Co. in pharmaceutical sales. She shattered sales records, eventually becoming a senior immunology specialist with an expertise in drugs for HIV treatment. One of her key clients was the Florida Department of Corrections. “At the time there were 7,000 people in the prison system who had tested positive for HIV,” says Gardner Eckbert, who worked with the state to create a model program for providing HIV treatment to incarcerated patients. “I went in the prisons and did seminars for the inmates.” HIV, she says, “didn’t put me off” because she had become personally close to several AIDS sufferers through her church, even helping to provide in-home care for friends who were dying of the disease. In 1992, she married investment banker John Eckbert, who served as a Winter Park city commissioner for four terms. She managed all four of his campaigns, and worked on all of her mother’s campaigns as well. There’s nothing like local politics, she says, to teach the value of grassroots organization. In 2009, the couple and their two children, Haden and Lucy, moved to London, where John was CEO of Five Guys UK, the European division of the U.S.-based burger chain. Betsy was later named director of business development for Mentore Consulting Ltd., which provides mentoring programs for women in leadership roles who are being groomed for expanded responsibilities. While living in London, Gardner Eckbert met two other women with whom she launched Long Wave London Apparel Ltd., a line of UVprotective swimwear aimed primarily at children aged 8 to 16.
Harrods, the iconic London department store, agreed to carry the line, and inventory sold out almost immediately. The brand subsequently expanded to 14 countries, including China, Mexico and the United Arab Emirates. It’s available in the U.S. through such major resorts as the Four Seasons and the Ritz Carlton. Then Gardner Eckbert’s marriage ended, and she returned to friendly and familiar Winter Park with her children in 2014. She remained active with Long Wave for a brief time, selling her shares in 2016. So, as it turned out, the timing of the chamber opening couldn’t have been better. “I think when you’ve had the privilege of growing up in Winter Park, and the privilege of living in London, you don’t hide your light under a bushel when you come back home,” Gardner Eckbert says of her decision to apply — rather, declare — for the chamber job. “You try to take what you’ve learned and bring world-class ideas to the place you love.” That’s an elegant and undoubtedly sincere explanation. But there’s usually something else — something personal — that makes superachievers like Gardner Eckbert tick. She reveals it almost as an afterthought.
“I had heart surgery when I was 22,” says Gardner Eckbert. “Ever since then, I’ve set an escalating set of dares for myself. I’ve run two marathons. I’ve hiked the Appalachian Trail for six weeks — 500 miles — and did a winter camping expedition on Outward Bound.” Heading the chamber, of course, couldn’t be described as a dare. But it is a challenge in an era when many kinds of membership organizations have become passé. People have so many ways to connect now, she notes, that traditional chambers are no longer essential for success. So, she says, Winter Park will not have a traditional chamber. Gardner Eckbert plans to incorporate her experience as a sales professional, a community activist and an international entrepreneur to keep the chamber relevant and engage younger, tech-savvy members “whose ages start with a two.” But she knows that certain time-tested benefits are as valuable today as they were in 1887, when the Winter Park Improvement Association, the chamber’s predecessor organization, was founded. “There’s still room for handshakes and personal relationships,” she says. “You can’t email your way out of a toxic business relationship.”
POETRY OF THE EARTH Theodore L. Mead’s namesake urban oasis is a tribute to imagination, beauty and persistence. But the path has taken some twisted turns.
BY RANDY NOLES WITH ADDITIONAL MATERIAL BY RICHARD C. ADICKS AND ELIZABETH CAMM
PHOTOGRAPHS BY RAFAEL TONGOL
W I NT E R PA RK M A G A Z I NE | FA L L 2 0 1 4
2017 | $3.99
Mead Garden remains an urban oasis, refreshingly unspoiled and sculptured. Tucked away at the end of South Denning Drive, across the railroad tracks and bounded by Pennsylvania Avenue and Howell Creek, it has enchanted
AT MEAcasual visitors and serious naturalists for decades. D BOTANICA FA L L 2 0 1 4 | W I NT E R PA RK M A G A Z I NE 37 L GARDEN
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As Hamilton Holtâ€™s portrait looms over him, movie-star handsome Paul Wagner, 33, prepares to take the helm at Rollins College. Within two tumultuous years, Holt would be calling for his youthful successor to resign.
AFFAIR The charismatic wunderkind’s brief reign at Rollins was a disaster that divided the community, roiled the campus and reverberated for decades.
nusual circumstances surrounded the arrival in 1949 of Rollins College’s ninth president, Paul Wagner, a 31-year-old wunderkind whose personal magnetism initially captivated the campus. Even more unusual circumstances surrounded Wagner’s departure in 1951, when he was ousted following a bitter brouhaha that roiled the community and continued to reverberate decades later. Hostile memories engendered by what would become known as “the Wagner Affair” forever poisoned friendships. Individuals in Winter Park who were on opposite sides never spoke to one another again. The college was so embarrassed by the whole episode that it consigned relevant documents to a locked filing cabinet that sat for years, hidden from view, in a shadowy corner of the Mills Memorial Hall basement. The cabinet was labeled simply “Wagner.” Of course, the seemingly placid campus had been the scene of infighting before. Controversial characters had come and gone with some regularity. But never had one person — particularly one with such promise and such lofty intentions — wreaked such utter havoc.
BASED ON A WORK BY DR. JACK LANE WITH ADDITIONAL MATERIAL BY RANDY NOLES DIGITAL IMAGE BY CHIP WESTON
When Wagner was ultimately deposed, he refused to relinquish power. For a time there were two presidents on campus, with Wagner’s anointed successor conducting business from a makeshift office a few hundred yards away. Although documents and news accounts provide the chronology, the entire episode remains surreal, as though Rod Serling had set out to write an episode of The Twilight Zone set on a college campus — and then gave up when the plot became too unwieldy and implausible. Simple explanations — hubris on one side, naiveté on the other — seem somehow inadequate. Yet, one conclusion can surely be drawn: Paul Wagner was one heck of a salesman.
With eyesight severely weakened by measles, Wagner struggled through elementary and secondary school by listening to his mother read aloud and by taking tests orally. Still, he made good grades and graduated from high school at the age of 16. S PRING 2 0 1 7 | W INT ER PARK MAGAZ IN E
ORIGINAL IMAGE COURTESY OF THE ROLLINS COLLEGE ARCHIVES
Editors Note: The basis of this story is a chapter of an upcoming book called The Rollins Centennial History: A Story of Perseverance, 1885-1985, written by Dr. Jack C. Lane, professor of history emeritus. For use as a standalone magazine piece, some portions were edited, revised or deleted for space considerations. In addition, some material was added for context.
Wagner outgrew his sight problem and, according to later press releases and published interviews, completed four years of work at the University of Chicago in three years, earning his undergraduate degree at the age of 19. Impressive, but not quite true. Wagner did indeed graduate from the University of Chicago, becoming a protégé of its respected president, Robert Hutchins. But he did so in 1938, three months shy of his 21st birthday, and took a full four years to earn a degree in education. This may, at first blush, appear to be a minor exaggeration, or even an honest mistake. But it was repeated numerous times — most often by Wagner himself — perhaps because it bolstered his carefully cultivated image as an academic boy wonder. After graduation, he became an English teacher at the university’s experimental high school, where he was a pioneer in audio-visual education. He then earned a master’s degree in English at Yale, where he attended on a Carnegie fellowship, before returning to Chicago and joining the faculty at his alma mater. Shortly thereafter, Wagner became an instructor at Teachers College, Columbia University, in New York. He also wrote feature stories and drama reviews — as well as some of the earliest columns about television — for the New Haven Journal-Courier. With the outbreak of World War II, Wagner offered his services as a civilian consultant to the Great Lakes Naval Training Station near Chicago, where he introduced the use of audio-visual aids in training recruits. In 1942, the Department of the Navy offered Wagner a lieutenant’s commission to continue
of motion-picture equipment, where he was described in newspaper articles as “right-hand man” to company president Charles H. Percy, who would later be elected to the U.S. Senate from Illinois. While at Bell & Howell, Wagner produced educational films — including one that featured Eddie Albert, who would later portray gentleman farmer Oliver Wendell Douglas on the sitcom Green Acres — and gave hundreds of presentations throughout the U.S., Mexico and Canada on the promise of technology in the classroom. But the restless Wagner was eager to put his educational ideas to practice in an academic setting. In 1949, when he learned that Rollins was looking for a new president, he impulsively flew to Florida, arriving unannounced as Hamilton Holt, the retiring president, was interviewing another candidate. Holt, a New England-bred sophisticate who had served as president since 1925, didn’t see Wagner until well into the evening, and even then, he did so grudgingly. It was late, and the frail but formidable man affectionately known campus wide as “Prexy” was tired. He initially judged Wagner to be brash and egotistical, exuding a grating, super-salesman persona. As the evening wore on, however, Holt began to change his mind. He found Wagner more and more appealing, and decided to recommend him to the search committee. There had been more than 200 candidates, many of whom, unlike Wagner, had been academic administrators or college presidents. Like a professional actor upon a stage of his choosing, the young man with the movie-star smile simply overwhelmed Holt, the search com-
PHOTO COURTESY OF THE ROLLINS COLLEGE ARCHIVES
Like a professional actor upon a stage of his choosing, the young man with the movie-star smile simply overwhelmed Holt, the search committee, the executive committee and the board of trustees with the force of his personality and the polished nature of his dazzling multimedia presentations. his work at the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, where he developed training materials and made hundreds of films to support the college’s evolving curriculum. After the war, Wagner joined American Type Founders, a manufacturer of foundry type and printing presses, as assistant to the president. He then worked as a counselor to the Committee on Economic Development, a private consortium of executives formed to promote the free enterprise system. (The Washington, D.C.-based CED remains a potent advocacy group today.) In 1947, Wagner seemed to land an ideal position at Bell & Howell, a leading manufacturer
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mittee, the executive committee and the board of trustees with the force of his personality and the polished nature of his dazzling multimedia presentations. Surely, it seemed, a president with Wagner’s energy and acumen could build upon the progressive educational model that Holt — an innovator who had gained national attention in the late ’20s with his teaching-oriented Conference Plan — had worked so hard to build. At the May 31 commencement meeting, the trustees unanimously elected Wagner, making him the youngest president of an accredited college in the country. The announcement created a consid-
Upon his arrival at Rollins, Wagner received national press coverage as “education’s new boy wonder.”
erable stir in the academic world, and earned coverage from mainstream media outlets as well. Colliers dubbed Wagner “education’s new boy wonder.” Newsweek also wrote a flattering story about the youthful dynamo, who seemed so full of novel ideas on how to prepare the college — and higher education in general — for a new era in which multiple modes of teaching would be available. An Associated Press story quoted the “broadshouldered, square-jawed” Wagner as saying that he hoped graduates would be “generalists” who like football as well as poetry, insisting that “such men will be the next leaders.” Wagner also rebuked colleges in general for eschewing sex education. “Now think of this,” he told the AP reporter. “We spend about two thirds of our lives living with the opposite sex — and these schools practically ignore the subject.” Wagner, pacing and pontificating while chewing on the earpiece of his glasses, made it clear during the interview that he wanted students to be challenged: “Today, facts are flooding in upon us,” he said. “The students are becoming mere walking catalogues of facts. But there’s the crux of it: Do students know what these facts mean?” Warming to the subject, Wagner elaborated on the importance of critical thinking in ways that were strikingly prescient, considering the state of American political discourse in 2017: “In totalitarian states, only a few people have to know the significance of facts. Here in America, everyone has to know what facts mean.” If the college community was entranced by Wagner, they were also charmed by his attractive
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family, including his wife, Paula (“a slim, pretty blonde,” according to a newspaper account), and their 3-year-old son, Paul Jr. The dynamic go-getter certainly presented a contrast to the 76-year-old Holt, an ailing widower who’d given his all to the college he loved, but was now ill and exhausted. Said Holt in a parting address to the Alumni Advisory Council: “Mr. Wagner has youth, health, brains and character, a fine academic background, a glowing personality and a rare gift for making and keeping friends.” The irony, in retrospect, of Holt’s reference to Wagner’s skill at making and keeping friends is difficult to ignore. But it certainly seemed true at the time. And so, with considerable pomp and misguided optimism, the charismatic Midwesterner was installed. The college’s press release was light on specifics, noting that Wagner was more than six feet tall, “ruggedly handsome” and “an allaround athlete.” The release made no mention of Wagner’s goals for the college — indeed, the president had told several campus groups that he hadn’t yet formulated any — but brief bullet points summarized his “educational aims.” Among them: He planned to use the Socratic method to learn about the challenges and opportunities to come. Visual aids, while no panacea, could “speed up” the educational process, which was important since a college had only four academic years “to impart the wisdom of the ages.” Finally, he believed in “teamwork between education and business; between administration, faculty and students.”
The community was charmed not only by Wagner, but by his family as well, including Paula, his “slim, pretty blonde” wife, and 3-year-old Paul Jr.
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During the first months of his administration, Wagner appeared to exceed expectations. In his inaugural address — and in both formal and informal conversations with faculty and students — he talked of continuing Holt’s progressive legacy. However, a couple of early incidents clouded Wagner’s bright beginning. For example, in the fall of 1949, in the midst of football season, he decreed the program’s demise. The announcement, at least initially, rattled the campus. Had Wagner not traveled with the team, diagramming a few plays at halftime? Had he not told some students that the college would have a football team as long as he was president? Indeed he had. But, faced with the sport’s $57,000 annual deficit, he persuaded the trustees to drop the program, although he agreed to allow students who had been given football scholarships to continue until graduation. He likewise threatened to pull the plug on other intercollegiate sports if they, too, caused deficits. Students, however, reacted much less vocif-
PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE ROLLINS COLLEGE ARCHIVES
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of appointing a special faculty committee for such a study, he asked each faculty member to submit a report based on an outline of “what every educated adult should know about ... factual information, general knowledge, attitude, appreciation, techniques.” Many faculty members resented this extra burden heaped upon them during their summer vacations, and became impatient as they grappled with what one called “a rigid, inelastic, superficial approach that left out vast areas of learning.”
PHOTO COURTESY OF THE ROLLINS COLLEGE ARCHIVES
It is unknown if the book Wagner appears to be reading is a prop or was intended to send a message. The Rediscovery of Morals, written in 1947, was about the evils of racial discrimination.
erously than expected, at least in part because Wagner diffused the explosive issue at a twohour meeting — during which he made extensive use of slides and charts — with the entire student body at the Annie Russell Theatre. He not only convinced attendees that football wasn’t worth the deficit, he also persuaded them that a substitute program of less costly sports — golf, tennis, swimming and sailing — would be more beneficial and facilitate greater participation. Wagner’s presentation, a model exhibition of salesmanship, was met with applause. Charlie Wadsworth, featured columnist for the Orlando Morning Sentinel, reflected that “Rollins will get along just as well or better without football. It won’t be the same, but the school will get along.” The football issue diffused, more concerns then arose when Wagner began making personnel changes. Almost immediately, friction developed with Holt’s dean of men, Arthur Enyart. The 68year old dean had been at the college since 1911, and had earned the moniker “Mr. Rollins.” After a stormy meeting during which Wagner shouted that he was tired of Enyart’s constant “infantile” behavior — the older man had vocally opposed dropping football — Enyart announced his resignation, ostensibly “for health reasons.” Wagner, of course, had a right to form his own administrative team. But his attitude toward Enyart alienated many of the dean’s friends, some of whom were influential alumni who held deep affection for him.
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With Enyart gone, Wagner made what he called “several shifts in administrative responsibility.” He ignored the college’s longstanding governance structure — faculty committees and faculty meetings — and instead relied upon a small staff for counsel before announcing policy changes as a fait accompli. Typical of all new presidents, Wagner wanted to know the overall condition of the institution he was to run. To begin the discovery process, he assigned Wendell Stone, dean since 1943, to conduct what Stone described as a “lengthy and exceedingly complicated” survey of the college’s economic and academic status. Wagner then appointed Horace “Tolly” Tollefson, director of the library, as his executive assistant and “coordinator,” with the duty of promoting a more businesslike approach and implementing greater operational efficiencies. This wasn’t how business had previously been conducted at Rollins, where it was customary to involve the entire community before assigning individuals these kinds of institutional studies. Then all factions would have ownership of — and responsibility for — the outcome. Wagner’s approach, some grumbled, flatly contradicted his statements about how he would govern. A more serious unease rose over Wagner’s “educational aim study,” launched in the summer of 1950. By his own admission, the project was unconventional. Rather than following the traditional method
Nothing came of the study because in the fall of 1950, coping with serious financial problems became Wagner’s top priority. Despite its knowledge of perennial deficits during the Holt era, the faculty was surprised to learn that such shortfalls were suddenly considered to be a crisis. Two external pressures on enrollment caused heightened concern. First, as with most institutions of higher learning, rampant inflation threatened to deplete the already meager treasury. Second, the number of World War II veterans — the group primarily responsible for swelling college enrollments — suddenly decreased. The problem was exacerbated by the outbreak of the Korean War, when reintroduction of the draft threatened to deprive the college of even more male applicants. Although a college deferment was in place, there was a chance that all 18-year-olds might be declared eligible for conscription after the November election. As the 1950-51 academic year began, these forces — plus an inherited debt of a quarter of a million dollars — began to weigh heavily on Wagner’s mind. “In the event that we should lose 200 of the 356 men to the draft,” he warned, “there are several possible but undesirable answers, including a reduction of faculty and staff.” In December, Wagner again turned to Stone, instructing him to estimate enrollment for the 1951-52 academic year, and to analyze the college’s financial viability based on what would presumably be much lower tuition revenue. Rollins, Wagner decreed, must “play it safe by assuming that the total amount of student fees will be the operating budget.” The president left no doubt that some faculty and staff would have to be dismissed. The actual number would depend upon the size of the gap between operating expenses and tuition revenue. On the assumption that cuts would be necessary, Wagner told Stone to construct “a system of related values for determining who would be dropped.” It couldn’t have been an easy job for Stone, particularly on a close-knit campus where congeniality was valued. Nonetheless, in February he presented Wagner with a highly pessimistic report on present and future conditions at the
college, as well as a dossier of personal and financial information on individual faculty members. Stone’s findings, combined with treasurer John Tiedtke’s equally gloomy projections, gave Wagner all the data he needed to present the trustees with a comprehensive cost-reduction plan. At the trustees’ meeting on Tuesday, February 27, 1951, Wagner found himself in the familiar role of super-salesman. He delivered, as usual, a virtuoso performance, employing a slide show with graphics and spontaneously writing figures on large sheets of newsprint — then ripping and casting the paper aside as he spoke. Wagner steamrolled the trustees with his apparent grasp of the challenges at hand. Not in war nor peace nor depression had the college ever faced such a crisis, Wagner insisted. As in the business world, he said, the college must make decisions in a “tough-minded way.” Businessmen, he noted, lived not in a “romantic” but a “realistic” world — and a college “is, in effect, a business.” Wagner reported that all colleges, including Rollins, expected a 30 percent drop in enrollment. Therefore, he was planning for only 449 students in the coming year — a decline of 29 percent. Since the operating budget would depend entirely upon income from student fees, he said, and since income from those fees could drop by as much as $150,000, then cuts at least equal to that amount would have to be made. Tiedtke had already done all the paring back he could, Wagner added. The only area left untouched, he continued, was the educational program budget, which would need to be reduced by $87,000. In more relatable terms, that meant between 15 and 20 faculty members would have to go. The trustees seemed stunned by Wagner’s rapid-fire, fact-filled performance. His arguments sounded logical, but it was difficult — perhaps impossible — to absorb all of the figures and statistics in one sitting. Wagner had chosen not to distribute a printed report for later, more careful perusal. Nor had he offered any alternatives. He had considered other plans, he explained, and except for the one he presented, had found all of them wanting. Tiedtke confirmed that a serious financial problem was looming. But, while not directly contradicting the president, he reminded the trustees of the college’s mission: “We have a Cadillac assembly line, and we cannot turn out Cadillacs without fenders or radiators or wheels; nor can we turn out Fords, for we are not built that way.” Worried that the college could destroy its reputation over the long term, Tiedtke asked the trustees to consider all the ramifications of draconian cuts: “I look at this very much like a cancer. To save your life you may have to amputate your hand, but it’s a serious matter to amputate your hand.” Stone then reported that many faculty members
were moonlighting simply to make ends meet. Because Wagner had argued that his plan would allow the college to raise salaries for remaining faculty members, this knowledge seemed to make dismissals somewhat more palatable. At least some people — those still employed — might be better off, and the college would be spared ruin. Consequently, the trustees voted unanimously in favor of Wagner’s plan, and prepared an ominous public statement instructing the president to reduce the faculty, exempting some part-timers as well as those who taught courses deemed necessary. Having dispensed with the matter of budget and faculty cuts, members of the executive committee, who had known of Wagner’s proposals in advance and unanimously supported them, moved abruptly to solidify the president’s position ahead of a predictable backlash.
absence, according to the analysis. Stone also provided Wagner with an overview of departmental conditions, pointing out areas in which dismissals would most harm the college academically. Believing that he had completed his due diligence, Wagner began compiling a list of faculty members to be released at the end of the academic year. In the midst of this process, he appeared before a regularly scheduled faculty meeting on Monday, March 5. In an abbreviated repetition of his whirlwind trustee presentation, Wagner outlined his retrenchment policies, presenting what he called the trustees’ “mathematical formula” for determining faculty dismissals. These objective criteria, he explained, were designed to obviate the need to make judgments on a personal basis.
At the trustees’ meeting on Tuesday, February 27, 1951, Wagner found himself in the familiar role of super-salesman. He delivered, as usual, a virtuoso performance, employing a slide show with graphics and spontaneously writing figures on large sheets of newsprint — then ripping and casting the paper aside as he spoke.
They voted Wagner a $2,000 raise beginning in March 1951, and promised him an additional $500 annual increase until his salary reached $15,000. Additionally, they adopted a resolution praising his good work and lauding his “constructive plans for the future of the institution.” The following day, the executive committee tried to further insulate Wagner by offering a 10-year contract — later reduced to five years, after some trustees objected — and adopting an amendment to the bylaws stating that the president “shall have the sole power to hire and discharge employees and to fix administrative and educational policies of the college subject to the veto of the board of trustees.” Many trustees left the meeting with an uneasy feeling about the propriety — perhaps even the ethics — of raising a president’s salary and handing him a five-year contract while simultaneously voting to deprive numerous faculty members of their sole means of support. But no one voted against the motions to do so. Some few salved their consciences by recording their abstentions.
Wagner now began to study Stone’s report on the personal financial situations of faculty members. Conveniently, between 15 and 20 were financially secure or able to survive a year’s leave of
Then he added this chilling warning: There would be “no appeal and no discussion” following dismissal announcements. Faculty members understood the college’s desperate financial situation. But how could they respond to Wagner’s proposed solution when they had seen nothing on paper, nothing concrete to ponder and nothing to analyze? Although Wagner had permitted no questions, many lingered. Who developed the “mathematical formula?” What did the criteria for dismissal mean? Who, in fact, could even remember those criteria? Wagner had promised to issue letters of dismissal immediately. In the interim, faculty members anxiously hovered around their mailboxes, expecting the worst. As Royal France, a professor of economics, later expressed it: “For two breathless days the axe hung suspended over faculty heads, no one knowing who was to be decapitated, and soon anger rose alongside fear.” The axe fell on Thursday, March 8, and the thudding of heads falling reverberated throughout the community. Initially, the numbers alone were startling. The dismissals totaled 19 fulltimers and four part-timers — one-third of the entire faculty. Then, as the names became known, the shock turned to anger. Thirteen of those dismissed had earned tenure, and most had served the college for 15 to 20 years. Among them were some of the S PRING 2 0 1 7 | W INT ER PARK MAGAZ IN E
college’s most popular and respected instructors. Wagner had dismissed the only two faculty members who could teach German and calculus, both of which were required for pre-med majors. Also sent packing were all faculty members in education and business, thereby abolishing those departments. Five of seven full-time English professors were out, leaving two full-timers and two part-timers to teach required English composition to 400 students. Among those vanquished was Nathan Starr, perhaps Rollins’ most distinguished scholar and one of its most popular teachers. Other talented faculty members across academic disciplines were let go, leading to questions about Wagner’s methods as well as his judgment. As an alumnus wrote to a trustee, the president might have gotten away with a handful of dismissals. But the sheer number — and the stature of those who were terminated — demonstrated a “lack of wisdom.” Even faculty members who received notices of reappointment didn’t feel secure, because they were given only one-year contracts. Gloom and dread hovered heavily over the campus by the end of what became known as “Black Thursday.”
PHOTO COURTESY OF THE ROLLINS COLLEGE ARCHIVES
That same afternoon, the local American Association of University Professors (AAUP) called a meeting in the campus Art Studio, where the faculty began a discussion of alternatives to the cuts in their numbers. Wagner arrived, turning the gathering into an official faculty meeting and giving another lecture on the necessity of making tough-minded decisions. He did, however, agree to hold another meeting that Sunday, at which time practical alternatives could be presented and discussed. If Wagner had understood how transformative decisions were made in a democratic small college — indeed, if he had any administrative experience at all — he might have employed such a strategy several months earlier to positive effect. At this point, however, a meeting with an angry and bewildered faculty was bound to be explosive. The imperiousness of Wagner’s governance style had become obvious to everyone, as news of the mass dismissals spread like a brushfire throughout the campus. On Friday, a student group met in the dean’s and the treasurer’s offices to suggest ways in which they could help the college save money. Ideas included student participation without pay in maintenance, dormitory and dining-room work. A large group of students gathered the next morning to discuss the dismissal issue, but the mood turned sour when it was learned that Wagner wouldn’t grant them an audience. The group dispersed only after student leaders pledged to
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Hugh McKean (standing), an art professor and soon-to-be president, told a trustees’ committee: “We are some of the members of the faculty who think that Mr. Wagner should resign as president. We do not wish to take up your time with conversation; we just wish to show ourselves and make this statement.”
persuade the president to attend another meeting on Sunday evening. But as the weekend got underway, the campus boiled with activity. Small groups of students and faculty met informally and spontaneously, seeking to separate rumor from fact. By midSunday afternoon, both groups felt increasingly angry and disrespected. At that day’s faculty meeting in Dyer Hall, attended by Wagner, a motion was unanimously passed demanding that “the president right here and now rescind the dismissals and begin work with the faculty and students on alternative proposals.” Wagner quietly remarked that he had no authority to revoke a decision made by the trustees. The faculty then assembled a special committee to confer with the trustees “on the whole problem and to resolve the situation.” Wagner, who was asked to leave, acquiesced. But it would be the last time he would be sent away without putting up a fight. With the president out of the room, Nathan Starr introduced a resolution that stated: “The faculty feels that the present situation within the college has been handled improperly and could have been avoided. Our confidence in the presidential leadership has been irreparably damaged.”
A long discussion of this “no confidence” resolution ended at 6:30 p.m., when the meeting recessed with no vote, but with a plan to reconvene “without the president” on the following Tuesday. As the faculty filed out, a crowd of several hundred students had gathered in the student center awaiting their rescheduled meeting with Wagner. The president was joined by the executive committee and, for reasons not quite clear, the mayor of Winter Park, William McCauley. It was perhaps Wagner’s last opportunity to prevent a full-fledged campus revolt. Student president Kenneth Horton opened the meeting with a plea for calm and restraint. “Nothing constructive,” he cautioned, “can be achieved through emotional upheaval.” Other student leaders echoed Horton’s plea for a rational discussion. But one student, Hal Suit, a veteran of World War II who had lost a leg at the Battle of the Bulge, was having none of it. The dismissals, Suit stated, had lowered the quality of education at Rollins and, in effect, “broke student contracts.” Executive committee member Eugene Smith, not Wagner, attempted to respond. To the contrary, Smith said, the president and the trustees were upholding college standards by forestalling bankruptcy. He insinuated that the students
ought to be thankful for Wagner’s wise leadership in such difficult times. Suit, however, wouldn’t be easily pacified. If the college was in such dire straits, he asked, why was so much money spent on decorating the president’s office and in furnishing the president’s home? Wagner, who to this point had remained silent, responded that the trustees wanted constructive answers, not insulting questions. When students groaned at the admonition, Wagner noted that he had made a $75,000 cut in administrative services during the last two years. Another student asked why Wagner had refused to accept faculty offers to teach without compensation. When the president replied that no one had made such an offer, the student brandished a list of five names. “Let me see those names,” Wagner demanded, but the student refused. At that point, Wagner abruptly walked out of the meeting, accompanied by the mayor and the executive committee. His peevish behavior served only to unify faculty and students into a solid core of opposition. As a result, the college was edging toward the brink of a major crisis that would leave a residue of hatred and resentment for several decades afterward. After the contentious student meeting, opposing forces coalesced: the president, his staff,
the executive committee and, later, a coalition of Winter Park citizens on one side; faculty, students, alumni and a majority of the trustees on the other. Retiring to their appropriate redoubts, they gathered ammunition for their causes and began hurling accusations, resolutions and press releases at one another. Faculty members initiated the first skirmish when they reconvened on Tuesday, March 13. They listened politely — but without sympathy — to impassioned speeches by members of Wagner’s staff, who professed loyalty to the president and faith in “his honesty, sincerity and integrity.” Following the testimonials, the faculty passed a statement lauding the president’s and the trustees for their “tireless efforts,” but also taking exception to the arbitrary manner in which Wagner had acted. The dismissals represented a violation of the spirit and letter of the college’s rules on tenure, the statement read. Further, Wagner’s unwillingness to at least hear out students was harshly criticized: “We deplore the failure to take advantage of student sentiment. The shock to the student body was profound. With youthful idealism the students are asking for guidance and advice as to how and where they can help and will be bitterly disappointed if it be not forthcoming.” On the same day, almost simultaneously, the executive committee prepared its own statement, arguing that economic conditions mandated drastic action. It was unfortunate, the statement read, that “the natural distress over the loss of valued members had led to insinuation and charges of personal vindictiveness” toward the president. “The existence of this college is at stake,” the statement continued. “Personal considerations and personal feelings, important as they may be, must under such circumstances be subordinated
releases supportive of his cause. A student committee began meeting with a faculty counterpart, and held gatherings almost daily in the student center. The editor of The Sandspur, the campus newspaper, expressed student attitudes through weekly editorials, accusing Wagner of breaking his word and of taking the college “down the rocky road of ruin.” Two days after the faculty meeting, another group — and a highly influential one at that — weighed in. The Alumni Executive Committee, headed by local aviation executive Howard Showalter, announced that it had lost confidence in the president’s “judgment and leadership,” and called upon the trustees to remove him. On that same day, Winthrop Bancroft, chairman of the trustees, took action that would lead ultimately to the end of Wagner’s stormy presidency. He appointed fellow trustees George Carrison, Milton Warner and Eldridge Haynes to investigate the campus upheaval. The Rollins row already dominated local news and, by mid-March, it had been picked up by national wire services. The Christian Science Monitor carried a story on the faculty cuts and the ensuing discontent. A few days later, The New York Times cited the turmoil in an article on the effect of the Korean War on higher education. A week later, Time and Life carried the news of the Wagner Affair, both placing it in the context of a national educational malaise. Some aspect of the tumult appeared almost daily on the front page of the Orlando Morning Sentinel or the Orlando Evening Star. The Carrison Committee convened on Wednesday, March 21, to hear everyone who had made appointments to speak. The trio met with all factions, spending several hours with a faculty delegation and a total of 107 hours with individuals.
“We deplore the failure to take advantage of student sentiment. The shock to the student body was profound. With youthful idealism the students are asking for guidance and advice as to how and where they can help and will be bitterly disappointed if it be not forthcoming.” — Rollins College faculty statement to the preservation of an institution in the value of which we so strongly believe.” The dueling documents were circumspect in language, but revealed hardening positions on both sides. In the following days, there were plenty of meetings — but no meeting of the minds. In the subsequent weeks, pro- and anti-Wagner factions tore the campus asunder attempting to force the surrender of the other. Through the public relations office, the president issued news
The following morning, the committee received a group of 34 faculty members. Art professor Hugh McKean, the spokesperson, was succinct in his remarks: “We are some of the members of the faculty who think that Mr. Wagner should resign as president. We do not wish to take up your time with conversation; we just wish to show ourselves and make this statement.” Carrison asked for a show of hands to gauge support for McKean’s position. All 34 indicated S PRING 2 0 1 7 | W IN T ER PARK MAGAZ IN E
agreement, with several reporting that they held proxies for others who couldn’t attend. The demonstration of solidarity greatly affected committee members, especially Haynes, previously a Wagner supporter. In fact, Wagner had insisted that Haynes serve on the committee alongside Carrison and Warner. The following day, the executive committee — which had previously praised Wagner’s decisiveness and given him both a raise and a contract extension — invited the Carrison Committee to a meeting in the president’s office. There, its members heard Wagner read several supportive letters from students, faculty and alumni. In addition, the beleaguered president made a lengthy speech accusing his opponents of using “communist and fascist tactics.” On Friday, the Carrison Committee again met with the president and the executive committee, to whom Haynes presented findings and recommendations. The evidence proved, Haynes said, that Wagner could not possibly continue in his present role unless he was willing to do a complete about-face. “He should immediately call a meeting of all faculty members, students and alumni and tell them, in his best manner, that he and the board had misjudged the tremendous response that was made by the Rollins family,” Hayes said. Further, Wagner should recommend that the trustees reinstate the dismissed faculty mem-
No president, Holt declared, could operate effectively with both students and faculty aligned against him. Therefore, he concluded, Wagner should resign for the good of the college. When Wagner refused the entreaty, a disillusioned Holt — no stranger to controversy during his own tenure, but surely baffled that his judgment had so thoroughly betrayed him in the case of Wagner — sent a copy of his letter to the Orlando Morning Sentinel, which published it on the front page. Holt died a few days later, the Wagner Affair still unresolved — but careening toward a reckoning.
Tension prevailed when Bancroft opened the much-anticipated Saturday trustee meeting. The Carrison Committee, after presenting its report, solemnly recommended the president’s dismissal. After a brief silence, the room erupted into a cacophony of heated accusations and unstructured debate. As one trustee later recalled: “Everyone was furious. Everyone was shouting. Ray Maguire [a trustee and the college attorney] was pacing up and down, shouting things no one had asked him to say and no one was listening to.” Some called for adjournment; others protested that they were leaving town that evening and wanted a resolution. Finally, after Bancroft restored order, the trustees agreed to adjourn
“He should immediately call a meeting of all faculty members, students and alumni and tell them, in his best manner, that he and the board had misjudged the tremendous response that was made by the Rollins family.” — Eldridge Haynes, Rollins College trustee bers, and agree to “gamble on our ability to get students, to raise money and keep Rollins as we know it.” The president should also personally commit to an aggressive fundraising effort, Haynes added. Wagner burst into a long, agitated speech charging “character assassination” and condemning the persecution he had been forced to endure. Pressed for a reply regarding a reversal of course, he promised to give his answer in a few days. But weeks passed with no response from Wagner. In the meantime, the Carrison Committee began preparing a report for a special trustees’ meeting slated for Saturday, April 14. Then, Hamilton Holt — his leg recently amputated due to a foot infection and his health rapidly failing — finally offered an opinion. On April 10, from his home in Connecticut, “Prexy” wrote his young successor that, as far as he could determine, the situation was untenable.
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until the following morning, hoping to resume deliberations in a less volatile environment. That night, opposing forces prepared strategy for the Sunday-afternoon showdown. When Bancroft called the meeting to order, two members simultaneously asked to be recognized. By prearrangement, Bancroft recognized trustee Miller Walton, who moved to adjourn and reconvene on April 27 in New York. Wagner, who wanted a debate, shouted “Point of order! Point of order!” But Bancroft ruled that the motion wasn’t debatable and, over the objections of Maguire — who contended that parliamentary rules were being ignored — broke a seven-seven tie to ensure its passage. Although neither Wagner nor the executive committee appeared in New York, a bare quorum of 11 trustees did assemble. By then, a facesaving plan had emerged. If Wagner would resign the presidency, the trustees would place him in
charge of a “Commission to Study the Financial Problems of Liberal Arts Colleges” throughout the nation. They gave Wagner until May 3 to accept or reject the offer. Rejection, however, meant dismissal, so the intent was for Wagner to be removed from office either way. A discussion followed regarding “possible persons who might be able to save the college from ruin.” Hugh McKean, the art professor and Holt protégé, emerged as the preferred candidate and was conferred something akin to president-inwaiting status. Haynes personally discussed the trustees’ proposal with Wagner, who seemed genuinely interested in the prospect of heading such a commission. Still, he tearfully said, he wanted most of all to remain president of the college. Hayes simply couldn’t convince him that this option wasn’t being offered. Again, Wagner agreed only to give the matter serious thought. But by the time May 3 arrived, he had not responded to the trustees. McKean then automatically became acting president, despite Wagner’s continued — and obviously unwelcome — presence on campus. In fact, Wagner still occupied the president’s office in Warren Hall, compelling the man tapped as his replacement to set up shop in the nearby Morse Art Gallery, which he directed and which his wife, Jeannette, had founded. Rollins, implausibly, now had two presidents. Wagner, who had technically not yet been fired — at least not in a manner that he regarded as legitimate — marshaled support where he could find it. A “Citizens Committee for Rollins College” placed a full-page ad in the Orlando Morning Sentinel beseeching locals to rally around a man whom the campus community had vehemently rejected. On May 10, a majority of students walked out of classes and refused to return until Wagner resigned. Wagner called a faculty meeting the following day to determine “what action the faculty wished to take toward the student strike.” The unsurprisingly hostile gathering lasted all of 15 minutes. Two days later, the college’s deans announced that “in order to restore harmony,” they would begin working with McKean rather than Wagner. A group of trustees headed by Carrison met with Wagner, hoping against hope to persuade him to resign quietly, thereby ending the standoff and preserving for him some measure of personal dignity. It was not to be. “Paul, this is getting us nowhere,” Carrison told Wagner. “The time has come when we cannot negotiate any further.” It could be argued that the time had, in fact, long passed. Carrison then handed Wagner a letter of dismissal, left the meeting and walked to the Morse Gallery of Art, where a press conference had been arranged and where a sizable group of fac-
lando papers. The first ad asked “Who Owns Rollins College?” It listed the names of the trustees who had attended the New York meeting, and implied that they had acted illegally. The second ad, labeled “Fair Play the American Way,” accused the trustees of defaulting on their promise to back Wagner following the downsizing decision. An anti-Wagner group responded with its own full-page ad, explaining “What Rollins is Trying to Achieve.” On May 21, Wagner filed a $500,000 lawsuit against the 11 trustees who had voted for his dismissal. And then, to further complicate matters, the Florida Legislature inserted itself. The local legislative delegation, at the behest of influential pro-Wagner campaigners, had pushed through a bill ousting all out-of-state members from the board of trustees. “It is the duty of the Legislature,” the pro-Wagner committee declared, “to remove this valuable asset of the state from the grasp of a small group of selfish and irresponsible men from other states and their rabble-rousing followers on the campus, and put it under the control of open-minded, capable people close to the situation and aware of the interests of Central Florida and the whole state.” News of the bill threw the campus into turmoil once again. A hastily called meeting of faculty, students and townspeople resulted in a “Friends of the College Committee,” which began mobilizing opposition. More than 200 people in cars and buses traveled to Tallahassee seeking to scuttle the bill, which was seen as unprecedented meddling in the internal affairs of a private institution of higher learning. In the face of mounting pressure, representatives asked Governor Fuller Warren to return the bill for a second consideration and, on May 28, both houses unanimously rescinded the ill-conceived legislation.
ulty, students and alumni had assembled. At the gathering, Carrison announced that McKean had been appointed president of the college. The next day, McKean called an all-college meeting at the Annie Russell Theatre, where he, Tiedtke and Carrison gave victory speeches to an ecstatic audience. When the meeting ended, students spontaneously lifted McKean on their shoulders and carried him through the campus, exuding optimism and shouting cheers. The euphoria, however, would be short-lived.
Four days later, the Orlando Morning Sentinel’s front-page headline read: “Wagner Says Still President.” An accompanying story explained that the deposed president refused to recognize the legality of the action taken at the New York trustees’ meeting. The executive committee, which still consisted of Wagner loyalists, held a special meeting to discuss the matter, but failed to secure a quorum as trustees pointedly stayed away. A pro-Wagner citizens committee, after holding a large meeting at the Winter Park Country Club, began publishing a series of ads in the Or-
The following day, the trustees held their regularly scheduled — and now critical — commencement meeting, at which they would either reconfirm or reverse the decision made in New York. When members arrived at the conference room of Knowles Memorial Chapel, they found Wagner and his attorneys already seated. Bancroft gaveled the meeting to order, called the roll — 15 members were present — and then declared a recess, during which he asked Wagner and his team to leave the meeting. When they refused, Bancroft reconvened the meeting and announced that it would be moved to the Morse Art Gallery. The Wagner contingent, Bancroft insisted, would be barred from the building “unless they use force to enter.” An escalation S PRING 2 0 1 7 | W IN T ER PARK MAGAZ IN E
ORIGINAL IMAGE COURTESY OF THE ROLLINS COLLEGE ARCHIVES
Arthur Enyart (top), former dean, reads, likely with some satisfaction, of Wagner’s travails. Just a few months before, Enyart and Nathan Starr, an English professor caught up in Wagner’s purge, had met cordially with the new president (above).
PHOTO COURTESY OF THE ROLLINS COLLEGE ARCHIVES
Wagner and his family received a police escort off campus when the beleaguered former president was finally ousted. The grim and angry faces of the students surrounding them indicate how thoroughly the campus community had soured on Wagner during his brief tenure.
was averted when Wagner and his attorneys did not follow the trustees to the new location. Then, in quick succession, trustees Raymond Greene, Louis Orr, Eugene Smith and Ray Maguire resigned, leaving the remaining trustees to affirm the results of the New York meeting, and to formally remove Wagner as president “effective instantly.” Still, Wagner continued his suit and hovered around campus for several days, watching commencement exercises from a distance. He didn’t relinquish the keys to the president’s office until June 8 — more than a month after his dismissal. McKean took possession of the space five days later, and would occupy it until 1969. A grim-faced Wagner and his frightened family, menacingly surrounded by students whose angry expressions were captured by news photographers, had to be escorted off the campus under police protection. The AP carried a news story shortly after Wagner’s departure announcing that the “ousted college prexy” had enrolled in the Stetson University College of Law, from which he had received an honorary degree in 1949.
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“The 33-year-old educator said he was interested in a particular problem and was taking the course in order to do research on it,” the article read, adding cryptically, “He did not give details.” Perhaps Wagner’s motivation was the ongoing lawsuit against the college, which was settled in 1953 for $50,000. But by then, he had left Central Florida, and was seeking to rebuild his life and career far from Florida. Not surprisingly, for a man of Wagner’s gifts, he bounced back. The deposed president went on to become executive director of the Chicago-based Film Council of America, then a vice president of the New York-based public relations firm Hill & Knowlton in Manhattan. He divorced and remarried Jeanette Sarkisian, who later became vice president of the Estee Lauder Companies. After her retirement in 1999, the couple founded a public relations firm specifically to work with nonprofits on a pro bono basis. Sarkisian’s stature was such that she was invited to lecture at the college’s Crummer Graduate School of Business in the late ’80s. Apparently, no one realized that her husband had once been the institution’s president, and that he remained
persona non grata in some circles. Then-President Thaddeus Seymour, however, got wind of the visit. He graciously invited Wagner, who had accompanied his wife, to tour the campus with him. The sight of Wagner, even decades later, left some professors who had lived through his reign — or had heard stories about it — in shock.
Wagner, who died in 2015 at 98, lived his final years in historic Sag Harbor, New York. Whatever responsibility the college bears for making a rather impetuous hire, Wagner and Wagner alone was responsible for his downfall. Pure hubris deprived the college of his insight into the future of higher education, and the opportunity to position itself at the forefront of coming technological innovations. The Wagner Affair left the campus community exhausted, and longing for peace and harmony. As a result, it looked backward, to the perceived harmony of the Holt years, thereby ensuring that “Prexy” would continue to cast a long shadow.
GETTING TO KNOW THE REAL WAGNER
BY THADDEUS SEYMOUR SR.
Soon, I persuaded Paul to send a favorite photo for display in the administration building. He sent a handsome Bachrach portrait, but it disappeared from the wall within a week. At my awkward request, he sent another one, and we used bolts to hang it. Jeanette was at the time vice chairman of the Estee Lauder Companies, and some years later the Crummer Graduate School of Business invited her down to speak, unaware of her husband’s notorious Rollins connection. He accompanied her, stopped by my office, and I had the fun of showing him around the campus, with all its exciting and handsome new developments. I even bought him a Rollins T-shirt. We kept in touch, usually via Christmas cards, over the years. One summer about 10 years ago we were visiting our son and his family on Shelter Island, a small community at the end of Long Island. On the map, I discovered that it was next to Sag Harbor, and I remembered that the Wagners had a summer home there. One phone call and we were together for lunch. That’s where Polly took the snapshot that accompanies this story. We continued to stay in touch, including occasional luncheons when we were visiting Long Island. We’ll miss those congenial gatherings and conversations, which covered a range of interesting subjects. But the one topic he would never discuss was his brief tenure as president of Rollins College. Editor’s Note: Thaddeus Seymour was president of Rollins College from 1978-1990. He is today president emeritus and, with his wife, Polly, remains involved in an array of college programs and community organizations.
During a visit to New York in the early ’80s, then-president Thaddeus Seymour (left) sought out Wagner. He and his wife, Polly, established a friendship with Wagner and his wife, Jeanette Sarkisian (center and right). Ironically, when Sarkisian was later invited to speak at Rollins, no one realized that she was married to the controversial former president. Wagner accompanied his wife on the trip to Winter Park, and Seymour took great delight in escorting him around the campus from which he had been banished decades earlier. This photograph was taken in Sag Harbor during a 1996 visit.
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PHOTO COURTESY OF THADDEUS AND POLLY SEYMOUR
It was a real treat to get to know Paul Wagner and his delightful wife, Jeanette Sarkisian. We met almost by accident. “The Wagner Affair” is famous, indeed infamous, among those who lived through it in the ’50s. Front-page stories about it appeared in almost every issue of the Orlando Morning Sentinel and the Orlando Evening Star, and the controversy was even prominently featured in Life magazine and newspapers around the country via wire service reports. By the time Polly and I arrived in 1978, though, Paul Wagner’s name was never mentioned, and there was no visible indication that he had ever served as the ninth president of Rollins College from 1949 to 1951. There was no portrait of him hanging on a wall, and no mention of his name in catalogues or handbooks. When I asked, no one seemed to know “what had become of him.” For the heck of it, one day on a trip to New York, I picked up the phone book (you remember those) and looked up “Wagner, Paul A.” Then I dialed the number. “I’m sorry to bother you,” I said. “but I’m trying to locate the Paul Wagner who was president of Rollins College.” Pause. “Yes … ?” We met in the Metropolitan Club for a drink and a cordial visit, and I began a mission to bring him back into the Rollins family. It wasn’t easy. There were many people, including trustees, who were still furious about his dropping football and firing half the faculty during his twoyear tenure. One major donor threatened to cut off his substantial financial support if I “let the SOB back on the campus.” But time heals and donors go to their rewards.
Maria Van Warner
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At the Bert W. Martin Tennis Complex, adjacent to the Harold & Ted Alfond Sports Center at Rollins College, Kimberly from Modern Muse shows off the latest in fitness wear. Spring in Florida — not too hot, not too cool — is an ideal time to get outdoors and get active, shedding those extra winter pounds and toning up for summer — which is right around the corner.
Kimberly wears a pair of multicolor Jigsaw relay capri pants ($74), an electric blue City Slicker jacket ($178), an Electric Geo Triple Dare sports bra ($59) and a Zipster headband ($14). All are from Athleta at the Mall at Millenia. The tennis shoes are the stylist’s own. S PRING 2 0 1 7 | W INT ER PARK MAGAZ IN E
Kimberly wears a two-piece pineapple print Maaji Activewear set ($72) and a Lavender Brown bomber jacket ($259). Both are from Charyli on Park Avenue. The tennis shoes are the stylist’s own.
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Kimberly wears a white perforated leather vest by Jackett ... Etc ($595), a white bralette by Nikibiki ($18), a white shirtail tank top by R&R Surplus ($80), white cropped jogger pants by Sundays ($55), a pair of black and white slip-on sneaker wedges by Kendal + Kylie ($125) and white marble bead bracelets by Gemera’s Gems ($28 each). All are from Tuni on Park Avenue. S PRING 2 0 1 7 | W INT ER PARK MAGAZ IN E
Kimberly wears a pink Wildfox sweater ($108), a gray and neon pink print Maaji Activewear sports bra ($54) and a pair of neon pink print waistband detail gray Maaji Activewear capris ($72). All are from Charyli on Park Avenue. She also wears a pair of nude New Balance Studio Skins ($55), and the rolled-up yoga mat is by Manduka ($40). Both are from Athleta at the Mall at Millenia.
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Kimberly has a Cameo bucket sling bag ($108), and wears a silver gray Journey jacket ($128), High Rise tropical mesh leggings ($89), a Stripe Triple Dare sports bra ($54), a pair of khaki green Hudson shorties ($49) and silver Birkenstock sandals ($95). All are from Athleta at the Mall at Millenia.
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A LEGACY PROJECT ON
PARK AVENUE W I N T E R PA R K , F LO R I D A
Hill Gray Sevenâ€™s Park Hill raises the bar on luxury at a one-of-a-kind location.
S P E C I A L
R E P O R T
The Hill family (left to right): Gregg Hill Jr., Gray Hill, Gregg Hill Sr. and Drew Hill.
SETTING A NEW STANDARD
elcome to Hill Gray Seven LLC. Although we’re active in 17 states, we’re particularly excited about Park Hill. As a Winter Park resident, it’s a project in which I take particular pride. In fact, you might call it our legacy project. Simply put, we wanted to develop the most luxurious townhomes ever offered in Central Florida — in the best location imaginable. That’s why we were so pleased when we had an opportunity to buy residential property — the last property of its kind — on Park Avenue in the heart of the downtown district. Frankly, the opportunity to develop this one-of-a-kind parcel came with great responsibility. Park Avenue is internationally known for its beauty and charm. So it was incumbent on us to spearhead a project worthy of the address — a project that raises the bar and sets a new standard for luxury living. We think you’ll agree that we’ve accomplished exactly what we set out to do. For me, Park Hill will be a legacy project. Thirty years from now, I fully expect to be bragging about it to my grandchildren. Honestly, there were more profitable options available to us. But we chose instead to spare no expense, cut no corners and create something unlike anything Central Florida has ever seen. If you believe the Park Hill lifestyle is right for you, I encourage you to call me right away. There are only 10 homes available, and five are sold already. We expect that they will be the last new homes constructed on Park Avenue, in the heart of Winter Park’s downtown core. I look forward to discussing Park Hill with you in person. You may call me at 407-588-2122, or Mick Night, Realtor, at Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate, 407-629-4446 or 407-718-1527. Drew Hill Partner Hill Gray Seven LLC
2 A LEGACY PROJECT ON PARK AVENUE
Park Hill, an ultra-luxury townhome project, offers a rare opportunity to live directly on Park Avenue in downtown Winter Park. Five of the 10 homes have already been sold.
rew Hill had a vision. He just didn’t know, at first, where he’d be able to make it a reality. He wanted to build the most luxurious townhomes ever offered in Central Florida, townhomes that rivaled anything you’d find in the most affluent urban neighborhoods in the Northeast. Hill, a Winter Park resident, wanted to create a legacy project for his family-owned company, Hill Gray Seven LLC. He wanted a project that would retain its wow factor for generations to come; a project that would permanently raise the bar locally for high-end townhomes; a project in which no compromises would be accepted, no expense would be spared and no detail would be overlooked. But, Hill realized, the location for such an over-the-top endeavor had to be every bit as extraordinary as the opulent but dignified buildings he imagined. You couldn’t develop a project of this caliber and plunk it down just anywhere, even in the most affluent suburb. Then it hit him. Why not Park Avenue, perhaps the best-known thoroughfare in the region? Why not squarely in the vibrant heart of Winter Park’s lively, picture-postcard downtown district, with its beguiling European-meets-Mediterranean ambience and its intriguing assortment of boutiques, restaurants and museums? He’d call the project Park Hill and market it toward baby boomers, some of whom may be downsizing from lakefront mansions but aren’t
willing to swap the luxury to which they’re accustomed for the hasslefree lifestyle offered by townhome living. Why not have both? “We felt there was a need for this product, especially for people who want a luxurious setting but also want to be able to lock and leave and not worry about maintenance,” says Hill, a Rollins College graduate who runs the Oviedo-based investment and development company along with his father, Gregg Hill Sr., and brothers, Gray Hill and Gregg Hill Jr. Sure, everyone would love to have a Park Avenue address. But where could a new residential project be built in the downtown core? Only one place, as it turns out, and Hill Gray Seven quickly snapped it up. It’s
A LEGACY PROJECT ON PARK AVENUE 3
The three rear Park Hill homes face Whipple Avenue and the Winter Park Country Club golf course. All the homes, however, have a Park Avenue address.
two parcels totaling roughly an acre at the southwest corner of North Park Avenue and Whipple Avenue. The site had encompassed the 18-unit Spanish Oaks Apartments and the eight-unit Golfview Apartments, both built in the 1960s and 1970s. In January, Hill Gray Seven paid $5.2 million for the property and put its ambitious plan in motion. Construction has begun with a fall 2017 completion date. The project will include 10 three-bedroom homes with private elevators, two-car garages, private first-floor courtyards and covered rooftop terraces with summer kitchens and fireplaces. Seven of the 10 homes will front Park Avenue and encompass about
4 A LEGACY PROJECT ON PARK AVENUE
4,300 square feet of living area. They’ll have three bedrooms, three bathrooms and two half-bathrooms. Three other homes, equally luxurious at 3,300 square feet of living area, will have one less full bathroom. They’re separated from the row of seven homes by a private bricked driveway and face the Winter Park Country Club golf course across Whipple. All 10, however, will boast a Park Avenue address. Prices start at about $3.35 million for the larger seven homes and at about $2.65 million for the smaller three homes. Hill believes they’ll go quickly at that price. “No one has attempted anything like this in Central Florida,” Hill says. “And the only place it could really work is Park Avenue. That’s why we
Park Hill isn’t Hill Gray Seven’s only Winter Park project. Nearby, on quiet Pennsylvania Avenue, is four-unit Penn Place.
WELCOME TO PENN PLACE Hill Gray Seven LLC has recently completed another high-end townhome project not far from Park Avenue. Penn Place is a four-unit project on the southwest corner of Pennsylvania and Minnesota avenues. It’s across from the Winter Park High School Ninth Grade Center and near the eastern entrance to Mead Garden, one of the most beautiful and tranquil botanical gardens in Central Florida. Penn Place, also designed by Slocum Platts and built by Zoltan Construction, offers 3,300-square-foot homes with three or four bedrooms. They’re comparable to Park Hill, with elevators, highstyle finishes, private courtyards and two-car garages. These two-story townhomes feature 11-foot ceilings on both floors and interior design by Mark Rash Interiors. Rollins College is about a five-minute stroll away, and the project is surrounded by charming historic homes lining walkable brick streets. Prices start at about $1.1 million. For more information, contact Mick Night, Realtor, at Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate, 407-629-4446 or 407-718-1527.
were willing to pay whatever it cost to get the property. That’s why this is something no one else can replicate. There’s really no competition.” Hill says he didn’t want Park Hill to look like anything you’d typically find in Florida. “I want people to look at this and say, ‘That fits in; that’s Park Avenue,’” Hill adds. The architect is award-winning, Maitland-based Slocum Platts. Company principle Randall J. Slocum says Hill gave him general guidelines, including the instruction that he wanted “a more northern look, with lots of brick and stone and a high level of detail.” Slocum delivered a classically stylish design that buyers in the upper stratosphere will appreciate. The beautifully detailed facades feature
smooth precast stone on the first floor, and rustic handmade brick on the upper floors. Mansard slate roofs add a European touch. The flashing and gutters are copper, and the exterior window trim, cornices and quoins are precast stone, demonstrating Hill’s insistence that there’ll be no corner-cutting on materials. The complex is surrounded by a decorative iron fence with Europeanstyle gaslights topping brick columns. The walkways are bluestone, and the landscaping — maintained by an owners’ association — is lush. Interiors, by Orlando-based Mark Rash, are no less impressive. Buyers will be able to choose from among several general styles, Hill says, from contemporary to transitional to traditional. All the homes will feature
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Dramatic open spaces ideal for entertaining or family time are shown in the floorplan for a first-floor end unit.
high-style detailing, such as coffered ceilings and crown molding, as well as hardwood floors, marble countertops and cabinetry custom-made to the buyer’s specifications. Master bathrooms will have rainhead showers and large soaking tubs as well as his-and-hers vanities, while gourmet kitchens will boast top-ofthe-line Wolf appliances. There’ll be wet bars and wine towers that can store up to 160 bottles. Perhaps the most impressive design feature will be three stories of glass along the back walls. That
means natural light will spill unimpeded into every floor. Construction will be energy efficient and airtight, with spray-foam insulation and high-SEER Carrier air conditioning units. Smart-home technology, including security systems, will be state-of-the-art. You’ll need to act quickly to secure your Park Hill home. Of the 10 homes, five have already been sold. For more information, contact Mick Night, Realtor, at Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate, 407-629-4446 or 407-718-1527.
Hill Gray Seven LLC is a family-owned company that develops high-end residential, retail, office, medical and industrial projects in more than 17 states. The company is a preferred developer to many national firms such as DaVita Dialysis, a Fortune 500 company.
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Mark Rash Interiors is the interior designer for Park Hill. Although high-style finishes are common to all the homes, buyers will be able to select from contemporary, traditional and transitional styles.
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Downtown Winter Park features beautiful Central Park and the picture-postcard shopping district. The 100-year-old Winter Park Country Club is across the street.
DELIGHTFULLY DOWNTOWN Surely just about everyone who has visited downtown Winter Park has mused, “I’d sure like to live on Park Avenue.” However, the picture-postcard downtown district — especially Park Avenue itself — has offered precious few such opportunities. Park Hill, an ultra-luxury townhome project by Hill Gray Seven LLC, will be the only new residential construction along the stretch of Park Avenue that encompasses downtown and its many charms. In fact, Park Hill may fairly be described as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The Park Avenue shopping and dining district dates to 1887. By the turn of the century it included a general store, a railroad depot, a bakery, a watchmaker, a saw mill, a wagon factory, an ice house and a combination livery stable and blacksmith shop. Today, it’s Central Florida’s undisputed retail, dining, cultural and intellectual hub. Park Hill residents will be just steps from some of the region’s finest restaurants, from Tex-Mex to Turkish, and most fashion-forward boutiques. The world-renowned Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art and its astounding collection of Louis Comfort Tiffany creations is two blocks south.
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And the historic Winter Park Country Club, where the golf course has undergone a $1.2 million renovation, is right across the street. So is the adjacent Casa Feliz Historic Home and Museum. Eleven-acre Central Park is the scene of numerous concerts and festivals, including the annual Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival, the Olde Fashioned 4th of July Celebration and the Bach Festival of Winter Park’s Christmas in the Park. Park Hill residents will never have to worry about finding a parking space for these popular events. And it’ll be an easy stroll to the Winter Park Farmers’ Market, held every Saturday. The Winter Park History Museum is in the historic depot around which the market is held. Rollins College anchors the south end of Park Avenue. There you’ll find the Cornell Fine Arts Museum and its eclectic and encyclopedic collection. Or you can attend a concert, a lecture or a sporting event on the beautiful campus. If you have more guests than you can accommodate — and in this location, that’s entirely possible — you can send them to the Alfond Inn, located just a block off Park Avenue. The boutique hotel has been named by Condé Nast Traveler as one of the best in the nation.
living well I N W I N T E R PA R K
HOW DOES YOUR GARDEN GROW?
John Rife on Homegrown Food and Homemade Honey.
HEADQUARTERS FOR HEALTH
Winter Park’s World-Class Wellness Center is on the Rise.
THE BEST IS YET TO COME
Why Winter Park is a Great Place for Boomers and Beyond.
John Rife, owner of East End Market and home-gardening guru. Photo by Rafael Tongol.
A S P E C I A L S E C T I O N O F W I N T E R PA R K M A G A Z I N E
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WI N T ER PAR K WI L L LEAD A
WELLNESS REVOLUTION The Center for Health & Wellbeing will offer an integrative approach in a state-of-the-art new facility. BY DANA S. EAGLES
Winter Park’s Center for Health & Wellbeing will bring fitness, medicine and wellness education together in one state-of-theart facility, which will encompass clinical space, activity rooms, a café, a demonstration kitchen and a new-and-improved version of the Peggy & Philip B. Crosby Wellness Center YMCA.
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PHOTO BY RAFAEL TONGOL
n Winter Park, wellness is becoming much more than a worthy goal. It’s taking physical form as construction starts on the Center for Health & Wellbeing, which will bring fitness, medicine and wellness education together in a building designed to stir both body and soul. The $40 million center, created through a partnership of the Winter Park Health Foundation and Winter Park Memorial Hospital, is expected to open late next year just south of the hospital on the site of the old Peggy and Philip B. Crosby Wellness Center YMCA, which has been razed to make way for construction. The Center for Health & Wellbeing will have clinical space, rooms for education and community activities, a café and demonstration kitchen, and an upgraded Crosby Y, whose members are using other facilities during construction. The Crosby Y will be the only part of the new center requiring a membership. Since its inception in 1994, the foundation has been known for quietly funding health programs through grants and partnerships in Winter Park, Maitland and Eatonville — from fight-
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ing diabetes to placing nurses in public schools. In 2015, by its own calculation, the foundation had a community impact of almost $5.3 million. But as the center’s developer, it’s becoming much more visible in its support for wellness, which is a concept that means different things to different people. “We embrace that variability,” says Patty Maddox, the foundation’s longtime president and CEO. Factors such as mobility and mental readiness can determine the meaning of wellness for individuals, she adds. “We want people to feel comfortable — what’s the best they can be?” The two-story center, with its light-flooded grand hall called The Commons, abundant gardens and site bordering the city’s 66-acre Ward Park, will be a landmark that can serve as a constant reminder that “health is important and pervasive,” Maddox says. At the heart of the center’s mission is integration. It will bring together in one place services that can help people improve and maintain their health — with free parking in a five-level garage. The center will be open every day of the week, with evening hours, too. Members of the Crosby
Y will swim, work out on fitness machines or learn exercise routines in classes. Winter Park Memorial clinicians will offer consultation, therapy and rehabilitation. Experts will help home cooks learn how to prepare healthful meals. Walkers will use tracks inside the building and on the grounds. For Winter Park Memorial, the center offers a chance to “bend the cost curve” by preventing disease and keeping people out of a sick bed, says hospital Administrator Jennifer Wandersleben. The hospital is planning to offer primary care, pharmacy, nutrition, physical therapy, mental health and massage therapy services there, she says. “We want to align with their mission — they have the experience and the reach that we don’t have,” Wandersleben says of the foundation,
Patty Maddox, president and CEO of the Winter Park Health Foundation, reviews plans for the center with architect Turan Duda of Duda|Paine in Durham, North Carolina. The company also designed the Duke Integrative Medicine building at Duke University, a project that impressed foundation officials.
Crosby Y Will Become Part of the Continuum of Care With Certification
At the heart of the two-story center will be a light-flooded grand hall called The Commons, a welcoming space highlighted by warm shades of wood and an undulating ceiling.“The notion of discovery is a big one for me,”says Duda. “The power of architecture through experience to change the way you think and feel is really wonderful.”
which grew out of the sale of Winter Park Memorial first to Columbia/HCA and then to current owner Florida Hospital. The foundation and the Winter Park hospital have maintained close ties over the years. Financial incentives within the healthcare industry are shifting to value wellness and not just office visits, tests and procedures, Wandersleben says. And there’s another reason supporting wellness makes sense, she says: It was a founding principle for what eventually became Adventist Health System, Florida Hospital’s parent organization. Seventh-day Adventist medical pioneers were promoting the importance of fresh air, sunshine and healthful eating 150 years ago, she says. “We’re going back to our roots.” Dr. Eddie Needham sees the center’s significance from two vantage points: He’s the program director of the Florida Hospital Family Medicine Residency Program and a trustee of the Winter Park Health Foundation. “Preventive medicine is the ace of spades for family medicine,” says Needham. Twenty to 30 percent of Americans are hardchargers when it comes to wellness, Needham observes. He figures that another third will ignore wellness advice no matter what and will stay on
the couch watching reruns of The Walking Dead. But he has a chance to make a difference with the middle group — those who are receptive to a wellness message and whose lives might change with even one positive choice. He sees obesity and tobacco use as two especially critical “behavioral determinants” of disease. Bringing that educational message together with fitness and medicine is what will make the center distinctive, says Debbie Watson, the foundation’s vice president. “A lot of what we plan to offer is educationally oriented, to raise awareness.” Watson envisions having medical professionals available to answer questions about blood sugar, for example; an ongoing showcase for programs and products related to health; classes and lectures presented in cooperation with community partners; and a network that uses the Internet to take the message beyond the center’s walls. Maddox says she hopes people who visit one part of the center will discover new ways to stay well. “This is about building a place where people can get new information and insights into getting healthy,” she says. “I think there’ll be a lot of unintentional wellness going on.” Some unexpected wellness may come from the building itself, whose materials, gardens
The Peggy & Philip B. Crosby Wellness Center YMCA plans to begin the process of seeking Medical Fitness Association (MFA) certification for its staff. This rigorous, multiyear process will allow physicians to prescribe exercise as medicine — an increasingly popular method for encouraging fitness and disease management. “The Crosby Y is the first YMCA in the country to have gotten as far as they have,” says Bob Boone, MFA president and CEO. “There are others who have expressed interest, but the Crosby Y is farthest down the road.” With MFA certification, adds Boone, fitness centers become embedded into the local continuum of care. “That’s what’s so unique about a YMCA doing this,” he notes. “YMCAs are not typically thought of as part of the healthcare system.” Staffers at the YMCA of Central Florida are already heavily credentialed, says Mary Cox, associate executive director of the Crosby Y. Its wellness directors, personal trainers and lifestyle coaches are mandated to hold YMCA of the USA certifications. Where appropriate, they also hold certifications from the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the American Council on Exercise (ACE), among other certifying organizations, Cox notes. “An MFA-certified facility uses a member’s unique medical profile as a baseline,” says Cox. “This enables medical fitness professionals to design a dynamic, safe and medically supervised program to achieve optimal health — and to prevent and treat disease through the incorporation of exercise-based therapies.” MFA certification will give physicians “a gold standard in assurance” that they’re referring patients to a stateof-the-art facility with a highly trained staff, she notes, adding that certification could be granted by 2020.
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The $40 million center is being built just south of Winter Park Memorial Hospital on the site of the old Crosby Y. It borders 66-acre Ward Park.
“This is about building a place where people can get new information and insights into getting healthy. I think there’ll be a lot of unintentional wellness going on.” — Patty Maddox, president and CEO, Winter Park Health Foundation”
and natural light are intended to promote wellbeing. The project’s architect, Turan Duda of Duda|Paine in Durham, North Carolina, has emphasized what he calls “the healing power of nature and gardens.” Gardens around the building will have various purposes — one for contemplation, for example, and another for aroma, he says. A series of “garden walls” of varying heights — some of them part of the facade — will create what Duda calls a “layering effect” in the building’s design. “We want people to experience the outside of the building as much as the inside,” he says. Inside, the Commons will offer warm shades of wood and an undulating ceiling. Despite the Commons’ massive size, furniture will create
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“rooms within the room” and provide a sense of intimacy, Duda says. “My goal is that people who come to this space have a choice of where they are most comfortable.” Duda|Paine’s earlier design of the Duke Integrative Medicine building at Duke University helped convince the foundation that the firm was right for the Winter Park project. Maddox says foundation representatives visited other wellness-oriented centers whose programs were interesting but whose buildings were not. The Duke building, however, creates a warm, low-stress environment, partly through the use of wood, stone and plants. “We all had the same response — the building was speaking to us,” Maddox recalls. “We all felt this calming influence.”
Duda says he wants the Center for Health & Wellbeing to be transformative through architecture, just as its founders hope it can change lives through the facilities, expertise and fellowship it offers. “The notion of discovery is a big one for me,” he says. “The power of architecture through experience to change the way you think and feel is really wonderful.” The center is attracting the attention of many of the world’s leading experts in the fields of active aging and medical fitness, including Colin Milner, CEO of the International Council on Active Aging, whose organization is consulting with the foundation. “I believe this project has the potential to change the way we age,” Milner says. “It changes the way we view aging — and the way we actually live — by providing services that perhaps hadn’t been available before in your community.” Milner describes the center as “morphing from the old model of ‘senior center,’ where people used to go to congregate and socialize, to where it’s all about evolution, embracing new technologies and embracing possibilities. A center like that is literally shaking the foundation of society.” ◆
How Healthy Are We, Really? Just how healthy are people who live in and around Winter Park? Healthy Central Florida, an initiative of the Winter Park Health Foundation and Florida Hospital, has been asking that question for a while. Its most recent State of Our Health report, based on a 2014 survey, found that 60 percent of adults in Winter Park, Maitland and Eatonville rated their health as excellent or very good. Fourteen percent, however, rated it only fair or poor — and that number didn’t change much from HCF’s 2011 survey. Although HCF’s survey data is based on self-reporting, Executive Director Jill Hamilton Buss says studies show residents’ own assessments of their overall health status are actually a good indicator of a community’s health. An encouraging trend, Buss says, is the decline in the number of people who say they smoke — from an average of 16 percent across the three cities in 2011 to 11 percent in 2014. That compares to 15 percent nationwide. In Maitland, only 7 percent identified themselves as smokers in 2014. But the rate of prediabetes — elevated blood glucose levels that show a person is at risk of diabetes — was 10 percent in 2014, about twice the national rate. Buss says relatively high numbers of older residents, especially in Winter Park, may have something to do with the finding. Twelve percent of those surveyed in the three cities said they had diabetes — about
the same as in the U.S. as a whole. But the number of Eatonville residents with diabetes was almost double that number, at 23 percent. In response, HCF helped start Healthy Eatonville Place, a community center that aims to combat diabetes, obesity and other chronic health problems through education and lifestyle management. It’s operated by Florida Hospital and funded by the hospital, the foundation and pharmaceutical maker Sanofi. About 56 percent of residents in the Winter Park area were classified as overweight — and that number didn’t budge significantly between surveys. But almost half said they were trying to lose weight. Nearly one-third said they had been diagnosed with high blood pressure at some point. “Awareness is improving and the intention to get healthy is improving,” says Buss, who frequently talks to civic groups and politicians about making the community wellness-friendly through policy changes and improvements in infrastructure: building the bike lanes, sidewalks and trails that connect neighborhoods and make it possible to integrate physical activity into everyday life, for example. The survey indicated that existing amenities are being used: About 38 percent of those surveyed in 2014 said they were using a park or trail for walking, running or biking at least once a week — up from 27 percent in 2011. “The built environment is really key,” Buss says. “If you have a place to walk and bike
safely, people love to do it. People like to be where other people are.” Not every positive change requires government spending, though. Encouraged by the decline in smoking — and the survey finding that most people regard secondhand smoke as “very harmful” — HCF started a campaign called Breathe Free Winter Park. Nearly 50 restaurants have signed on voluntarily to make their outdoor patios smoke-free. Although Winter Park, Maitland and Eatonville residents cope with many of the same health challenges other communities face, they’re scoring high on an aspect of health often overlooked: happiness. Although 17 percent said they found daily life very stressful, 95 percent called themselves very or somewhat happy. The survey report is available at healthycentralflorida.org by clicking on the “Resources” tab. — Dana S. Eagles
Dimensions of Wellness Wellness means a lot more than just checking your blood pressure once in a while and skipping that second slice of pie. In creating the Center for Health & Wellbeing, the Winter Park Health Foundation was guided by the seven dimensions of wellness adopted by the International Council on Active Aging.
Here are the dimensions, along with brief descriptions from the association. For more information, visit icaa.cc.
1 EMOTIONAL: Feelings are the lens through which people view the world, and the ability to be aware of and direct one’s feelings helps to create balance in life.
4 PROFESSIONAL, VOCATIONAL: Work that utilizes a person’s skills while providing personal satisfaction is valuable for society as well as the individual. 5 SOCIAL: Interactions with family, friends, neighbors and chosen peer groups can be valuable for maintaining health.
2 INTELLECTUAL, COGNITIVE: Engaging in creative pursuits and intellectually stimulating activities is a proven approach to keeping minds alert and interested.
6 SPIRITUAL: Living with a meaning and purpose in life, guided by personal values, is key to feelings of well-being and connection to the larger world.
3 PHYSICAL: The goal of living independently is one shared by many people, and physical wellness is necessary to achieve this.
7 ENVIRONMENTAL: Good stewardship means respecting resources by choosing “green” processes and urban designs that encourage active living. living well
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URBAN FARMER East End Market’s John Rife plants gardens, tends bees and cultivates enthusiasm for the local food movement. BY RONA GINDIN
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PHOTO BY RAFAEL TONGOL
John Rife’s “Honey for Haiti” venture benefits disaster relief programs in the impoverished island nation, which is still struggling to recover from Hurricane Matthew.
on’t get rattled if you see John Rife lurking in a neighbor’s backyard wearing shiny white coveralls that appear designed to protect against radiation. He’s not investigating a toxic chemical spill. He’s simply doing what John Rife does: working on a food-related community project. The native Winter Parker, perhaps best known as the owner of East End Market on Corrine Drive in the Audubon Park Garden District, has placed more than a dozen hives in backyards all over the city. The black-and-yellow buzzers are pollinating flowers and producing honey. That white suit is standard beekeepers’ attire. Rife is gung-ho about his passion du jour. “If I find something interesting, I buy every book and watch every YouTube video about it,” he says. “We’re not doing beekeeping in a small way. In six months, we went from one beehive to 13.” Rather than keep the profits from sale of the sweet stuff — which is made from a complex mixture using honey harvested from each of the hives — Rife, 41, will bolster aid programs for Haiti, where people are still struggling to recover from the devastation of Hurricane Matthew. The honey money will be disbursed by an agriculture committee at Winter Park’s St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church. Bottles of the hyper-local “Honey for Haiti” will be sold starting this spring at the church on Sundays, after mass, and at East End Market during regular business hours. Going all-out is standard operating procedure for Rife. When Winter Park Magazine first profiled him in its November 2011 issue, he was working for his father’s commercial real estate firm, Rife Miller Inc., while pulling together the second Winter Park Harvest Festival, which was held in Central Park’s West Meadow. The high-end farm-to-table dinner, which Rife had launched with the help of a $10,000 grant from the Winter Park Health Foundation, was discontinued in 2014 so the ambitious foodpreneur could concentrate on East End Market, which he had co-founded the prior year with
Gabby Lothrop (see Helping Neighbors to Eat Healthy is a Snap page 68). The market complex, which was a vacant church before the pair transformed it into a regional cultural and culinary hub, operates under a lofty mission statement: “Through collaboration and creativity, we strive to cultivate an appreciation for our true sustenance, a better understanding of our food system, and a dynamic local economy.” And it’s working. The market’s first floor encompasses local artisans who sell breads, desserts, sauces, cheeses, coffees, juices and full meals. An event space and offices are one flight up. In a commissary kitchen that rents by the hour, foodies — including those who sell their wares at the market — create and cook together. Periodically, educational programs are offered to help participants learn to operate their own food-related businesses. Rife, a graduate of Winter Park High School, also co-founded Fleet Farming, which transforms backyards into urban farm plots. In addition, he hosts urban farming workshops at the market and “work-and-learn” sessions in his home veggie garden near Phelps Park. And, if that weren’t enough, he teaches occasional classes on market gardening, beekeeping and food entrepreneurship. He’s now working to offer some of the market’s more popular courses online so more people will have access to the information. “We’re connecting people’s passions with the technical aspects of what they need to be successful,” he says. Rife’s fresh-food endeavors began after a 2007 cross-country road trip with his wife, Kamrin, who’s now the market’s CFO. They essentially discovered the farm-to-table movement as they traversed America, and blogged about their findings.
“I’m certainly proud of creating East End Market, and the opportunities it’s opened up for local entrepreneurs. But more importantly, I’m proud to have found success carving my own path in the city where I grew up.” — John Rife, owner, East End Market
Upon their return, Rife met the area’s handful of farm-to-table advocates via a film he made for a master’s degree course he was taking at UCF. “I wasn’t a member of that group,” he says. “I wasn’t doing anything at a grassroots level.” He was, he says, a real estate developer whose curiosity had been piqued by his trip and by reading a book, Plenty: One Man, One Woman, and a Raucous Year of Eating Locally (Harmony, 2007). The book follows the adventures of a Vancouver couple determined to spend a year eating nothing raised or cultivated beyond a 100-mile radius of their apartment, thereby connecting with small local growers, millers, fishermen and ranchers. Rife planted tomatoes at home, and quickly found himself tending a 3,000-square-foot organic urban garden. He sought to connect his business acquaintances with locavores, who sometimes had more passion than operational savvy. It’s all about eating for health. And, well, flavor. “The local farmers and producers we champion are farming sustainably, organically and growing a broad variety of vegetables rather than vast acres of commodity mono-crops,” Rife says. “Our local farmers’ methods often have a restorative impact on the environment, in contrast to more intensive
methods of industrial agriculture.” Food is harvested at the peak of its ripeness, and only travels a few miles from farm to market. “Eating locally produced, seasonably available foods is doing your body and the environment a huge favor,” Rife adds. “Even better is to turn a boring patch of lawn into a thriving micro-farm, and provide yourself and neighbors with homegrown veggies.” Rife and his team are getting noticed. East End Market was named Best Private District Improvement at 2014’s Main Street Awards, sponsored by the City of Orlando. Rife was also selected for the Orlando Sentinel’s Culinary Hall of Fame, and won the Gold Ribbon Award from the Florida Culinary Academy. He has even been tagged as one of Southern Living magazine’s 75 Most Stylish Southerners. “I’m certainly proud of creating East End Market, and the opportunities it’s opened up for local entrepreneurs,” says Rife. “But more importantly, I’m proud to have found success carving my own path in the city where I grew up. I love Winter Park, and to chart my slightly unconventional path took a fair bit of courage and perseverance.” ◆
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It Can’t Get Any Fresher John Rife’s tips on becoming a successful backyard gardener. Are you green with envy when you see a friend’s garden bounty on Facebook? Take action. It’s actually easy to become a gardener yourself. Here are some tips from John Rife, owner of East End Market, who teaches classes on urban farming and market gardening. STEP ONE Decide which type of home garden is best for you: raised beds or in-ground. The costs are about the same up front, although an in-ground garden will cost less longterm. To start a raised-bed garden, buy a kit from a home improvement store. Connect the pieces with a screwdriver, plop it on the grass, and fill it with garden soil to within 2 inches of the rim. To start an in-ground garden, lease a tiller from a home improvement store. Define an area no wider that 4 feet so you can later reach your plants from both sides, and till the grass within that space until it’s mashed up with the dirt beneath it. Then “sterilize” the soil: Cover the tilled land with black plastic that’s sold in rolls in the paint section. Leave it on for three weeks; that’ll kill off any remaining grass and weed seeds. Uncover the soil, top it with 2 inches of composted manure and rake it into the soil. (Composted manure helps Florida’s sandy soil hold water better.)
STEP TWO Start planting. It’s best do get this done before May, since fewer vegetables and herbs grow well during Florida summers. But first, Rife suggests reading the book All New Square Foot Gardening II: The Revolutionary Way to Grow More in Less Space by Mel Bartholomew (Cool Springs Press). Buy a mix of seeds and seedlings — small plants that “are already growing for you,” Rife says. Make the seeds big ones, like green beans, since bigger seeds are “more forgiving” and you are, after all, a novice. Go ahead and buy a bag of Miracle-Gro if you’d like.“Cheat as much as you can the first time,” Rife says. “You can go organic later if that’s your thing.” Plant what will become tall vegetables on the north side, preventing tall plants from shading short ones. That might mean lettuces on the southernmost side, then carrots and celery, then taller veggies such as bush beans, then corn and climbing peas in the back. Expect a one-third harvest. “There’s an old adage that you plant one for the farmer, one for the weather and one for the animals,” Rife says. “If you get one bean out of three, you’re doing great.” Water consistently, especially in the warmer months. “The rest of the year the sprinkler system should cover it,” adds Rife. Buy an inexpensive soil-water tester to keep the moisture level consistent. — Rona Gindin
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PHOTO BY RAFAEL TONGOL
Gabby Lothrop, owner of the Audubon Park Community Market, worked with the City of Winter Park and the Winter Park Health Foundation to implement a program that allowed SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) recipients to buy fresh, healthy food with their benefits. The program is now up at running at Lothrop’s market and the Winter Park Farmers’ Market.
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HELPNG NEIGHBORS TO
EAT HEALTHY IS A SNAP BY RONA GINDIN
h, the glory of a Saturday morning at the Winter Park Farmers’ Market — picking up a bag of granola here and an heirloom tomato there in a picturesque setting just a block off Park Avenue. Sure, the clientele tends to be affluent, particularly given the upscale location. Now, however, the market is accessible to a clientele beyond the regulars who arrive in BMWs or stroll from their nearby homes. Since early February, it has been accepting SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits, formerly known as food stamps. What’s more, SNAP recipients receive up to $20 a week in free Florida-grown fruits, vegetables, seeds and start-up plants. Making this possible was difficult. Yet the Winter Park Health Foundation was determined to make certain that everyone had access to the kind of fresh, unprocessed foods that so many Winter Parkers enjoy as a matter of routine. “Our mantra is to make the healthy choice the easy choice,” says Lisa Portelli, the foundation’s program director. “If it’s not easy to get healthy foods, people will revert to the drive-through.” The new program makes the market more shopper-friendly for everyone, not just SNAP recipients, and for many vendors as well. The mechanics are simple: At a booth near the main entrance, staffers accept SNAP EBT (Electronic Benefits Transfer) cards along with Visa, MasterCard and Discover.
“Our mantra is to make the healthy choice the easy choice. If it’s not easy to get healthy foods, people will revert to the drive-through.” — Lisa Portelli, program director, Winter Park Health Foundation
Anyone can swipe their card of choice and receive tokens in return. The tokens, just like cash, are used to make purchases. “We branded this as a no-cash, no-problem solution,” says Abby Gulden, sustainability and permitting coordinator at the City of Winter Park. That means SNAP recipients swipe a card just like everyone else, and pay using the same tokens that everyone else uses. The tokens are also handy for providers since many, including farmers, accept only cash. And those who do accept credit cards lack a SNAP option. With tokens, though, every customer can buy from every vendor. Providers need only know how to round up or down, since the tokens’ lowest denomination is $1. “We trained providers that if a purchase comes to $3.50, they can add, say, a carrot and make it an even $4, or take a carrot away to make it an even $3,” says Gabby Lothrop, owner of the Audubon Park Community Market, who developed the program for both markets in
conjunction with Gulden and Portelli. Plus, sales made via tokens are easier and less costly than sales made via credit cards. “Having a centralized system took the cost off farmers, who’d otherwise have to buy a machine, pay monthly service and swipe fees, and do paperwork,” Lothrop notes. Non-SNAP shoppers who lack cash pay a low $1 token-handling fee to use the manned ATM, which is a lower fee than that charged to use most other ATMs. The “free” tokens, called Fresh Access Bucks, can only be used to purchase certain Floridaraised goods. To make the process easier, the market provides signs that identify qualified items. Fresh Access Bucks are made available through Florida Certified Organic Growers and Consumers, a not-for-profit agency that certifies farms as organic and offers educational and outreach programs. Rollout of the program is a near-final step in a long journey for Portelli, Gulden and Lothrop.
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PHOTO BY RAFAEL TONGOL
But they agree that it’s been worth the effort. “This falls into the triple bottom line of sustainability — the nexus where people, planet and profit intersect,” Gulden says. Lothrop, who joined forces with Gulden a little over a year ago, had eased her way into Central Florida’s food scene over several years. After graduating from UCF with a degree in international relations she went to work for the university and began volunteering at the weekly Audubon Park Community Market, which sells only locally produced items, near her home. She got involved with Slow Food USA, a notfor-profit organization that promotes the virtues of nutritious, sustainably grown food that
originates from producers who use fair labor practices. She’s now governor of the state chapter. At Audubon Park, she went from volunteer to manager to owner eight years ago. Through her work at Audubon Park, Lothrop joined forces with John Rife to create the Winter Park Harvest Festival and then the permanent East End Market, which sits just a short block away in the Audubon Park Garden District. The Winter Park Health Foundation staff took notice. As its staffers began researching ways to increase access to healthy foods for residents in need, Lothrop’s name came up as someone who could help. Ultimately, the foundation paid Lothrop to seek out and apply for grant money to implement a SNAP-acceptance program, with the understanding that it would be implemented at both her market and Winter Park’s. In fact, once the program’s pieces were assembled, Lothrop rolled it out at her market, which is smaller and is held on Monday evenings, before launching it in Winter Park. Based on early reports, everything is working out swimmingly. The first week, the Winter Park Farmers’ Market reported a modest $145 worth of SNAP tokens spent, which comes to $290 when the double bucks are included. “But it actually did about $500 worth of business with regular ATM-style tokens good for any product at any vendor,” Gulden notes. Those numbers are expected to increase as outreach efforts are launched to spread the word among eligible residents. Still, there’s more work to do. Now, Portelli says, the foundation wants to implement the Fruit and Vegetable Prescription Program. “We’ll work with a vendor — a nutritionist, dietitian or diabetes educator, most likely — who’ll write prescriptions for fruits and vegetables,” she adds. “Patients will have a financial incentive to fill those prescriptions at the farmers’ market. Food is medicine, after all, and this will help change their eating behaviors.” Adds Lothrop: “We were already helping people with the sexy stuff, meaning food that’s delicious and good for you, and with the clean stuff, meaning food that’s sustainable and not harmful to the environment. And we’d started on the fair part, working with farmers who pay just wages. But we hadn’t yet set up access programs that would help those who need assistance getting fresh food. A program like this means so much to humanity.” ◆
Customers at the Winter Park Farmers’ Market tend to be affluent, particularly given the upscale location. Now, however, the market’s offerings are accessible to people beyond the regulars who arrive in BMWs or stroll from their nearby homes.
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Winter Park Memorial works to stay ahead of the demographic curve. BY DARRYL E. OWENS
Dr. Robin Creamer, geriatric specialist at the Centre for Aging and Wellness, is one of a team of physicians who, alongside other healthcare specialists, provides holistic care for older patients.
ospitalization can be as hazardous to seniors’ health as the malady that landed them there in the first place. Research bears it out. Hospitalized seniors risk injury negotiating facilities that are danger zones for aging eyes, parchment skin and slower reflexes. Malnourishment, poor pain management and bedsores from being marooned on thin, brick-hard bedding often spell b-a-d outcomes. One in three patients older than 70 leave hospitals worse for wear, compromising their independence. For patients over 85, it’s more than half. Yet, America’s inexorable graying — 10,000 baby boomers turn 65 every day — put hospitals in scramble mode. Seniors need — and demand — safer hospitals tailored to their complex needs. Winter Park Memorial Hospital — owned by Florida Hospital — long has ridden the crest of that trend. In 2012, the hospital “embarked on a journey” to understand the scope and needs of community seniors, says Marilyn Chrisman, a geriatric clinical nurse specialist. That deep dive revealed nearly 25,000 residents older than 65 lived within five miles of the hospital and were its fastest-growing patient base. So, the hospital cranked up its commitment to training geriatricians and recasting its culture and facilities. In 2014, the effort earned the “Senior Friendly Implementation” designation from Nurses Improving Care for Healthsystem Elders (NICHE) — testament to the hospital’s dedication to topnotch transformative geriatric care. Since 1996, NICHE has cultivated a global network of more than 700 hospitals and healthcare groups sold on senior-friendly spaces. That includes inviting seniors, families and caregivers to be part of the process. Here’s how that looks at Winter Park Memorial. SENIOR-FRIENDLY E.R. Improved eldercare starts with recalibrating how patients are perceived and received when they enter and progress through care. The journal Annals of Emergency Medicine
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When seniors arrive at Winter Park Memorial’s emergency room, they’ll find an environment tailored to their needs. In addition, specialists, such as care coordinator Lorraine Zima-Lennon (above) will be available to help them navigate the system.
reported that seniors treated in emergency departments face elevated risk of increased disability up to six months after discharge in part because most emergency departments aren’t tuned to older adults. Consequently, staffers rarely proactively seek out seniors in danger of poor outcomes. Winter Park Memorial stepped up with the region’s first and only comprehensive emergency room for seniors. Patients queue in a private lobby adorned with tranquil colors and artwork. High-back chairs and thicker mattresses enhance comfort and reduce injury. Magnifying glasses and hearing amplifiers eliminate fuzzy doctor-patient communication. Meanwhile, seniors pass time solving largeprint word searches and crossword puzzles or browsing senior-interest periodicals. Beyond senior-focused amenities, a multidisciplinary team of physicians, nurses, pharmacists and clinicians versed in geriatric medicine stacks
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the odds of better outcomes, and covers all bases. That includes initiating tough but necessary talks about death — a feature of the “Conversation Ready” initiative. Senior emergency department care coordinators broach patient preferences on issues such as life support and advance directives to ensure clarity and that caregivers and relatives honor patient wishes. They identify health surrogates. And, according to Chrisman, now the hospital’s NICHE coordinator, they secure digital copies of living wills so that patients’ directives speak clearly when they’re unable to speak for themselves.
It also involves staffers looking for trouble. They loop in family and caregivers, Chrisman says, drilling down on patient needs and existing conditions to help create action plans that lessen cognitive and physical decline and the need for nursing home or other skilled care. THE CENTRE FOR AGING AND WELLNESS At Winter Park Memorial’s Centre for Aging and Wellness, part of the Centre for Family Medicine, it’s shades of Marcus Welby. The Centre, located on Benmore Drive just
south of the main hospital, boasts doctors steeped in geriatric medicine, with specialties in such issues as mobility, dementia, and palliative and end-of-life care. The care team also includes a social worker, a pharmacist and a chaplain. Together, they’ve revived the moribund house call. It all starts with the social worker, who wrangles patient transitions from the E.R. to the Centre’s offices. Later, team members visit seniors within a fivemile radius of the facility. Such house calls sustain aging in place because while there, the team evaluates living quarters for the risk of falls. Similarly, staffers visit local nursing rehabilitation centers — The Gardens at DePugh, Mayflower Retirement Center and Westminster Winter Park. “Our goal,” says Dr. Robin Creamer, a family medicine physician and geriatric specialist at the Centre, “is to help patients remain as independent and functional as possible.” That’s why eldercare shouldn’t begin with a hospital visit. Centre staffers host seminars that may
“Our goal is to help patients remain as independent and functional as possible.” — Dr. Robin Creamer, geriatric specialist, Centre for Aging and Wellness
help attendees prevent the need for urgent care. There’s a monthly lecture series on bone health, for example, while Creamer conducts osteoporosis and fall-prevention clinics. ONE FAMILY’S STORY Two years ago, Amy Plank watched the hospital’s eldercare machine in motion. Her father was admitted with a severe lung infection. For two weeks, Osvaldo Alvarado, then 86, a Korean War veteran who had served with the pioneering Puerto Rican infantry regiment, the Borinqueneers, battled aspiration pneumonia. Soon, he lost ground and the ability to swallow. The choice: a feeding tube or hospice.
Age-friendly Community Many programs help seniors live healthy, happy, enriching lives.
Plank, a retirement living consultant at the Mayflower, recalls: “I felt like my dad needed more time with my kids and his grandkids.” Centre doctors believed a feeding tube and convalescence would grant him that time. Less than a month later, Osvaldo was scrambling on the floor with Plank’s girls. His recovery persuaded Plank to urge mother, Marlene, 73, to turn over her care to the Centre. Plank’s diagnosis? “Mom felt listened to for the first time,” she says. “We put so much emphasis on obstetrics — the beginning of life — but it’s much more complicated with geriatrics. I feel like the hospital’s eyes are on the big picture. Every senior is treated like a total person.” ◆
A string of auto accidents left Pamela Read victimized and wondering if she had unknowingly crossed paths with a black cat. The crashes shredded a knee, crushed her hands, mangled her hip tendons, forced two neck fusions and unleashed a debilitating muscle disease. Her injuries left the saleswoman unable to work. Ordinary tasks became herculean labors. “Sometimes it would take me three days just to clean the bathroom,” says Read, 61. With no family or children, and many of her friends also disabled, the accidents wrecked her plan to live independently in her Winter Park home. She isn’t alone. Today, one in seven Americans is 65 or older — and by 2035, that figure will rise to one in five. Nursing homes may have been yesteryear’s penultimate way station, but today more than 90 percent of baby boomers — those born between 1946 and 1964 — intend to stay put, in their homes and communities, hoping to age in place. Yet, mental and physical decline and social disengagement are kryptonite to that goal. Locally, though, seniors have discovered antidotes through programs supported by the Winter Park Health Foundation meant to foster an increasingly age-friendly community. “A community that supports an 80-year-old and an 8-year-old will work for everyone,” says Diana Silvey, program director for the foundation. “Healthy and active, older adults now
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Today, one in seven Americans is 65 or older — and by 2035, that figure will rise to one in five. may have many years to give back to their communities by volunteering, serving in advisory capacities and mentoring young people. We believe everybody benefits from a healthy older adult population.” Here are some of the ways foundationaffiliated programs help seniors live healthier, enriching lives — in their home, sweet homes. CENTER FOR LIFELONG LEARNING Social isolation looms as a major threat to aging in place. So does brain rust. For Linda Metcalf, the Rollins Center for Lifelong Learning proved Rx for both. Established by the foundation through the Rollins College Hamilton Holt School, the center annually engages 2,000 learners 50 and older in stimulating $70 courses including art history, business, cognitive arts, and culinary arts.“Most prospective senior students clearly understand that the secret to staying young is having an active mind and staying socially active,” says center executive director Lee Goldring. Metcalf, a retired human resources executive for a Fortune 500 company, wasn’t padding her resumé when she enrolled in art education,
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history, and health and wellness courses. “I already had my advanced degrees,” says Metcalf, 68, of Winter Park. “I’ve always had a thirst for education and a curiosity for expanding horizons. After retirement, the Lifelong Learning Program was the perfect option.” Research suggests engaging minds guards against cognitive decline. But, Metcalf finds the classes also guard against isolation. Classes provide “the opportunity to socialize with others of the same genre and often results in new friendships and camaraderie,” she says. “The interaction with others is so valuable.” PEGGY AND PHILIP B. CROSBY WELLNESS Y Recent studies published in the journals Population Health Management and Neurology confirm that senior wellness programs — melding fitness, nutrition and other healthy living practices to boost overall health — not only help older Americans live healthier lives with increased mobility and independence, but also lower the risk of cognitive decline and dementia. In December, the Peggy & Philip B. Crosby
Wellness Center YMCA, which has served the community since 1989, closed to open the door in late 2017 with a new facility within the foundation’s Center for Health & Wellbeing. The center combines cutting-edge fitness, wellness, prevention and treatment services from the YMCA and Winter Park Memorial Hospital — and distills that mix into a unique individual medical profile, says Mary A. Cox, the center’s associate executive director. She notes the wide-ranging project’s simple premise is “making it easier for people to be active participants in their health care and varying physical activity needs.” And not only for the Y’s nearly 3,000 members. Through a foundation grant, the center is exploring a referral-based physician program to deliver programming to nonmembers — supplementing outreach such as Livestrong for Cancer Survivors and diabetesprevention programs now offered for low or no cost to qualifying individuals. See page 59 to learn how the Crosby Y is seeking Medical Fitness Association (MFA) certification, which will allow physicians to prescribe exercise as medicine. NEIGHBORS NETWORK TransAmerica Center for Retirement Studies projects 60 percent of retirees currently are aging in place. Yet, older adults sometimes need a helping hand changing a lightbulb. Paying $3,813 monthly, as The Fiscal Times recently reported routine homemaker services can cost, may cause a fiscal coronary. So, in 2013, Neighbors Network offered a thrifty alternative. A Senior Resource Alliance offspring, with startup cash from the foundation, screened community volunteers, who currently serve 49 seniors ages 59 to 93 in Winter Park, Maitland, Fern Park, Casselberry and College Park. Annual memberships cost $375. “Many of our members really need volunteer services to stay independent, active and connected,” says Annette Kelly, network executive director. “Their wellness and wellbeing is very connected to getting specific services and support in a personal, dignified, positive way.” In Read’s case, the network fills her ability gaps. “I’m still young, relatively speaking, so I want to be in my home, but I struggle to do as much as I used to.” She’s sent out an SOS for tasks such as rides to doctor visits and mattress flipping. And, during the yuletide, something especially meaningful. “Putting up my Christmas tree is very important to me,” she says. For older adults like Read, programs that backstop aging in place are gifts that keep on giving. — By Darryl E. Owens
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ENCORE FOR OPERA Thanks to passionate volunteers and a dynamic directorial duo, it’s a brand-new era for arias.
BY MICHAEL MCLEOD
o bell rings and no buzzer buzzes when you press the button at the entranceway to Kathy Miller’s house. What you hear instead is: Ah oh ah oh ah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha haaaa! Ah oh ah oh ah-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha haaaa! Ah-oh-ah-oh-ah ha ha ha ho, ah ha ha ha ho, ha ho ho aaa ha hao ah oh ah ha ha oh ah ah oh HA ha, ha ha ha ha ha ha ha HA ha ha ha ha!!! Quick: Name that tune. Sorry: Time’s up. It’s the Queen of the Night’s “dagger” aria from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute, emanating from inside the palatial, Venetian-style mansion in such an intoxicating silvery-soprano cascade that you might be overtaken by a compulsion to push the button again. Go ahead. We’ll wait.
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Last year, Gabe Preisser, a widely-traveled baritone whose extensive resume includes more than 40 operatic and musical theater roles, officially joined forces with Opera Orlando as its general director.
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Winter Park’s Kathy Miller and Rita Wilkes were among the stalwart supporters who kept opera alive after the region’s previous professional company went bankrupt eight years ago. “We just couldn’t believe the community would let opera disappear from Orlando without taking drastic measures,” says Miller. “So we did.”
Encores are nothing new to a Winter Park home dedicated to keeping opera alive. The Miller residence is an elegant outpost for a band of roughly two dozen local opera devotees who are determined to do just that. Better yet, they may well have succeeded. The group formed after the demise of Orlando Opera, which went bankrupt eight years ago in a perfect tempest triggered by an economic downturn and management mistakes. With 8,000 subscribers, several full-time and part-time employees, and a $3 million annual budget, the company had been a towering presence on the local cultural landscape for a halfcentury, bringing stars such as Beverly Sills and powerhouse productions such as Madame Butterfly, Faust, The Mikado, Salome, and Pagliacci to the Bob Carr Theater. Kathy Miller, who was classically trained at Southern Methodist University before moving to Orlando in the late ’70s, sang in the chorus and had several minor roles. So did numerous other volunteers among dozens who donated both time and money to the opera. Some worked backstage, some worked on-
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stage, only too happy to silently mill about in the background as the assorted servants, gypsies and shopkeepers who live in all those mythical operatic towns filled with high-strung characters prone to working out their love lives in booming bel canto tones. It was a handful of those behind-the-scene supporters who began creating a new, non-profit, small-scale company soon after the old one’s collapse, calling it Florida Opera Theatre. “We had to,” says Miller, who grew up in Madison, South Dakota, in an Irish family for whom music wasn’t recreation, but sustenance. “We just couldn’t believe the community would let opera disappear from Orlando without taking drastic measures. So we did.” Opera is anything but a grass-roots, lemonadestand sort of enterprise. With its acrobatic musical scores, thoroughbred performers and lavish production requirements, it’s a notoriously high-maintenance art form. As the 18th-century French dramatist Molière put it: “Of all the noises known to man, opera is the most expensive.” Florida Opera Theatre had to operate on the economy plan. No elephants and superstars on-
stage. No elaborate sets evoking ancient Egyptian temples. Staying within a tight budget was a priority. “We never put on an opera where we didn’t already have the money in the bank to pay for it,” says Judy Lee, who served as the company’s president. Members foraged through their garages and closets for costumes and stage props. “People would just show up at the door,” says Miller, “and ask, ‘Is this the kind of lamp you want?’” Volunteers dipped into their personal bank accounts to hire singers, directors and accompanists. Most of the performers agreed to work at bargain-basement salaries on behalf of the cause. And since the company couldn’t afford to rent theaters for every production, they also had to scout out inexpensive — sometimes ingenious — locations. They staged The Telephone, a one-act opera by Gian Carlo Menotti, near the Telephone Museum next door to the Maitland Art Center. They startled a few lounge lizards and drew secondtakes from moviegoers by creating a pop-up, open-air operatic concert at the breezy Eden Bar outside Enzian Theater. (The performers sang — what else? — the drinking song from The Student Prince. You can still find Enzian president Henry Maldonado’s video of the event on YouTube.) But there was one venue they counted on the most: the Millers’ spacious home. Kathy and her husband, Steve, had built it in 2002, when Orlando Opera was still thriving. Steve Miller is the retired founder of Sawtek, a Central Florida company that developed and marketed microelectronic communication technology. What they had in mind was casual, pianoside, post-performance gatherings when they moved into the home, which sits along the eastern shore of Lake Maitland. They had worked on its design with Nasrallah Architectural Group, a company with an impressive track record of creating homes that evoke historic architectural traditions. Mark Nasrallah’s Winter Park firm once landed a contract to design and build 28 homes, each in a style from a different time period, for an exclusive mountainside community in China — creating a spectacular array of homes that evoked modern styles as well as ancient Greek, Renaissance, Neoclassical, mid-Victorian. The Miller home is designed to resemble a classic Venetian palace. Its focal point is just inside the entranceway: a two-story grand room encircled by marble columns, with a massive crystal chandelier in the center. A row of narrow, arching, velvet-draped floor-to-ceiling windows on the far wall offers an unimpeded view of the lake. The other three sides of the great room are open to the second
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Steve and Kathy Miller’s Lake Maitland home has been the setting for several full-scale opera productions. The home’s focal point, where the performances were staged, is just inside the entranceway: a two-story grand room encircled by marble columns, and a second-floor balcony.
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Preisser (left) recruited his friend and former FSU classmate Vincent Conner (right) to take the post of general manager. The pair is outside the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, where the Opera Orlando has staged four productions.
Opera Fans, Listen Up! Opera Orlando has a full slate of performances coming up, plus a tribute to a longtime booster. Here’s what’s on the bill: Before the 2017-18 season opens, the company will honor longtime supporter John Ruggieri with a gala, The Gilded Age on the Gilded Stage, at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts on May 20 at 6:30 p.m. The season officially gets underway with Opera on Park, featuring three vocal recitals, at the University Club of Winter Park on August 6, 20 and 27. Three fully staged, costumed productions, with accompaniment by the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, follow. Those performances are all at the Alexis & Jim Pugh Theater, located at the arts center’s downtown Orlando campus. Giacomo Puccini’s beloved La Bohème, one of the most-performed operas in the world, runs November 15-19. This version of the passionate, timeless tale of love among young artists in Paris, which was originally written in 1896, is set in the 1920s. Metropolitan Opera Roster Artist Cecilia Violetta Lopez will make her Opera Orlando debut in the iconic soprano role of the doomed Mimi. Artistic Director Gabe Preisser will perform the key baritone role of Marcello. Other confirmed principals include bass-baritone Nathan Stark as Colline and baritone Brian James Myer as Schaunard. All three were featured this past August in an Opera on Park recital. Amahl and the Night Visitors, a traditional Christmas opera, will be presented Dec. 9 and 10. Gioachino Rossini’s Cinderella will conclude the 2017-18 season March 21-25, with Eric Jacobsen, the Phil’s music director, making his Opera Orlando conducting debut. Visit operaorlando.org for information.
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floor, creating the effect of a wraparound balcony. It’s perfect for elegant entertaining: singers at a piano on one side of the great room, hors d’oeuvres at the dining area on the other, a shimmering lake in the windows, cocktails all around. That was what the Millers initially had in mind. Not full-fledged theatrical productions. “Never in my wildest dreams did I think we’d be using it the way we have,” says Kathy Miller. The company’s first major production at the home was in 2011. It was a benefit performance featuring Susan Neves, a powerhouse soprano with Orlando family ties. The performance was Gian Carlo Menotti’s two-act opera, The Medium, about a conniving, homicidal clairvoyant with a bad temper who abuses a mute, innocent young man named Toby. A performer of Neves’ caliber has a window-rattling ability that can set even the largest hall on vibrate. Opera singers aren’t just artists, but athletes. Squeezing a voice like that into a smaller space can bump a performance up to white-knuckle-thrill-ride territory. You don’t just hear that trained, painstakingly conditioned voice if you are close enough. You feel it in your bones, literally: Your sternum picks up the vibrations. Miller remembers hearing a mini-review of The Medium from a slightly shaken audience member who was sitting just an arm’s length away from a scene in which Toby flees for his life after a violent and voluble attack from the raging madwoman. “Afterward, she told me: ‘I wanted to stand up and say, ‘Toby! Don’t come back!’” Apart from staging performances, the Millers also opened up the home as a rehearsal hall and a place for guest artists to stay — one at a time, Miller is quick to qualify. “Two singers in one house don’t get along,” she says. “Sharing the rehearsal time. And the refrigerator.” She shrugs off the inconveniences. “It can get a little crazy. But you know, passion overtakes you. When I go to bed at night, I hear this little voice on my shoulder, this little voice in my soul, telling me: ‘It’s all right. We need to do this.’” The little voice will be happy to hear that reinforcements have arrived. Last year, Apopka native Gabe Preisser, a widely traveled baritone whose extensive resumé includes more than 40 operatic and musical theater roles, officially joined forces with the company, taking on the role of artistic director. One of Preisser’s first suggestions: Start fresh, and change the name from the more generic “Florida Opera Theatre” to the more specific “Opera Orlando.” “People need to know who we are, and that we’re here to stay,” Preisser explains. His next move was to call a former FSU classmate with directing experience and local ties: Winter Park High School graduate Vincent Connor, who was head of the Opera Workshop at the University of Delaware. Preisser — along with Connor’s Winter Park family — coaxed him into returning home to take up the post as Opera Orlando’s general director. The reinvigorated company staged four operas at the Alexis & Jim Pugh Theatre at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts last year: a double bill with Mozart’s The Impresario and Poulenc’s Les Mamelles de Tirésias; Donizetti’s three-act comedy Don Pasquale; and the Menotti holiday favorite, Amahl and the Night Visitors, which was performed for an invited audience at the Miller home and then staged at the arts center. Then, this year, a pivotal development: As Opera Orlando was preparing to stage an ambitious version of Mozart’s Don Giovanni in the Pugh Theatre, the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra announced a partnership with the newly constituted organization. The Phil had been producing operas on its own. But given the cost
and complexity of the productions, and with the emergence of Opera Orlando and its successes, the time seemed right to pass the baton. “We are proud of the past eight seasons of opera that the OPO has presented and as we look to the future, we know that this is the right moment to hand off the artistic and administrative leadership to the capable hands of Opera Orlando,” said R.K. Kelley, Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra board president, in the announcement. What it means is that from now on, Opera Orlando will take over the business of developing operas, and the orchestra will provide the accompaniment. It also opens the door to a hoped-for new home: the $203 million Steinmetz Hall, a 1,700-seat acoustic theater tentatively scheduled to open in 2020 on the arts center’s downtown campus. “It’s a natural evolution,” says Preisser, of the handoff from the Phil and the opportunity for Opera Orlando to stage its productions in the new, state-of-the-art hall. “But it wouldn’t have happened without the tenacity of Kathy Miller and all those people who kept the flame going.” Miller thinks that, eventually, the company will be able to stage one major opera a year at the new hall — most likely one of the classics that devotees relish: Carmen, perhaps. La Traviata. Madame Butterfly. In the meantime, Miller’s door will remain open for rehearsals, performances and the billeting of visiting opera stars, one at a time. She is optimistic about the future, but realistic about it, too. The larger the opportunities, she says, the bigger the challenges — both artistically and financially. “We need sponsors,” Miller states. “It’s not easy. Don’t get me started.” Other longtime veterans of the opera-in-Orlando wars view the new era with a similar blend of gratitude and realism. “It’s amazing how it’s all fallen together so well after all these years,” says Rita Wilkes, another stalwart supporter who goes back to the early, bygone heydays of Beverly Sills and big-budget productions. “I just hope we can keep it going.” Wilkes was stage manager for many of the old Orlando Opera shows. “You want to know why my hair is gray? It’s because I stage-managed two productions of The Magic Flute,” she says. One of those productions was at the Walt Disney amphitheater at Lake Eola. The plan was to create a dramatic entrance for three supernatural sprites by having them arrive via one of the Lake Eola swan boats. During the evening performances, a spotlight had to be aimed at the boat as it approached the amphitheater — not an easy task in the darkness. One night, Wilkes remembers, the spotlight operator whispered to her: “I got ’em! I think I got ’em!” as he shined a beam on a startled family
Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi was one of several productions hosted by the Millers. The cast included (left to right): Austin Hallock, Jennifer A. Boles, Edward Washington, Jane Christeson, Russell Franks, Samantha Barnes, Daniel Makendy and Jacobs Daniel Johanson.
of tourists, peddling away, blinking in the bright light like escaping convicts caught just short of the wall. “We joked about it,” she says. “There’s a line in the opera, ‘The three sprites will guide you.’ We said we had to change it to, ‘A family from Des Moines will guide you.’” Like Miller, Wilkes is enthusiastic about the renewed interest in opera. But her excitement is
tempered with a weary sigh that bespeaks years devoted to the thankless pursuit of asking for favors and seeking out donors. “I don’t want to sound ungrateful,” she says. “But isn’t it funny that we get this recognition all of a sudden, now that we’ve got these two new good-looking guys on board? I guess people get tired of saying: ‘Uh-oh. Here come those little old ladies again.’”
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Open to the public, just a 5-minute walk from South Park Avenue on Lake Virginia, with works also on view at The Alfond Inn at Rollins. Now open later hours on Tuesdays until 7 p.m. rollins.edu/cfam
Purvis Young (American, 1943–2010), Golf Course of America, 2002, Household paint on plywood Donated by Jordan Bock, Cornell Fine Arts Museum 2016.18, © Estate of Purvis Young
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S PRING 2 0 1 7 | W INT ER PARK MAGAZ IN E
ON BLOOMS & NINNIES
BY RANDY NOLES
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Flag demonstrates Lynn Whipple’s mastery at using whatever she happens to find — especially old photographs — to create whimsical works of art.
Winter Park artist Lynn Whipple’s work is hard to categorize, but a joy to experience. Here’s how she works.
inter Park residents John and Lynn Whipple are among Central Florida’s most highly regarded artistic spouses. He’s known for his sometimes spooky mixed-media creations, which can encompass sprockets, springs, machine parts, farm implements, bird cages, doorknobs, light fixtures and other assorted flotsam. Some of his work, writes local arts columnist Michael McLeod, “resembles a Greatest Show on Earth parade that’s been infiltrated by the cast of The Nightmare Before Christmas.” John Whipple’s accomplished wife is also a mixed media artist, known for her more whimsical and playful creations — especially her series of “Ninnies,” which are old photographs altered with paint and the addition of words or titles. (“Ninnies” are what she and her sisters called people who were acting silly, Lynn Whipple explains.) More recently, she’s been experimenting with floral still lifes of flowers through what she had dubbed her Big Bold Bloom series. It features vivid colors and layers of what Whipple describes as “yummy, drippy paint.” The Whipples had been members of McRae Art Studios, a collective of 22 artists who, from 1998 until September of 2016, shared studio space in a warehouse on Railroad Avenue near Winter Park Village. Its first headquarters, on McRae Avenue near Florida Hospital, was rented in 1986 by Whipple’s parents, the late George Whipple and his wife, Marty, a jewelry artist. There were several moves after that. But that collective lost its lease on the Railroad Avenue complex late last year and had been temporarily homeless, at least professionally speaking. Late last year, however, the band of creators reached an agreement with ArtReach Orlando, a Winter Park-based not-for-profit that provides art programming for children in underserved communities, either through schools or through its mobile art truck. ArtReach, founded by former addictions counselor Binkley Wilson, purchased a 10,000-square-foot warehouse in the Parramore area that’s currently being renovated to serve as ArtReach’s headquarters and to accommodate the former McRae artists. Because the new facility is near the street from the new Parramore K-8 school, both McRae and ArtReach plan to host after-school art workshops for students and neighbors. It was nearing completion at presstime. John Whipple’s art will be featured in an upcoming issue of Winter Park Magazine. This issue, however, we chat with Lynn Whipple and take a look at her work — both the bizarre (but intriguing) older pieces and the exuberant new Big Bold Blooms. We also discuss her life as an artist and the new creative directions she has taken. For more information about Lynn Whipple’s work, visit lynnwhipple.com. S PRING 2 0 1 7 | W IN T ER PARK MAGAZ IN E
Tell us about growing up in Winter Park. As a kid, I spent all my time outdoors, either swimming, playing with our pets or romping around in nature. My favorite thing was collecting rocks, sticks, leaves and little pieces of beauty. I spent hours arranging my nature finds in small groupings. We laugh now that I was an installations artist at a young age. I went on to create art for living. [Husband] John and I spend our time working in our studios, traveling to art shows and teaching workshops both online, across the country and internationally.
What inspired you to become an artist? I would say that the beauty I found in nature sparked me to become an artist. That, and my family. I grew up surrounded by books, artists and art. My mom, Mary, taught creative writing at Winter Park High School and sailing at Rollins College. She’s also a painter and a sculptor. My granddad was a wonderful still-life painter when he retired. The smell of turpentine always makes me think of him and my oldest sister. I was inspired daily by my family, and was always encouraged to make things with my hands. As luck would have it, I married into another artful family. Living and working around others artists can open you up to all kinds of creative possibility.
Your mixed-media work, such as the Ninny series, is pretty far out. Tell us what was in your mind when you created these. The Ninny series was started on a whim in our kitchen. John and I were testing several different colors to repaint our kitchen and the exterior of the house. I grabbed an odd photograph from the late 1800s that was on our fridge. I’d found it at a flea market. With a big brush and a greenish brown paint, I changed the shape of the person in the photo, turning her body into a bug with wings. It was so funWhipple’s colorful studio is an inspiration unto itself.
Whipple is a native Winter Parker who, as a child, was surrounded by art. As an adult, she still is.
ny to me that I kept painting on old photos using house paint. Then I drew on top of the paint, adding small details and sometimes words or titles. The single Ninnies were mounted onto small wooden boxes, and often hung in a series. Later they made their way into bigger boxes, and were combined with found objects. The best thing about the Ninny series is that I still love doing them — and they still make me laugh.
Now you’re doing big, colorful florals — quite a contrast. Why did you switch? Another accident! I co-taught an online art class called “Year of the Spark” with fellow artist Carla Sonheim. We each filmed a monthly creativity/art lesson. Carla had filmed a drawing exercise that I was doing on a large piece of paper. Halfway through the project, I looked up and noticed a big pot of fresh flowers in my studio. I just started painting them, with vibrant, juicy color, putting the paint right on top of the drawings. The Big Bold Bloom series was born that day, and I haven’t looked back. This free-flowing approach takes traditional subject matter and combines it with so much of what I love to do as an artist — play with design, color, layering, drawing and yummy, drippy paint. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed sharing this process in workshops online and in person. We’ve built a fantastic community of artists affectionately called the “Bloomers.” I’m incredibly grateful to be a part of such a bighearted and fun group of creatives.
What artists (current and past) inspire you?
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I’ve been inspired by so many artists and musicians. One that comes to mind immediately is Andy Goldsworthy, who works in nature by rearranging things found in the natural world and photographing the process. Much of his work will quickly or eventually decay, which in itself is a gorgeous process. Another wonderful and inspiring artist for me is Paul Klee. The childlike quality to his paintings and drawing have an underpinning of sophistication and joy. I especially am drawn to the puppets that Klee created for his son, made out of burlap, string and found objects. Don Sondag, an oil painter in our studio, also inspires me with his smart use of color and his fresh approach to painting.
n i nnies
bl oom s
HOW TO CREATE YOUR OWN
BOLD WILD BLOOMS Lynn Whipple’s first book is coming out this summer. Expressive Flower Painting, Techniques for Big Bold Blooms (Quarry Books) was inspired by her Big Bold Wild Bloom painting classes. “The classes helped me create a process that encourages freedom, play and joy in painting by working in layers,” she says. The book is filled with photographs by Orlando photographer Terri Zollinger. Expressive Flower Painting presents a range of creative painting exercises that help readers develop vibrant nature paintings. The book discusses mark making, layering techniques, how to do “spin drawings,” color methods, painted backgrounds, working from life and how to successfully combine a wide variety of media for maximum effect. You can find it now on Amazon.com, and it will be available in bookstores later this year.
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S PRING 2 0 1 7 | W IN T ER PARK MAGAZ IN E
BY MEAD GARDEN FRIENDS
Carolyn Cooper, Catherine Hinman, Anne Mooney
he Friends of Mead Garden Inc. recently held a communitywide Gratitude Reception for Winter Park Magazine and its editor and publisher, Randy Noles. More than 125 people attended the event, which was held at the Florida Federation of Garden Clubs headquarters just adjacent to the Mead Garden front gate. Attendees included a who’s who of Winter Park political, civic and cultural leaders along with Mead Garden volunteers and supporters. Noles was lauded for his support of Mead Garden, and for his communitybuilding activity through the pages of Winter Park Magazine, which was dubbed “a community treasure.” In recognition of his support of Mead Garden, officials announced that a bench will be installed at the garden bearing a plaque that reads, “In Honor of Randy Noles, Superlative Writer.” The event featured food, wine, special presentations and entertainment by the Gazebros, who played a set consisting primarily of traditional country and folk music — including some Johnny Cash covers — of the sort Noles appreciates. Noles said he was surprised and humbled by the recognition, and appreciative of the support the community has shown to Winter Park Magazine. “It’s great to publish in Winter Park, where there are so many interesting stories to tell,” he said. “But what makes it even greater is that so many people like to read those stories.”
Steve Goldman, Alan Keen
Linda and Allan Keen, who acquired the Clyde Butcher photograph used on Winter Park Magazine’s Winter issue cover.
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Harold Ward, Shawn Garvey, Libby Ward
Jane Hames, Genean McKinnon
Mike McLeod, Rona Gindin, Denise Sudler, Pat Schenck
Christine and Chip Bush, Linda Keen, Lyzette SanGermain
Attendees raise a toast.
Treavor Hall, The Gazebros
Randy Noles and the bench dedicated to him.
Mellanie Bartlett, Amy Thrasher, Debra Coudert Sweeney
Thad Seymour, Ena Heller, Randy Noles
Genean McKinnon, Sarah Sprinkel, Allan Keen
Robert Heller, Susan Skolfield
Craig Taylor, Chip Weston
Linda Keen, Bill Weir
Carolyn Cooper, Shawn Garvey, Jeffrey Blydenburgh
Christine and Chip Bush, Debra Hendrickson
Amy Thrasher, Marion McGrath, Jonathan McGrath, Jon Swanson, Theresa Swanson
S PRING 2 0 1 7 | W IN T ER PARK MAGAZ IN E
Glenn and Shelley Klausman, Sally McArthur
Phil Kean, Brad Grosberg
Jane Butler, Jim Hasenau, Paul Butler
Ann Hicks Murrah, Anne Mooney, Katrina Jenkins
Larry and Virginia Ruggiero
Randy Roberston, Billy Collins
Jackie Carlin, Marc Middleton
Doug Clark, Deb Blechman
Ann and Tom McMacken
Erika Spence, Alice Weir, Charlene Hotaling
Pat and Richard Crepeau
Saron Crimmings, Kathy Byrd
Steve Foreman, Cynthia Hasenau, Pete Weldon
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Mellanie Bartlett, Jeff Schnellmann, Debra Coudert Sweeney
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The Buttermilk Bakery delights customers with a combination of delightful dishes and unbridled enthusiasm from its owners, including (clockwise from bottom left) Lana, Alex, Phillip and Taisa Rebroff.
JUST ADD A DASH OF LOVE The Rebroff family’s Buttermilk Bakery, featuring scratch-made pastries and savories, is as hot as a fresh-baked cookie. So be sure to get there early. BY RONA GINDIN PHOTOGRAPHS BY RAFAEL TONGOL
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n a recent Wednesday, as Lana Rebroff sits at a sturdy wooden table in her family’s minimalist café/bakery, a gangly, bearded young man in his mid-20s can’t help but interrupt. “I just wanted to tell you, that almond croissant was amazing,” he says to the makeup-free mom of three grown children. “The inside had a little warmth to it.” Responses like that make Lana feel that it’s worth it to arrive at Buttermilk Bakery in the wee hours of the morning, six days a week, to fire up the ovens, start on the day’s croissants and “double bake” the versions filled with almond or hazelnut cream. Since the bakery’s debut last August on the Winter Park side of Orange Avenue, its small menu has continually gotten a big response. Lana, a Brazilian native of Eastern European descent, owns the restaurant with her offspring: Phillip, a Johnson & Wales-trained chef; Taissa, a former food writer who trained as a baker in New York City’s Smile to Go bakery and cafe; and Alex, who recently joined the team as a front-of-thehouse manager. Husband/father Vlad lends a hand with paperwork on weekends, the busiest time in this frill-free space. That’s when Winter Parkers wait patiently in line to enjoy a brunch of sourdough pancakes with a housemade dulce de leche cooked for 24 hours. Others love to start the day with Yukon Gold hash made with eggs and baby kale. The produce in Buttermilk’s creations is generally from Urban Growth Farms or Frog Song Organics, both local outfits. Buttermilk’s success is based largely on three factors: buttery, scratch-made pastries; crusty, tangy sourdough breads; and daytime entrées made using those breads and /or plenty of eggs. Of course, that’s not to discount the fourth factor. This will sound sappy, but it must be said: These dishes are made with love — open-hearted, mile-wide-smile love. The Rebroffs, in fact, can barely contain their enthusiasm when discussing the day’s offerings, and when describing the intriguing new recipes that they’re testing and tweaking. They’re particularly giddy over customer reaction to the Morning Buns (croissant dough laced with cardamom, orange zest and brown sugar) and the housemade “pop tarts” (which may be filled with a jam made of local raspberries in one season, malted chocolate or sweet potato and marshmallow in another). Again, it sounds corny, but visitors are delighted by the family’s obvious sincerity and enthusiasm for their craft. Which, of course, translates to the quality of the food they prepare. “We make people happy,” says Lana after receiving kudos about that almond croissant. “Our motive is to show something that’s really made from scratch.”
Fresh, Florida Cuisine in an Award-Winning Hotel Enjoy seasonal specialties surrounded by museum-quality art and a beautiful Mediterranean-style atmosphere. Relax on our patio and enjoy the sights and sounds of Winter Park.
Buttermilk Bakery toasts its housemade sourdough bread and tops it with creative combinations of savory ingredients. The Rebroffs call the open-face sandwiches “tartines.”
With their mismatched aprons and eager attitudes, each family member has a primary function. However, all chip in wherever they’re needed. For example, Phillip’s No. 1 priority is making the sourdough bread every day. It’s a simple recipe that uses a “wildly fermented natural starter” along with “just three ingredients: flour, water and salt. And love.” (See? They’re all love-struck.) That’s it, except he’s now experimenting with such add-ons as sesame seeds and olives with Herbs de Provence. For lunch, a slice of toasted sourdough is the base for the tartines, which on any given day may be topped with eggs deviled with smoked paprika, Dijon mustard and pickled red onions, or slow-roasted carrots with roasted beet hummus, arugula, almonds, feta cheese and lemon yogurt. All menu items are listed on a strip of brown paper, and are crossed off as they sell out — which
they usually do. What prompted this earnest crew to make the switch from Sao Paulo to Winter Park? The answer begins with a shared passion for fine food, and continues with a desire to be a part of Central Florida’s burgeoning dining scene. “We’re a family of foodies,” Lana says, grinning widely. “We love food. When we travel, we’re food-obsessed. We seek out the best bakeries, the best hot dogs, whatever. We’ve always been like that.” As the kids got older, they started joining Lana in the kitchen. Taissa would bake, while Phil would experiment with savories. “He was always trying something crazy, like smoked mushrooms, just to see how it would go,” recalls Lana, who has taken baking classes. Once the family decided to turn their shared hobby into a business, they moved from South
Accolades Condé Nast Traveler Readers ‘Choice Awards: Ranked #1 in Florida Orlando Business Journal: Voted best local venue for small meetings, Readers’ Choice Awards Orlando Business Journal: Best local venue for weddings For dining reservations, please call 407-998-8089 Visit us at www.TheAlfondInn.com or on Facebook
S PRING 2 0 1 7 | W IN T ER PARK MAGAZ IN E
Homemade “pop tarts” are filled with an ever-changing variety of concoctions, from raspberry jam to malted chocolate to sweet potato with marshmallow.
Florida to Orlando and began selling baked goods at the Maitland and Audubon Park farmers’ markets. “Orlando is a growing food city,” says Taissa, who as a UCF student often wrote English papers about the significance of food in novels such as Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar. “Lots of creative restaurants are popping up. There’s an energy, with people who want to try different things. It’s exciting.” Once they opted to open a brick-and-mortar restaurant, the Rebroffs found the Orange Avenue location, near the renowned Ravenous Pig, to be ideal. The popular gastropub has subsequently moved, but the proximity offered solid exposure for the Rebroffs’ fledgling operation. Now the busy thoroughfare has taken on a hipper vibe. Just down the block, trendsters gather at the newly renovated State Auto Building,
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now The Brewstillery. There you’ll find the Bear & Peacock, which serves its own beer, and the Winter Park Distillery, which makes spirits and sells them retail. The same complex houses Create Your Nature, which serves up superfoods, while Foxtail brews exceptional coffee. A cluster of outdoor benches has become an informal gathering place for stylish-looking young professionals who frequent some or all of these newbies. As for Buttermilk’s building, the Rebroffs, not surprisingly, adore it. “It’s a stand-alone building, not in a shopping strip,” Taissa points out. “It feels like home to us. I love it — the simplicity, the beams.” The Rebroffs are in no hurry to grow. But demand is high for more retail and wholesale products, so they’re thinking — albeit cautiously — about expansion. “It’s a little baby, only six months old,” Taissa says. “Now we’ll take it one step at a time. We’re trying to put out the best products possible. We’re doing great and we’re not ready to say, ‘OK, now let’s hire 20 people. We’re not in a hurry.’” Meanwhile, the family is partnering with other small local operations. They provide bar food for
the Bear & Peacock, for example, and desserts for Farmhaus, which offers meal-delivery dinners. They’re also lavishing their attention on their own eatery, changing the menu weekly and embracing whatever ingredients local farmers have to offer. Looking toward spring, they’re swapping out roasted root vegetables for citrus, greens, peas and even green strawberries. “We’ll pickle and ferment them,” says Phillip. “We’ll think about what goes together and play with the flavors to see what pops up.” The message? I strongly recommend that you visit Buttermilk’s Bakery to feed your body and your spirit. But if you want to try those donuts, those ham-and-Gruyère croissants, those salted rye cookies or those sesame banana bread teacakes, don’t make a rookie mistake and show up after lunch. The tiny retail counter depletes early. “We’re a small-batch bakery,” Taissa says. “We run out of stuff.”
BUTTERMILK BAKERY 1198 N Orange Ave, Winter Park 321-422-4015 • buttermilk-bakery.com
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www.OverstreetRealEstate.com 941 W. Morse Blvd, #100 Winter Park, FL 32789 S PRING 2 0 1 7 | W INTER PARK MAGAZ IN E
What: Celebrating 75 Years — Pathways of American Art at the Morse Museum Where: The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art, 445 North Park Avenue Notes: The Morse celebrates its 75th anniversary with a season of special events, including an exhibit of pottery, prints, portraits and landscape paintings that were particular favorites of founding director Hugh McKean. Highlights include the reconstructed (and ironically named) Art Machine as well as McKean’s own whimsical descriptions of the various works on display. Hours: Through April, 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and Saturday; 9:30 a.m.-8 p.m. on Friday; and 1-4 p.m. on Sunday. Regular admission is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors, $1 for students and free for children younger than age 12. Information: Call 407-645-5311, or visit morsemuseum.org.
The Dinky Bird by Maxfield Parrish was originally an illustration for a poem of the same name published in the Ladies Home Journal. Writes McKean: “We will never know about that Dinky-Bird because there isn’t anything to know. He lives in a poem, not a tree. The picture, it seems to us, is a meticulous, shimmering reverie, a reminder of moments you must never forget. It is, we think, yourself.”
EVENTS ART, HISTORY, ENTERTAINMENT AND MORE
Hugh McKean’s Whimsical Spirit on unconventional field trips. He set up a display of priceless Tiffany windows in a vacant storefront on Orange Blossom Trail to see how passersby would react to a luminous pop-up amid the washed-out urban clutter. He bought a decrepit van and transformed it into a mobile art gallery, filling it with sculptures, paintings and assorted curiosities, including a baseball signed by Babe Ruth. A driver piloted the vehicle to local schools, sometimes accompanied by McKean, who personally explained the on-board wonders to his pre-teen patrons. Then there was the Art Machine, which has been faithfully reassembled for the 75th anniversary exhibit. It consisted of a chair and a portrait of a very young Queen Victoria, which McKean hung on the wall of a janitor’s closet in the museum’s headquarters on Welbourne Avenue, where it had moved in 1978. (It moved again, to its expanded North Park Avenue headquarters, shortly before McKean’s death.) Visitors were invited, via copies of an “Instruction Manual,” to sit in a chair and spend three quiet, contemplative minutes regarding the portrait, painted by Thomas Sully in 1838, after reading a typically informal but subtly informative McKean essay about it: The archbishop of Canterbury and the Lord Chamberlain galloped through the night to tell little Victoria Uncle William had died and she was Queen. … The United Kingdom was fascinated with the headstrong teenager, who had ascended its throne. So was much of the English-speaking world. Today we would know all about her, especially her love affairs, whether or not there had been any. In 1837, only a few had even a vague idea of what she looked like. Sully, following the English portrait tradition, turns the best side of his subject toward the viewer. Victoria, wearing a becoming crown and sitting alone in soft brown space, a device which throws all attention on her, looks over her shoulder with considerable charm. The gown is a few skilled swishes of the brush. Her large eyes have the doe-like quality of a silent screen star and the suggestion of a twinkle. The colors, mixed with oil and turpentine, flow with gentle elegance. Soft edges make it all seem a little dreamlike. The jewels in the crown are loaded with pigment to catch the light. Queen Victoria lived so long she walks out of history
The Morse’s 75th anniversary exhibition spotlights the quirky sensibilities of McKean, the museum’s founding director.
a dumpy dowager dressed in black. Sully’s Victoria is a little beauty, fond of people and parties, and an ideal queen for storybook islands complete with shining rivers, great estates, drafty castles and loyal subjects. It’s vintage McKean — more story than lecture, with lessons about painting techniques tucked into a drama that begins with thundering hooves and ends in pathos and fairy-tale imagery. Meanwhile, his use of the descriptor “machine” was pure irony, given that he was operating at the opposite end of the technological spectrum. In fact, he was beckoning viewers to leave the factory-whistle world behind for an audience with a queen — and to experience a work of art in a still space, through their own eyes, rather than those of so-called experts. “What Hugh was all about was creating the opportunity for people of all walks of life to experience art,” says Larry Ruggiero, who succeeded McKean as director and curated the exhibit. “That’s the main reason we’re here at this museum — to make art of whatever kind available to people, so that it can perform its magical function.” — Michael McLeod S PRING 2 0 1 7 | W INTE R PARK MAGAZ IN E
PHOTO COURTESY OF THE MORSE MUSEUM
Founding director Hugh McKean’s abiding presence at the Morse Museum of American Art is being more keenly felt than ever of late, thanks to a retrospective exhibit that reflects the whimsical spirit of the iconic artist-educator, who died in 1995 but whose legacy lives on in a variety of ways. Celebrating 75 Years — Pathways of American Art at the Morse Museum, which runs through January 21, 2018, is designed to illustrate the breadth and depth of the Morse collection as well as the quirky sensibilities of McKean himself, an erstwhile art professor who was the 10th president of Rollins College. The exhibit features more than 60 examples of pottery, prints, portraits and landscape paintings connected by no particular theme other than the attraction they held for McKean, who also wrote the lyrical didactics for each piece on display. The Morse was founded in 1942 at an airy lakeside bunker on the campus of Rollins College by McKean’s wife, Jeannette Genius McKean, granddaughter of Chicago industrialist Charles Hosmer Morse. The omnipresent philanthropist, a part-time resident until he retired here in 1915, was recently named the city’s “Citizen of the Century” by Winter Park Magazine. Jeannette entrusted Hugh, whom she would wed in 1945, to oversee the museum, which was then located on the Rollins campus, and help her assemble a modest collection — funded by the family fortune — which would include Tiffany’s works, among others. In 1974, retired from Rollins and concentrating full time on the museum, McKean rescued a trove of elaborate Tiffany windows from a soon-to-be-demolished, 19th-century chapel owned by an organization with an equally elaborate name: The Association for the Relief of Respectable, Aged Indigent Females. That Christmas, McKean illuminated and displayed the windows in Central Park, and in subsequent years enhanced the otherworldly setting by providing a rented camel. Christmas in the Park would become a signature event that now attracts thousands and includes a performance by the Bach Festival Choir and Orchestra. When McKean wasn’t celebrating established holidays — or masterminding one of his own — he was taking examples of the museum’s art collection out
EVENTS VISUAL ARTS
Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens. This 54-year-old lakeside museum is dedicated to preserving the works of Polasek, the famed Czech sculptor for whom it was both home and studio for more than a decade. While focused on Polasek’s sculptures, the museum also features the work of internationally renowned artists in all mediums. An exhibit of paintings by Frantz Zephirin, one of Haiti’s leading contemporary artists, runs through April 16. Following that, from April 22-29, is the museum’s annual Winter Park Paint Out, during which a group of 25 professional artists paint outdoors, or “en plein air,” at locations throughout the city; their finished works are immediately displayed and available for purchase at the museum, which is open free to the public the entire week. Special Paint Out events at the museum include: an April 24 open house, with artists painting the picturesque sculpture gardens and opportunities for visitors to get some hands-on experience; an April 27 “Sunset Paint-In” (at the Winter Park Racquet Club on Lake Maitland); an April 29 Happy Hour Portrait Demo; and an April 30 Paint Out Garden Party to wrap things up. Plus, there will be free painting demonstrations throughout the week. The museum also offers tours of the adjacent Capen-Showalter House on Wednesdays and Sundays. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, $3 for students and free for children. 633 Osceola Avenue. 407-647-6294. polasek.org. Art & History Museums – Maitland. The Maitland Art Center, one of five museums anchoring the city’s Cultural Corridor, was founded as an art colony in 1937 by visionary American sculptor, painter and architect André Smith. The center offers exhibits and classes at its Maitland campus, located at 231 West Packwood Avenue. The complex is the Orlando area’s only National Historic Landmark, and is one of the few surviving examples of Mayan Revival architecture in the Southeast. On display through April 16 is the work of contemporary artists from across the U.S. who converged on the center in March to create new works and engage the public in the creative process through a series of exhibits and art happenings known as Art31: Borrowed Light — Stephen Knapp, Deanna Morse & Ryan Buyssens. Meanwhile, four of the center’s artists-in-residence are back through May 8 to showcase their work in three exhibits under the umbrella title Meditations, Mapping and Memories: Sharon Lee Hart, Marie Yoho Dorsey, Masha Ryskin and Serge Marchetta. The newest exhibit, Architect as Artist, is a juried exhibition focused on artwork by Florida architects that falls outside the realm of traditional, functional design. Architect as Artist is on display through June 2. The Cultural Corridor also includes the Maitland Historical Museum and the Telephone Museum, both at 221 West Packwood Avenue, as well as the Waterhouse Residence Museum and the Carpentry Shop Museum, both built in the
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1880s and located at 820 Lake Lily Drive. Through May 15, you can experience Springtime at the Waterhouse, exploring the fully decorated residence, built in 1884 by William Waterhouse as his family’s home; the Victorian-era home is decked out for Easter and the new season. 407-539-2181. artandhistory.org. Baterbys Art Gallery. The current exhibit at this large, private gallery is Pablo Picasso: The Diary of a Master, which it bills as the largest exhibition of Picasso’s art in Florida history. A portion of all proceeds from the sale of Picasso works during the show, which continues through May 5, will be donated to Florida Hospital for Children in Orlando. 6848 Stapoint Court. 888-6829995. baterbys.com. Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art. With more than 19,000 square feet of gallery and public space, the museum houses the world’s most important collection of Louis Comfort Tiffany creations, including jewelry, pottery, paintings, art glass and an entire chapel interior originally designed and built for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. In marking its 75th anniversary this year, the Morse celebrates the breadth and depth of its collection (assembled by founders Hugh and Jeannette McKean) in Celebrating 75 Years — Pathways of American Art at the Morse Museum. The exhibit, which continues through January 21, 2018, includes portraits, landscape paintings, works on paper and pottery. Also on display this year: Louis Comfort Tiffany’s Life and Art, which examines through art objects, archival documents and various artifacts representing Tiffany’s astonishingly diverse work in the decorative arts — what he called his “quest for beauty” — over the course of his lifetime. Continuing through September 24 is The Bride Elect: Gifts from the 1905 Wedding of Elizabeth Owens Morse, which features the original registry and some of the 250 gifts presented to the daughter of Charles Hosmer Morse and Martha Owens Morse by her family’s wealthy friends. Other ongoing exhibits include Revival and Reform: Eclecticism in the 19th-Century Environment, which encompasses two galleries and has as its centerpiece The Arts, a neoclassical window created by the J&R Lamb Studios, a prominent American glasshouse of the late 19th century. Admission is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors, $1 for students and free for children younger than 12. However, in celebration of the museum’s 75th anniversary, admission is free for everyone on Fridays from 4-8 p.m. during the month of April. 445 North Park Avenue. 407-645-5311. morsemuseum.org. Cornell Fine Arts Museum. Located on the campus of Rollins College, the museum houses one of the oldest and most eclectic collections of fine art in Florida. Free weekend tours take place at 1 p.m. each Saturday at the campus facility and 1 p.m. each Sunday at the nearby Alfond Inn, which displays dozens of
works from the museum’s Alfond Collection of Contemporary Art. Happy Hour art tours of the Alfond Collection are also conducted the first Wednesday of each month at 5:30 p.m. The museum’s current exhibit, The Black Figure in the European Imaginary, runs through May 14 and considers the manner in which the visual arts of Europe imagined black people during the “long” 19th century (1750-1914). Two related exhibits are Reframing the Picture, Reclaiming the Past, in which contemporary art depicting the black body “talks back,” so to speak, to the historic works presented in the first exhibition; and AfroFantastic: Black Imagination and Agency in the American Experience, which explores sociopolitical forces linked to the black imagination in the American experience from the 19th century to the present. Both exhibits run through April 2. Two new shows open May 25: Sea and Sky, Watercolors and Drawings by Paul Signac from the Arkansas Arts Center Collection, features various works by the late 19th- and early 20-century French artist; and Patrick Martinez, American Memorial, features paintings by this hip hop-influenced painter from Los Angeles. Meanwhile, the museum’s ongoing Conversations installation features works from the permanent collection, recent gifts and select loans. It’s currently organized in four, broad thematic categories: History and Myth, Religion Redefined, Gesture and Pose, and A Sense of Place. Admission is free, courtesy of Dale Montgomery, Rollins class of 1960. 1000 Holt Avenue. 407-646-2526. rollins.edu/cfam. Crealdé School of Art. Established in 1975, this notfor-profit arts organization offers year-round visualarts classes for all ages taught by more than 40 working artists. Continuing through April 29 is Jack King: Searching for Truth; this professional sculptor and University of Tampa art professor, initially inspired by Cuban rafters seeking sanctuary in the U.S., uses various materials in his work to explore both physical and spiritual quests. (This show is divided between Crealdé and the related Hannibal Square Heritage Center.) Also on display through April 15 is Director’s Choice VI, an exhibit of recent works by Crealdé’s diverse faculty. Admission to Crealdé’s galleries is free, although there are fees for art classes. 600 St. Andrews Boulevard. 407-671-1886. crealde.org. Hannibal Square Heritage Center. Established in 2007 by the Crealdé School of Art in partnership with residents of Hannibal Square and the City of Winter Park, the center celebrates the city’s historically African-American west side with archival photographs, original artwork and oral histories from longtime residents. Through April 29 the center is co-hosting Jack King: Searching for Truth, which features sculptures by the Tampa artist, in partnership with the Crealdé School of Art. Ongoing is the Hannibal Square Timeline, which documents significant local and national events in African-American history
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since the Emancipation Proclamation. Admission is free. 642 West New England Avenue. 407-539-2680. hannibalsquareheritagecenter.org.
Annie Russell Theatre. The final show of the 201617 season at “The Annie,” the historic jewel box of a theater on the campus of Rollins College, is Urinetown, The Musical, which runs from April 21-29. This irreverent winner of three Tonys is set in a futuristic but not-so-unrecognizable society in which water is scarce and public and commercial restroom facilities are banned; as a result, residents must pay a fee to a price-gouging megacorporation each time they use the bathroom. There are six performances at 8 p.m., plus matinees at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Tickets are $20. The Second Stage Series, in the nearby Fred Stone Theater, features student-produced and studentdirected plays. The season-ending production is Silent Sky, a play set at the Harvard Observatory in the early 1900s, which examines how women continued to pursue their dreams then even though their voices and discoveries were dismissed. It runs April 5-8 at 8 p.m., with a 2 p.m. matinee on April 8. Admission is free to Second Stage shows, with seating on a first-come, first-served basis. 1000 Holt Avenue. 407-646-2145. rollins.edu/annie-russell-theatre. Center for Contemporary Dance. A not-for-profit organization focused on dance education, incubation and production, the center’s programs and performances are designed to provide students of all ages, from novice to professional, with experience in classical, post-classical and world dance forms. During the past 14 years, the center, located at 3580 Aloma Avenue, has supported artists in the creation and presentation of more than 250 new works. This year’s summer concert, Primordia: The Watchkeeper, is an original ballet about a voyager princess and the ancient kingdom she left behind. Tickets for the June 11 production are $12 to $25 each. The performance, which begins at 7 p.m., is in the auditorium at Trinity Preparatory School, 5700 Trinity Prep Lane. 407-6958366. thecenterfordance.org. Winter Park Playhouse. Winter Park’s only professional, not-for-profit theater wraps up its 2016-17 mainstage season with two spring musicals: Mid-Life! The Crisis Musical, a musical romp through the tribulations of middle age that continues through April 8. Shows are Wednesday through Sunday at 2 p.m., and Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are from $15 to $40 each. The other is Murder for Two, a blend of musical comedy and murder mystery in which one actor plays the investigator while the other plays 13 suspects — and they both play the piano throughout. It runs from May 12-21 and June 1-11. With a few exceptions, shows are Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Wednesday through Sunday at 2 p.m. Coming April 19-20
at 7:30 p.m. is the Spotlight Cabaret Series featuring Shawn Kilgore, 711 Orange Avenue. 407-645-0145. winterparkplayhouse.org. Titanic (The Musical). This winner of Broadway’s 1997 Tony Award for Best Musical was chosen as the 2017 Night on Broadway production at Winter Park High School. The April 20-22 performances benefit the school’s Tyler Rush Memorial Scholarship Fund for graduating chorus students. 2100 Summerfield Road. 407-628-3028.
Florida Film Festival. Now in its 26th year, this Oscar-qualifying festival premieres some of the best in current, independent and international cinema. It’s an international affair, drawing an array of roughly 170 independent feature films, documentaries, shorts and animated movies from the U.S. and worldwide. This year the 10-day extravaganza — which includes a host of film seminars, parties, celebrity appearances and other events — will take place April 21-30, mostly on the grounds of the Enzian, a single-screen art-movie house in the middle of a three-acre, oak-shaded Maitland enclave with an outdoor restaurant and bar. Some of the films will be shown at Regal Cinema in Winter Park. Enzian, a not-for-profit that hosts several other, smaller film festivals as well as numerous educational and social-service events, is in the midst of a fundraising campaign to add a pair of smaller theaters to the complex and broaden its programming. But while most of the $6 million fundraising goal has been reached, the Enzian doesn’t expect the expansion to be ready before the 2019 Florida Film Festival at the earliest. Both single tickets and packages for festival events are available. 1300 South Orlando Avenue, Maitland. 407-6291088. floridafilmfestival.com. Hannibal Square Heritage Center Folk & Urban Art Festival. This annual festival, now in its eighth year, celebrates culture and diversity through art and music. More than 25 Florida artists will offer their works for sale from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on April 22; participants include members of the original Florida Highwaymen, a loosely organized but now famous group of African-American landscape artists. The event includes live music, food trucks and a “Kidfolk” workshop that culminates with a public parade. Admission is free. 642 West New England Avenue. hannibalsquareheritagecenter.org.
Enzian. This cozy, not-for-profit alternative cinema offers a plethora of film series. Peanut Butter Matinee Family Films are shown on the fourth Sunday of each month at noon. Upcoming flicks include The Indian in the Cupboard (May 28) and Harry and the Hendersons (June 25). Tickets are free for children under 12; otherwise they’re $8 (or $7.50, if you’re an Enzian
Film Society member). Saturday Matinee Classics are shown on the second Saturday of each month at 11 a.m. or noon. Upcoming are The Deer Hunter (May 13) and Black Orpheus (June 10). Tickets are $8. Cult Classics are shown on the second and last Tuesday of each month at 9:30 p.m. Upcoming are Bonnie and Clyde (April 11), Superbad (May 9) and Dirty Dancing (May 30). Tickets are $8. FilmSlam, a showcase for Florida-made short films, is held most months on Sundays at 1 p.m.; the next scheduled dates are May 7 and June 11. Tickets are $8. Other special showings include: 1984 (April 4), Stuart Little (Easter Brunch & Egg Hunt, April 16), Saint Joan (National Theatre Live, May 21), Forrest Gump (Book to Big Screen, May 27), Funny Face (Mother’s Day, May 14), and Die Hard (Father’s Day, June 18). 1300 South Orlando Avenue. 407-629-0054 (information line), 407-629-1088 (theater offices). enzian.org. Popcorn Flicks in the Park. The City of Winter Park and Enzian collaborate to offer classic, family friendly films free in Central Park. These outdoor screenings are usually on the second Thursday of each month, and begin at about 7 p.m. (or whenever it gets dark). Upcoming are North by Northwest (May 11) and Close Encounters of the Third Kind (June 8). Bring a blanket or chairs, and a snack. 407629-1088. enzian.org. Screen on the Green. The City of Maitland offers free outdoor movies each spring and fall on the field at Maitland Middle School. Bring a blanket or chairs. The next shows are Storks (April 1 at 8 p.m.) and The Secret Life of Pets (May 13 at 8:15 p.m.). 1901 Choctaw Trail, Maitland. 407-539-0042. itsmymaitland.com.
Casa Feliz Historic Home Museum. This stunningly restored Spanish farmhouse-style home was designed by acclaimed architect James Gamble Rogers II, and is now a community center and museum. Free open houses are hosted by trained docents every Tuesday and Thursday from 10 a.m.to noon. Also, live music is featured in the large downstairs parlor on Sundays from noon to 3 p.m. (see Music). 656 North Park Avenue (adjacent to the Winter Park Golf Course). 407-628-8200. casafeliz.us. Holocaust Memorial Resource & Education Center of Florida. The center is dedicated to combating anti-Semitism, racism and prejudice, with the goal of developing a moral and just community through educational and cultural programs. It houses permanent and temporary exhibits, archives and a research library. Its ongoing exhibit, Tribute to the Holocaust, presents an overview of the Holocaust through artifacts, videos, photographs and artwork. On display through June 16 is Fighting on the Home Front: Propaganda Posters Of WWII. The exhibit features a series
of 28 original war posters from World War II, drawn from collections at the Detroit Historical Society. Admission is free. 851 North Maitland Avenue, Maitland. 407-628-0555. holocaustedu.org. Winter Park History Museum. Ongoing displays include artifacts dating from the city’s beginnings as a New England-style resort in the 1880s. Its current exhibit, Winter Park: The War Years, 1941-1945 — Home Front Life in an American Small Town, looks at how World War II affected Winter Parkers. Admission is free. 200 West New England Avenue, Winter Park. 407-644-2330. wphistory.org. Zora Neale Hurston National Museum of Fine Arts. Eatonville is strongly associated with Harlem Renaissance writer and folklorist Zora Neale Hurston, who lived there as a girl and recorded her childhood memories in her classic autobiography, Dust Tracks on a Road. The museum that bears her name provides information about the city and sponsors exhibits featuring the works of African-American artists. The museum’s current exhibit is Back in the Day: Reflections of Historic Eatonville, which features artifacts and memorabilia related to Eatonville’s history. Admission is free, though group tours require a reservation and must pay a fee. 227 East Kennedy Boulevard, Eatonville. 407-647-3188. zorafestival.org.
63rd Annual Winter Park Easter Egg Hunt. A Winter Park tradition dating back to President Eisenhower’s first term in office, the hunt is held the day before Easter — this year, that’s Saturday, April 15. Roughly 10,000 Easter eggs are hidden in Central Park’s West Meadow, and several hundred kids show up to try and find them. (Children are asked to bring a basket with them.) The fun begins at 10 a.m., with kids 10 and under allowed to line up a half hour earlier. Extra treats will be on hand afterward for those left eggless. 407599-3334. cityofwinterpark.org. Memorial Day Service. The ceremony in Winter Park’s Glen Haven Memorial Park cemetery usually includes an honor guard, music and guest speaker. May 29 at 11 a.m. Admission is free. 2300 Temple Drive. 407-647-1100.
Winter Park Institute at Rollins College. The institute, affiliated with Rollins College, presents lectures, readings and seminars by thought leaders in an array of disciplines. Its ninth season concludes April 4 with former U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle “Gabby” Giffords and her husband, retired NASA astronaut Mark Kelly. The couple became advocates for stricter gun laws after a near-fatal 2011 attempt on Giffords’ life. Giffords and Kelly will speak at 7:30 p.m. in Warden Arena at the Alfond Sports Center. Tickets are $15, $30 and $50. 1000 Holt Avenue. 407-646-2145. rollins.edu/wpitickets. S PRING 2 0 1 7 | W INTER PARK MAGAZ IN E
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Financial Services 5 Bank of America 407-646-3600 21 F4 Wealth Advisors 407-960-4769 4 Grafton Wealth Management at Merrill Lynch 407-646-6725 5 The Kozlowski CPA Firm LLC 407-381-4432 8 Moss, Krusick and Associates 407-644-5811
Health & Beauty 23 Advanced Park Dental 407-628-0200 3 Apothecology Urban Spa & Market 407-574-2299 13 Bluemercury 407-628-0300 9 Clean Beauty Bar 407-960-3783 12 Eyes & Optics 407-644-5156 6 Kendall & Kendall, Hair Color Studio 407-629-2299 17 One Aesthetics 407-720-4242 15 See Eyewear 407-599-5455
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Beyond Commercial 407-641-2221 Brandywine Square 407-657-5555 Fannie Hillman + Associates 407-644-1234 Great American Land Management, Inc. 407-645-4131 Keewin Real Property Company 407-645-4400 Kelly Price & Company 407-645-4321 Leading Edge Title 407-636-9866 Michael O’Shaughnessy, Inc. 407-620-8763 Olde Town Brokers 407-622-7878 Re/Max Town Centre 407-367-2000 Winter Park Land Company 407-644-2900
Specialty Shops 2 5 14 7 15 10 13 12 3 13 20 18 19
Fig and Julep 321-972-1899 The Ancient Olive 321-972-1899 Brandywine Books 407-644-1711 Christian Science Reading Room 407-647-1559 Frank 407-629-8818 Living Morocco 407-600-5913 Maureen H. Hall Stationery & Invitations 407-629-6999 New General 321-972-2819 The Paper Shop 407-644-8700 Partridge Tree Gift Shop 407-645-4788 Rifle Paper Co. 407-622-7679 The Spice and Tea Exchange 407-647-7423 Ten Thousand Villages 407-644-8464 Winter Park Florist 407-647-5014 Writer’s Block Bookstore 407-592-1498
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Ben and Jerry’s 407-325-5163 Kilwins Chocolates & Ice Cream 407-622-6292 Peterbrooke Chocolatier 407-644-3200 Rocket Fizz Soda Pop and Candy Shop 407-645-3499 Sweet Frog 407- 536-1041
Travel Services 10 Luxury Trips 407-622-8747 18 Winter Park Welcome Center 407-644-8281
Weddings Winter Park Wedding Company 321-274-6618 • = Not on Map
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Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens 407-647-6294 1 Annie Russell Theater 407-646-2145 2 Bach Festival Society of Winter Park 407-646-2182 407-628-8200 2 Casa Feliz 3 Cornell Fine Arts Museum 407-646-2526 1 Morse Museum of American Art 407-645-5311 3 Scenic Boat Tour 407-644-4056 • The Winter Park Playhouse 407-645-0145 10 Winter Park History Museum 407-647-2330
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407-647-7277 407-629-0042 407-636-7366 407-539-6520 407-960-3778 407-644-8609 407-636-9918 407-790-7997 407-599-4111 407-335-4548 407-647-7520 407-331-1400 407-645-3939 407-629-7270 407-671-4424 407-335-4914 407-381-4432 407-645-2475 407-645-3616 407-262-0050 407-951-8039 407-960-3993 407-696-9463
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310 Park South Barnie’s CoffeeKitchen BoiBrazil The Bistro on Park Avenue blu on the avenue Bosphorous Turkish Cuisine Braccia Pizzeria & Ristorante Cocina 214 Luma on Park Maestro Cucina Napoletana mon petit cheri cafe Orchid Thai Cuisine Panera Bread Pannullo’s Italian Restaurant Paris Bistro Park Avenue Smoothie Cafe The Parkview Park Plaza Gardens Power House Cafe Prato Rome’s Flavours UMI Japanese Restaurant The Wine Room on Park Ave
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Apparel 14 Arabella 407-636-8343 12 Bebe’s/Liz’s Fashion Experience 407-628-1680 2 Charyli 407-455-1983 407-740-6003 8 The Collection 9 Cottonways 321-203-4733 6 Current 407-628-1087 14 Eden 407-644-6522 1 Evelyn and Arthur 407-740-0030 13 Forema Boutique 407-790-4987 15 The Impeccable Pig 407-636-4043 2 J. McLaughlin 407-960-3965 407-629-7944 7 John Craig Clothier 6 Lilly Pulitzer 407-539-2324 19 Lucky Brand Jeans 407-628-1222 5 Maestro Cucina Napoletana 407-335-4548 4 Max and Marley 407-636-6204 22 Scout & Molly’s 407-790-4916 16 Siegel’s Winter Park 407-645-3100 407-647-7241 4 Synergy 321-209-1096 • TADofstyle 12 The Grove 407-740-0022 407-647-5437 20 tugboat and the bird 17 Tuni 407-628-1609
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EVENTS University Club of Winter Park. Upcoming lectures include The Fixer, a look at the Pulitzer Prize-winning book by Bernard Malamud that tells the true story of a blood libel murder in the early 20th century. The April 13 program, which starts at 10 a.m., is free for members; guests are asked to make a $5 donation. 841 North Park Avenue. 407-644-6149. uclubwp.org.
Maitland Farmers’ Market. This year-round, open-air market — held each Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. — features fresh produce, seafood, breads and cheeses as well as plants, all-natural skin-care products and live music by Performing Arts of Maitland. The setting on Lake Lily boasts a boardwalk, jogging trails, a playground and picnic areas. 701 Lake Lily Drive, Maitland. itsmymaitland.com. Winter Park Farmers’ Market. The region’s busiest and arguably most popular farmers’ market is held each Saturday from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the old railroad depot, which also houses the Winter Park History Museum. The open-air market offers baked goods, produce, plants, honey, cheese, meat, flowers, crafts and other specialty items for sale. After shopping, make a morning of it with a stroll along nearby Park Avenue. Dogs are welcome to bring their people. 200 West New England Avenue. cityofwinterpark.org.
Bach Festival Society of Winter Park. The society’s 2016-17 season wraps up April 22-23 with the final installment of its Choral Masterworks Series, Vive la France, an all-French program consisting of Gabriel Fauré’s Requiem, Op. 48; Francis Poulenc’s Gloria; Claude Debussy’s Nocturnes, No. 3 “Sirènes”; and Camille Saint-Saëns’ Morceau de Concert, Op. 94. Performances are 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday in the Knowles Memorial Chapel on the Rollins College campus, 1000 Holt Avenue. Tickets range from $25 to $65. 407-646-2182. bachfestivalflorida.org. Blue Bamboo Center for the Arts. This eclectic venue is part performance hall, part recording studio and part art gallery. It offers live performances most evenings, with an emphasis on jazz, classical and world music, though theater, dance and spoken-word presentations are also on the schedule. Upcoming musical events include: pianist Makia Matsumura, April 1 at 8 p.m. ($15); Kneebody, April 3 at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. ($25-$60); jazz singer Nancy Kelly, April 4 at 7:30 p.m. ($20); guitarist Christopher Belt, April 5 at 8 p.m. ($10); Bamboo Philharmonic, April 7 at 8 p.m. ($15); Stan Kenton Legacy Orchestra, April 8 at 8 p.m. ($25); Baroque Chamber Orchestra of Maitland, April 12 at 8 p.m. ($16-$25); pianist/vocalist Carol Stein with Andrea Canny, April 19 at 8 p.m. ($15); AMP Trio, April 20 at 8 p.m. ($20); jazz vocalist/songwriter Dara Tucker, April 22 at 8 p.m. ($20); Central Florida Vocal Arts,
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April 27 at 8 p.m. ($10); pianist/vocalist Laila Biali, May 1 at 8 p.m. ($20); jazz singer Jaimie Roberts, May 13 at 8 p.m. ($20); Carol Stein with Mark Miller, May 24 at 8 p.m. ($15); Central Florida Vocal Arts, May 25 at 8 p.m. ($10); Carol Stein with Michelle Mailhot, June 24 at 8 p.m. ($15); Central Florida Vocal Arts, June 29 at 8 p.m. ($10). Non-musical programs include: Living Room Screenings, short, independent films with discussion, April 1, May 6 and June 3 ($10); Parcels: MFAs in Progress, readings of stories and poems by UCF graduate students, April 2 (free); String Tea, a vignettebased improv/performance group, April 18, May 6 and June 20 ($10); Florida Tribal Dance, a unique form of belly dance, April 29 ($15); and Living Room Theater, another improv/performance group, April 30, May 19 and June 23 ($10). 1905 Kentucky Avenue. 407-6369951. bluebambooartcenter.com. Breakthrough Theatre of Winter Park. This volunteer-based organization bills itself as “Winter Park’s only community theater,” a non-Equity group that encourages self-expression through dance, music and theater. Its next production is an evening of cabaret, Music for Melons: When You Believe, featuring songs from popular animated movies including The Little Mermaid, An American Tail, The Jungle Book, Beauty and the Beast, Shrek, Frozen and more. All proceeds benefit Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Orlando. March 31 at 8 p.m., April 1 at 3 and 8 p.m. Tickets are $15. 419-A West Fairbanks Avenue. 407-920-4034. breakthroughtheatre.com. Central Florida Folk. This Winter Park-based notfor-profit is dedicated to promoting and preserving live folk music, primarily through concerts on the last Sunday of each month (except May, when the Florida Folk Festival takes center stage). The group is currently trying out several venues, including the Winter Park Public Library, 460 East New England Avenue. The next two concerts scheduled at that location are Friction Farm, plus Elaine Mahon, on April 30 at 2:30 p.m.; and Rod MacDonald, plus Dianne MartinKarelovich, on June 25 at 2 p.m. A donation of $12 for non-members is suggested. 407-679-6426. cffolk.org. Get Your Jazz On. The Alfond Inn continues its concert series on April 28, with live jazz under the stars that includes not only music but roasted chicken, smoked pig, a vegetarian alternative, wine, beer, cocktails and cigars. The outdoor event (which moves indoors if it rains) runs from 6:30-9:30 p.m. Tickets are $50 in advance, valet parking included. Alfond Inn, 300 East New England Avenue. 407-998-8090. thealfondinn.com. Music at the Casa. The Casa Feliz Historic Home Museum regularly presents Sunday afternoon acoustic performances, from noon to 3 p.m., in the home’s main parlor. Upcoming performers include: flamenco guitarist Omar Miguel, April 2; violinist Lisa Ferrigno
and Friends, April 9; Classern String Quartet, April 23; harpist Catherine Way, April 30; Beautiful Music String Quartet, May 7; Alborea Dances Flamenco, May 14; guitarist Jeff Scott, May 21; violinist Amy X & Friends, May 28; guitarist and singer Rev. Shawn Garvey, June 11; harpist Christine MacPhail, June 18. Performers on June 4 and 25 are to be announced. Admission is free. 656 North Park Avenue (adjacent to the Winter Park Country Club golf course). 407628-8200. casafeliz.us. University Club of Winter Park. The club’s various activities are open to the public, though nonmembers are asked to donate a $5 activity fee each time they attend. Upcoming musical performances include: opera baritone Chevalier Lovett, with a mix of operatic arias and easy-listening songs, at 1 p.m. on April 19; and My Harp to Your Heart, a program of classical favorites and Broadway hits by Walt Disney World Orchestra harpist Elizabeth Louise at 1 p.m. on May 17. 841 North Park Avenue. There is no charge for members; a $5 donation is recommended for nonmembers. 407-644-6149. uclubwp.org.
Florida Writers Association: Orlando/Winter ParkArea Chapter. This group meets the first Wednesday of each month from 6:30-8:30 p.m. for a guest speaker and discussion organized by Rik Feeney. Upcoming dates are April 5, May 3 and June 7. University Club of Winter Park, 841 North Park Avenue. floridawriters.net. Fun with Flowers. Emily Bader and Cathey Bowers demonstrate how to create an Easter/springtime arrangement on April 6 at 10 a.m. at the Winter Park Garden Club. Participants should bring clippers; everything else will be provided. The session, which starts at 10 a.m., is limited to 20 people; tickets are $25, due by April 3. 1300 South Denning Drive. 407644-5770. winterparkgardenclub.com. 16th Annual Dinner on the Avenue. The city supplies the tables, chairs, white linen tablecloths and, of course, the outdoor setting while you and your friends, family or co-workers supply the fellowship and clever conversation as you dine in the middle of closedoff Park Avenue opposite Central Park. The annual event is also a friendly competition, with awards for table decorations in such categories as “Most Colorful,” “Most Elegant” and “Most Original.” This year’s April 8 event, already sold out at $125 a table, is from 6-10 p.m. 407-599-3334. cityofwinterpark.org. Earth Day in the Park. This free, fun-filled April 9 event in Central Park includes an electric-car show and human-powered snow cones. Presented by the city’s Sustainability Program and Keep Winter Park Beautiful, activities at this 11 a.m.-3 p.m. celebration, held two weeks before Earth Day, also include a kid’s
zone, tie-dyeing T-shirts, do-it-yourself art with Crealdé School of Art, a “quick draw” art competition with the Polasek Museum, plus yoga (bring a mat), live music, food and drink, environmental demonstrations, a bike rodeo and free composters to the first 100 arrivals. cityofwinterpark.org/earthday. Exploring Nature’s Elegant Patterns. After hearing Redenta Soprano, you’ll never again look at plants in quite the same way. The botanical artist and local resident is the featured speaker at the Winter Park Garden Club’s annual meeting on April 12 at 10 a.m. Her topic: the hidden order in nature, from the spiral curves and Fibonacci sequence in plants’ growth patterns to the branching design in trees. Soprano has taught at New York Botanical Gardens, Harry P. Leu Gardens in Orlando, and Winter Park’s Albin Polasek Museum. 1300 South Denning Drive. 407-644-5770. 32nd Annual Taste of Winter Park. Sample all the best food that Winter Park has to offer on April 19 starting at 5 p.m. Dozens of restaurants and caterers bring their best noshes and drinks to “Winter Park’s ultimate foodie festival.” Entertainment by saxophonist Johnny Mag Sax, plus a silent auction and raffle. Tickets range from $35 to $50. Winter Park Farmers’ Market, 200 West New England Avenue. 407-644-8281. winterpark.org. Maitland Public Library 5K. This annual 3.1-mile run is mainly a community-building effort. This year’s foot race is on May 20 at 7:30 a.m., starting and ending in Quinn Strong Park, 347 South Maitland Avenue, Maitland. 407-647-7700. maitlandpubliclibrary.org. Summertime Sip, Shop & Stroll. On June 8, the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce and the Park Avenue Merchants Association invite you to sip, stroll and experience the charm of the region’s premier shopping district. Discover new merchants while checking out the latest fashions, gift ideas and seasonal menus — all while enjoying wine and hors d’oeuvres offered at participating locations from 5-8 p.m. Tickets are $25; check in at the corner of Park Avenue and Morse Boulevard between 5-7 p.m. to receive your wine glass and “passport.” 407-6448281. winterpark.org. Wednesday Open Words. Free, open-mic poetry readings hosted by Curtis Meyer take place every Wednesday at 8 p.m. at Austin’s Coffee, 929 West Fairbanks Avenue. 407-975-3364.
Winter Park Executive Women. Hosted by the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce, these monthly lunchtime gatherings feature guest speakers and provide networking opportunities for women business owners. Topics revolve around leadership development, business growth and local initiatives of special
interest to women. It’s typically scheduled for 11:30 a.m. the first Monday of most months. Upcoming dates include: April 3, “What is Your Personal Brand?” with Betsy Gardner Eckbert, president and CEO of the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce; May 1, with Heather Alexander and Roy Allen, founders of Winter Park Playhouse; and June 5 (check website for scheduled topic and speaker). Tickets, which include lunch, are $20 for members, $25 for nonmembers; reservations are required. Winter Park Welcome Center, 151 West Lyman Avenue. 407-644-8281. winterpark.org. Good Morning Winter Park. Hosted by the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce, these monthly gatherings attract civic-minded locals who enjoy coffee and conversation about community issues. Typically scheduled for the second Friday of each month, upcoming dates include April 14, May 12 and June 9. Networking begins at 8 a.m.; each month’s program begins at 8:30 a.m. Admission, which includes a complimentary continental breakfast, is free. Winter Park Welcome Center, 151 West Lyman Avenue. 407-6448281. winterpark.org. The Hot Seat. Hosted by the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce, this business-oriented series puts local executives in the spotlight as they offer advice and discuss entrepreneurism, leadership and sales-and-marketing techniques. These hour-long, lunchtime events take place quarterly at the Winter Park Welcome Center; the next scheduled gathering is May 24 at noon. Tickets are $10 for members, $15 for non-members. Reservations are required. Winter Park Welcome Center, 151 West Lyman Avenue. 407-644.8281. winterpark.org.
Relay For Life. This signature fundraiser for the American Cancer Society takes place each year in more than 5,200 communities and 20 countries. Participants form teams whose members take turns walking around a track or designated path. A relay usually starts at noon and lasts six to 24 hours, and each team is asked to have a member on the track at all times to signify that cancer never sleeps. Local events include: Relay For Life of Winter Park High School, April 1 at 3 p.m. at Showalter Field; Relay For Life of Maitland/Casselberry, May 6 at noon at Lake Lily Park; and Relay For Life of Eatonville, May 13 (check website for time and location). 407-581-2501. relay.acsevents.org. Art of the Vine. Those with a sense of style and culture will want to eat, drink and be colorful at the 16th annual Art of the Vine, which pairs amazing food and fine wine with great art and radiant colors. The April 21 event, which starts at 6 p.m., benefits New Hope for Kids, which helps Central Florida children coping with life-threatening illnesses or grieving the death of loved ones. Tickets are $85 in advance, $100 at
the door. Fields BMW, 963 Wymore Road. 407-3313059, Ext. 12. newhopeforkids.org. The Great Duck Derby. A day of fun family activities at Mead Botanical Garden featuring rubber-duck races. Adopt a race duck for just $5, or get a “FiveDuck Quack Pack” for $20. Admission, parking and other activities are free for the April 22 event, which starts at 10 a.m.. Other activities include “duckoration,” a bounce house, face painting, hay rides, a silly singalong, Central Florida Zoo animal encounters, a climb-aboard fire truck and hikes along the creek and throughout the garden. 1300 South Denning Drive. 407-599-3397. meadgarden.org. Orlando Take Steps Walk. This April 22 fundraising and public-awareness walk around Lake Lily benefits the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation’s Central Florida Chapter. Check-in and the festival start at 9:30 a.m., the walk starts at 11 a.m. Lake Lily Park, Maitland. 646-203-1214. ccfa.org. Ice Cream Social. Enjoy an assortment of ice cream from 1-5 p.m. at the Rachel D. Murrah Civic Center on April 23 during an event that benefits Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Florida. In addition to ice cream, there’ll be live entertainment, face painting, a cake walk, games, door prizes, a silent auction and more. Tickets are $7 in advance or $10 at the door ($7 for seniors at the door). Children under 3 are admitted free. Tickets are on sale at all three Ronald McDonald houses in Orlando. 1050 West Morse Boulevard. ronaldmcdonaldhouseorlando.org. Run for the Trees: Jeannette Genius McKean Memorial 5K. This popular foot race, held this year on April 29 at 7:30 a.m., begins at Showalter Field, 2525 Cady Way. But the last mile and the finish are along a privately owned portion of Genius Drive that’s open to the public only once a year, for this event. Shuttle buses return runners to the starting line and parking lot; all finishers receive a young tree to plant. Registration, which ranges from $20 to $30 per person, is limited to 1,800 people. Proceeds support the Winter Park Tree Replacement Fund. 407-896-1160. trackshack.com. Baby Owl Shower. The Audubon Center for Birds of Prey, an urban environmental center in Maitland, focuses on the rescue, rehabilitation and release of Florida’s raptors, such as bald eagles, ospreys, owls and falcons. Each spring, the center throws a Baby Owl Shower as a fundraiser to help cover the facility’s increased costs during baby-bird season. Nonreleasable baby raptors are usually available to view, and other organizations present various educational activities and programs. This year’s shower starts at 10 a.m. on May 13; admission is free if you bring an item from the center’s online wish list of items needed to care for young raptors. 1101 Audubon Way, Maitland. 407-644-0190. fl.audubon.org. S PRING 2 0 1 7 | W INTER PARK MAGAZ IN E
Could You Be Suffering from Sleep Apnea? By Kiran Tipimeni, MD Otolaryngologist, Florida Hospital
id you know the average person spends one third of his or her life asleep? Many factors can influence our ability to get a good night’s rest, but one of the most common hindrances is snoring. Snoring, however, may just be a sign of a more serious underlying sleep disorder known as sleep apnea. People suffering from sleep apnea actually stop breathing dozens or hundreds of times a night. Many people with untreated sleep apnea tend to complain of symptoms such as: • Daytime sleepiness • Trouble concentrating • Generalized lack of energy Untreated sleep apnea can lead to other serious medical conditions such as hypertension, heart or lung disease, stroke or even sudden death. The mainstay of therapy for sleep apnea is to use what’s known as a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) mask while sleeping. A CPAP mask provides air pressure to the upper airway so it stays open. However, studies have shown only about half of those who are prescribed CPAP are actually able to use it. For those who are not able to tolerate CPAP, alternative therapies are now available through an otolaryngologist (ENT physician). These treatments include non-surgical options such as a simple oral appliance put on before bed. A wide variety of surgical treatment options are also available to treat sleep apnea without changing your lifestyle or habits. That way, you can get the rest you need without interruption or serious health risks. Kiran Tipirneni, MD, is an otolaryngologist and is on staff at Florida Hospital.
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TIFFANY at the MORSE The Morse Museum houses the world’s most comprehensive collection of works by Louis Comfort Tiffany. Public Hours: 9:30 a.m.–4 p.m., Tuesday–Saturday (open Fridays until 8 p.m., November–April); 1 p.m.–4 p.m., Sunday; closed Monday
www.morsemuseum.org follow us on
New Cellphone Audio Tour
445 north park avenue winter park, florida 32789 (407) 645-5311 just a 5-minute walk from the sunrail station.
Mead Botanical Garden, Inc. and the City of Winter Park present
The Great Duck Derby! A Super Day of Family Fun at Mead Botanical Garden!
Saturday, April 22, 2017 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Gates open at 9:30 a.m.
Adopt a Race Duck for $5 or get a 5 Duck Quack Pack for $20 Entrance to the Garden and all other activities are FREE!
They’re coming! Get in the race! event Highlights
Duck Races • Duck-o-ration • Face Painting • Bounce House • Silly Song Sing-a-long with Mr. Harley Games • Hay Rides • Hikes • Animal Encounter • Food Trucks T-shirts, duck whistles & visors for sale
Many THANKS to all the “quacktacular” SPoNSoRS and flock of voluNTeeRS who make the Duck Derby possible! The Joe & Sarah Galloway Foundation • Bill & Alice Weir • Keewin Real Property • Winter Park Wealth Group Fannie Hillman + Associates • Peter Gottfried Natural Systems Analysts • Wolfe-Rizor Interiors Park, Bark & Fly • Seacoast Bank • Track Shack • A.D. Owens Construction • David and Megan Cross Frank Hamner, PA • Holler Classic • Fringe Benefit Plans • Evans Engineering • Toni Jennings Goldfish Swim School of Winter Park • David Carter Psy.D • Linda Kulmann & Associates Beverly and Roy Lassiter • Bill and Beth Neidlinger • Pediatric Dental Group For more info, visit: www.meadgarden.org/great-duck-derby Mead Botanical Garden • 1300 S. Denning Dr. • Winter Park, FL 32789 • www.MeadGarden.org
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April 23 - 29, 2017 Free artist demonstrations Nationally-acclaimed artists One-of-a-kind paintings Garden Party gala winterparkpaintout.org Image: Sunny Knowles, Manon Sander
The Grafton Family
ARTSBEAT | BY MICHAEL MCLEOD
LOSING A CONTINENT, BUT FINDING HERSELF
hances are good you’ve never heard of the lost continent of Zealandia, and even better that you’ll never travel there. That’s because despite having all its continental credentials in order — mountains, valleys, the works — the vast land mass just east of Australia slipped beneath the Pacific eons ago. Which is something we shouldn’t hold against it — at least so say scientists who recently launched a campaign for Zealandia to be recognized as the globe’s eighth continent. I wonder what Elizabeth Bishop would make of all this, given that she once, rather famously, lost a continent herself. Bishop, born in Massachusetts in 1911, grew up as an orphan: Her father died when she was an infant, and her mother, perhaps unhinged by grief, was institutionalized a few months later and forever disappeared from her daughter’s life. Elizabeth spent her childhood shuttling back and forth between caregivers and became an introspective outlier, adventurer and philosopher as an adult. “Geographic curiosity leads me on and I can’t stop,” she once wrote to a friend. Crisscrossing the globe in a lifelong embrace, searching for a place to land and be loved, she chronicled her efforts in poetry that welded together worlds seen and unseen, winning her a Pulitzer Prize. Of the half-dozen poems that I can all but re-
cite by heart, two are Bishop’s, which explains why I spun around when I heard her name mentioned at a recent Rollins College reception and wound up making an instant literary BFF out of Bethany Hicok. She’s a visiting scholar, more or less, on sabbatical from Westminster College, just north of Pittsburgh, where she is professor of English and director of the honors program. Her husband is Jonathan Miller, director of Rollins’ Olin Library. Theirs is a commuting marriage — not uncommon among academics these days. Hicok has published several essays and books about Bishop. The most recent is a volume that explores the poet’s connections to the continent that she would eventually immortalize as “lost,” and to the country where she would find not just a measure of personal peace, but inspiration for some of her best work. The book is entitled Elizabeth Bishop’s Brazil (University of Virginia Press, 2016). Bishop was 40 when, on the first leg of a planned journey around the world, she arrived in Brazil, fell ill, and was nursed back to health by a friend and later lover, Lota de Macedo Soares. The Brazilian aristocrat and self-taught architect not only invited Bishop to stay as a guest at her rambling mountainside home, she also built a studio for her on the grounds. The unexpected burst of generosity was a long-
Bethany Hicok, a visiting scholar at Rollins College, made a friend in Brazil — a smiling sloth — while researching a book about Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Elizabeth Bishop.
BRAZIL bethany hicok
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awaited elixir for Bishop, who had been raised by relatives who were both neglectful and abusive. “She once wrote to a friend that she felt like she had the status of a family dog — one that was not particularly well-liked,” says Hicok. In Brazil, for the first time in her life, “somebody really took care of her.” Bishop wound up immersing herself in Brazilian politics, culture and geography. A key experience was a trip via riverboat down the Amazon, whose lushness overwhelmed her. It was a journey Hicok duplicated, as part of her research, in a two-deck craft similar to the one Bishop must have used. She shared a cramped room with another Bishop scholar and, briefly, a spider the size of a catcher’s mitt. That’s assuming Hicok wasn’t using poetic license when she told me about an encounter that did not end well for the arachnid. Though Bishop left South America after 15 years to teach poetry in the United States, the impact of her years there stayed with her for the rest of her life. She gave it a place of honor in the literary canon via a much-anthologized poem she wrote in 1976, three years before her death. It’s called One Art — perhaps because it’s the one art we all have to learn. The poem is about accepting life’s inevitable losses with poise, qualities she embodies with her choice of a difficult-to-execute, brilliantly compressed rhyme scheme called a villanelle. In tones that blend wistfulness with wry, selfeffacing advice, she argues that loss doesn’t equal catastrophe if one masters “the art of losing” everything from car keys to “hours badly spent” to beloved people — and, in this stanza, places. I lost two cities, lovely ones. And, vaster Some realms I owned, two rivers, a continent. I miss them, but it wasn’t a disaster. Even, and perhaps especially, if they bespeak places where you finally found your peace. Michael McLeod is a contributing writer for Winter Park Magazine and an adjunct instructor in the English department at Rollins College.
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