Pausing in My Red Tutu Stacy Barter
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CONTENTS SPRING 2021
FEATURES 22 | FLORIDA’S WILDER HEART Winter Park writers celebrate Florida’s natural environment, — but warn that we’re losing it to overdevelopment. By Greg Dawson
EDITH ROYAL PHOTO COURTESY OF THE ORANGE COUNTY REGIONAL HISTORY CENTER
38 | THE ROYAL WAY Generations of local residents learned about dance — and life — from Bill and Edith Royal. By Catherine Hinman with research by Laura Lewis Blischke and photo restoration by Will Setzer at Circle 7 Studio FASHION 78 | SPRING (FASHION) HAS SPRUNG The old Lombardi’s Seafood warehouse has been transformed into a lush, plant-filled oasis called The Heavy — an ideal setting for Spring fashion. Photography by Rafael Tongol, styling by Marianne Ilunga, makeup and hair by Elsie Knab IN MEMORIAM 62 | RICHARD R. HALL, JR. Winter Park has had its share of resident heroes. But only one — Master Sergeant Richard R. Hall, Jr. — made history by being one of World War II’s original Tuskegee Airmen. By Randy Noles 64 | JOHN F. LOWNDES Attorney John F. Lowndes was a major figure in the Disney-era development of Central Florida. But he and his wife, Rita, also nurtured the arts community through philanthropy. By Randy Noles
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DEPARTMENTS PEOPLE 16 | THE ECHO OF OUR HISTORY Christy Grieger feels Winter Park’s unique vibe and recognizes that the past still permeates this special place. She wants you to feel it, too. By Randy Noles ROMANCE 54 | LOVE WILL FIND A WAY Although COVID-19 changed much about traditions once taken for granted, it hasn’t stopped people from getting married. The ceremonies may be smaller, but they’re just as meaningful. By Patricia Letakis DINING 76 | FOOD WITHOUT FLICKS During the pandemic, Enzian’s Eden Bar found just the recipe to keep the art-house theater vibrant: Offer outdoor dining for those who don’t necessarily plan to see a movie. By Rona Gindin, photography by Rafael Tongol
IN EVERY ISSUE 8 | FIRST WORD 12 | COVER ARTIST 86 | EVENTS 102 | OUR TOWN 104 | THE POEM
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FIRST WORD | RANDY NOLES
A MONUMENT TO A GENTLE SOUL A Beautiful Day for a Neighborhood appropriately shows Mister Rogers surrounded by children.
PHOTO COURTESY OF ROLLINS COLLEGE
ast winter in this space, several months before the world changed, Winter Park Magazine revealed that a Rollins College graduate named Fred McFeely Rogers (Class of 1951) would be immortalized with a sculpture on the picturesque campus where, as an undergraduate, the soft-spoken music composition major was inspired by a plaque that read “Life is for Service.” Paul Day — whose public-art installations include The Meeting Place, a 30-foot-tall sculpture in London’s St. Pancras International, a major railway station — had already been commissioned to cre-
8 WIN T E R P A R K M A G A ZI N E | WI N TER 2021
ate a bronze monument to the man who had become known worldwide as Mister Rogers. Then, in March 2020, everything went to hell in a handbasket. I assumed that the project, much like life as we knew it, had been put on hold because of the COVID-19 pandemic. But since Allan Keen was the primary mover and shaker behind the initiative, I should have known better. At this writing, Day has completed the work, entitled A Beautiful Day for a Neighborhood. The clay creation is now being bronzed in the Czech Republic and will be installed, with much fanfare, in October at a campus location
yet to be determined. Expect whatever patch of real estate the monument ultimately occupies to become akin to a holy place for fans of Mister Rogers and his PBS series Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. And isn’t that just about everyone? I’ll briefly recap how it all came about. Keen, who in 1968 earned an MBA from the college’s Crummer Graduate School of Business, is today owner of the Keewin Real Property Company in Winter Park. He has twice been chairman of the college’s board of trustees (from 2006 to 2008 and 2016 to 2019). In May 2019, Keen and his wife, Linda, were enjoying a barge canal cruise through rural France when they noticed some intriguing sculptures in the vessel’s gathering area. The wife of the barge captain explained that the artist was Day, a world-renowned figure who happened to be a family friend. Would they care to visit his country studio near Dijon in Burgundy, France? Well, of course they would! Then Keen had a thought. Because of Day’s international reputation, wouldn’t a Mister Rogers monument created by him be a meaningful addition to what was already regarded by U.S. News & World Report and others as the most beautiful college campus in the country? Day, however, was unfamiliar with Rogers. So, at Keen’s invitation, the sculptor visited Rollins in September 2019 to scout locations and interview administrators and staffers who could testify that the man and the TV personality were essentially one in the same. Mister Rogers, Day discovered, was the real deal. The monument — which was funded by private donations — is seven feet tall and weighs 3,000 pounds. Rogers, who continued to visit his alma mater until the final year of his life, would surely appreciate the fact that he is shown seated — wearing his trademark sweater and sneakers and surrounded by children. Just look at the faces of the youngsters. They’re enthralled by Daniel Striped Tiger, to the obvious delight of the puppet’s creator, whose familiar gentle smile will compel you to smile back — regardless of how terribly your day is going. Other residents of the Neighborhood of Make-Believe adorn the back of the monument, while lyrics from “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” are inscribed on the base. Suffice it to say, there isn’t a heartstring that this overdue homage doesn’t pluck. Keen says that A Beautiful Day for a Neighborhood will cost north of $600,000. But given the state of the world and the ability of Mister Rogers — nearly two decades after his death — to uplift and inspire, I’d say it was a bargain
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RANDY NOLES | Editor and Publisher THERESA SWANSON | Group Publisher/Director of Sales PHYLLIS M. MILLER | Director of Administration DENA BUONICONTI | Associate Publisher/Account Executive CAROLYN EDMUNDS | Art Director MYRON CARDEN | Distribution Manager RAFAEL TONGOL | Photographer WILL SETZER | Photo Restoration RONA GINDIN | Dining Editor MARIANNE ILUNGA | Fashion Editor HARRY WESSEL | Contributing Editor BILLY COLLINS, GREG DAWSON, CATHERINE HINMAN, PATRICIA LETAKIS, MICHAEL MCLEOD, JULIA TILFORD | Contributing Writers
WINTER PARK PUBLISHING COMPANY LLC RANDY NOLES | Chief Executive Officer ALLAN E. KEEN | Co-Chairman, Board of Managers JANE HAMES | Co-Chairman, Board of Managers THERESA SWANSON | Vice Chairman, Board of Managers MICHAEL OKATY, ESQ. | General Counsel, Foley & Lardner LLP
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Copyright 2021 by Winter Park Publishing Company 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 Winter Park Publishing Company LLC, 201 West Canton Avenue, Suite 125B, Winter Park, Florida 32789.
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10 W I N T E R P A R K M A G A ZI N E | WI N TER 2021
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A DANCER’S CONTEMPLATIVE MOMENT LOCAL ARTIST STACY BARTER FOUND MEANING IN A QUIET INTERLUDE.
inter Park artist Stacy Barter constantly strives to capture depth and dimension in her oil paintings and prefers to work from life — whether it’s outside with landscapes or in her studio on still-life images of flowers (her favorite). She’s also a master at figure studies. Pausing in My Red Tutu, an oil-on-linen image of a dancer taking a break, was completed last year and first displayed virtually at the prestigious annual Winter Park Paint Out sponsored by the Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens. That’s where we saw it and an idea took shape. Since this issue of Winter Park Magazine contains a major story on the enduring legacy of Edith Royal and the Royal School of Dance, it seemed appropriate to feature a dancer on the
cover. And this contemplative work by one of the region’s most accomplished artists seemed to fit the bill beautifully. “[Painting] is my life, my passion and my contribution,” says Barter, who began drawing in high school when a friend invited her to paint Christmas-themed watercolor images on postcards. She later attended Parsons School of Design in New York City but graduated from the University of Central Florida in 1987 with a degree in — of all things — journalism. “I just didn’t have the family support to think of art as a full-time career at that time,” recalls Barter. But that all changed after a five-year stint in public relations and marketing, when she attended an oil painting workshop by Gregg Kreutz, an instructor at the Art Students League in New York City.
Award-winning Winter Park artist Stacy Barter loves still-life images and landscapes. But she’s also an accomplished painter of people, as this issue’s cover, Pausing in My Red Tutu, demonstrates.
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Kreutz has written several highly regarded books on oil painting, including the classic Problem Solving for Oil Painters: Recognizing What’s Wrong and How to Make it Right — in print for 34 years — and the more recent Oil Painting Essentials: Mastering Portraits, Figures, Still Lifes, Landscapes, and Interiors. Says Barter: “Seeing what [Kreutz] could do with minimal brush strokes ... such rich darks and glowing lights, such depth. It was overwhelming. Oil painting became my consuming passion.” As a result of that workshop, Barter has been a full-time painter now for more than 25 years. And a successful one, at that, winning many top awards and seeing her work snapped up for numerous permanent collections. In 2020 alone — a year during which many art exhibitions were canceled or converted to online events — Barter snared an array of awards for excellence and was granted signature member status in the National Oil Painters of America and the American Artists Professional League. Her crowded mantelpiece also holds a slew of other recent accolades, including a Best in Show from It’s Only Human: The Figure in Art at the Crealdé School of Art and the Judges Choice of Excellence from the Maitland Rotary Art Festival. And for the third time, she won the Helen DeCozen Award for Best Floral from the American Artists Professional League’s Grand National Exhibition. Barter — whose husband of 30 years, Terry Barter, remains her business manager and biggest booster — continues to study with master artists whom she admires and conducts workshops around the country and around the world. She’s on the faculty at Crealdé — inspiring other artists the way Kreutz inspired her — and participates in numerous plein air events, including the annual event at the Polasek. As for this issue’s cover painting, the subject is Megan Crawford, a local dancer and model who donned a tutu for a series of four works by Barter painted in her Winter Park studio. “I like to capture the quiet times,” she says. “And I loved the colors.” So did we — as well as the theme and the relevance to this issue’s dance content. If you enjoy Barter’s paintings — and who doesn’t? — then check out her Facebook page or see a gallery at her website, stacybarter.com. You can also go to @stacybarterart and follow her on Instagram. — Randy Noles
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Christy Grieger has taken over operation of a small museum that enjoys an outsized presence in a community that’s steeped in history.
PHOTO BY RAFAEL TONGOL
THE ECHO OF OUR HISTORY Christy Grieger feels Winter Park’s unique vibe and recognizes that the past still permeates this special place. She wants you to feel it, too. BY RANDY NOLES
16 W I N T E R P A R K M A G A ZI N E | SP RI N G 2021
he Winter Park History Museum might be called “the Little Museum that Could.” The City of Culture and Heritage has plenty of culture to go around — but its heritage is squeezed into just 800 square feet. Nonetheless, the facility — which occupies a room inside the 97-year-old building that once served as the Atlantic Coast Line’s freight depot — has for years enjoyed an outsized presence in the community with creative exhibitions and lavish events. Now, a new executive director will be responsible for leading the small but scrappy operation and making certain that Winter Park’s storied past is remembered and celebrated. Christy Grieger, 48, had previously worked in event sales and management at Hello! Florida and House of Blues at Disney’s Lake Buena Vista. Later, she headed human resources in a family-owned printing business before becoming executive assistant to the energetic Susan Skolfield, her predecessor at the museum. Skolfield, who during her 10-year tenure was instrumental in raising the museum’s profile and staging some of its most popular exhibitions, left late last year to establish a Winter Park office for the presidential campaign of former Vice President Joe Biden. (She had opened a local outpost for candidate Barack Obama in 2008.) Luckily for the 11-member board of the Winter Park Historical Association — the nonprofit that owns and operates the museum — a worthy successor was already on the payroll. “In addition to the hard skills of being extremely well-organized, a strategic thinker and possessing a solid educational and employment background, Christy has attributes that can’t be taught,” says Betsy Owens, chairperson of the board. “She has a magnetic personality, a passion for local history and a true desire to share Winter Park’s heritage with others.” Owens, now vice president of marketing and communications for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida, takes such matters very much to heart — which is not surprising, considering her background. A prominent activist for historic preservation, Owens was previously executive director of Winter Park’s Casa Feliz Historic Home Museum — which was designed by her grandfather, iconic architect James Gamble Rogers II. She says the board chose Grieger from more than 100 applicants. Linda Kulmann, the museum’s archivist and a past board chairperson, originally recruited Skolfield a decade earlier. She also cited Grieger’s “warm personality, leadership skills and, most importantly, her love of Winter Park history” as reasons why she believes the Tampa native is an ideal fit for the position. Grieger does indeed display genuine enthusiasm about Winter Park’s historic vibe. “When people come here, they notice a feeling and an energy that you don’t find in every town,” she says. “[Original developers] Oliver Chapman and Loring Chase created something special that’s still preserved
here. History has an echo, and we are its voice.” After being hired as Skolfield’s executive assistant, she immersed herself in Winter Park’s past. She expresses particular enthusiasm for Claire Leavitt MacDowell’s 1950 Chronological History of Winter Park, a dense but oddly engrossing day-by-day account of every significant (and not-so-significant) local event covering more than a century. Grieger, whose sociology degree is from the University of Pittsburgh, captained the school’s swim team and broke a school record in the 200-meter backstroke. “Swimming taught me discipline — getting up for practice, setting goals, working as a team member — and sociology taught me about people,” she says. After graduating in 1995, Grieger returned to Orlando and worked as a service manager for a check verification and credit card processing company. She was then operations coordinator and sales manager at Hello! Florida, a full-service destination management company. Then it was on to House of Blues, where she was sales manager and worked with hotels and other businesses to book events at the venue. That job ended in 2001, after the September 11 terrorist attacks crushed the tourism industry.
She married in 2002 and joined Business Cards Tomorrow, a printing company where she was a partner with her now-former husband’s family. “I wanted something more fulfilling and decided that my next move would be something I loved,” says Grieger, who has two daughters: Ada, 14, and Liv, 11. “When I saw the executive assistant ad at the museum, I loved everything about it. I started networking with friends who might have a connection.” While she hadn’t previously worked at a museum, Grieger is a local history buff and has a passion for antiquing. She’s also an avid amateur photographer — favoring remote landscapes and vintage architecture — and says taking pictures “is when I feel most alive.” She joined the museum’s staff as a part-timer in the summer of 2018, just in time for the opening of its newest (and, because of COVID-19, still current) exhibition: Wish You Were Here: The Hotels and Motels of Winter Park. Next up, beginning June 10, is Rollins: The First 50 Years. The museum will be transformed into a dorm room, a library, a classroom and a student center as they would have looked in the early 1930s at Rollins College.
Previous exhibitions have included Winter Park: The War Years 1941-1945; Whistle in the Distance: The Trains of Winter Park; Growing Up Wildcat: Winter Park High School Through the Years; The Way We Were: Park Avenue in the ’60s and ’70s; and Fine Feathers: How the Peacock Came to Winter Park. Usually, exhibitions run for about 18 months. But during that time there’s plenty of other activity. The museum records oral histories, offers a speaker series and hosts its annual Peacock Ball, a flossy fundraiser that honors a person significant to Winter Park history. “Penelope — Princess of the Peacocks” offers stories and songs for children every Monday morning. About 15,000 people annually visit the museum, which operates on a $248,000 budget including a $76,000 contribution from the city. Although the size of the space mandates that exhibitions focus on specific topics, Grieger hopes that someday the museum will be able to mount a permanent salute to the city’s big-picture history. The depot that houses the museum is at 200 West New England Avenue, also the site of the Winter Park Farmers’ Market. Admission is free (although donations are requested). Check wphistory.org for hours or call 407-647-2330. S PRING 2 0 2 1 | W INT ER PARK MAGAZ IN E
PHOTO BY WINTER PARK PICTURES/WINTERPARKPICTURES.COM
The Winter Park History Museum occupies a corner of the old railroad station along New England Avenue, in a space that was once the freight ticketing office of the Atlantic Coast Line.
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PHOTO BY RAFAEL TONGOL
Leslie Poole, now a professor, began her career as a journalist. She became fascinated with environmental issues by reporting about them.
22 W I N T E R P A R K M A G A ZI N E | SP RI N G 2021
W I N T E R P A R K W R I T E R S C E L E B R A T E F L O R I D A’ S N A T U R A L E N V I R O N M E N T , B U T W A R N T H A T W E ’ R E L O S I N G I T. BY G R EG DAW SO N
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MO R E Wand R I Traised E R S in Minneapolis, was born Mor e W r i t e r s I N4S Pyears I R E D old, B Y her family visited Taminspired by O R IThere, D A N A Tboosted U R EF l or aloft, delighti dashe n at ure Mor e W r i t e r sF Lpa.
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line from that early harvest Jack E. Davis and to Douglas’ later migration to Florida, blossoming as a crusading Leslie K.her Poole conservationist and her epic ode to the Everglades, River of Grass, published in 1947. edi t ed b y The line has since become Jack a baton passed e. dav i s a n dto an EDITED BY e sl i erace k. po e army of Douglas disciples inlthe toolpreserve JACK E. DAVIS AND and protect L“the land of flowers” from deflowerESLIE K. POOLE ing by what some call progress. University Press ofDame Florida of the Everglades,” who died “The Grand in 1998 at age 108, is survived not only by her beloved river — which was considered merely a swamp prior to her scholarly yet readable bestseller — but by legions of citizens inspired to sustain the cause through their own activism and writing. A sampling of outstanding essays about the state’s persistently threatened environment — and even some poetry — have been collected in The ISBN 978-1-68340-158-2
THE WILDER HEART of
FLORIDA More Writers i n s pi r e d by F l o r i da n at u r e
edi t ed by Jack e. dav is & le slie k. p oole
9 781683 401582
Wilder Heart’s roster of contributors includes academicians, poets, activists, a birder, a veterinarian, a fisherman, an artist, a journalist, a gator hunter, a tribal chief, a citrus grower, a civil engineer, an environmental lawyer and a river guide.
Wilder Heart of Florida: More Writers Inspired by Florida Nature, published by the University of Florida Press in March. It’s a sequel to The Wild Heart of Florida, which was released 20 years ago. Royalties from book sales will go to The Nature Conservancy’s Florida Chapter, which owns and manages approximately 55,159 acres in the state including four preserves that are open to the public: Apalachicola Bluffs & Ravines in Liberty County, Blowing Rocks Preserve in Martin County, the Disney Wilderness Preserve in Osceola County and Tiger Creek Preserve in Polk County. In their introduction to Wilder Heart, editors Jack E. Davis, a professor of history at the University of Florida and a Pulitzer Prize winner for The Gulf: The Making of an American Sea; and Leslie K. Poole, an assistant professor of environmental studies at Rollins College and a Pulitzer Prize nominee for environmental writing at the Orlando Sentinel, offer a rather bleak outlook: “With the dawn of each day, Floridians awaken to a rapidly diminishing future for the state’s unique and glorious natural systems. As the bulldozers rev up, cars enter highways and construction cranes S PRING 2 0 2 1 | W INT ER PARK MAGAZ IN E
“Few unspoiled spots of nature exist,” writes Poole in “Woodpeckers and Wildness,” her Wilder Hearts essay. But she celebrates a victory in the book — the resurgence of the nearly extinct red-cockaded woodpecker (right) at the Disney Wilderness Preserve. The preserve, writes Poole, is an 11,500-acre oasis “at the edge of Central Florida’s suburban chaos.” But she credits the theme park with creating and funding the preserve, which is run by The Nature Conservancy.
begin to swing, our wild spaces become more precious and threatened. The loss is not only habitat for flora and fauna, but also reflects a darkening of the state’s soul — a place built on the idea of finding Eden, health and beauty. What better way to understand and acknowledge the magnitude of such losses than to celebrate our wildest treasures?” And celebrate the writers do — even if some of them consider the festivities more akin to a wake. The 26 essays and eight poems in Wilder Heart are organized in six chapters with titles that, when read aloud, sound like a mini haiku about Florida: “Beckonings,” “Revelations,” “Animals,” “Water,” “Terra Firma” and “At the Heart.” The book’s roster of contributors includes academicians, poets, activists, a birder, a veterinarian, a fisherman, an artist, a journalist, a gator hunter, a tribal chief, a citrus grower, a civil engineer, an environmental lawyer and a river guide. Essays by legends such as Douglas and Harriet Beecher Stowe, (Uncle Tom’s Cabin) are also included. Douglas’ chapter, “Excerpts from the Gallery,” is curated from a daily column she wrote for the Miami Herald, where her father was editor in chief, in 1923. The short pieces presage her later activism. “Look out your window,” Douglas writes. “Can you see a pine tree? If you can, you’re lucky. They are going fast. And every day somebody cuts down a few more to make a new subdivision that, without them, will be as raw and ugly as plain dirt without trees can be. Do you own a pine tree? Then you are lucky. But if you appreciate it, you are more than that. You have a genuine eye for beauty, which is another word for spiritual common-sense.” Stowe’s “Up the Ocklawaha: A Sail into FairyLand,” from 1873, was originally published in the Christian Union. The New England-born author and abolitionist — who had moved to Mandarin, near Jacksonville, and bought a small citrus farm — recounts a seemingly mystical journey along the river aboard a tiny steamer en route to Silver Springs. “Growth seemed to have run riot here, to have broken into strange goblin forms, such as [19th
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century illustrator Gustave] Doré might have chosen for his weird imagining,” Stowe writes. “Here, where foraged nature has been let alone, where the fiery heat and the moist soil have conspired together, there is a netting and convoluting, a twisting and weaving and intertwining of all sorts of growths; and one might fancy it an enchanted forest, where the trees were going to change into something new and unheard of.” Wilder Heart, which is rich in history and deep in science and expertise, nonetheless maintains a tone of wide-eyed wonder and sensuous delight — directed straight at the wild heart that beats within many Floridians. And we do mean wild. The collection begins with a macabre poem, “Seduction in Key West,” by Orlando poet laureate Susan Lilley, and ends with a witty but revelatory essay, “Florida is a Pretty Girl,” by fiction writer Frances Susanna Nevill, who compares the state to an attractive woman who is constantly set upon by greedy users. Everything in between is, in its own way, just as compelling. “Our most pressing challenge is to find ways to connect the dots between hearts and minds,” Temperince Morgan, executive director of The Nature Conservancy, writes in the foreword of Wilder Heart. “Anyone who has spent time here can’t help
but fall under the spell of our weird, wild state.” Winter Park is represented in the eclectic assortment of contributors by a quintet of authors, all of whom have ties to Rollins College: Poole, Bruce Stephenson and Claire Strom are professors, while Gabbie Buendia was a valedictorian in the Class of 2019. Lilley was an instructor in the college’s English department and now teaches literature at Trinity Preparatory School. Each can point to a moment or a memory that initiated their enduring psychic bond to Florida. For Buendia, it was a reluctant, fretful first hike at age 17 in the Econ wilderness while wearing cheerleader practice gear. For Lilley, it was a childhood of falling asleep at night and awakening in the morning to the beauty of Lake Sue, just outside her window. For Strom it was flying from North Dakota to Orlando for a job interview and marveling at the stunning abundance of water — ocean, lakes, lagoons, rivers, ponds — she saw from her window seat. And for Stephenson, it was seeing tranquil and orderly Winter Park for the first time, on a bus ride with the Merritt Island Mustangs high school basketball team for an away game against the formidable Winter Park Wildcats.
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Gabbie Buendia (facing page, top), a Rollins valedictorian in 2019, wasn’t much interested in exploring the wild as a youngster. A hike through the confusingly named Little Big Econ State Forest (facing page, bottom), however, changed the 17-year-old’s viewpoint and pointed her in the direction of environmental activism. Buendia’s honors thesis was entitled Earth Mommas: The Impact of Mothers on the Environmental Justice Movement.
‘ T H E Y ’ R E K I L L I N G TH E GO OS E T H AT L A I D T HE GO LDEN EGG’ For Poole, 63, a Florida kid blithely immersed in nature’s blessings, her path was set as a result of doing journalism about preservationists. Telling their stories and describing their causes opened her eyes to the incalculable value and fragility of her environment. Poole grew up in Tampa. Her mother’s family grew oranges in Micanopy, south of Gainesville, until the Great Freeze of 1894-95; her father came from a line of family farmers in Live Oak. But little Leslie seemed determined to prove that being outdoorsy wasn’t hereditary. “I was never what you’d call a nature girl,” admits Poole, who says her mother often had to chase her out of the house. She rode her bike for hours and explored the woods, forming an unconscious bond with the outdoors. “In high school I’d go out to remote lakes with friends and go skiing — that was sort of my social group,” she says. “It was a safe, serene place. When I got older, I came to realize how much of that world had disappeared. As a teenager, you don’t think about that.” These days, however, Poole makes certain that her students in environmental studies do think about that. Taking an approach not unlike her mother’s, she chases her students out of the classroom and shows them what she’s so passionate about — and what they’re on the verge of losing unless they’re vigilant. “My class is all about field trips,” she says. “My students aren’t there to make a fortune; they’re there to change the world. I want them to see the beauty and smell the blossoms and see the wildlife. I took them to Lake Russell [in Osceola County] and had them put their hands in the lake and realize that the water is headed for the Everglades.” Sometimes, the field trips are nearby. Poole has walked classes — often including many freshmen from out of state — to Mead Botanical Garden, which is open to the public, and the Genius Preserve, which is private property owned by the Elizabeth Morse Genius Foundation. Both are just minutes from campus.
On one outing to the Genius property, students were awed by the sight of trees laden with oranges — not a typical sight in the Northeast or the Midwest — and were permitted to pluck a few star fruit from a Carambola tree. “When I was growing up it was no big deal,” Poole says. “For these kids it was so exciting.” The aha! moment for Poole came in the late 1980s when she was a journalist with the Orlando Sentinel working on “Florida’s Shame,” series of investigative stories on unfettered growth in Central Florida. Jane Healy, then the paper’s associate editor, won a Pulitzer Prize for a series of editorials related to the series, while Poole was a nominee for her reporting. Florida’s Shame caused considerable consternation in the development community, resulting in an estimated $500,000 worth of canceled advertising schedules from builders. Says Poole: “Importantly, the series pushed the state to adopt tougher growth management regulations. Which [Governor] Rick Scott gutted. But that’s another story.” Indeed, it’s the never-ending story, and struggle, that’s become Poole’s life. Like her students, she wants to change the world mostly by keeping it the same — protected from the ravages of modernity and commercialism. Hard political reality, however, has made her a realist. “That’s the truth about Florida — indeed about the world — today. Few unspoiled spots of nature exist,” she writes in her Wilder Heart essay, “Woodpeckers and Wildness.” Consequently, Poole gains satisfaction from small but significant victories, and recounts one in Wilder Heart — the resurgence of the nearly extinct red-cockaded woodpecker at the Disney Wilderness Preserve. The preserve, writes Poole, is an 11,500-acre oasis “at the edge of Central Florida’s suburban chaos.” Disney and the theme parks, she continues, “are the engines that turned the rural citrus-growing region into a traffic and development nightmare, displacing wildlife, wetlands and forests.” Yet it was also Disney, Poole adds, that led the way in creating and funding the preserve — run by The Nature Conservancy — “setting an example of how collaboration between diverse partners can create something ‘wild’ in a place where nature is slowly vanishing. Ah, the irony. But ahhhh, the wonderful result.” Poole is also a champion of the leadership roles women have historically played in Florida’s environmental battles. In her 2015 book, Saving Florida: Women’s Fight for the Environment in the Twentieth Century, Poole salutes these women and details their struggles and triumphs. She also teaches a course called “The Three Marjories” that
explores the work of Douglas, author Marjory Kinnan Rawlings (Cross Creek) and scientist Marjorie Harris Carr. Carr, the least well-known of the trio, helped write one of the first environmental impact statements in support of a lawsuit brought by Florida Defenders of the Environment (which she co-founded) and the New York-based Environmental Defense Fund. The groups were aligned against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and its ill-fated Cross Florida Barge Canal on the Ocklawaha River ecosystem. The canal was eventually decommissioned, thanks in no small part to Carr. And yes, Poole is aware that Douglas spelled her name “Marjory,” rendering the title of her course not strictly correct. And yes, she’s aware that Rawlings — unlike Douglas and Carr — was a writer of fiction and autobiography, not an environmental crusader. Still, the fact that these three women — whose names were pronounced in the same way, at least — were three of the most consequential figures in the history of Florida environmentalism is remarkable, to say the least. And speaking of women, did you know that it was a coalition of women’s clubs that lobbied for legislation to establish Florida’s first state park, Royal Palm Park, which was later the nucleus of Everglades National Park? That was in 1916 — before club members even had the right to vote. Their activities are also chronicled in Saving Florida. Adds Poole: “When I’m asked, “What can I do?’, I say, ‘Register to vote.’ It’s clear that the environment is a political animal. You’ve got to be involved in politics. I’ve seen an awful lot of willful ignorance from the State Legislature, refusing to act. I hate to use the cliché, but they’re killing the goose that laid the golden egg.” ‘IF I C AN GE T TO TH E RI V ER, I C AN F IND MY WAY B ACK ’ Gabbie Buendia’s essay, “The River That Raised Me,” could have been subtitled, “How a Type-A Personality Found Happiness in the Wild.” Her family emigrated to Florida from the Philippines when she was 2 years old. Buendia grew up in Casselberry and rarely ventured into the family home’s backyard. “I didn’t really have a connection with nature when I was a kid,” she says. “I was fearful for the most part of the other life out there, like animals. One time I tried to do the camping thing. I wasn’t very prepared, and it was a cold night. I was like, ‘I don’t think I like this.’” Instead, Buendia was laser-focused on a path to excellence at Lyman High School. She was a cheerleader and valedictorian of her class whose S PRING 2 0 2 1 | W INT ER PARK MAGAZ IN E
For Susan Lilley, the deadly manchineel apple trees that she discovered in the Florida Keys “captured my imagination more than the Pirate Torture Museum.”
SEDUCTION IN KEY WEST SUSAN LILLEY
Back behind the white-lattice cafes with their fragrant garlic and Key Lime daiquiris, vines that go back centuries grow wild around the dumpster. Long before the gay tea dances and Hemingway and smugglers and rum runners, this string of islands witnessed steel-hearted pirates and Spaniards seeking gold, Seminoles, and the murderous Calusas, who executed enemies by tying them to the green manchineel apple tree and walking away to let the tree’s poison sap eat slowly through the clothing to the skin, to the bones underneath. It’s Saturday, and the cruise ship opens its maw like a great white and expels the tourists onto dizzy Duval Street. The town is ready for them with conch fritters, salty edged tequila, clattering shell necklaces, and a replica of an eye-gouging machine at the Pirate Torture Museum. Six times a day the guides at Hemingway’s revive old scandals, still tart and delicious after fifty years. Ghosts must love the old gossip here in the glimmery aquamarine daylight. Vacation girls show off new henna tattoos on ankles and arms and down low on sunburned backs. No Calusas remain. But the poison apple still grows on the smallest, wildest keys, flowering and sending forth seductive green fruit, which most creatures wisely ignore. Even a tiny Key deer knows better than to stand under this tree in the rain. But imagine a tourist who seeks the unspoiled, who might take a canoe without guide or map, negotiate the floating mangroves that encircle each island like a guardian net of leaves, and filled with wonder, walk his camera to the inevitable clearing where, in a dim circle of a forgotten world, this lonely tree waits and spreads its bright green danger. From The Wilder Heart of Florida: More Writers Inspired by Florida Nature, edited by Jack E. Davis and Leslie K. Poole. Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 2021. Reprinted with permission.
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environmental activism was limited to swearing off use of disposable plastic water bottles. “My perceptions of how to enjoy natural spaces and what kind of people enjoyed them were greatly misinformed,” Buendia writes in her Wilder Hearts essay. “They were influenced by limited access to positive environmental experiences growing up and a lack of representation of people of color in the outdoor spaces and activities that I did have the chance to participate in.” Molten impressions might have hardened to stubborn beliefs if Buendia hadn’t warily accepted an invitation from a friend named Amy to boldly go where she never wanted to go: the wilderness, on a hike. “I didn’t know what to do and what to bring,” she writes. For her inaugural walk on the wild side, Buendia wore her cheerleading practice gear and an old pair of Nikes. The expedition was through the confusingly named Little Big Econ State Forest, located near Geneva in rural Seminole County. The moniker is a combination of the Little Econlockhatchee River and the larger Econlockhatchee River, which meet just south of the forest. Despite a few harrowing moments, the hike was ultimately transforming. Initially, though, Buendia treated the ground as a minefield, cautiously remaining a few steps behind Amy. “I hesitated to follow when [Amy] climbed trees for a better view or when she headed toward more challenging paths,” Buendia writes. “At one point, a snake appeared on the path and caused me so much anxiety that we could not continue until Amy put me on her back and jumped over it.” Those don’t sound like the words of a born explorer but Buendia returned, again and again, “to take a walk or to write, to do my homework, to talk out loud. I came to the river to cry my eyes out, and I came to the river whenever I didn’t know where to go,” she writes. That first hike, at age 17, “reframed my perceptions and understanding of natural spaces and where I fit into it all.” At Rollins, Buendia majored in environmental studies, got involved with “green” organizations and delved deeper into exploring preserved land. Once during finals week, she had spare time before a test and decided to make the most of it by tromping through the Econlockhatchee Sandhills Conservation Area — 706 acres of pine forests, oak hammocks and open scrub near the town of Christmas in east Orange County. “I arrived just as the morning dew was beginning to sparkle and evaporate off the saw palmetto and gopher apple shrubs,” she writes. After a while, however, Buendia realized she was lost in paradise — and so was her phone’s GPS. “I had only 40 minutes to orient myself and
PHOTO BY RAFAEL TONGOL
Orlando Poet Laureate Lilley’s childhood home was in Winter Park, along Lake Sue. “The last thing I saw at night were lights blinking across the lake,” she recalls. “It was a comforting, mysterious body of water.”
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PHOTO BY RAFAEL TONGOL
Claire Strom, a professor of history at Rollins, was entranced by all the lakes she saw from the vantage point of an airplane flying over Central Florida. But she discovered that very few of the lakes were accessible by foot.
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get my butt to class,” she writes. “Looking up from my watch, I observed the flat landscape of unending sand, grass and trees. I knew I just needed to start moving … and I whispered to myself, ‘If I can just get to the river, I can find my way back.’” She eventually made her way to the Econlockhatchee and later back to campus “with muddy shoes, a new story” and an exhilarating epiphany about the value of “how beautiful a little disorder and chaos can be.” Buendia’s honors thesis was entitled Earth Mommas: The Impact of Mothers on the Environmental Justice Movement, which was the culmination of eight months researching how women — specifically mothers — play a unique and instrumental role in leading movements to protect the environment. Shortly before graduating from Rollins in 2019, Buendia notched another milestone: becoming a U.S. citizen. Then, after graduation, she became an environmental activist through an internship with the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Pro-
gram at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. A river runs through her now. She writes: “The river taught me patience, exploration, flexibility — the courage to embrace discomfort.” ‘IN A NE THE RWORLD B E TW E E N CEL E B RATION AND LOSS’ Susan Lilley’s poem “Seduction in Key West” raises the question: If plants have feelings, is one of them rage? Can vegetation exact revenge — revenge more satisfying than the swamp’s passive-aggressive reclaiming of early human settlements? “Seduction” starts out as a tone poem to the boozy, diaphanous travel-poster Key West of “white-lattice cafes with their fragrant garlic and Key Lime daiquiris” where a cruise ship “opens its maw like a great white shark and expels the tourists onto dizzy Duval Street” in search of “conch fritters, salty edged tequila and clattering shell necklaces.” But it soon descends into something darker about “steel-hearted pirates and Spaniards seeking gold” and how Seminoles and Calusas lashed the invaders to the deadly green manchineel apple tree and “let the tree’s poison sap eat slowly through the clothing to the skin, to the bones beneath.” There are likely no colorful postcards depicting that in souvenir shops. Lilley learned about the manchineel apple tree on a guided tour of the small islands around Key West conducted by a marine geologist. She says: “It captured my imagination more than the Pirate Torture Museum.” Born in Lake County, Lilley, 67, grew up in
Winter Park in her family’s home on Lake Sue. “I remember waking up every day and seeing the lake and the cypress trees,” she says. “The last thing I saw at night were lights blinking across the lake. It was a comforting, mysterious body of water. It really had an effect on my imagination.” Lilley was a late-blooming poet, publishing her first collection, Night Windows, at age 52 in 2006. She’d always had the urge but lacked the chutzpah to write seriously. “I thought, ‘There’s so much good poetry out there. Why mine?’” She followed her debut with Satellite Beach (2012) and Venus in Retrograde (2019). “When I was a child my grandmother lived in a big citrus area,” she says. “I remember spending Christmas at her place, and on cold nights you could smell the orange refineries. It smelled like cake. Groves covered the countryside — it was such a gorgeous sight from the road. Now it’s completely gone. It was so visual and sensual; you could smell the blossoms in the spring. Oh, my god.” Lilly worries about the environment that shaped her sensibility. “I can’t help but swoon over the beauty — but it’s heartbreaking to see the swallowing up of majestic places that can’t be replaced. It feels like we’re in a netherworld between celebration and loss.” What’s a poet to do? In “Seduction,” Lilley imagines a modern-day tourist venturing out without a guide to a small island where “in a dim circle of a forgotten world, this lonely tree waits and spreads its bright green danger.” Is the poem a revenge fantasy — poetic justice S PRING 2 0 2 1 | W INT ER PARK MAGAZ IN E
PHOTO BY DONNA MURNANE
As a historian, Strom enjoys exploring the ruins of places such as Bulowville (above) in Flagler County. Florida is dotted with once-thriving communities, now reclaimed by nature, that were originally built around logging and sugar mills. What’s left of Bulowville’s sugar mill, built in 1836, can be seen at the Bulow Plantation Ruins Historic State Park, located near Flagler Beach.
Bruce Stephenson, who hasn’t owned a car since 2015, rented one to get to one of his favorite haunts, the Lake Wales Ridge State Forest (above) near Frostproof in Polk County. It’s the setting for his Wilder Heart essay, “The Natural Aesthetic of the Naked God,” which urges “tapping into nature’s wild heart” as “the antidote to the cacophonic consumerism that prices our lives and steals the soul.”
on behalf of a Florida environment violated by intruders seeking gold? It’s not polite to ask poets such direct questions. But it’s no stretch to read “Seduction in Key West” not just as a cautionary tale for today, but the earliest recorded case of Stand Your Ground. ‘ B U T MOS T OF A L L, I MA RV E L E D AT T H E WATER’ Claire Strom, professor of history at Rollins, arrived here by way of two places that are environmental opposites of Central Florida: North Dakota, arid and cold; and Cambridge, England, tidy and manicured for centuries. February in Fargo is a study in gray and white. As the plane carrying Strom descended in the sunshine and warmth of Central Florida, “I was captivated by the palm trees, vibrant bougainvillea, and live oaks draped with Spanish moss. But most of all, I marveled at all the water,” she writes in “Wilderness from the Water,” her Wilder Hearts essay. Strom, 57, specializes in agricultural history
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and rural studies. She writes books with titles such as Making Catfish Bait out of Government Boys: The Fight Against Ticks and the Transformation of the Yeoman South. The environment is her avocation and passion wherever she goes. “I like to know the history of where I am,” she says. While teaching at North Dakota State University, she wrote a book about Fargo. She and her husband, Jim, explored the state by canoe. “We used to do the Crow River in northern Minnesota,” she says. “One of the things that’s so different in Florida is the ecological diversity. Otters, alligators, a wide range of birds. You really don’t see that much in the North Woods.” Strom was eager to investigate the myriad bodies of water that had enticed her from 30,000 feet. This is when she was reminded that she wasn’t in England anymore. She was born in Boston but had grown up in Cambridge and attended Oxford, where she was a coxswain on the rowing team. “Most of England has been influenced by humans for millennia,” Strom says. “One of the things I miss so much about England is that it’s carved up by ancient byways and pedestrian footpaths protected by old medieval laws. It’s still very easy to get out into the countryside.” In the U.S., she discovered, not so much. Strom found that most of those watery jewels she spied by air weren’t easily accessible. “Unlike the rivers of my English childhood, Florida rivers run
through difficult terrain — marshes and thickets — so access by foot is difficult,” Strom writes. “Lakes, too, are difficult to reach, with shorelines either privately owned or swampy.” There was only one way in: “Jim and I bought kayaks and opened ourselves to a whole new Florida, one dominated by nature where we could go all day without seeing other humans.” Strom was fascinated to discover in the remote waterways the remnants of once-thriving communities Bulowville in Flagler County and Centralia in Hernando County, which were built around logging and sugar mills. These company towns, long since reclaimed by nature, were lively places populated by hundreds of families with access to stores and even movie theaters. “The historian in me loves the cognitive dissonance,” Strom writes. “Floating past an alligator just off the dock where Bulowville stood, I imagine the stink of the processing sugar and the mounds of fermenting indigo leaves. Jim and I wave at an African American family from Sanford fishing in their favorite spot, where a century before hundreds of slaves had toiled loading cotton bales for transport out to the St. John’s. I think about the deep scars cut by cypress falling in the forest, the piercing shriek of a train whistle, the never-ending racket of the massive sawmill blades.” Nature seems to have reclaimed much of the wilderness, but Strom notes that “the nature there
PHOTO BY RAFAEL TONGOL
Stephenson, a professor of environmental studies at Rollins, says that Florida’s environmental doomsday clock is now at about 11 p.m., although he adds that the pace has slowed slightly in recent years.
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PHOTO BY DAVIDSON SORKIN (MARJORY STONEMAN DOUGLAS)
Essays from such historically significant figures as Marjory Stoneman Douglas (top left) and Harriet Beecher Stowe (top right) are among the highlights of Wilder Heart. Douglas’ chapter, “Excerpts from the Gallery,” is curated from a daily column she wrote for the Miami Herald, where her father was editor in chief, in 1923. Stowe’s “Up the Ocklawaha: A Sail into Fairy-Land,” is from 1873, when the author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin was a citrus grower in Mandarin.
now is not the nature that preceded it. They cut down all the cypress. The regrowth is different from what was there before. What you see now looks primeval but it’s not.” Strom is cautiously cautious about the future of Florida’s environment. “On the one hand, we see great strides being made, like the clean-up of Lake Apopka,” she says. “My husband and I saw a panther out at Merritt Island. At the same time, there are more and more people taking up more and more land. So, there are pluses and minuses.” The biggest F-minus in Strom’s environmental gradebook goes to the cruise industry. “One of my passions is snorkeling,” she adds. “The cruise industry is ruining reefs around the world — Mexico, Belize, the Keys. Yes, I’m sorry that some people would lose their jobs. But if I could wish one industry away, it would be cruising.” ‘ T H E P OS T E R C HI LD O F U NRE S T R A I N E D GROWTH ’ Bruce Stephenson might never have become a city planner if he hadn’t moved to the city that planning forgot. His family relocated from Kansas City to Merritt Island when he was 14. “We lived on the Indian River lagoon and had a great life close to nature, but Merritt Island was one of the worst-planned places anywhere,” he says. “Courtney Parkway had two yellow lines but
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no park enhancing the way. Sidewalks were foreign objects and the Baptist church defined civic space. I didn’t know what city planning was — but when I went to college, I learned that’s what was missing in Merritt Island.” His first inkling that the unincorporated Brevard County town lacked something came earlier, when his high school basketball team traveled to Winter Park for a game and he had his first look at a city that had essentially abided by the plan its founders drew up in the 1880s. Stephenson saw streetside trees, public artwork, a downtown that wasn’t a shopping mall and comfortable places to gather that made a cohesive civic statement about what the city’s values were. He recalls thinking: “Oh, this is what planning is.” He had also seen the ways in which poor planning made nature’s wrath worse. A severe drought in the winter of 1971 dried out mucky soil in the St. Johns River flood plain, turning it into a flammable peat-like substance. “We started getting fires in February and they kept up for six weeks,” Stephenson says. “I had just seen Tora! Tora! Tora! Looking inland from Merritt Island, it was like the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor. It was all exacerbated by poor planning that created environmental problems.” In 1976, when Stephenson graduated from high school, no certified city planning program was offered anywhere in Florida. He earned a master’s degree in city and regional planning at Ohio State and was a city planner in St. Petersburg for three years. He wrote his first book, Visions of Eden, about urban planning in the city once known as “Heaven’s Waiting Room.” Now a professor of environmental studies at Rollins, Stephenson serves as a consultant to Winter Park and to Portland, Oregon. He helped prepare the Winter Park Central Park Master Plan and led the ecological restoration of the Genius
Preserve. A Stephenson class project led to construction of the Cady Way Trail. His new book, Portland’s Good Life: Hope and Sustainability in an American City, was just published. Stephenson, who hasn’t owned a car since 2015, rented one to get to one of his favorite haunts, the Lake Wales Ridge State Forest near Frostproof in Polk County, the setting for his Wilder Heart essay, “The Natural Aesthetic of the Naked God.” It’s an existential meditation that extols “tapping into nature’s wild heart” as “the antidote to the cacophonic consumerism that prices our lives and steals the soul.” The essay demonstrates that Stephenson can thunder like an Old Testament prophet: “The poster child of unrestrained growth, Florida is in peril. Its unique system of land and water has been engineered into the backdrop of suburbia. Awash in toxic algae, red tide, and saltwater intrusion, this specter is matched by the state’s mechanized death. In road-rage-riveted metropolitan Orlando, a driving fatality occurs every 44 hours, pedestrians are impaled weekly, and bicyclists die at an equally foreboding rate.” Yet Orlando is not doomed, Stephenson says, thanks in part to the city’s Greenworks Plan, a variety of initiatives adopted in 2018 to make the city more resilient to the impact of climate change, and to the State Legislature’s appropriation of funds for natural lands acquisition. Stephenson, 65, has been at Rollins since 1988. How close to midnight was it on the environmental doomsday clock for Florida then? And now? “I would say it was like 10:30 then,” he says. “It’s 11 o’clock now — but the clock is not moving quite as fast.” Does anybody really know what time it is? Not really. Does anybody really care? Read The Wilder Heart of Florida and you’ll meet plenty of people who do.
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A POWERFUL REAL ESTATE TEAM BACKED BY A POWERFUL BRAND The Mosley Team is powered by the husband-wife duo of Alison and Frank Mosley, combined with the enduring brand of Premier Sotheby’s International Realty. Together, they provide extraordinary marketing services locally and globally for listings at every price point. Through state-of-the-art digital marketing tools and virtual technology, they will continue to provide you with extraordinary services. The Mosleys’ collaborative approach, creative marketing strategies and exceptional negotiating capabilities have contributed to multimillion-dollar sales volume year after year.
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FRANK MOSLEY 407.489.9508 | FRANK.MOSLEY@PREMIERSIR.COM ALISON MOSLEY 407.304.6458 | ALISON.MOSLEY@PREMIERSIR.COM Sotheby’s International Realty® and the Sotheby’s International Realty logo are registered service marks used with permission. Each office is independently owned and operated. Equal Housing Opportunity. Property information herein is derived from various sources including, but not limited to, county records and multiple listing services, and may include approximations. All information is deemed accurate. *Source: Stellar MLS
A community just like home - minutes from Winter Park!
Life-Centered Memory Support
DEMENTIA // ALZHEIMER’S // MEMORY CARE
I’m Still Me.
Providence Living at Maitland is a new Memory Support and Assisted Living Community located in Maitland, Florida. Our life-centered and integrative approach includes cultural and art activities woven into daily living, such as painting, music, artistic expression, and much more. I’m Still Me programming focusing on the individual’s past, present, and future abilities Cultural arts to support cognition Expert, dementia-trained staff Lush courtyard with fresh air activities Facial recognition confirms visitor and staff identity Chef-prepared, comprehensive meal program Locally-owned and managed from Central Florida
LEASING CENTER OPEN 701 N. Maitland Ave. // Maitland, FL 32751
Assisted Living License # pending
Memory Care That Emphasizes Dignity and Joy
Ask anyone who has sought a memory care facility for a parent or loved one with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia. The process is often heartbreaking, and many communities feel institutional and impersonal. No one wants to see their family members warehoused or treated in ways that diminish their dignity or disregard their humanity. That’s why Providence Living at Maitland, expected to open later this spring, will appeal to those seeking only the most nurturing, most personal and most stimulating living environments for those who need continuing care. Providence, located adjacent to the Roth Family Jewish Community Center of Greater Orlando, has developed a signature life-centered program called “I’m Still Me,” which honors each resident’s past while cherishing their future and bringing joy to their present. “There’s nothing else like this in the community,” says Gary Iversen, Vice President of Operations. “If we can help create the best day possible and bring a smile to a resident, then we get back as much as we give. We feel blessed to be able to do what we do.” As part of the Providence family, you can count on expert dementia-trained staff, healthcare teams and top-notch caregivers to support you and your loved one every step of the way while optimizing safety, individualism and quality of life. Providence Living at Maitland — which will accommodate a maximum of 58 residents — fosters a calm and serene environment with carefully designed interiors, aroma-infused common areas, and music to stimulate memory recall and enhance sensory experiences. Cultural arts such as music, dance, painting and
more will provide joyful, intellectually stimulating experiences. And there’ll be planned interactions with visiting children from the JCC’s Early Childhood Center. An aviary with beautiful birds is planned on each floor, while pet and animal therapy will enhance mental health and coping mechanisms. A gated courtyard, the anchor of which is a sculpture called The Tree of Life, will give residents as well as their families and friends the opportunity to connect outdoors. That means you’ll never be restricted from visiting your loved one — even during a heightened health crisis such as a pandemic. Chef-prepared meals will stimulate the senses, provide optimal nutritional support and honor food preferences for dietary or religious purposes. Residents can enjoy their meals in the community dining room, in-suite or in private dining areas. Some rooms will even have safety-conscious kitchenettes. “The food will be exquisite,” says Iversen. “We also plan to hold cooking demonstrations as part of our programming.” Because the community (formerly the Jewish Academy of Orlando) is being newly retrofitted, it can take advantage of the most state-of-theart safety technology, such as entry point surveillance and touchless technology (including drinking fountains) in all common areas. Depending upon the stage of dementia, some residents will have their own electronic key fobs so they can come and go from their rooms when they please, and lock their doors for an additional feeling of security. Plus there’ll be wayfinding lighting in each bathroom, in-room sanitizing stations and facial recognition technology for visitors and staff members. The flooring will be trip-resistant and surfaces will
be antimicrobial. Zero-entry showers and other safety-oriented design features take every possible hazard into account. Providence works with a variety of medical professionals and therapists who offer alternatives to medication when appropriate. Nurses are dementia-trained and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Lake Mary-based Providence One Partners, LLC has developed, owned and asset-managed numerous senior-living communities across Florida over the past decade. To become a founding resident and learn more about Providence Living at Maitland, call 407.863.4020 or visit providencemaitland.com.
The Providence Living Promise You have the right to choose the healthcare journey for your loved one. Your care directives are personal and vital to the emotional, physical and nutritional wellbeing of those individuals who live with memory challenges, like dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. We promise to honor and respect your healthcare decisions in confidence. We promise to deliver timely and appropriate healthcare support and services. We promise to meet resident needs with compassion and knowledge. We promise to acknowledge each resident’s dignity, capabilities and uniqueness.
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ORIGINAL PHOTO COURTESY OF THE ORANGE COUNTY REGIONAL HISTORY CENTER
ROYAL WAY G E N E R AT I O N S O F S T U D E N T S S T I L L R E V E R E T H E G R A N D E DA M E O F C E N T R A L F LO R I DA DA N C E. BY C AT H E R I N E H I N M A N With research by Laura Lewis Blischke and additional material by Randy Noles Photo Restoration by Will Setzer at Circle 7 Studio
Over the course of 40 years, Edith Royal (facing page) taught lessons in dance and life while creating an enduring local audience for high-quality dance performances. Husband Bill, who left his job at a can manufacturing company to run the business, liked to joke that he had "traded cans for the can-can." S PRING 2 0 2 1 | W IN T ER PARK MAGAZ IN E
ORIGINAL PHOTO COURTESY OF THE ORANGE COUNTY REGIONAL HISTORY CENTER
Edith, known as Edie to friends, was born in Philadelphia in 1918, during the deadly flu pandemic. Her father was a machinist at a textile mill. Her mother enrolled Edith, a self-described “sickly” child, in dance classes for exercise. But to the little girl, dance became much more than healthy physical exertion.
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E L I Z A B E T H PA R S O N S H A D T R A I N E D AT N E W YO R K C I T Y ’ S P R E S T I G I O U S S C H O O L O F A M E R I C A N B A L L E T, W H O S E F O U N D I N G C H O R EO G R A P H E R WA S T H E L EG E N DA RY G EO R G E B A L A N C H I N E. S H E K N E W P L E N T Y A B O U T G R E AT DA N C E T E A C H E R S W H E N S H E M O V E D W I T H H E R H U S B A N D, D E E, F RO M K E N T U C K Y TO O R L A N D O I N 1 961 . Consequently, Parsons wasted little time before she looked up Edith and Bill Royal in Winter Park. By then, the couple and their Royal School of Dance had earned a reputation that stretched far beyond sleepy Central Florida. “I knew what [Edith] had to offer and how beautiful it was,” says Parsons, who had taken classes from “Mrs. Royal,” as she was known to her students, at conventions of Dance Masters of America, the national organization for dance educators. “This is a lady you would seek out because you knew of her love and devotion for dance.” Once upon a time, the heartbeat of Central Florida dance was in Winter Park. The Royals, whose school began humbly in 1947 with a handful of students at the All Saints Episcopal Church parish hall, were prominent local residents in the 1960s and maintained two studios here as well as others in Orlando. Over the course of 40 years, the couple built a dance kingdom for the region that was — and remains to this day — unequaled in size or influence. They mentored three generations of dancers, sent many on to successful professional national and international careers, and created an enduring local audience for high-quality dance performances. It was the Royals, for example, who in 1963 began the beloved Central Florida tradition of presenting The Nutcracker each holiday season with a full orchestra. Parsons, now 81, took and taught classes at the Royal School for 12 years and performed with its student company, Ballet Royal. She was among the acolytes who became important figures in the Orlando-area dance community.
Although she and her husband left Central Florida for a decade, upon their return Parsons founded the Dr. Phillips High School Visual and Performing Arts Dance Program. In 1981, she opened her own school in Windermere, which closed last year after four decades of training hundreds of youngsters in the joy and discipline of dance. Other notable alumni of the Royal School of Dance included Barbara Watson; her brother, Kip Watson; and Kip’s first wife, Patti Stevens, who together founded the Southern Ballet Theatre in the 1970s. In 2002, the region’s first professional dance company became today’s Orlando Ballet. “Every great city has a great ballet, and that holds true for Orlando,” says Robert Hill, artistic director of Orlando Ballet. “What I’ve learned in my nearly 12 years here is that the foundation for Orlando’s appreciation and love for ballet and dance is attributed to the Royals and their commitment to the art — that is their legacy.”
Edith, known as Edie to friends, was born in Philadelphia in 1918, during the deadly flu pandemic. Her father was a machinist at a textile mill. Her mother enrolled Edith, a self-described “sickly” child, in dance classes for exercise. But to the little girl, dance became much more than healthy physical exertion. In Philadelphia, Edith studied under acclaimed dance instructor Florence Cowanova, whose pupils had included Oscar-winning actress Grace Kelly and pioneering television comedienne Imogene Coca — whose original dream was of being
a ballerina. As a young woman, Edith performed in New York-, New Jersey- and Pennsylvania-area nightclubs, dinner theaters and opera ballets. She started her own dance school in 1939 in the basement of her family’s three-story home. Edith met Bill, an employee of the Crown Can Company in Philadelphia, at church. They married when she was 21 and he was 24. In 1943, as wartime production ramped up, Bill was tapped to manage the company’s manufacturing facility on Orange Blossom Trail in Orlando. In a 1989 oral history interview for the Winter Park Public Library and Winter Park Historical Association, Edith recounted Bill’s first impression of Central Florida: “He called me the day after he arrived and said, ‘You know, I don’t think I am ever coming back; this is wonderful! You could have a house down here, and grass!’” So Edith drove down to join her husband — and the dance of their lives began. At the time, Central Florida had only one dance school: Ebsen School of Dance, at Pine Street and Hyer Avenue in the Lake Lawsona district of Orlando. The school was founded in 1921 by “Professor” C.L. (Christian Ludolf) Ebsen, the father of actor and dancer Buddy Ebsen. The younger Ebsen, a formidable hoofer who learned to dance at the school along with his sisters, Vilma and Helga, might have played the Tin Man in 1939’s The Wizard of Oz had he not been allergic to the metallic makeup required. Instead, he appeared on stage, in films and on television, ultimately becoming a pop culture icon as Jed Clampett on the CBS sitcom The Beverly S PRING 2 0 2 1 | W INT ER PARK MAGAZ IN E
ORIGINAL PHOTO COURTESY OF THE ORANGE COUNTY REGIONAL HISTORY CENTER
In the exuberant postwar era of the 1940s, Winter Parkers wanted their children to dance. Several prominent local women sought out Edith, who was then teaching in Orlando for C.L. Ebsen (father of Buddy Ebsen) and asked her to open a closer-to-home studio that their daughters could attend.
Hillbillies. Vilma — who appeared in several Broadway musicals with her brother — and Helga later opened their own dance studios in California. When Edith called on C.L. Ebsen — a native of Germany who was an advocate of what was then known as “physical culture” — he hired her on the spot to teach dance. She taught at Ebsen’s school for five years and helped him establish the Central Florida Dance Company around 1945. “I dared not come out in the open with the idea for a ballet company here for many years, because it seemed hopeless,” the elder Ebsen said in 1949, two years before his death. “Now the idea has
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taken root throughout Florida.” Edith and her employer had indeed elevated the dance scene in Orlando. However, Edith had ambitions of her own.
In the exuberant postwar era of the 1940s, Winter Park wanted to dance, too. Several prominent women sought out Edith and asked her to open a closer-to-home studio that their daughters could attend. Edith agreed, at first teaching one day per week at All Saints. Then two days per week. Then
three days per week. In 1948, the Royal School produced its first annual recital at the Winter Park High School (now Winter Park Middle School) auditorium. The show was themed Vacation Time, and took the audience on a dancing journey around the world. By 1950, Edith’s venture had outgrown its headquarters at the church. So she and her 32 students relocated to the old post office building at 128 North Park Avenue, at the corner of Welbourne and Park avenues. A year later, when the school again needed more space, Edith and Bill bought a large home at 534 Chase Avenue from the estate of a retired minister. They outbid adjacent Rollins College for the property — which boasted 100 feet of frontage on Lake Virginia — by $1,000. The Royals lived upstairs and operated the school downstairs. Those 15 years on Chase Avenue were, Edith later recalled, “the happiest years of my life” as a dance teacher: “Oh, that place had heavenly, big camphor trees and a lot of fruit trees. It was just wonderful, it truly was. Bill made a big circular driveway so the cars could come in and drop the children off. The kids loved to play in the trees — you practically had to shake the trees to get them down so they could come in to take their class.” Edith’s growing reputation and the welcoming environment in which she taught attracted even more students. In 1951, the school’s annual recital was held at the larger Orlando Municipal Auditorium (today the Bob Carr Theater). Florida Travelogue — with a cast of more than 160 young dancers — was themed around the state’s history, with the ballet portion inspired by the legend of Ponce de Leon and the Fountain of Youth. Among the cast members were the brother-and-sister duo Kip and Barbara Watson, ages 11 and 15, who had become like family to the Royals and would one day continue their beloved teacher’s legacy in Central Florida. In fact, Kip and Barbara lived in the Chase Avenue home with their mother, Phyllis Watson, who was the costumer for the school’s dance recitals and student company productions. In 1953, the school had grown to the point that Bill was able to leave the Crown Can Company to become its business manager, set designer and backstage wrangler for performances. He famously joked in newspaper interviews that he moved from “cans to the can-can.”
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It was a wonderful play on words, but only a slight exaggeration. The Royal School — which counted more than 500 students by 1955 — provided students a complete education in dance forms that included (if not the can-can) ballet, jazz, tap, modern and acrobatics as well. Bill, always athletic, wanted to work with kids and began teaching tumbling classes, which led to the training of many male dancers — a rarity for schools at the time. Cast lists for early performances show that there was no shortage of boys eager to fill the male roles in stage productions. To provide the most serious students with performing opportunities, Edith founded a student company in 1952. In 1953, the company — originally called “Ballet Petit” before being renamed the Ballet Royal two years later — staged its first fulllength dance, Igor Stravinsky’s Petrushka, with the
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Florida Symphony Orchestra. In 1963, the symphony and the ballet joined forces on The Nutcracker, a holiday tradition that continues to this day. When planning their first full production of the Tchaikovsky classic, the Royals visited George Balanchine in New York City for consultation on choreography, sets and costumes. Barbara Watson danced the role of the Sugar Plum Fairy that year and a young Linda Maybarduk, who went on to dance with the National Ballet of Canada and became a favorite dance partner of Rudolf Nureyev, played the role of Clara. In 1999, Maybarduk would write The Dancer who Flew: A Memoir of Rudolf Nureyev. Initially, The Nutcracker couldn’t fill the Municipal Auditorium’s seats for one performance. By the time the Royals sold their school in 1985, they were offering five performances to meet the
demand for tickets. The Ballet Royal performed many times with the symphony. As choreographer and artistic director, Edith would meticulously research each ballet, and produced such classics as Billy the Kid (Aaron Copland), Cinderella (Sergei Prokofiev) and The Firebird (Igor Stravinsky). One production that Royal never forgot was Les Sylphides (Frederic Chopin) with legendary Native American prima ballerina Maria Tallchief, whom The New York Times had dubbed “one of the most brilliant American ballerinas of the 20th century.” “[Tallchief ] was calming and lovely,” Edith recalled. “She came to us and said, ‘Oh, you will have to help me because I haven’t done this ballet for a long time.’” The Royals also produced an annual Evening of Ballet at the Annie Russell Theatre at Rollins in
In 1921, Central Florida had only one dance school: Ebsen School of Dance, at Pine Street and Hyer Avenue in the Lake Lawsona district of Orlando. The school was founded by C.L. Ebsen (facing page, with Royal), a “physical culture” advocate who was also the father of actor and dancer Buddy Ebsen. Royal taught at Ebsen’s school for five years and helped him establish the Central Florida Dance Company around 1945. But Edith had ambitions to open her own studio, which she did, attracting not only children but their mothers for lessons and increasingly elaborate recitals and performances.
addition to recitals and performances at schools and for civic clubs. The company also performed at Lake Eola, Mead Garden, Loch Haven Park and with the symphony for its Pops Series. If dance was presented anywhere in Central Florida, it was more than likely that the Royals were the impresarios. Bill and Edith sold the Chase Avenue home to Rollins in 1958 but continued to lease it back from the college for more than a decade. In 1965, the couple moved into a home at 1295 Park Avenue, where they often welcomed students and held parties after annual productions of The Nutcracker. And their enterprise had continued to grow, with a branch studio on Edgewater Drive in College Park by 1953 — which relocated to Smith Street in 1958 — and a small studio in Mount Dora. Another Winter Park studio opened at Aloma Avenue and Strathy Lane (today the site of CenterState Bank) in 1960. An additional Orlando studio on Michigan Avenue began welcoming students in 1969. The former nerve center for the Royal School of Dance on Chase Avenue was demolished by the college in 1970. Today, the site is a parking lot for the Harold & Ted Alfond Sports Center. But for
years it was a magical place; a home-away-fromhome for young dancers where the air was always thick with creativity and excitement. Even so, the Royals — passionate as ever — were far from finished. They had been around long enough that the children of their earlier students were now learning about dance — and life — in one of their other studios. Often, the teachers were Royal School alumni.
Most Royal School students took what they learned about discipline, practice and pride in a job well done and applied those lessons while pursuing a range of careers. Some, though, became dance teachers and others went on to impressive careers as dancers. Russell Sultzbach was one of four former male students — others were Dermot Burke, Gregory Huffman and Luis Perez — to become stars of the Joffrey Ballet in New York City. Sultzbach remembers mowing the lawn at Chase Avenue and painting the walls at the Aloma Avenue studio. He began taking classes at the Royal School when he was 11. When he was 14, he received his first scholarship to the Joffrey Academy of Dance.
He became an acclaimed soloist for the prestigious company in the 1970s. Sultzbach fondly recalls jumping into the Royals’ station wagon for a men’s class at a crosstown studio or loading into buses for trips to Florida Dance Masters conventions around the state. (Later the Royals would lead field trips to New York, where students were enthralled by professional ballet companies and Broadway musicals.) “We were dancing like crazy,” Sultzbach recalls. “The Royals instilled in us what a real dance company looks like.” Indeed, if the Royals were the mother and father of Central Florida dance, many of their students became sons and daughters of the art form and built on the Royals’ legacy. It’s here that the lineage gets wonderfully complicated. Kip and Barbara Watson (later Riggins) had successful careers in New York before returning to Central Florida. In 1962, Kip married Patti Stevens, a one-time Royal Dance student and a former Miss Winter Park who performed on and off Broadway and was a June Taylor dancer on The Jackie Gleason Show. Kip, Patti and Barbara established The Performing Arts Company together in 1974. In 1978, they changed the name to Southern Ballet Theatre and made cultural history of their own, launching the region’s first company consisting of professional dancers — six of them, on 40-week paid contracts — who performed at the Bob Carr Theater. Sultzbach, who had suffered from knee problems that curtailed his career as a dancer, returned to Central Florida in 1980 to become ballet master at Southern Ballet — which was then located at the old OUC building on Orange Avenue — and in 1989 married Southern Ballet dancer Phyllis Watson. This particular Phyllis Watson was the daughter of Kip and Patti. She was named for her grandmother, the Royals’ talented costume designer who lived with her dancing children at Chase Avenue. The Watsons, then, were Sultzbach's in-laws. Kip later formed the Harwood-Watson Dance Studios with Eliza Harwood-Watson, a Southern Ballet dancer whom he married after his marriage to Patti ended. Patti, then married to Darden S PRING 2 0 2 1 | W INT ER PARK MAGAZ IN E
IMAGE COURTESY OF THE ORANGE COUNTY REGIONAL HISTORY CENTER
Restaurants executive Rick Walsh, formed the School of Performing Arts in Fern Park (previously the Kip Watson Dance Studio) and brought aboard Sultzbach, her son-in-law, as a teacher and partner. Sultzbach's daughter Phyllis also taught at the school. Later generations of Royal Dance students included Rollins graduate William Bartlett, who danced with American Ballet Theatre II, North Carolina Dance Theater, the Atlanta Ballet and Ballet du Nord in Roubaix, France. There was also Kim Marsh, who danced with the Milwaukee Ballet from 1989 to 2003 and is today a full-time faculty member and assistant to the school director at the Orlando Ballet School; and Maura Hayes, 1979 Miss Dance of Florida, a 40year Disney veteran and current director of operations at Times Square Studios, a Disney subsidiary in New York City. Says Hayes: “The Royals opened their doors to thousands of students and provided a place to not only dance, but to learn about life’s values and to instill a positive vibe.”
The Royals sold their three dance schools — which then had more than 1,500 students — and retired in 1985. In an interview with the Orlando Sentinel, Edith — whom the story referred to as the “grande dame of Central Florida dance” — said it would be difficult to shake the habit of
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going to the studio each day and then allowed herself a moment of wry reflection. “I never had any children of my own, but I have a lot of ‘children’ who stick close by me,” she said. “I walk along a street and someone will come up and say, ‘My mother or sister or daughter took classes from you.’ I’m almost to the point where people say, ‘My granddaughter took classes from you.’” Edith’s former students, many of whom remained in contact with her for decades, considered the Royals to be major influences in their personal and professional lives. One was Parsons, who says that the Royals “were devoted to their students — not just while they were with them.” Parsons recalls that when her husband’s job took them to four different Southern states, Bill would call ahead to a dance studio to vouch for her ability as a teacher. “All of their students were their children,” she says. Jami Russell, who took lessons at the Royal School from ages 4 through 16 and danced in the Ballet Royal in the 1960s, enjoyed a successful career as an insurance salesperson working mainly with groups. She said early dance training and performing experience gave her the confidence to give group presentations to executive teams. “Mrs. Royal commanded respect because she was just so knowledgeable,” Russell recalls. “But I was never scared of her. She was very professional and matter of fact in her teaching style. She expected you to act like an adult — and you did.” Several former students described Edith as “re-
From its humble beginnings at All Saints Episcopal Church, the Royal School of Dance moved to a now-demolished home on Chase Avenue and opened a branch studio on Edgewater Drive (later Smith Street) in College Park. There was also a studio on Michigan Avenue in Orlando and, for a short time, even an outpost in Mount Dora. But most Winter Parkers remember the Aloma Avenue location, where CenterState Bank is today.
gal.” But Russell and others believe that descriptor was more a reflection of how she carried herself than of her unpretentious personality; she always maintained a dancer’s impeccable posture — back straight, chin up — and moved gracefully. “Mrs. Royal didn’t coddle you, but she was definitely approachable,” Russell adds. “Sometimes, you’d want to hug her. She was like a mom to a lot of kids.” Meredith Myers, an IT professional who attended the Royal School from ages 4 to 12 in the 1970s and 1980s, says Edith mastered what’s today called “an executive presence.” Yes, Myers recalls, she was kind and nurturing, “but when she dropped in on a class you instinctively upped your game because you wanted to make sure that she knew that you knew how to dance.” Recitals, Myers recalls, were run with the rigor of professional productions, from rehearsing to costuming to dancing. Misbehaving or being unprepared was unthinkable, she says. “If you were
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When the Royals sold their studio in 1985, Edith allowed herself a moment of wry reflection during an interview with the Orlando Sentinel. “I never had any children of my own, but I have a lot of ‘children’ who stick close by me,” she said. “I walk along a street and someone will come up and say, ‘My mother or sister or daughter took classes from you.’ I’m almost to the point where people say, ‘My granddaughter took classes from you.’”
cutting up or not taking it seriously, you’d be gone,” says Myers, who adds that Edith’s approach taught her the importance of not slacking off — in dance or in life. Russell and Myers — as well as other female former students — agree that the Royal School was also important because it offered girls a socially acceptable opportunity to exercise and become more physically fit. “I probably shouldn’t say that today, but it was true then,” says Myers. The Royal School enrolled plenty of male dance students, of course. But most sports activities in schools were limited to boys in the days before Title IX, the federal program that mandated equal access to all programs at institutions that received federal funds. Before Title IX, which was adopted in 1972, one in 27 girls played sports. Today that number is two in five. Parents could also get involved, from watching classes from behind glass partitions through sewing pointe shoes for younger dancers, working backstage at performances and recitals, and even performing supporting roles in The Nutcracker. Martin Koshar, now retired, was a top executive at Lockheed-Martin (then Martin-Marietta) when he appeared in several Nutcrackers in the 1970s and 1980s. Koshar’s daughters Jan (Litschgi) and Jennifer (Campbell) were longtime Royal School students and Ballet Royal company members.
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Their button-down dad, much to their delight, learned a few rudimentary steps of choreography and appeared in the family gathering scenes at the opening of several performances. “Well, I didn’t have any dance experience to speak of,” Koshar recalls. “But I, and a lot of parents like me, participated. It gave me a way to support my daughters’ activities, and we made a lot of friends. Plus, I liked the fact that the children were learning self-discipline and other lessons that would help them later on.”
Bill died in 1990 and Edith followed in 1996. Their incalculable legacy includes not only teaching but supporting and promoting dance as an art form. They hosted the Southeastern Regional Ballet Festival in 1962, 1966 and 1975, and Bill served as president of the Southeastern Regional Ballet Association (now Regional Dance America/Southeast). They also held offices and were part of the training school faculty for Dance Masters of America, which named Edith its Member of the Year in 1981, and Florida Dance Masters, where Edith chaired the scholarship program for 18 years — and now has a scholarship named for her. For 14 years, Edith also choreographed the Miss Florida pageant. But as time has passed, the Royals have been remembered primarily by dance insiders or former
students, about 300 of whom share memories on a Facebook page for alumni. Many local arts figures are better known than the Royals because their profiles are bolstered by foundations and buildings bearing their names. Kip died in 2011 and Barbara in 2020. Patti died in 2018, and the School of Performing Arts, which had been run by Russell and Phyllis for several years during Patti’s final illness, closed the following year. The school attracted thousands of young dancers and a who’s who of local women looking to stay in shape — among them Harriett Lake, the late philanthropist who in 2018 would donate $5 million toward construction of today’s Harriett’s Orlando Ballet Centre. The Harwood-Watson Dance Studios is the last school in Winter Park with a tangible Royal touch. A large photo portrait of Edith, signed by her students at her funeral, hangs in its lobby. But the Royals’ love of dance endures. Their impact can be seen where little children are learning arabesques, where professional dancers are fulfilling their dreams, where innovative choreography energizes the stage and where audiences pack houses for performances. “Dance in Orlando would not be what it is today without the Royals,” says Harwood-Watson. “Without our history, it would not have progressed.” Rick Walsh, who watched much of local dance history unfold during his marriage to Patti, agrees: “If there was a Mount Rushmore of Central Florida dance, it would have the Royals, Kip, Barbara and Patti on it,” says Walsh, now president of the Knob Hill Group, an investment and consulting company in Orlando. Walsh, in fact, is working to get a plaque installed at Harriett’s Orlando Ballet Centre recognizing at least the three Royal proteges who began the city’s first professional dance company. Such recognition would certainly be past due for local legends of the art form. All the kudos would undoubtedly please Bill and Edith. But the fact is they were probably too busy to give much thought to how they might be regarded by future generations. “We did nothing in our lives but the studio,” said Edith in an oral history interview. “That was our whole life — the studio and the ballet company.” For every lover of dance in Central Florida, that sounds like a life well lived.
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t’s not as if large, extravagant weddings with 100 to 150 guests have become extinct in the era of COVID-19. A more accurate assessment would be that over-the-top events are simply on pause, according to wedding planners who’ve had to adapt along with their clients to new (and hopefully temporary) realities over the past year. And while everyone ponders how to tie the knot during unprecedented times, one thing remains unchanged: Couples are still getting married, pandemic or not. And they’re getting very creative about it. In fact, it’s not unusual to hear impatient spouses-to-be declare: “We’re not waiting any longer, we’re getting married. We’re not going to put this off another year. We’re going to do it. It’s going to be smaller, but we’re going to do it.”
THE OUTDOOR WEDDING
Rebecca Swanson and Christopher Lee were married at Knowles Memorial Chapel and had an open-air reception at Mead Botanical Garden.
PHOTO BY PHOTO BY GIAN CARLO
MARRIAGE, REGARDLESS Pandemic restrictions have mandated smaller weddings for the time being, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be memorable. BY PATRICIA LETAKIS
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Darrin Shifrel, co-owner of Orlando Wedding & Party Rentals in Lake Mary, has provided everything from table settings and chairs to tents and dance floors for weddings over the past 13 years. He and other vendors have all kept busy running smaller weddings, with 30 to 40 guests, many of them held outdoors because of health concerns about viral spread in enclosed spaces. “I anticipate it staying this way at least through the spring and maybe the summer of 2021,” Shifrel says. “Maybe in the fall or next year, things will swing back or maybe this is just how it’s going to be. Who knows?” Shifrel says that one upside of downsized nuptials is that couples often are working with same budget. With fewer guests, the extra funds are often used to upgrade the event, including such aspects as the cake, the bridal gown, the photographer and the reception. When it comes to the venue for a micro wedding, many couples are opting for an intimate backyard gathering. “They’re at their house and feel comfortable; they can control the environment more,” says Shifrel. “I think it makes everyone feel more comfortable than going to some venue.” Even couples who hold their weddings in popular venues, such as a ballroom at The Alfond Inn in Winter Park or at The Highland Manor in Apopka, are requesting outdoor spaces with tents, lighting and even drapery. Shifrel says that couples who previously booked ballrooms are often moving everything outdoors. “We’re setting up tents and bars and all kinds of stuff in the courtyard [at the Alfond Inn] even though they have a beautiful ballroom. People are just more comfortable doing it that way.” For small weddings, Winter Park has its share of soughtafter venues with outdoor space. Topping the list are the aforementioned Alfond Inn, Casa Feliz Historic Home & Venue, The Capen House at the Polasek and the neighboring Art & History Museums in Maitland. Shifrel has also seen an uptick in requests from new Florida
WHAT TO SERVE When planning the menu for small receptions, Shantel Campbell, marketing specialist for Arthur’s Creative Events & Catering, says that many couples are gravitating toward multicourse plated meals that offer a true dinner experience. With smaller guest counts and clients trying to maintain social distancing, some couples are making reception dining the main event. Says Campbell: “With multiple courses, guests are able to enjoy their dinner and each other’s company in a more relaxed manner.” Food choices for weddings are more eclectic these days. Multiple chef-inspired stations, formal five-course dinners or even fun late-night snack stations — such as bars with flaming doughnuts (a signature offering from Arthur’s Creative Events & Catering) — can add panache to a smaller gathering. Campbell notes that with fewer guests, there’s more to spend per person. A multicourse plated meal is the easy way to go for a small group, she says.
Ellie and Drew Watts were married at the Capen House, adjacent to the Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens (above). Flaming doughnuts (top right) can add panache to a small gathering.
Examples of entrées from Arthur’s menu that won’t necessarily be found on a buffet include braised beef short ribs, center cut filet with jumbo Tuscan shrimp and coriander-crusted lamb chop with citrus seared scallops.
CAPEN HOUSE PHOTO BY KRISTEN WEAVER PHOTOGRAPHY; DOUGHNUTS PHOTO BY GARY BOGDON
residents — couples who moved to the state to get married because of fewer and less stringent restrictions here. They’ve scaled back their events since out-ofstate guests are reluctant to travel and are opting for a small tents needed to host 10, 20 or 30 guests.
CHOOSING FLOWERS Whether a couple wants to transform an entire venue or simply order bouquets and centerpieces, flowers and weddings remain synonymous, says Lee Forrest, owner of Lee Forrest Design in Orlando. Forrest has worked weddings of all sizes, but “smaller weddings can be more luxurious,” he adds. Since there are now fewer tables, there’s more space to adorn, allowing florists to let their imaginations run wild — within budget, of course. For example, a couple may choose massive centerpieces for tables or fill open ballroom space with lush greenery. Forrest’s design team creates everything from bouquets, boutonnieres and corsages to arches, chuppahs, and altar and aisle décor as well as special cocktail-hour settings. S PRING 2 0 2 1 | W IN T ER PARK MAGAZ IN E
Hilary Stalder and Jacob Stern had planned a large indoor weeding prior to the pandemic, but regrouped and held a family-only ceremony at Kraft Azalea Gardens.
PHOTO BY JOHN UNRUE
Love Will Find a Way Hilary Stalder arrived home from her bachelorette getaway to a very different Central Florida than the one she had left a few short days before. While she was away, COVID-19 became a pandemic and major attractions closed. Bars and restaurants quickly followed. Suddenly her April 18 wedding to long-time beau Jacob Stern was thrown into flux. With the ceremony — slated for the Winter Park Racquet Club — just 30 days away, the couple had to make some quick decisions. “It really wasn’t hard,” Hilary says. “Our parents and some of our guests were in high-risk groups. We looked at what was going on and quickly realized it wasn’t going to get any better any time soon. Canceling the big ceremony was clearly the only decision we could make for us, our family and friends.” So how do you go about pulling the plug? Hilary and Jacob, both 31, started by notifying their 150-plus guests and breaking the news to their vendors. “For the most part, our vendors were understanding,” she adds. “We felt so bad because most of them knew they were probably not going to be working for a while. It was heartbreaking to have to undo everything we had done in the last 10 months of planning.” Still Hilary and Jacob did, in fact, get married April 18. “The world had changed but not our love for each other; we wanted to be married,” Hilary says. “We knew it wasn’t going to look like what we had planned. But that was OK.” The couple — who both work for general contractor Brasfield & Gorrie and met at work — pivoted and quickly put together a small, intimate ceremony at Kraft Azalea Gardens. Adds Hilary:
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“The city said they weren’t renting any of their venues, but they wouldn’t kick us out — so we went for it.” An outdoor venue requires a less formal bridal gown than the one at the seamstress (which is still there). So, with stores closed, Hilary looked online. Because of COVID-19, delivery times couldn’t be guaranteed — but she was fortunate enough to find a resale version of the dress she wanted. Her florist, Lee Forrest Design, put together a bouquet and boutonniere and delivered it to their home the morning of their wedding. “[Forrest] was so wonderful, when we told him our plans, he said, ‘Let me see what I have in the shop,’ and he created the perfect bouquet,” Hilary says. When he delivered it to their home, he stood at a safe distance on the sidewalk. Naturally, it rained on April 18 and Hilary recalls saying a prayer: “God. I’ve been really cool with all of this, but can you just give me this one?” As the wedding party arrived at the garden, the sun came out and her long-awaited nuptials were held on a beautiful afternoon. Hilary and Jacob’s guest list was downsized to include just immediate family — a party of 12 including the couple — and their reception was moved from the Racquet Club to their backyard with takeout from Hillstone. But Hilary is happy with how everything turned out: “The wedding ended up being ‘more us,’ and we’re happy with that.” Naturally, she was less happy with losing several deposits for the original wedding. The government of Thailand, for example, kept their up-front payment. Which is one reason they still plan to go on a belated honeymoon next year to the Southeast Asian country.
As a boutique florist specializing in weddings, Forrest welcomes any fanciful idea a couple might bring — and he enjoys the challenge of making it happen. “We love people who want something cool and interesting,” he says. “We’re known for being more edgy.” Some of Forrest’s designs use wire mixed with flowers to create a sculptured look, or feathers and crystals worked into floral arrangements. This past February, Forrest had the honor of transforming a balcony at Orlando City Hall into a magical setting for the wedding of Susie Shields and Mayor Buddy Dyer. The new Mrs. Dyer describes it as a “flower wonderland.” The couple’s wedding, which pulled together in three weeks, was rather spontaneous. “We said, ‘What are we waiting for’ … and the first person I called was Lee,” says Orlando’s new First Lady. The Dyers’ small casual wedding — with just 10 guests — took place on a balcony, which was not only outdoors but also a special place to the mayor, who had performed several weddings there. Forrest’s first questions to Susie were: “What dress are you wearing?” and “What are your favorite colors and flowers?” Even though Shields hadn’t decided on her dress yet — the bride ultimately wore a Florida-inspired green coralpatterned mid-length dress, and the groom wore a white guayabera shirt — she did send Forrest a photo of the balcony. Forrest’s team created a bouquet of pink tulips and white tulips, White O’Hara garden roses, Juliet garden roses, blush hydrangea, blush Anna roses, white lisianthus and stock flowers of white and pale pink. The same grouping decorated the balcony’s rail with green leafy swag draped between each cluster. After the grim events of 2020, Forrest encourages use of colored flowers, which add much-needed cheerfulness to any occasion. Deeper pinks, burgundy and blue are showing up more often in his floral designs, he says. Other choice flowers include garden roses, peonies, parrot tulips and orchids. However, the time of year influences which flowers are in season and economical to use. Although Forrest can get just about any type of flower a couple wants, the price will be higher if it isn’t in season. Looking ahead, Forrest is optimistic that the end of 2021 and 2022 will see the return of bigger weddings — and his bookings for larger receptions reflect that optimistic viewpoint.
YES TO THE DRESS Every bride wants to find the perfect dress for her wedding day. At The Bridal Finery in Winter Park, co-owner Roberta Noronha has helped her customers accomplish that goal for more than 10 years.
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Dubsdread Catering is the exclusive caterer for Azalea Lodge at Mead Botanical Garden. Contact the team today for availability, walk-thoughs, bookings, or any other information.
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LOOKING FOR IDEAS, INSPIRATION, OR THE LATEST PHOTOS FROM OUR EVENTS AND WEDDINGS?
PHOTOS BY GARY BOGDON
Carina Gerscovich and Craig Borkon (left) were married on the grounds of the Alfond Inn in a beautifully draped tent. With the money saved by hosting fewer guests, some couples are splurging on floral arrangements (top right). Given the times we live in, caterers (bottom right) are wellversed in safety measures and always masked.
Some prefer a private appointment experience for the creation of a custom wedding gown, while others choose to buy their dream dress off the rack. To accommodate both types of shoppers The Bridal Finery operates two separate boutiques. It really doesn’t matter if the wedding is big or small — brides, Noronha has found, aren’t willing to compromise on their wedding dresses. “I think they’ve realized how important wedding dresses have become, especially with so many postponements and changes in plans,” she says. “The one thing that doesn’t have to change is the wedding dress.” Regardless of age, venue and what’s currently trendy, the dress should represent a bride’s personal style. A person who normally wears fitted, tailored clothing may find a sleek, slim-fitted crepe dress with a dramatic pooling train to be an ideal reflection of her personal brand. A bride who wears prints, patterns and color may opt for a full flowing gown with lace and hand-sewn beading. Lace never goes out of style, says Noronha. Types of lace and different layering techniques may change, but the beauty of lace is iconic.
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Even though brides may not walk down a long aisle to the strains of Felix Mendelssohn’s Wedding March at today’s smaller weddings, the train is still an important part of the ensemble. Together with a seductive veil, trains add drama. The headpiece is what sets a bride apart from her guests, Noronha adds. Adding a piece of jewelry to the hair — barrette, halo, hair comb — or in addition to the veil, is the finishing touch. Noronha’s advice to brides: “You have to pick a dress that you love and one that you feel comfortable in. It needs to be you in a bridal version.” Some brides know their style and what they want in a dress. Gibby Manatad-Folk grew up walking past The Collection Bridal in Winter Park, and already knew that one day she would walk into the bridal salon and pick out her wedding dress. At age 29, she and her fiancé were planning their April 2020 destination wedding in Thailand, where she has family, before travel restrictions derailed the couple’s plans. They opted instead for a small family-only wedding at home. “I still got the dress I love,” she says of her sleekly silhouetted Inbal Dror gown of lace and beading, with a voluminous front bow and luxurious train.
Wearing her classic but playful gown and wearing a white top hat with a tulle veil, she said, “I do” at Winter Park City Hall. Her 12 guests then headed to Manatad-Folks’ family home to indulge in a dinner around the theme “Springtime in Shanghai.” What was more important than the size of the wedding was being together with family, she says. When international travel returns, they plan to have a symbolic celebration in Thailand, hopefully next July on their one-year anniversary. At The Collection Bridal in Winter Park, owner Millie Harris has been selling wedding attire for more than 37 years. Today she finds herself dressing not only young brides like ManatadFolk but the daughters of brides to whom she sold wedding gowns 20-plus years ago. “We love that we have become multigenerational,” says Harris about her customers. Although Harris has seen her share of celebrations, she has noticed that at today’s smaller weddings brides are choosing plainer dresses for ceremonies and more elaborate ones for receptions. Also, some couples who held scaled-back weddings are planning large receptions on or near
ROMANCE their first anniversaries. “A smaller wedding is more intimate, more romantic,” says Harris. “It allows the couple to concentrate on things such as elegance, or tableware, flowers and the dress. After all, who really has 250 close friends?” Since wedding gowns aren’t subject to annual seasonal changes, it’s not uncommon to buy a dress one to two years in advance of the wedding date. In fact, the wedding market is always a year ahead, explains salon manager Roya Mahootchi. “We just bought dresses for fall 2021, but they are not seasonal,” she says. “We have dresses that are traditional, classic and timeless. They don’t go out of style.” Besides gorgeous designer wedding gowns by Carolina Herrera and Monique Lhuillier, The Collection Bridal carries mother-of-the-bride dresses that can be custom ordered so you won’t see someone else wearing the same outfit — always a risk with department store-bought apparel. Bridesmaid and flower girl dresses are also available. From the day you buy a dress until the day you pick it up for the wedding, the staff will do in-house alterations — extend a train, add sleeves or plunge the neckline — press the dress and store it for you.
THE INVITATIONS Since the beginning of 2021, the phone at Maureen H. Hall Stationery and Invitations in Winter Park has been ringing. Couples who put off getting married in 2020 were no longer waiting to tie the knot; they were ready to order wedding invitations. And, Hall says, the orders are big — 100 to 150 invitations. The only difference, adds Hall, is that many couples had changed venues from indoors to outdoors. The Interlachen Country Club and the Winter Park Racquet Club, both with gorgeous outdoor spaces, have been popular choices, she adds. Another reason for the rush is that couples who had small weddings in 2020 are now planning big receptions for 2021 and 2022. They want exquisite invitations to their long-awaited celebrations. “We sell classic invitations that in 20 years, you’ll look at and say it’s just as gorgeous today as it was then,” says Hall. “You can’t go wrong with a traditional invitation. It never looks dated.” Unlike ordering on the Internet, an appointment with Hall and other custom stationery vendors offers an opportunity to handpick your invitations, feel the quality of the paper and visu-
ally explore design techniques such as engraving, etching, debossed framing and foil stamping. Among Hall’s exclusive vendors are Crane & Co., Vera Wang, William Arthur and Stationery Works. Hall helps couples design a wedding suite, composed of the invitation, envelope, response card and extra touches such as a liner or ribbon. When selecting an invitation, Hall says that it’s usually the venue that dictates the style. If the wedding is at the Ritz-Carlton, for example, a formal invitation is appropriate. At the Winter Park Farmers’ Market, perhaps not so much. The invitation is a powerful indicator of how formal the wedding will be and the dress code expected of guests. Even the color of ink is taken into consideration. For example, a fall wedding invitation would likely be printed in hunter green or burgundy to complement the season. In summary, it doesn’t matter if the wedding is small or large — brides and grooms have found ways to join together in matrimony through world wars, depressions and, most recently, a pandemic. After all, the union is supposed to be for better or worse. And after the past year, everyone seems to be looking ahead toward something better.
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ASK THE EXPERT
The Chart: Geeky, but Essential
BRIAN CIRILLO PARTNER/BROKER, BALDWIN PARK REALTY
Brian Cirillo has 25 years of experience as a top-producing real estate agent and broker in Central Florida. His background, as an owner of several business ventures and as a co-owner and founder, has given his real estate business a high level of experience, leadership and professionalism. For more, visit baldwinparkre.com.
admit it: Even I can kind of see people’s eyes glaze over when I roll out The Chart. It’s not exactly pretty, with its multicolored dots showing the addresses, sizes and prices of all the active, pending and sold listings in their neighborhood. I can hear clients thinking to themselves: “Am I hiring a real estate agent or an accountant?” The Chart is actually a scatter plot but, trust me, you won’t hear me say that. Most people in my profession walk in to meet a buyer — or seller — with a more straightforward approach. They show their clients three comparable sales to help simplify the decision about pricing a house or making an offer on one. The problem with the standard approach is that choosing the best listing price, or offer price, is anything but simple. Too much rides on it. No seller wants to leave thousands of dollars on the table because they priced too low in our current multiple-bid kind of market. Nor do they want to waste precious months on an elusive stretch price. Just to break it down, here’s is a story about the power of my little diagram at work: A friend of mine who co-owned a title company was about to sell a house near downtown Orlando in Audubon Park and just wanted a quick sale for $329,000. Well, not to brag, but I showed him The Chart and all its sales intelligence specific to his neighborhood. With that in mind, he upped the price and ended up selling the house for $30,000 more than he would have otherwise.
Activity in Last 12 Months $510,000 $500,000 3510 CHELSEA ST-1484-4/2/0 - 1/0/00 DOM-0
3410 PELICAN LN-1923-4/2/0 - 1/0/00 DOM-1
1305 CARDINAL RD-1657-3/3/0 - 11/25/20 DOM-3
$470,000 $460,000 $450,000
2010 LINDA ST-1907-3/2/0 - 1/0/00 DOM-14
1613 ROBIN RD-14133/2/0 - 1/15/21 DOM-42
3708 IBIS DR-1982-4/2/0 - 1/0/00 DOM-22
1323 GEORGIA BLVD-1150-2/2/0 - 9/3/20 DOM-4
1519 FALCON CT-1475-3/1/1 - 11/29/20 DOM-43
1219 COLE RD-1656-4/2/0 - 11/11/20 DOM-4
$400,000 $390,000 $380,000 $370,000
3811 IBIS DR-1698-3/2/0 - 11/20/20 DOM-4
3623 CHELSEA ST-1147-2/1/0 - 8/19/20 DOM-0
4011 IBIS DR-1304-3/2/0 - 12/4/20 DOM-3 3911 PELICAN LN-1320-3/2/0 DOM-67
3633 FINCH ST-11923/2/0 - 8/31/20 DOM-19
3217 RAVEN RD-1871-3/2/0 - 9/3/20 DOM-16
3633 BOBOLINK LN-14323/2/0 - 10/29/20 DOM-2
3808 IBIS DR-13773/2/0 - 1/0/00 DOM-30
2501 CHELSEA ST-1801-4/2/0 - 10/5/20 DOM-244
3900 CHELSEA ST-1413-3/2/0 - 12/28/20 DOM-29
1001 N FOREST AVE-10593/2/0 - 1/0/00 DOM-32
1205 UTAH BLVD-12003/2/0 - 10/20/20…
3605 CHELSEA ST-1327-3/1/0 DOM-94
3911 BOBOLINK LN-25003/2/0 - 12/22/20 DOM-8
3416 PELICAN LN-1474-3/2/0 - 1/0/00 DOM-58
1212 COLE RD-1258-4/2/0 - 9/29/20 DOM-25
1414 GEORGIA BLVD-1097-2/1/0 - 8/19/20 DOM-8
3919 IBIS DR-1024-2/1/0 - 9/25/20 DOM-3
1316 MARGATE AVE-891-2/1/0 - 12/22/20 DOM-3
4020 IBIS DR-1430-3/1/1 - 12/31/20 DOM-5
1300 For Sale
Not so bad for a little display of nerdiness. The real beauty of The Chart is that it measures the one true metric in the language of every buyer and seller — price per square foot. The Chart isn’t swayed by granite counters or custom cabinetry. It strips away emotion and dishes up sheer objectivity in a way no sampling of three comparable real estate sales can. In the overall Central Florida area, that price per square foot ranges from $132 in Polk County to $180 in Orange County, according to the Orlando Regional Realtor Association. Unearthing those numbers at the neighborhood level is the truth serum of pricing. If someone wants to sell quickly, they can select a price that would be below the all-important line that dissects The Chart. It’s really a regression line, but I didn’t tell you that. If someone thinks their house will show well enough to sell instantly, they may want to price in the higher tier.
Unlike the three-comparables approach used more commonly in the industry, The Chart arms clients with enough information about a neighborhood’s sales that they can get the full picture they need to settle on a price with confidence. Not to oversell this X-and-Y-axis thing, but The Chart also better informs buyers about whether their emotions have gotten the best of them and they’re offering too much, or wasting everyone’s time with an offer that will never fly. It even works on other agents who come to me questioning the price of one of my client’s properties. Me: “Well, let me just show you this chart.” In a hyper-competitive market such as the one we now face, the stakes are even higher than they were just a few months ago. More is at risk with pricing — and it’s key to employ the kind of data that big companies use as they spin out hundreds of thousands of offers a week. But then enough from me; I’m beginning to geek out and can sense your eyes glazing over.
S PRING 2 0 2 1 | W IN T ER PARK MAGAZ IN E
Venue Guide ROLLINS COLLEGE Alfond Inn 300 East New England Avenue, Winter Park 407-278-8159 thealfondinn.com/meetings-events/ weddings
Woman’s Club of Winter Park 419 South Interlachen Avenue, Winter Park 407-644-2237 womansclubofwinterpark.com
Hilton Garden Inn Winter Park 1275 Lee Road, Winter Park 407-755-3733 • hilton.com
Winter Park Community Center 721 West New England Avenue, Winter Park 407-599-3275 • cityofwinterpark.org/venues
Knowles Memorial Chapel and the Rice Family Pavilion 1000 Holt Avenue, Winter Park (Rollins College Campus) 407-646-2541 rollins.edu/chapel/wedding-information OUTDOORS Central Park Rose Garden 250 South Park Avenue, Winter Park 407-599-3397 cityofwinterpark.org/venues Kraft Azalea Garden 1305 Alabama Drive, Winter Park 407-599-3397 cityofwinterpark.org/venues Mead Botanical Garden 1300 South Denning Drive, Winter Park 407-599-3397 cityofwinterpark.org/venues or meadgarden.org HISTORIC PLACES Capen House at the Polasek 633 Osceola Avenue, Winter Park 407-636-9317 • capenhouse.com Casa Feliz Historic Home & Venue 656 North Park Avenue, Winter Park 407-628-0230 • casafelizvenue.com The Chapel & Hudson’s Cellar Hannibal Square 16 West Lyman Avenue, Winter Park 407-644-3151 • chapelandcellar.com Winter Park Country Club 761 Old England Avenue, Winter Park 407-599-3416 cityofwinterpark.org/venues Winter Park Farmers’ Market 200 West New England Avenue 407-599-3341 cityofwinterpark.org/venues CLUBHOUSES University Club of Winter Park 841 North Park Avenue, Winter Park 407-644-6149 • winterparkvenue.com
PRIVATE CLUBS Interlachen Country Club 2245 Interlachen Court, Winter Park 952-924-7406 • interlachcc.org Note: You must be a member or be sponsored by a member.
Una Donna Piu 216 Park Avenue, Winter Park 407-628-4555 • unadonnapiu.com BRIDAL ATTIRE Calvet Couture Bridal Winter Park Village 520 Orlando Avenue, Winter Park 407-951-5670 • calvetcouture.com The Bridal Finery 976 North Orange Avenue, Suite C, Winter Park 407-960-5225 • thebridalfinery.com The Collection Bridal and Formal 301 North Park Avenue, Winter Park 407-740-6003 • thecollectionbridal.com
Winter Park Racquet Club 2111 Vía Tuscany, Winter Park 407-644-2226 • wprc.net Note: You must be a member or be sponsored by a member.
The Seamstress 1143 Orange Avenue, Winter Park 407-740-7544 • seamstresswinterpark.com
Arthur’s Creative Events & Catering 860 Sunshine Lane, Altamonte Springs 407-331-1993 • arthurscatering.com
The Winter Park Library and Events Center 1050 West Morse Boulevard, Winter Park 407-599-3525 • cityofwinterpark.org/venues Note: The venue is not yet open, but reservations are now being accepted.
Services Guide BEAUTY SALONS Bangz Park Avenue 228 North Park Avenue, Winter Park 407-645-2264 • bangzparkavenue.com Dolce Vita Salon 1286 Orange Avenue, Winter Park 407-374-3333 • dolcevitaorlando.com Gary Lambert Salon & Nail Bar 517 South Park Avenue, Winter Park 407-628-8659 • lambertsalon.com Salon Ciseaux 658 North Wymore Avenue, Winter Park 407-865-5881 • salonciseaux.com Stella Luca Hannibal Square 433 West New England Avenue, Winter Park 407-740-7006 Winter Park Village 460 North Orlando Avenue, Winter Park 407-740-6711 • stellaluca.com
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Cuisiniers 5470 Lake Howell Road, Winter Park 407-975-8763 • cuisinierscater.com Dubsdread Catering 549 West Par Street, Orlando 407-809-5740 • dubsdreadcatering.com John Michael Exquisite Weddings and Catering 627 Virginia Drive, Orlando 407-894-6671 • johnmichaelevents.com
INVITATIONS Maureen H. Hall Stationery and Invitations 116 Park Avenue, Winter Park 407-629-6999 • maureenhallinvitations.com Rifle Paper Co. 558 West New England Avenue, Suite 150, Winter Park 407-622.7679 • riflepaperco.com JEWELERS Atelier Coralia Leets Jewelry 307 South Park Avenue, Winter Park 321-203-2716 • coralialeets.com Be On Park 152 South Park Avenue, Winter Park 407-644-1106 • beonpark.com JC Designs 307 South Park Avenue, Winter Park 321-444-6128 • jcdesignersllc.com Jewelers on the Park 116 South Park Avenue, Winter Park 407-622-0222 • jewelersonthepark.com Reynolds & Co. Jewelers 232 North Park Avenue, Winter Park 407-645-2278 • reynoldsjeweler.com Simmons Jewelers 220 North Park Avenue, Winter Park 407-644-3829 • hsimmonsjewelers.com GROOM’S ATTIRE John Craig Clothier 132 South Park Avenue, Winter Park 407-629-7944 • johncraigclothier.com
Puff ’n Stuff Events Catering 250 Rio Drive, Orlando 407-629-7833 • puffnstuff.com
Leonardo 5th Avenue 121 East Welbourne Avenue, Winter Park 407.622.0296 • leonardofifthavenue.com
Siegel’s Winter Park 330 South Park Avenue, Winter Park 407-645-3100 • siegelsonline.com
Atmospheres Floral and Décor 2121 West Fairbanks Avenue, Winter Park 321-972-2976 • atmospheresfloral.com
Fairbanks Florist 805 South Orlando Avenue, Winter Park 321-695-5440 • fairbanksflorist.net
The Buzzcatz Contact: Ricky Sylvia 321-277-5522 • thebuzzcatz.band
Winter Park Florist 537 North Virginia Avenue, Winter Park 407-647-5014 • winterparkflorist.com
The Elite Show Band 7512 Dr. Phillips Boulevard, Orlando 888-400-5013 • eliteshowband.com
Lee Forrest Designs 51 North Bumby Avenue Orlando 407-770-0440 • leeforrestdesign.com
Leonard Brothers Band email@example.com leonardbrothers.com
Weddings Only DJ Entertainment Contact: Brian Scott 407-493-2617 weddingsonlydjentertainment.com PARTY RENTALS A Chair Affair 613 Triumph Court, Orlando 386-479-4308 • chairaffairrentals.com Fenice Events 1255 La Quinta Dr., Orlando 407-404-1895 • feniceevents.com Orlando Wedding & Party Rentals 2452 Lake Emma Road, Lake Mary 407-739-5740 orlandoweddingandpartyrentals.com RW Style 1075 Florida Central Parkway, Longwood 407-374-2534 • rw-brands.com PHOTOGRAPHERS Allan Jay Images 407-252-8094 • allanjayimages.com Art Faulkner Photography 805 South Orlando Avenue, Winter Park 407-461-6628
633 OSCEOLA AVENUE WINTER PARK, FL | CAPENHOUSE.COM
Brian Adams Photo 321-206-6285 • brianadamsphoto.com Cricket’s Photo & Cinema 16618 Broadway Avenue, Winter Garden 407-484-2931 • cricketsphoto.com Gian Carlo Photographer 407-312-7932 • giancarlophotography.com Jensen Larson Photography 407-409-8499 jensenlarsonweddings.com Kristen Weaver Photography 1624 Smithfield Way, Suite 1126, Oviedo 407-476-4597 • kristenweaver.com Rudy & Marta Photography 321-270-9524 • rudyandmarta.com Sunshine Photographics 13953 Lake Mary Jane Road, Orlando 407-481-8425 sunshinephotographics.com
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Chief Master Sergeant Richard R. Hall, Jr. 1923-2021
PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE HANNIBAL SQUARE HERITAGE CENTER
here’s a statue of a World War II hero on the west side of Tails airborne, continued his Air Force career through three decades Winter Park. As war memorials go, it’s understated: just a lifeand two more wars — Korea and Vietnam — before retiring in 1973. sized reproduction of a man wearing a red blazer and standing In Korea, he flew on bombing runs and manned guns on B-52s. by the front door of the Hannibal Square Heritage Center on New Back in Winter Park, Hall never sought the spotlight — but it someEngland Avenue. times found him regardless. He participated in a compilation of oral hisYou’d have to have to ask somebody what that blazer stood for to tories and photographs of west side senior citizens called the Sage Project, understand the battles, fought and won, that it represents. Maybe it’s developed by Peter Schreyer, executive director of the Crealdé School of better that way. Art. And in 2019, he was the Grand Marshall during Eatonville’s Martin The statue, erected in 2015, is Luther King Jr. Day parade. of Chief Master Sergeant Richard Born in Brooks County, GeorHall, Jr., who was raised in Wingia, Hall moved with his family as ter Park and retired to the area an infant to Winter Park, where he after a lengthy military career. He grew up in a three-room shotgun died in January at the age of 97 as home on Swoope Avenue built one of the last surviving members by his father. He was baptized in of the 332nd Fighter Group. the church pool at Mount Moriah The members of the 332nd are Baptist Church, where his mothperhaps better known as the leger was a clerk and his father was endary Tuskegee Airmen — also a deacon. dubbed the Red Tails — the counThree years ago, as part of a try’s first African American military story I was writing about the HerHall (pictured in white circle), along with 300 other surviving Tuskegee Airmen, aviators. itage Center and the Sage Project, In the early part of the 20th received the Congressional Gold Medal in 2007 in ceremonies at the Capitol I visited with Hall. When I asked century, Blacks were banned Rotunda presided over by President George W. Bush. about his feelings regarding the from serving as pilots in the milracism that he’d been subjected itary under the blatantly racist premise that they were neither intellito, he quickly changed the subject, seemingly more interested in disgent nor brave enough. As World War II neared, President Franklin cussing black and white photos from his Red Tail days and pointing D. Roosevelt authorized the enlistment of Black airmen. out favorite comrades. Roosevelt’s wife, Eleanor, took on the cause, famously traveling to the Recently, remembering Hall’s reticence and knowing she was close unit’s training base in Tuskegee, Alabama, to don a set of goggles and — to him, I asked Barbara Chandler, manager of the Heritage Center, to the astonishment of her bodyguards — fly as a passenger with one of if she could explain his unwillingness to engage on an issue that had the airmen. finally, it seemed, come to the forefront. “Red Tails” would become the nickname of both the aviators and the “Even when you’re seen as a hero, sometimes you don’t want to nimble P-31 and P-51 Mustangs they flew after they painted the tails relive it,” she said. “What you experienced was his humility and his of the planes red to distinguish themselves from other fighter groups. genuine love for people and the country that he served. Those are the They saw action in Europe, strafing enemy targets and protecting good stories he told you, not the bad. Those are the things he wanted U.S. bombers during long-distance air raids. In all, the unit notched to make sure everyone would remember.” more than 1,500 missions and 15,000 sorties. They were credited Surely, then, he’d want us to remember this: with destroying 261 enemy aircraft. On March 29, 2007, at an emotional gathering in Washington, Later, during the post-war years, the red blazers Tuskegee veterans D.C., President George W. Bush awarded the Congressional Gold began wearing to reunions became a symbol of their courage in anothMedal to the more than 300 surviving Tuskegee Airmen present, deer arena: confronting racism, both during their training in the Deep livering a salute from the stage and saying: “For all the unreturned South and upon their return. salutes and unforgivable indignities, I salute you for your service to In one much-publicized incident, a small group of Red Tail pilots the United States of America.” stormed into an officer’s club from which they were banned because of Recalled Hall: “I sat right up front. I got to shake the president’s their race. The horrified public reaction helped to accelerate the early hand twice — once when he came in and once when he left. It was a Civil Rights movement. real honor.” As I see it, Chief Master Sergeant Hall, the honor was his. — Michael McLeod Hall, who served as a member of the ground crews that kept the Red
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Hall appears a bit bemused by the statue in his honor at the Hannibal Square Heritage Center.
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John F. Lowndes • 1931-2021
PHOTO COURTESY OF ORLANDO SHAKES
here was a time when giants walked the earth. That was $500,000 and $300,000, respectively.) certainly true in Central Florida, when a cadre of civic-mindJust a rock’s throw from the theater complex, another Lowndes ed businesspeople influenced growth and development from legacy is inside the Orlando Museum of Art. The gigantic green and their downtown offices and could make just about anything happen blue glass sculpture, Cobalt & Citron by artist Dale Chihuly, was purvia a timely telephone call. chased and donated by the law firm to celebrate its 35th anniversary. Most are now gone — but their names remain prominent in histoDown the street at the Orange County Courthouse, a huge bronze ries that cover Orlando’s boom years in the 1960s and beyond. statue — Triumphant Spirit, which depicts an angel holding a trumpet John F. Lowndes, who died in February at age 90, was a powerhouse — overlooks the rotunda because some 20 years ago former Orange land-use attorney and an early County Mayor Linda Chapin partner with builders Lester Zimasked Lowndes if he would help merman, Lester Mandell and Jack raise funds to acquire public art Lazar in Greater Construction for the new building. His firm reCorp. — which built more than sponded by buying the impressive 10,000 homes from 1965 before work and gifting it to the county. the company was sold in 2005 to Lowndes, who completed his nationally traded Meritage Homes. undergraduate studies at Duke Lowndes’ law firm, first known University, served for a time as a as Lowndes, Drosdick, Doster, Marine Corps captain and was Kantor & Reed — later rebrandstationed in Pensacola and Miami, ed as simply Lowndes — is one where he became enchanted with of the five largest in the region Florida. Following his stint in the and celebrated its 50th annivermilitary, he returned to Durham Lowndes and his wife, Rita, offered a generous contribution that led to the sary in 2019. With a focus on real construction of the John and Rita Lowndes Shakespeare Center in Loch Haven Park. and graduated from the Duke estate, it represented — and still University School of Law. represents — major lenders and Although Lowndes’ professiondevelopers prepping massive projects. al career began in North Carolina, by 1959 he found himself back in But the courtly Lowndes — son of a law professor raised in Durham, the Sunshine State (although he never lost his passion for Blue Devils North Carolina — wasn’t obsessed with growth for growth’s sake. He basketball). He worked for other firms before he and three partners sought to improve Central Florida’s quality of life through significant launched their own storied practice a decade later — just as the region’s charitable work focused largely, but not exclusively, on the arts. post-Disney explosion was beginning to reverberate. He chaired the boards of the Orlando Museum of Art, Winter Park As a lawyer, Lowndes was acknowledged as one of the best. He Memorial Hospital (now AdventHealth Winter Park), the Winter belonged to the Florida Supreme Court Historical Society, was a past Park Health Foundation, the Friends of the Mennello Museum, the president of the Orange County Bar Association and earned about UCF Foundation and the UCF College of Business Administration. every professional distinction available to practicing attorneys. He also served on the Central Florida Community Foundation fiBut friends remember Lowndes as an unpretentious family man with nance committee and was an Orange County School Board trustee an endearing sense of humor who enjoyed casual weekly games at the during desegregation, offering a steady hand during a tense time. The Winter Park Golf Course with Margeson, a physician and fellow Shakes list of good works goes on and on. donor. The game’s “rules” — if they could be described as such — were Lowndes and his wife, Rita — also a formidable community activcustom designed to maximize enjoyment and minimize dejection. ist with a suite of good causes all her own as well as a love of ShakeNamed (belatedly) as Winter Park Magazine Influentials in 2019, the speare — offered a generous contribution that led to construction of Lowndeses’ print profile called upon the Bard to describe the couple: the John and Rita Lowndes Shakespeare Center in Loch Haven Park. “How far that little candle throws his beams!” wrote William ShakeLongtime locals will remember that the Orlando Shakespeare Fesspeare in Merchant of Venice. “So shines a good deed in a weary world!” tival — renamed Orlando Shakes in 2018 — debuted in 1989 and That observation, we wrote, is certainly applicable to John and Rita staged productions at Lake Eola’s Walt Disney Amphitheater. The Lowndes. “These big-hearted beam-throwers have undoubtedly made outdoor setting could be charming — but only if the weather was our world less weary — and more shiny — through their countless right, the pigeons behaved themselves and the noise of downtown good deeds.” traffic wasn’t too intrusive. In addition to wife Rita and daughter Amy, Lowndes is survived by In 2000, the Lowndeses donated $750,000 as seed money toward children Elizabeth McIntosh and Joseph, Jennifer and John Lowndes — a $3.5 million transformation of the old Orlando Science Center into who was elected mayor of Maitland in January — along with 12 granda state-of-the-art, four-theater complex. (Two like-minded couples, children. — Randy Noles Ken and Trisha Margeson and Sig and Marilyn Goldman, added
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PHOTO BY RAFAEL TONGOL
Rita and John Lowndes rarely missed an opening night at Orlando Shakes. After all, the complex in which the four theaters were located bore their name.
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Elisa wears an animal-print, one-shoulder dress by Lola Australia ($278) and a pair of gold espadrilles mules by Kaanas Palau ($120), both from Arabella on Morse. She also wears a gold-tone, link-chain necklace ($395); a gold-tone coin necklace ($165); a pair of gold-tone hoops ($85); a gold-tone and chalcedony blue bracelet ($345); a gold-tone and chalcedony blue cuff ($345) and two gold-tone statement rings ($125$135), all by Julie Vos and all from Arabella on Morse. Her multicolor handcrafted tote by Squeeze De Citron ($140) is also from Arabella on Morse.
HEAVY BUT HIDING IN PLAIN SIGHT. OK, let’s name the hippest spaces in Winter Park. Ready? Go! Without even looking, it’s a safe bet that the old Lombardi’s Seafood warehouse didn’t make anybody’s list. The unadorned concrete-block structure, located at the corner of Orange and Fairbanks avenues, housed Lombardi’s for more than 50 years until the business moved to new digs on Fairbanks Avenue in 2015. More recently, the building was slated for redevelopment as part of the Orange Avenue Overlay District initiative, which would have altered part of the city’s comprehensive plan and land-development code standards with the goal of spurring cohesive mixed-use development along the slapdash thoroughfare. In typical Winter Park style, the plan created heated controversy and was disapproved after being initially approved. The Lombardi’s building, though, survived to be reborn as The Heavy, founded by Orlando native Jennifer Crotty, who’s also the owner of Porch Therapy, a botanical design shop in Audubon Park’s East End Market. She has transformed the 13,000-squarefoot space into a lush, plant-filled oasis that marks a stark contrast to the building’s industrial exterior. But a nursery is only part of what The Heavy has to offer. There’s a flower bar where you can create custom arrangements as well as a coffee shop and an expansive gift market that includes everything from books to home décor — much of it made by local artisans. Visit The Heavy at 1152 Harmon Avenue or check out theheavywp.com for more details about this new Winter Park treasure — which is hiding in plain sight. PHOTOGRAPHY: RAFAEL TONGOL STYLING: MARIANNE ILUNGA MAKEUP/HAIR: ELSIE KNAB SET DESIGN: JENNIFER CROTTY MODEL: ELISA, MODERN MUSE MODELS LOCATION: THE HEAVY IN WINTER PARK S PRING 2 0 2 1 W INTER PARK MAGAZ IN E
Elisa wears a multicolor geometric print dress by THML ($88), a straw hat with ribbon detail by Capelli ($78) and straw earrings by Virtue ($78). Her gold-tone statement link bracelet ($330) and gold tone ring ($125) are both by Julie Vos. Her black raffia slides ($110) are by Kaanas Crete and her straw bag with ribbon detail ($76) is by Capelli. All are from Arabella on Morse.
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Elisa wears denim cutoff shorts ($128) by Agolde Parker and from Tuni on Park Avenue. Her “32789” pink knit sweater ($128), by Ellsworth & Ivey, is from The Grove. She also wears a gold-tone link necklace ($198) and a gold-tone cuff with chalcedony blue stones ($345), both by Julie Vos and both from at Arabella on Morse. S PRING 2 0 2 1 W INT ER PARK MAGAZ IN E
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Elisa wears a lavender zebra-print dress ($278) and a printed belt ($60), both by Oliphant. Her hot pink messenger bag ($375) is by Sayre and her white angel-wing earrings ($225) are by Mignonne. She also wears a yellow star bracelet, a lavender bracelet and a neon yellow bracelet ($23-$38), all by Caryn Lawn. Her gold-tone link bracelet ($58) is by Sahira. All are from The Grove. Her suede lavender slides ($140) are by Gold Saldana and are from Tuni Winter Park.
Elisa wears a satin green amara camisole ($106) by Young, Fabulous and Broke; and a satin mint-color skirt ($198) by Amanda Uprichard. Her sunglasses ($470) are by Alexander McQueen and her gold-lock vintage Louis Vuitton necklace ($310) is by Phillip Allen Hefner. She also wears a brown leather Louis Vuitton cuff ($98). Her platform sandals ($45) are by Beach Matisse and her green leather graffiti tote ($450) is by Anca Barbu. All are from Tuni Winter Park. S PRING 2 0 2 1 W INT ER PARK MAGAZ IN E
INDULGE YOUR CURIOSITY
ASK WHY. DEBATE IDEAS. SHARPEN YOUR SELF-EXPRESSION. In Rollins’ Master of Liberal Studies Program, you’ll engage in lively discussions about everything from art and literature to philosophy and psychology. At every step, you’ll receive individualized attention and unconditional support from the South’s top professors as you develop new ways of thinking and perhaps discover a newfound purpose.
LEARN MORE! TAKE YOUR NEXT STEP TO A MORE FULFILLING LIFE. ROLLINS.COLLEGE/MLS 407.646.2037 HOLTADMISSION@ROLLINS.EDU
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ASK THE EXPERT
The Do’s and Don’t’s of Investing
ith the crazy world were living in and the volatile nature of the investment world, it can be extremely confusing and scary to invest. However, there are some basic tools that can be used to minimize risk and help you sleep at night. The basic theme to remember: “If it sounds too good to be true it probably is.” Too many times, we’ve seen clients allow emotion or even greed to direct their decisions — with disastrous consequences. So, here are a few things to keep in mind with any of your investment strategies: JASON EDWARDS MANAGING PARTNER, EDWARDS FINANCIAL SERVICES Jason Edwards is Managing Partner of Edwards Financial Services. He has had an office in Winter Park for more than two decades and is a past Orlando Business Journal Executive of the Year. His firm is listed among the publication’s Top 25 Financial Planning Firms and has earned many other professional awards. Edwards Financial Planning has nearly 3,600 clients in more than 18 states. For more, visit efs-advisors.com.
DO’S n DCA (Dollar Cost Averaging). This is the strategy of spreading out your stock or fund purchases. When done properly, it can significantly benefit your portfolio. We divide the total amount to be invested across periodic purchases of a target asset in order to reduce the impact of volatility of the overall purchase. The purchases occur regardless of the asset’s price and at regular intervals. What does that mean in basic terms? We buy every month using the same amount of money, which in turns levels out the fluctuation in prices and cost. n Diversification. This word is often thrown around but is usually not used properly. Here’s a great example. A client might have an account with two different investment companies, or a 401k managed by one company and personal investments managed by another. However, once we drill down, we often find mutual funds that have redundant features. So, a true diver-
sified investment is not only designed to ensure that you don’t have all your eggs in one basket — but it also ensures that you’re not overexposed in ways that can spell doom.
DON’T’S n Marketing Timing. This is the emotional behavior of attempting to time when it’s best to get in or out of an investment. So many times we see individuals start to invest when they hear the market is going well or basically buy at a premium — but as soon as there’s any pullback, they decide to sell. Think about it this way: Many people seem to have no issue paying top dollar for stocks but when there’s a bargain, they don’t want in. For example, if from 1998-2018 you were fully invested in the S&P 500 Index, then your rate of return was 7.23%. But if you were out of the S&P 500 Index for just 10 of the best days, then your rate of return dropped by nearly half, to 3.78%. There’s no way for anyone to know the best days to invest — so using this tactic will get you in trouble almost every time. While there are many other resources and investment tools that we use to help keep our clients calm and feeling secure regardless of the storms brewing, we always say: Please use a professional and don’t leave your financial future to chance. Remember, people don’t plan to fail — they simply fail to plan.
Securities and Investment Advisory Services offered through Calton & Associates Inc., Member FINRA/SIPC. Edwards Financial Services, Inc. is independent of Calton & Associates, Inc. S PRING 2 0 2 1 W IN T ER PARK MAGAZ IN E
Eden Bar’s Food and Beverage Manager Darren Shakespeare (left) says, “Everyone is pushing for outside dining — and Eden Bar obviously fits right into that niche since we’re exclusively outside.” Chef Marcus Mahone (right) has added a handful of elevated menu options available only outdoors.
FOOD BOLSTERS A CHERISHED CINEMA During the pandemic, Enzian’s Eden Bar found just the recipe to keep the art-house theater vibrant: Offer outdoor dining for those who aren’t also seeing a flick. BY RONA GINDIN PHOTOGRAPHY BY RAFAEL TONGOL
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dmit it. You fretted about the potential impact of COVID-19 on your health — as most all of us did — then worried about how the virus would impact your job. Would you still have a job? And if so, would you be required to work from home forever? Peripheral concerns also crossed your mind, such as what the persistent pandemic would mean for your favorite local hangouts — particularly Maitland’s cherished Enzian Theater. Well, it certainly crossed my mind. The charming art-house cinema is universally acknowledged as a Central Florida treasure, with its off-center films and restful Eden Bar. But, like most businesses and nonprofits, Enzian — which closed from late March to early June last year — has struggled to offer new ways to deliver content and remain viable. Watch-at-home options and limited in-person seating have allowed a return of the eclectic flicks for which the theater is known — although it may be a while before 200 guests at a time can once again gather at their favorite tables for a screening and a meal. Enzian is alive and well not because people are suddenly flocking to movies — but in large part because of the food. Those flatbreads and chicken fingers we ordered showing after showing? Such familiar staples, plus spirited beverages and a few new menu items, have allowed fans of the theater to contribute to its coffers without ever stepping inside the building. Enzian is located on three acres, and its open-air Eden Bar has occupied part of the hilly outdoor expanse since 2008. Moviegoers have long met up around the bar and at outlying tables, before films or after, for drinks or meals in a congenial and relaxing environment. Now, the alfresco food service establishment is a destination on its own, regardless of what’s on the marquee. Many guests show up for the express purpose of eating, attracted by the outdoor setting and the sprawling space that allows for easy social distancing. The restaurant, for now, is the tail wagging the dog. “Everybody’s pushing for outside dining — and Eden Bar obviously fits right into that niche since we’re exclusively outside,” says Food and Beverage Manager Darren Shakespeare. “We were very fortunate to have enough space on the property to spread everything out very quickly.” Still, we won’t call Eden Bar a hot spot since the term connotes unseemly crowds, which you’re unlikely to encounter as of now. Yet, the eatery is emerging as a beacon of sorts for those who simply can’t stand another night at home but remain uneasy about indoor dining. Naturally, then, the food operation is getting steadily busier. And why wouldn’t it? It’s just so darned pleasant — especially when the weather is temperate, as it is now. Settle in and keep your mask handy for when the server approaches; that’s the only time you’ll need it. Other precautions: touchless menus accessed via QR codes and smart-
The drink vibe at Eden Bar is tropical, using infusions and fresh fruit juices. So why not throw caution to the wind and swap your pinot for a fruity Birds of Paradise, an Old Fashioned made with Kirk & Sweeney 23-year aged rum or a Freaky Tiki (front right), which consists of vodka infused with fresh jalapeños blended with guava, apricot, demerara sugar and lime juice?
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The Eden burger (above) is 100% grounded Wagyu beef with lettuce, tomato, aged cheddar cheese and pepper mayonnaise on a Kaiser roll. It’s served with your choice of fries, soup, mac and cheese or house side salad. You’ll also find three kinds of tacos (below), including blackened mahi tacos served on corn tortillas with coleslaw and avocado.
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phones and signs on every table asking guests to mask up when servers approach. All servers wear masks all the time. “This is the comfort level of our customers at this point, and they’re not wrong,” adds Director of Operations David Whitfield. “They come here once a week, like regulars. A lot of people have actually said to us, ‘I don’t go anywhere else, but I’ll come to you.’” Chef Marcus Mahone has added a handful of “elevated” menu options available only outside. These items take too long to prepare for moviegoers, since the kitchen must churn out up to 100 meals — half the pre-pandemic number, but nonetheless daunting — to a sold-out (and socially distanced) theater crowd before the show ends. The pace is more leisurely at Eden Bar — and the menu is more interesting. Outdoor diners, for example, can enjoy the Eden Burger, made of ground Wagyu beef and served on a Kaiser roll topped with aged cheddar cheese, pepper mayonnaise and lettuce and tomato. Another outdoor-only option is the blackened mahi sandwich. The grilled fish fillet sits on Olde Hearth butter bread along with gouda cheese, banana peppers and chipotle aioli. You’ll also find three kinds of tacos — the pulled pork trio stands out — as well as two pasta meals: penne with marinara sauce and a version with blackened chicken and creamy-cheesy alfredo sauce. Thankfully, at Eden Bar you won’t be battling others for table space. Nor will you be dipping warm pretzel sticks into nacho cheese dip while leaning against the bar. When Enzian reopened, it added extra tables to the grassy area near where early ticket holders used to wait in line. Concurrently, a construction project doubled the size of the brick patio near the theater’s iconic fountain. The new tables were placed there, so there’s generally plenty of seating — at least until this article appears and the number of regulars swells even further. (Oh, well, reviewers are obligated to spread the word, I suppose.) The horseshoe-shaped Brazilian walnut bar itself is different, too. To get a drink you’ll stand in line — six feet apart, please — and order when it’s your turn. The barstools are gone, as is the privilege of hanging out by the colorful Bill Plympton wall mural that depicts Florida wildlife. All but two of the two-seat, high-top tables in the covered bar area are packed away. It’s always been not quite a secret that you can order a cocktail at Eden Bar and carry it into the theater if you prefer something more intriguing than the wine and beer offered inside. Cocktail options include the tiki-bar-style handcrafted creations that Robert Carter and Andrew Boesch added after becoming mixology managers two years ago.
The blackened mahi sandwich is grilled and served with gouda cheese, banana peppers, chipotle aioli, lettuce and tomato on Olde Hearth butter bread, served with your choice of soup, fries, a house salad or mac and cheese.
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Moviegoers at Enzian have long met around the bar and at outlying tables, before films or after, for drinks or meals in a congenial and relaxing environment. Now, the alfresco Eden Bar is a dining destination in its own right regardless of what’s on the theater’s marquee. Many guests are attracted by the outdoor setting and the sprawling space that allows for easy distancing and enhanced safety.
The drink vibe is tropical, using infusions and fresh fruit juices. Some of those labor-intensive libations are too time-consuming to make frequently these days, yet several are still available. So why not throw caution to the wind and swap your pinot for a fruity Birds of Paradise or an Old Fashioned made with Kirk & Sweeney 23year aged rum? Carter and Boesch also create concoctions inspired by films being shown in the theater. Such offerings are made in big batches so moviegoers can get them delivered to their tables on a timely basis. The Dog Island, for example — made with gin, pineapple, almond, lime and bitters — was served during the run of Isle of Dogs, a 2018 animated scifi movie from Japan.
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Look for similarly clever cocktail offerings for major holiday seasons and, notably, during the 30th annual Florida Film Festival, which will run from April 9 through 22 and feature a combination of in-person and online screenings. Here’s another Enzian extra: Fountain Features. Every Wednesday through February, the theater set up a screen and showed a film on the expanded patio area. Because guests — particularly members — were pleased, the outdoor experiment will continue intermittently through spring. “It’s our opportunity to still show movies to people who aren’t comfortable going indoors yet,” says Director of Development Janie Pope. “We have such a loyal group of patrons who are looking for ways to support us.”
Additionally, Enzian pairs with the City of Winter Park to screen a Popcorn Flicks movie once a month in Central Park. Guests reserve their 10- by10-foot pod, then arrive with blankets or chairs to watch the movie in a socially distant setting. The bottom line? Inside or outside, locals can still get an Enzian fix when they want one. And now, you can think of your Eden Bar meal as an unusually tasty charitable contribution to a community institution that adds immeasurably to the area’s panache. Enzian/Eden Bar 1300 South Orlando Avenue, Maitland 407-629-1088 • enzian.org/food
GOOD. MORNING. WINTER PARK. FRESH. HAPPENS NOW.
Signature Brunch Cocktails • Open-Air Bar • Covered Patio • Dedicated To-Go Entrance NOW OPEN
140 N. ORLANDO AVE. WINTER PARK
Now. More than ever. She needs your help.
While the past year has wrought immense pain and loss for thousands of people, it’s also given way to widespread empathy and compassion. As the food crisis persists due to the pandemic, Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida remains committed to getting as much food as possible to our neighbors facing hunger. Now. More than ever.
If you can help, or if you need help, please visit FeedHopeNow.org to learn more today.
FeedHopeNow.org | 407-295-1066 | 411 Mercy Drive, Orlando, Florida 32805
It Takes a Village to Build a Meaningful Future. THE EDYTH UNVEILING 2022
Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation’s new Winter Park home, The Edyth, is built with generosity to enrich the community. Thank you to our talented partners SchenkelShultz Architecture, Jack Jennings & Sons, Inc., and Project Management Advisors, Inc., for laying the groundwork for a productive and meaningful future. SchenkelShultz Architecture
The Foundation is constantly evolving to meet the challenges of promoting programs and institutions that help create a high quality of life and a prosperous Florida. It’s within this spirit that we are proud to continue shaping Central Florida communities with new thinking, leadership, and innovative solutions to help build our state for years to come.
Jack Jennings & Sons, Inc.
WE’RE HERE FOR GOOD EdythBush.org Project Management Advisors, Inc.
Visit us on Facebook/EdythBushCharitableFoundation
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EVENTS ART, HISTORY, ENTERTAINMENT AND MORE
IT’S A MONUMENTAL ANNIVERSARY
PHOTO BY WINTER PARK PICTURES/WINTERPARKPICTURES.COM
THE POLASEK MUSEUM MARKS 60 YEARS OF COURAGE AND CREATIVITY.
Anyone who has toured the Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens in Winter Park knows that most of the Czech-born sculptor’s best-known works are larger than life, both literally and figuratively. So it’s intriguing that many of the exhibitions on tap to celebrate the 60th anniversary of this beloved local institution — which was once the artist’s home and studio — illuminate Polasek the man as much as they do the breathtaking monuments he painstakingly crafted and cast in bronze. Over the course of the year, curators will tap into the museum’s extensive collection of family memorabilia and smaller, formative works that are lesser known — even to those who frequently visit the three-acre campus where the sculptor gave form to his spiritual, political and mythical visions. An anniversary gala is slated for October 16, during the same week as the museum’s popular Winter Park Paint Out, a plein air event in which 25 invited artists participate. (Although Paint Out is usually held in April, it was moved this year to October because of uncertainty over COVID-19.) The gala will be held in the courtyard of the Capen House, a restored historic home and event venue adjacent to the museum. Capping off the yearlong anniversary commemoration will be an exhibition, Albin Polasek: Selections from the Permanent Collection, in which rarely seen sculptures and drawings will be on display. The exhibition will run from October 26 through December 5. It took a lifetime for these visions to evolve in the imagination of Polasek, who immigrated to the U.S. as a young man, taught sculpture at the Art Institute of Chicago for nearly three decades and became world-renowned for large commissions such as the Wilson Monument (1928), the original of which is in Prague, Czechoslovakia. Already world famous, Polasek continued to produce iconic, if more intimate, sculptures after retiring in 1950 at age 70 to a Mediterranean-style home on the shores of Lake Osceola. The man who claimed to be a confirmed bachelor married twice after moving to Winter Park: first
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in 1950 to Ruth Sherwood, a former student of his who had retired to the same city, and, nine years after Sherwood’s untimely death, to Emily Muska Kubat, the widow of a friend. And, against all odds, he doggedly created 18 more sculptures despite being confined to a wheelchair as the result of a stroke suffered just prior to his first marriage. Nonetheless, he was able to paint, draw, sculpt in clay and carve wood using his right hand. He could even create works in stone with the aid of an assistant. Of Polasek’s 400 known works, 200 of them are on display at the museum, which was first run by a foundation established by Polasek and later by a private nonprofit. More of his creations can be seen throughout the city, most notably Forest Idyl at Winter Park City Hall and the Emily Fountain in Central Park, which was named for (and is thought to be an image of) his second wife. “[Polasek] kept a lot of sketches that he made when he was planning to create something, and we have a collection of those, and hundreds more fragile works that we don’t have out normally,” says Debbie Komanski, the museum’s director and CEO. Other family objects and smaller-scale creations in the museum’s collection that may be on display over
the course of the year include a family Bible from Polasek’s childhood, written in Old Czech; sketches that date to his earliest, woodcarving years; and a drawing of the Stations of the Cross that he made while developing sculptures commissioned by a Catholic church. “He also liked to experiment with casting sculptures in other materials besides plaster,” says Komanski, adding that the sculptor would sometimes use aluminum or fiberglass as “something just for himself, just for his own pleasure.” In addition to the anniversary events, the museum has several outside exhibitions on view or upcoming. Revival, a lifetime of works by University of Central Florida art professor Robert Reedy, runs from now through April 11; Sweet Surrealism, whimsical compositions by artist Cynthia Holmes, runs April 20 through July 11; and Classical Conversations, a sculpture-and-painter combination exhibition featuring the works of Jack Hill and Edson Campos, runs July 20 through October 3. The Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens is located at 633 Osceola Avenue, Winter Park. Check polasek.org for ticket prices and information about anniversary events or call 407.647.6292. — Michael McLeod
RESTORATION BY WILL SETZER AT CIRCLE 7 STUDIO
In this 1908 photograph, Polasek at the peak of his power shapes one of this most famous works, Man Carving His Own Destiny. You can see it and some 200 other works at the Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens (facing page). During the museum’s 60th anniversary year, some less well-known works will also be brought out from the archives.
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EVENTS NOTE: Due to COVID-19 mitigation efforts, venues may be closed or offering limited hours. Also, events are subject to cancellation and attendance capacities may be reduced. The dates and times in these listings are those of normal operation and will likely be different by the time this issue of Winter Park Magazine reaches homes. Some, in fact, had not fully reopened at press time, although they were planning to do so in the coming weeks. So please use the contact information provided and check in advance before making your plans. We also encourage you to anticipate that masks may be required, as well as observance of social distancing protocols.
Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens. This lakeside museum, open since 1961, is dedicated to preserving works of the famed Czech sculptor for whom it was both home and studio for more than a decade. The museum offers tours of Polasek’s home Tuesdays through Saturdays. And it offers tours of the adjacent Capen-Showalter House three times weekly: Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11:30 a.m., and Saturdays at 10:15 a.m. Built in 1885, the CapenShowalter House was saved from demolition several years ago and floated across Lake Osceola to its current location on the Polasek’s grounds. The museum’s current exhibition, Revival, runs through April and features paintings, ceramics, prints and mixed media works by University of Central Florida Professor of Art Robert Reedy. Debuting May 4 is Sweet Surrealism, a collection of works by Floridabased painter Cynthia Holmes that unite reality with imagination. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, $3 for students and free for children. 633 Osceola Avenue, Winter Park. 407-647-6294. polasek.org. (See 60th anniversary story on page 90.) Art & History Museums — Maitland. The Maitland Art Center, one of five museums that anchor the city’s Cultural Corridor, was founded as an art colony in 1937 by visionary artist and architect J. André Smith. The center, located at 231 West Packwood Avenue, Maitland, is Central Florida’s only National Historic Landmark and one of the few surviving examples of Mayan Revival architecture in the Southeast. Admission to the art center’s galleries is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors and students (ages 5 to 17) and free for children age 4 and under. Maitland residents receive a $1 discount. The Cultural Corridor also includes the Maitland Historical Museum and Telephone Museum at 221 West Packwood Avenue, and the Waterhouse Residence Museum and Carpentry Shop Museum, both built in the 1880s and located at 820 Lake Lily
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Drive. Continuing through May 9 at the art museum is Love & Compassion: Images of Mother & Child, a collection of works by Florida-based artists reflecting on the universal yet ever-changing concept of the mother-child relationship. 407-539-2181. artandhistory.org. Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art. With more than 19,000 square feet of gallery and public space, the Morse 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. The museum’s latest exhibition is Watercolors from Louis Comfort Tiffany’s “Little Arcadia,” currently on view at the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art, which invites visitors to look beyond Tiffany’s legendary legacy to discover the gifts of other talented artists — especially women — who worked more anonymously in his studios. (See page 96.) Continuing through September is Portraits of Americans from the Morse Collection, featuring works by John Singer Sargent, Charles Hawthorne, Cecilia Beaux and other artists who guided portraiture into the age of photography with compelling works that captured not only the physical likeness of their subjects, but their innate character as well. Also on view is Iridescence — A Celebration, which runs through September. The dazzling display features works in enamel, pottery and art glass that replicate the shimmering optical effects previously only found in nature. Regular admission to the museum is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors, $1 for students and free for children younger than age 12. At press time appointments were required for admission and hours were 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays — but check the website for the most up-to-date information. 445 North Park Avenue, Winter Park. 407-645-5311. morsemuseum.org. Cornell Fine Arts Museum. Located on the campus of Rollins College, the Cornell houses one of the oldest and most eclectic collections of fine art in Florida. Continuing through May 9 are Rania Matar: On Either Side of the Window: Portraits During COVID-19, which features images of individuals in quarantines caused by the pandemic; and Drawing Connections: Inside the Minds of Italian Masters, which showcases drawings from the 16th to the 19th centuries. (See page 102.) Opening May 20 are two new exhibitions: Multiple Voices/Multiple Stories, an examination of the multilayered narratives contained in figural representations ranging from traditional portraiture to creative depictions; and Path to Paradise: The Artistic Legacy of Dante’s Divine Comedy, a collection of works from the 14th century through the contemporary era inspired by the literary masterpiece. Exhibitions of works by Rollins faculty and students will also be on view. Guided tours take place at 1 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays at the
nearby Alfond Inn, where a selection of more than 400 works in the museum’s Alfond Collection of Contemporary Art are on view. Happy Hour tours of the Alfond Collection are also conducted on the first Wednesday of most months at 5:30 p.m. If you prefer historic works, Throwback Thursday tours are offered at the museum from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. on the third Thursday of most months. Admission is free, courtesy of PNC Financial Services Group. 1000 Holt Avenue, Winter Park. 407-646-2526. rollins.edu/cfam. Crealdé School of Art. Established in 1975, this not-for-profit arts organization on Winter Park’s east side offers year-round visual-arts classes for all ages, taught by more than 40 working artists. Visitors may take a self-guided tour through its lakeside sculpture garden, which includes approximately 60 threedimensional pieces of contemporary outdoor art and educational panels that describe the diversity of expressive styles and durable media. Continuing through May 8 is One World: International Women Artists of Florida, an invitational showcase of work by nine professional artists and Florida residents from different countries, each with a distinctive style that blends each woman’s love of her art form with influences from her country of origin and her life experience. Admission to the school’s galleries is free, although there are fees for art classes. 600 Saint Andrews Boulevard, Winter Park. 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 that are collectively known as the Heritage Collection. Currently on view is Evolution of an Artist — Paintings and Sculptures That Tell a Story, featuring the work of Eatonville resident Jane Turner. Her work is deeply narrative, rich with themes of social justice and depictions of historic events blended with her experiences of life as an African American woman. Also ongoing is the Hannibal Square Timeline, which documents significant local and national events in African American history since the Emancipation Proclamation. The center also offers a walking tour of Hannibal Square, Now and Then, with Fairolyn Livingston, chief historian. The tour, offered on the third Saturday of each month from 10 to 11:30 a.m., requires reservations; the cost is $10, or $5 for those with student IDs. Historic sites include the Mount Moriah Missionary Baptist Church, the Welbourne Avenue Nursery & Kindergarten and the Masonic Lodge, all built in the 1920s. 642 West New England Avenue, Winter Park. 407-539-2680. hannibalsquareheritagecenter.org.
Drawing Connections: Inside the Minds of Italian Masters, A Selection from the John Mica Collection NOW THROUGH MAY 9
Rania Matar: On Either Side of the Window, Portraits During COVID-19 NOW THROUGH MAY 9
TOP: Unattributed, St. Dominic (detail), 17th century, Pen and brown ink with wash; squared in black chalk, Collection of John L. Mica MIDDLE-LEFT: Rania Matar (Lebanese-American, b. 1964), Sally, Ella, Tori, Hingham, Massachusetts (detail), Archival Pigment print on Baryta Paper, 2020, 25.25 x 30 in., Image courtesy of the Artist MIDDLE-RIGHT: After Peter Paul Rubens (Siegen, Germany, 1577-Antwerp, Belgium, 1640), Saint Gregory the Great with Saints Papias, Marurus, Domitilla, and Nereus, ca. 1607, Black and red chalk on Swiss paper, Collection of John L. Mica BOTTOM: Rania Matar (Lebanese-American, b. 1964), Mia and Jun, Allston, Massachusetts (detail), 2020, Archival Pigment print on Baryta Paper, Image courtesy of the Artist
Free admission courtesy of Register for tickers prior to arrival at rollins.edu/cfam
EVENTS Snap! Downtown. Patrick and Holly Kahn’s contemporary photograph art gallery in the lobby of Camden Thornton Park Apartments showcases the work of local and international photographers and digital artists. On February 12 through May 31, the gallery will feature the East Coast premiere of The Van Gogh Affect, a photographic journey that follows Van Gogh’s footsteps through France and the Netherlands undertaken by photographers Lynn Johnson and Patricia Lanza. The photographers worked in collaboration with the Saint-Paul Asylum in Saint-Rémy, where Van Gogh spent a year, and the nearby village of Auvers-sur-Oise. Admission is free. 420 East Church Street, Orlando. 407-2361190. snaporlando.com.
Annie Russell Theatre. “The Annie,” in continuous operation at Rollins College since 1932, concludes its 88th season with Raise You Up (April 9 through 17), a revue compiled and devised by Rollins faculty and students that celebrates the influence of women on musical theater with selections from femalepenned shows such as Ragtime, The Secret Garden, Kinky Boots, Jagged Little Pill, and Legally Blonde. To maintain social distancing, these shows may be limited to members of the college community, patrons of the theater or other select groups. Curtain times are 8 p.m., 4 p.m. or 2 p.m., depending upon the day of the week. Individual tickets are $25. 1000 Holt Avenue, Winter Park. 407-646-2145. rollins. edu/annie-russell-theatre. Winter Park Playhouse. Winter Park’s only professional, nonprofit theater continues its 2020-21 season with Respect: A Musical Journey of Women (through April 24), an entertaining, exuberant and exhilarating look at the lives of women as reflected in a score of Top 40 hits, including “My Man,” “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend,” “Stand By Your Man,” “I Will Survive,” “Respect” and many more. (See page 94.) That’s followed by Five Course Love (May 14 through June 13), Crazy for Gershwin (July 30 through August 22), The Book of Merman (September 24 through October 17) and Christmas My Way: A Sinatra Holiday Bash (November 12 through December 18). Performances are Thursdays through Sundays, with evening performances at 7:30 p.m. and matinees at 2 p.m. Tickets range in price from $20 for students to $45 for evening shows. 711 Orange Avenue, Winter Park. 407-645-0145. winterparkplayhouse.org.
Enzian. This cozy, nonprofit alternative cinema offers a plethora of film series. Tickets are usually $12 for regular admission; $10 for matinees, students, seniors and military (with ID); and $9.50 for Enzian Film Society members. Children under age 12 are admitted free to Peanut Butter Matinee Family
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Films, shown the fourth Sunday of each month at noon. Other series include Saturday Matinee Classics (the second Saturday of each month at noon), Cult Classics (the second and last Tuesday of each month at 9:30 p.m.), and Midnight Movies (every Saturday night). FilmSlam, which spotlights Floridamade short films, takes place most months on the first or second Sunday at 1 p.m.; the next scheduled date is May 16. Also coming up is the Florida Film Festival, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary with a mix of in-person and virtual screenings in response to continuing COVID-19 concerns. The annual event will run from April 9 through 22. No films had been announced as of press time, but updates will be posted to the festival’s social media, including its Facebook page and its website, floridafilmfestival.org. 300 South Orlando Avenue, Maitland. 407629-0054 (information line), 407-629-1088 (theater offices). enzian.org. Friday Brown Bag Matinees. The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art presents three film series each year on topics related to the museum’s collection as well as art in general. Admission is free to these lunchtime screenings, which span the noon hour on select Fridays in the Jeannette G. and Hugh F. McKean Pavilion on Canton Avenue, just behind the Morse. Attendees are invited to bring their own lunches; the museum provides soft drinks and themed refreshments. The four-part spring series, Metals and Metalworking, explores the ways in which iron, copper and steel have impacted our daily lives and our artistic perceptions of beauty. It kicks off April 9 with Treasures of the Earth, an installment of the documentary program Nova that takes a journey deep inside Earth to uncover the mysteries of how these materials were created and how they have allowed humankind to build great civilizations. On April 16 is Andrew Carnegie and the Age of Steel, which visits historic ironworks as well as today’s massive, computerized steel mills to chronicle the industry’s evolution. On April 23 is War of the Copper Kings, the tale of a 25-year-long rivalry between two tycoons who used corruption and sabotage in their battle to outdo one another during America’s electric and communications revolution. The series concludes April 30 with Forge, a chronicle of silversmithing in New England through 14 generations of one Massachusetts foundry. 161 West Canton Avenue. 407-645-5311. morsemuseum.org. Popcorn Flicks in the Park. The City of Winter Park and Enzian collaborate to offer classic, familyfriendly films free in Central Park on Park Avenue. These outdoor screenings are typically held on the second Thursday of each month and start at 7 or 8 p.m. Don’t forget to pack a picnic and blankets or chairs. Curbside to-go meals from a variety of local restaurants will also be available. Advance registration is requested to ensure proper social distancing. 407-629-1088. enzian.org.
Casa Feliz Historic Home Museum. This stunningly restored Spanish farmhouse-style home, designed by acclaimed architect James Gamble Rogers II, is now a community center and museum. Free open houses are hosted by docents on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to noon. Also, live music is featured in the large downstairs parlor most Sundays from noon to 3 p.m. At press time, the tours had been postponed until further notice, but check the website for the most up-to-date information. 656 North Park Avenue (adjacent to the Winter Park Golf Course), Winter Park. 407-628-8200. casafeliz.us. Central Florida Anthropological Society. Do you want to preserve Florida’s historic heritage? Are you curious about prehistoric Florida? Join the CFAS for this new lecture series highlighting current anthropological and archaeological investigations with a special focus on Central Florida. Enjoy light refreshments and socializing when the doors open at 6:30 p.m., followed by a presentation at 7 p.m. Meetings, which are free of charge, are usually held the third Monday of each month at the Winter Park Public Library. Upcoming dates are April 15, May 20 and June 17. 460 East New England Avenue, Winter Park. cfasorlando.com. 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 exhibitions, archives and a research library. The museum’s ongoing exhibition, Tribute to the Holocaust, is a presentation of artifacts, videos, text, photographs and other works of art. Also ongoing is an exhibition of stunning images and powerful words captured in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death at the hands of police officers in Minneapolis. Uprooting Prejudice: Faces of Change, showcases the work of renowned photographer Noltner, who went to the scene of Floyd’s fatal encounter to capture the passion of the protestors who took to the streets in the tragedy’s aftermath. What he found was profound pain, resilience and a desire to bring the community together. Admission to the center is free, but at press time was limited to small groups with advance registrations. Check the website for the most up-to-date information. 851 North Maitland Avenue, Maitland. 407-628-0555. holocaustedu.org. Winter Park History Museum. Travel back in time to the city’s earliest days with ongoing displays that include artifacts dating from its beginnings as a New England-style resort in the 1880s. The freshly refurbished museum will soon feature a new exhibition, Rollins College: The First 50 Years, which will
DR. DREW BYRNES
WHEN IS IT SAFE TO RETURN TO THE DENTIST? With the high number of COVID-19 cases that Florida has seen, this is a question I have been getting asked a lot. The answer depends on two things: your dentist and your comfort level. At Park Smiles, our first core value is to always do the right thing. In this case, that means going above and beyond what’s required to keep you safe. Below, you’ll find a list of just some of the changes we’ve made since reopening:
TIFFANY at the MORSE The Morse Museum houses the world’s most comprehensive collection of works by Louis Comfort Tiffany, including his chapel interior from the 1893 Chicago world’s fair and art objects from his Long Island estate, Laurelton Hall.
morsemuseum.org follow us on
445 north park avenue winter park, florida 32789 (407) 645-5311 just a 5-minute walk from the sunrail station.
• 7 a.m. appointments for high-risk individuals • Virtual check-ins from your car • Mandatory temperature screenings • Anti-viral mouth rinse • Air purifiers • COVID-19 screening questions • N95 masks and face shields Nothing is as safe as staying home, but you can feel comfortable knowing that you’re as safe as possible returning to the dentist. To date, there’ve been no known COVID-19 outbreaks in a dental office setting. We need to remain as cautious as possible, while keeping in mind that a healthy mouth leads to a healthy body. Ignoring dental problems can often lead to more serious health issues, weakening the immune system. Most of our patients have already returned — but you shouldn’t return until you personally feel comfortable. When that time comes, we’ll be here for you. You can call or text (407) 645-4645 or schedule at DentistWinterPark.com.
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COURTESY OF THE CHARLES HOSMER MORSE MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ART
MY, WHAT A LOVELY SKUNK CABBAGE Watercolors from Louis Comfort Tiffany’s “Little Arcadia,” currently on view at the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art, invites visitors to look beyond Tiffany’s legendary legacy to discover the gifts of other talented artists — especially women — who worked more anonymously in his studios. Alice Carmen Gouvy and Lillian A. Palmié, two of Tiffany’s best designers, were handpicked to create as they pleased in a less industrial, more verdant area of the studio — an idyllic enamel workshop that was nicknamed “Little Arcadia” by a rival artist who had not been chosen to work there. In Little Arcadia, artists were able to experiment free from the pressure to churn out tried-and-true moneymakers. Still, their designs served as guides and inspiration for many Tiffany enamels and later ceramics. The dozen works highlighted at the Winter Park museum — completed around the turn of the 20th century — are pencil drawings and watercolors of botanical subjects that normally don’t attract interest from artists, including peppers, eggplants and even a skunk cabbage. Gouvy’s watercolor-and-graphite skunk cabbage was acquired during the facility’s COVID-19 closure and is displayed for the first time. The squatty, odiferous wildflower isn’t exactly a Tiffany daffodil, but does embody Little Arcadia’s mission to capture beauty in all its forms. The museum is located at 445 North Park Avenue, Winter Park, and as of press time may be visited only by appointment. Check out morsemuseum.org for hours of operation, ticket prices and registration information or call 407-644-1429. — Julia Tilford
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Alice Carmen Gouvy and Lillian A. Palmié completed watercolor studies of the sort of plant life not usually enticing to artists, including Gouvy’s skunk cabbages (top) and bell peppers (above). Also shown are violets (right) by Palmié. Some designs by the women were later produced as Tiffany enamels and ceramics.
A division of Winter Park Magazine
Microsteps are small, science-backed
steps we can start taking immediately to build healthy habits that significantly improve our lives. — Marina Khidekel
An Evening With Arianna Huffington Founder of The Huffington Post, author of 15 books and founder and CEO of Thrive Global, a leading behavior change tech company.
& Marina Khidekel Thrive Global’s Head of Content Development, thought leader and author of Your Time to Thrive: End Burnout, Increase Well-Being, and Unlock Your Full Potential with the New Science of Microsteps.
Arianna Huffington founded her company, Thrive Global, with the mission of changing the way we work and live. She is also the founder of The Huffington Post and the author of 15 books, including most recently Thrive and The Sleep Revolution. Now, Your Time to Thrive brings together science, storytelling, ancient wisdom and advice from inspiring people from all walks of life to help people improve their health, happiness and sense of purpose — and to see immediate results. Huffington and the book’s author, Marina Khidekel, will join us to offer practical and inspiring advice on how to improve every aspect of your life — starting with your communication and relationships. And they’ll share plenty of “too small to fail” Microsteps that will help you communicate more effectively and authentically, no matter where you are in your journey or what you want to accomplish. Khidekel is Thrive Global’s Head of Content Development. She has also been a top editor for national media outlets including Women’s Health, Glamour and Cosmopolitan. Thrive Global is a leading behavior change tech company helping individuals, corporations and communities improve their well-being and performance through its behavior change platform, storytelling and corporate services.
This event will feature: n A moderated conversation with Arianna and Marina
A live virtual event on Tuesday, April 13 at 6:30 p.m.
n A moderated Q&A with Arianna and Marina
n A workshop on how to build communication Microsteps into your everyday life
Register for this life-changing event at writersblockbookstore.com/events Prices:
(which includes a copy of Your Time to Thrive)
(which includes a postage-paid copy of Your Time to Thrive)
THE SHOWS MUST (SAFELY) GO ON The Winter Park Playhouse’s spring production of the exhilarating off-Broadway musical Respect: A Musical Journey of Women is a toe-tapping history of sorts with resonance today. It’s the second show of the nonprofit theater’s 2021 Mainstage Series, and only the second show at the venue since the COVID-19 pandemic shut it down last year. (It’s a Grand Night for Singing, featuring music by Rodgers and Hammerstein, marked the reopening in January.) In Respect, 60 popular songs of the 20th century — ranging from “Someone to Watch Over Me” (1926) through “I Will Survive” (1978) — chronicle the decades-long transition of women from dependency to independence, from weakness to strength. That’s timely entertainment in the wake of the Me Too movement, the 100th anniversary of ratification of the 19th Amendment and the election of the country’s first female vice president. Respect, created by former Vanderbilt University professor Dorothy Marcic from her 2002 book Respect: Women and Popular Music, is slated for multiple performances from March 19 through April 24 and offers live and virtual options. But this triumphant journey through generations of pop songs is symbolic of humanity’s resilience and endurance, too. The show, after all, must go on, according to owners and stage veterans Heather Alexander and Roy Alan — who got busy when the pandemic stopped the music. Using an $11,500 federal grant provided through the CARES Act and dispersed by Orange Coun-
ty, they applied an antiviral treatment to surfaces throughout the theater; installed ultraviolet lights in the HVAC system to continually scrub the air; bought an electrostatic fogger to spray down the house after each performance; and installed handsanitizing stations in the lobby, and touchless faucets and soap dispensers in the bathrooms. Happily, federal monies also supported construction of a higher, deeper stage for Central Florida’s only professional musical theater, which has offered unabashedly feel-good entertainment for 19 years. “At a time when safety is a primary concern, building a new stage allowed us to socially distance the actors from each other and the audience,” says Alan. “We’re proud to say that not only does the new stage raise the actors to a nice height for performances, but we gained more depth, an enhanced structure for tap dancing and dance choreography, and a designated orchestra pit.” Only about 30 people will be seated for live performances — about 25 percent of the theater’s 123 seats — but you can also watch a virtual performance on your computer, tablet or phone via a private link you’ll be sent the day of the show. The Mainstage Series continues with Five Course Love (May 14 through 23, and June 3 through 13), in which three actors play 15 characters looking for love in an array of restaurant settings, with music that reflects the cuisine — from doo-wop to Italian. Five Course Love enjoyed an off-Broadway run in 2005 and packed the Winter Park Playhouse in 2011. “As with all spoofs, there’s a whiff of ham in
the air,” wrote Matt Palm of the Orlando Sentinel. “But there’s a lot of pleasure in watching these actors chew the scenery.” A change of pace follows with Crazy for Gershwin (July 30 through August 22), which features 27 timeless tunes from George and Ira Gershwin including “They Can’t Take That Away from Me,” “Embraceable You” and “I Got Rhythm.” Next, making its Florida premier, is The Book of Merman (September 24 through October 17), in which a pair of earnest young Mormon missionaries ring the doorbell of legendary Broadway belter Ethel Merman, who invites them inside for an unlikely (but unforgettable) evening of songs and sendups. The show earned rave reviews when it played offBroadway in 2018. Deb Miller of DC Metro called the show “outrageously funny … for theater buffs who know the works that inspired it, it’s a must see. For those who don’t, this is one parody that could make you a convert to the entertaining realm of musical theater.” Finally, Christmas My Way: A Sinatra Bash (November 12-21 and December 1-18) celebrates the season with 40 classics from Ol’ Blue Eyes, including his familiar hits as well as a selection of ring-a-ding Christmas songs, delivered Rat Pack-style. The Winter Park Playhouse is located at 711 North Orange Avenue, Winter Park. To buy tickets for a live performance, call the box office at 407.645.0145. Online tickets may be purchased either by phone or at the theater’s website, winterparkplayhouse.org. — Catherine Hinman
It’s been 19 years since the song-and-dance team of Roy Alan and Heather Alexander (facing page) brought some show-biz sizzle to Winter Park. And patrons of their Winter Park Playhouse (left) are grateful for the unapologetic escapism provided by the musical productions staged in the unassuming Orange Avenue venue, which is Central Florida’s only professional musical theater.
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PHOTO BY RAFAEL TONGOL
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EVENTS showcase vintage photos of campus life, a re-created dorm room and other collegiate memorabilia. The date for the new exhibition had not been determined at press time, but in the meantime Wish You Were Here: The Hotels and Motels of Winter Park, has been extended. Admission is free. 200 West New England Avenue, Winter Park. 407-644-2330. wphistory.org.
family or co-workers supply the fellowship and clever conversation while dining in the middle of closed-off Park Avenue. 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 dinner has been postponed and its new date was not yet determined at press time. 407599-3342. cityofwinterpark.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 historic city and sponsors exhibitions featuring the works of African American artists. Admission is free, though group tours require a reservation and are charged a fee. 227 East Kennedy Boulevard, Eatonville. 407647-3188. zoranealehurstonmuseum.com.
Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival. Among the oldest, largest and most prestigious juried outdoor art festivals in the U.S., the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival celebrates its 62nd year in-person from May 14 through 16. The festival, which features more than 200 artists selected from more than 1,000 applicants, draws more than 300,000 visitors to Central Park on Park Avenue downtown. Participating artists compete for dozens of awards with tens of thousands of dollars in prize money at stake. There are also dozens of food and drink concessions and live entertainment. Admission is free. wpsaf.org.
Earth Day in the Park. This free event in Hannibal Square’s Shady Park features a kids’ zone with games, tie-dye T-shirts, do-it-yourself art with help from Crealdé School of Art staffers, a “quick draw” art competition organized by the Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens, live music, yoga for children and adults (bring a mat), and composting and recycling education. Of course, there’ll be food and beverage vendors. Certified arborists from Winter Park’s Urban Forestry Division will also give away young trees in one-gallon containers for city residents to plant at home. The event is expected to be held in April (the weekend prior to Earth Day); visit the website for the most up-to-date information. Pennsylvania Avenue at New England Avenue. 407-599-3364. cityofwinterpark.org. Memorial Day Service. The ceremony in Winter Park’s Glen Haven Memorial Park cemetery usually includes an honor guard, music and a guest speaker. Scheduled for May 31 at 11 a.m. Admission is free. 2300 Temple Drive. 407-647-1100. cityofwinterpark.org.
CELEBRATIONS, FESTIVALS & EVENTS
Hannibal Square Heritage Center Folk & Urban Art Festival. This annual festival, now in its 11th year, celebrates culture and diversity through art and music. More than 25 Florida artists will offer their works for sale from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on April 24. The event includes live music, arts-and-crafts demonstrations and a soul-food truck. Admission is free. 642 West New England Avenue. hannibalsquareheritagecenter.org. 20th 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,
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Morse Museum Wednesday Lecture Series. The Morse regularly invites recognized scholars in the field of late 19th- and early 20th-century art to speak on topics related to the museum’s collection and exhibitions. Lectures are at 2:30 p.m. in the Jeannette G. and Hugh F. McKean Pavilion, located behind the museum. At press time the series had been suspended, but check the website for the most up-to-date information. Admission is free. 161 West Canton Avenue. 407-645-5311. morsemuseum.org. University Club of Winter Park. Nestled among the oaks and palms at the north end of Park Avenue’s downtown shopping district — a block beyond Casa Feliz — is another historic James Gamble Rogers II building, this one home to the University Club of Winter Park. Members are dedicated to the enjoyment of intellectual activities and socializing with one another. The club’s various activities, including lectures, are open to the public, although nonmembers are asked to make a $5 donation each time they attend. (Some events include a buffet lunch for an added fee.) At press time, most meetings were held online, but check the website for the most up-todate information plus a full schedule of events and speakers. 841 North Park Avenue. 407-644-6149. uclubwp.org.
Blue Bamboo Center for the Arts. This eclectic venue is part concert hall, part recording studio and part art gallery. It offers live performances most evenings, with an emphasis on jazz, classical and world music — although theater, dance and spoken-word presentations are sometimes on the schedule. Just a few of the upcoming acts are the Ryan Devlin Quartet (April 16) and Ricky Sylvia and the Buzzcatz
(May 7). Admission generally ranges from free to $25. 1905 Kentucky Avenue, Winter Park. 407-6369951. bluebambooartcenter.com. Central Florida Folk. This Winter Park-based notfor-profit is dedicated to promoting and preserving live folk music, primarily through concerts usually held on the last Sunday of each month (unless a holiday intervenes) at 2 p.m. The group’s primary venue is the Winter Park Public Library, 460 East New England Avenue. Upcoming acts include acoustic “girl grass” group Patchwork (April 25), guitarist Alan Williams (May 16) and singing storyteller Keith Rea (June 27). A donation of $15 for nonmembers is suggested. 407-679-6426. cffolk.org. Music at the Casa. The Casa Feliz Historic Home Museum presents acoustic performances on most Sunday afternoons from noon to 3 p.m. in the museum’s cozy main parlor. Past selections include opera, jazz guitar and flamenco dancers. A $5 donation is suggested. As of press time these performances had been postponed until further notice, but check the website for the most up-to-date information. 656 North Park Avenue (adjacent to the Winter Park Golf Course), Winter Park. 407-628-8200. casafeliz.us. Opera Orlando Piano Workshop. Come to Mead Gardens April 24 at 2 p.m. for a sneak peek at Opera Orlando’s first commissioned piece, The Secret River (based upon Pulitzer Prize-winning author Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings’ book of the same name). The opera, which is in English, features music by Stella Sung and a libretto by Mark Campbell. The event is free but seating is limited, so be sure to RSVP. 1300 South Denning Drive, Winter Park, meadgarden.org. Orlando Philharmonic. The Phil’s 2020-21 Focus series celebrates the 250th anniversary of the birth of Ludwig van Beethoven. An outdoor performance of Beethoven’s Overture to Prometheus and Schumann’s Symphony No. 2, featuring cellist Karen Ouzounian and conducted by Eric Jacobsen, is slated for The Plaza Live on April 12. Tickets for the 7 p.m. show start at $10. 425 North Bumby Avenue, Orlando, orlandophil.org. Performing Arts of Maitland. This not-for-profit group works with the City of Maitland and other organizations to promote performances for and by local musicians. It supports various groups, including the Maitland Symphony Orchestra, Maitland Market Music, the Maitland Stage Band and the Baroque Chamber Orchestra. A full schedule of events is available online. 407-339-5984, ext. 219. pamaitland.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 every Saturday from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Since the summer months, the market has been held in the more spacious Central Park West Meadow, located at the corner of New York Avenue and Morse Boulevard, instead of in its usual location at the old railroad depot that 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. 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, Winter Park. cityofwinterpark.org.
Florida Writers Association. Join fellow scribes for lectures by guest speakers and discussions led by local authors. The Orlando/Winter Park-Area chapter meets on the first Wednesday of each month at 7 p.m. at the University Club of Winter Park, 841 North Park Avenue, Winter Park. Upcoming meetings (held online as of press time) are scheduled for April 7, May 5 and June 2. Another chapter, the Maitland Writers Group, meets on the second Thursday of each month from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Meetings are scheduled for April 8, May 13 and June 10 at the Maitland Public Library, 501 South Maitland Avenue, Maitland. floridawriters.org. Orlando Writers Critique Group. Writers gather under the guidance of author and writing coach Rik Feeney to review and critique their current works on the third Tuesday of each month from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Winter Park Public Library. The next scheduled event, April 20, will be held online. 460 East New England Avenue, Winter Park. meetup.com/orlandowriters-critique-group, firstname.lastname@example.org. Storytellers of Central Florida. Experienced and fledgling storytellers gather to share stories and practice their craft on the first Tuesday of each month from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Winter Park Public Library. As of press time these events had been postponed until further notice, but check the website for the most up-to-date information. Meetings are hosted by professional storyteller Madeline Pots. 460 East New England Avenue, Winter Park. 321439-6020, email@example.com, wppl.org. Wednesday Open Words. One of the area’s longest-running open-mic poetry nights happens
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Online Sessions Available S PRING 2 0 2 1 | W IN T ER PARK MAGAZ IN E
COURTESY OF THE CORNELL MUSEUM OF FINE ART
John Mica (facing page), a veteran politician who represented Florida’s District 7 in the U.S. House of Representatives for nine terms, is also a longtime lover of art who has assembled an impressive collection of Italian drawings from as far back as the 16th century. Among the works on display at the Cornell Museum of Fine Art at Rollins College is St. Dominic, a pen-and-wash study by an unattributed artist from the 17th century.
MICA’S MASTERS DRAW CONNECTIONS Former U.S. Representative John Mica says he doesn’t have any major vices. “I don’t play golf; I’m not a sports fan,” he says. “I’m a museum nut.” Mica says he bought his first original piece of art — a Georges Henri Rouault woodblock print — when he was “a struggling student” at the University of Florida. The price for work by Rouault — who was a French impressionist printmaker — was $10 up front, and several monthly payments of $10. The price was right, and the bold graphics and stark contrasts pleased the aesthetic sense of an art lover who also happened to be colorblind. The fateful purchase also ignited a lifelong passion for Mica, who left college for a year to wander through Europe and haunt countless museums — longing for the day when he could collect original art and not just admire it from afar. A successful business career ultimately provided the means for Mica — who represented Florida’s District 7, which includes Winter Park, for nine terms — to buy pieces that intrigued him and to eventually build a respectable and eclectic collection. But while Mica collects a little of everything, he has always particularly enjoyed centuries-old drawings. You’ll see why when you visit Drawing Connections — Inside the Minds of Italian Masters: A Selection from the John Mica Collection, which showcases Italian drawings from the 16th to the 19th centuries. The exhibition runs through May 9 at the Cornell Fine Art Museum at Rollins College.
Throughout the Renaissance, Baroque and Neoclassical periods, drawing was foundational to every artist’s training — and soon such “practice” drawings were prized by discerning patrons. Most of the 33 works on display are ink-and-wash studies that were later incorporated into elaborate paintings or served as rough plans for buildings such as cathedrals. The Cornell exhibition includes secular and religious subjects — including figure drawings — and features work by anonymous artists alongside that of such masters as Luca Cambiaso, Agostino Carracci and Giovanni Battista Tiepolo. Mica and Cornell Director Ena Heller first met in 2016, when retiring director Arthur Blumenthal mounted the first-ever exhibition of works by late-Baroque painter Francesco de Mura. More than 200 de Mura paintings and frescoes were inadvertently destroyed during an Allied bombing strike in World War II. “John was very interested in the de Mura exhibit and offered to help us promote it,” recalls Heller, who found that the rock-ribbed conservative legislator was himself an artistic soul. Heller asked Mica if he would loan some of his drawings to the museum so that an exhibition could be guest curated by Kimberly Dennis, professor of art history, and students in the Museum Studies Practicum. “Usually, our exhibitions come from the museum’s own collection,” Heller says. “But this was a win for everyone. Most of these drawings aren’t well-researched, so John got more information about his
collection, the students got to do some detective work and the museum got the chance to display these beautiful pieces.” COVID-19 delayed the beginning of the project. And today, the pandemic still limits opportunities to see the exhibition — although Mica is pleased to conduct personal tours when possible. While many of the artists remain unidentified, students in some cases were able to find works in which the studies were ultimately used. Although Mica’s collection has never gotten the formal exhibition treatment, his Washington, D.C., office was notable for its art. There visitors could see an original work by American artist and sculptor Alexander Calder and sketches by old masters such as Guido Reni, Luca Cambiaso and Annibale Carracci. Prints of Native Americans by George Catlin lined a wall next to shelves containing antique globes, swords and delicate blue and white china. At home in Winter Park, Mica displayed work by Pablo Picasso, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Marc Chagall. “But there’s something special about drawings,” he says. “It’s the beauty of them.” The drawings on exhibition at the Cornell, he says, were mostly stashed under his bed in portfolios — so he’s happy they’re on display You can see Drawing Connections in person, but at press time the Cornell was admitting only small groups. Call 407-646-2526 for reservations. A virtual tour is available at cfam.com. — Randy Noles S PRING 2 0 2 1 | W INTER PARK MAGAZ IN E
EVENTS every Wednesday at 9 p.m. at Austin’s Coffee, 929 West Fairbanks Avenue, Winter Park. 407-975-3364. austinscoffee.com.
Cheers to You is a program by the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce that recognizes people who have made important contributions to our city. The annual event is a tribute to the members and volunteers who make the chamber and the Winter Park community exceptional. Ambassador of the Year Sheridan Smith BKHM CPAs Chairman of the Year Lance Koenig The Glass Knife Volunteer of the Year Tom McMacken Business of the Year Balmoral Group LLC Small Business of the Year Bear & Peacock Brewery Community Organization of the Year The Jobs Partnership of Florida Chamber Hero Jason Seeley City of Winter Park Winter Park Champion of the Year David A. Odahowski Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation New Business of the Year Party My Yard Debra Hendrickson Leadership Volunteer of the Year Rick Roach Emerging Leader Award Adam Wonus Atrium Management Company Lydia Gardner Citizen of the Year Richard Baldwin Baldwin Brothers Cremation Society Best Pivot Partner HTH, Inc.
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Writers of Central Florida or Thereabouts. This group offers various free programs that attract writers of all stripes. Short Attention Span Storytelling Hour, a literary open-mic night, meets at 7 p.m. on the second Wednesday of most months (online as of press time). It’s for authors, poets, filmmakers, comedians, musicians, bloggers and others. Upcoming dates are April 14, May 12 and June 9. Orlando WordLab, a workshop that challenges writers to experiment with new techniques or methods, meets at 7 p.m. on the fourth Wednesday of each month at the Winter Park Public Library (460 East New England Avenue, Winter Park). Upcoming dates are April 28, May 26 and June 23. meetup.com/writersof-central-florida-or-thereabouts, wppl.org.
Good Morning Winter Park. Hosted by the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce, these monthly gatherings attract business- and civic-minded locals who enjoy coffee and conversation about community issues. Scheduled for the second Friday of most months, the next scheduled events are April 9, May 7 and June 4. Networking begins at 8 a.m. followed by a 45-minute program at 8:30 a.m. Admission, which includes a complimentary continental breakfast, is free. Winter Park Welcome Center, 151 West Lyman Avenue, Winter Park. 407-644-8281. winterpark.org/good-morning-winter-park. Winter Park Professional Women. Hosted by the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce, these gatherings — held on the first Monday of most months from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. — 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. The next scheduled events are April 5, May 3 and June 7. Tickets, which include lunch, are $25 for chamber members and $50 for nonmembers. Reservations are required. Winter Park Welcome Center, 151 West Lyman Avenue, Winter Park. 407-644-8281. winterpark.org/ winter-park-professional-women. Hot Seat Academy. Hosted by the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce, this quarterly business-oriented series puts local executives in the spotlight as they offer advice and discuss entrepreneurism, leadership and sales-and-marketing techniques. The next scheduled event is April 16 from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.; check the website for information about the featured speaker. Tickets are $15 for members, $30 for nonmembers. Reservations are required. Winter Park Welcome Center, 151 West Lyman Avenue, Winter Park. 407-644-8281. winterpark.org/hot-seat-academy.
Baby Owl Shower. Brace yourself for perhaps the cutest event of the year — the impending birth of baby owls. Each year, the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey (which focuses on the rescue, rehabilitation and release of Florida’s raptors, such as bald eagles, ospreys, owls and falcons) throws a Baby Owl Shower as a fundraiser to help cover the facility’s increased costs during baby-bird season. That means a day of fun and educational activities for the whole family — and non-releasable baby raptors will be available to view. This year’s shower, expected to be held May 8 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., is free if you bring an item from the center’s online wish list. 1101 Audubon Way, Maitland. 407-644-0190. fl.audubon.org. Keep Winter Park Beautiful. Winter Park’s watersheds will stay beautiful all season long with selfdirected cleanups on the date and time of your choice. Litter grabbers, safety vests, gloves and garbage bags are provided at City Hall. Volunteers must contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more details and to complete a waiver. 407-599-3364. cityofwinterpark.eventbrite.com. Run for the Trees: Jeannette Genius McKean Memorial 5K. This popular foot race, held this year on April 24 at 7:30 a.m., begins at Ward Park, 250 Perth Lane. But the last mile and the finish are through the privately owned Genius Preserve, which is open to the public only for this annual event. Proceeds support the Winter Park Tree Replacement Fund, and all finishers receive a young tree to plant. Registration ranges from $33 to $36 per person. 407896-1160. trackshack.com. Unleashed. Uncorked. Unframed. The 8th annual fundraiser for Franklin’s Friends animal welfare group promises to be a magical evening with exemplary wines, gourmet cuisine, spectacular auctions and a private art sale. The May 15 event will be held at Maitland’s Holy Trinity Reception Center and online (virtual attendees will receive a catered meal). Tickets are $200. 1217 Trinity Woods Lane, Maitland. unleashedfundraiser.info
Winter Park Garden Club. The club’s general membership meetings always offer something intriguing for lovers of gardening and the great outdoors, and are usually held on the second Wednesday of each month, September through May, at 10 a.m. Field trips and other community events are also held throughout the year. All meetings are at the club’s headquarters at 1300 South Denning Drive. For additional information about the club — which was founded in 1922 — and upcoming programs, call 407-644-5770, visit winterparkgardenclub.com or email email@example.com.
OUR TOWN | MICHAEL MCLEOD
IT’S BUMPY, BUT ALSO ENLIGHTENING
PHOTO BY RAFAEL TONGOL
Of the 2,100 day students at Rollins College, 541 are taking classes virtually. Consequently, professors like writer Michael McLeod have had to find new ways to teach just as students have had to find new ways to learn.
It’s mid-February as I write this, not that you’d know it from the artificial Christmas tree still standing in my girlfriend’s living room. Denise is neither a procrastinator nor a haphazard housekeeper: This is a woman who makes me take my shoes off at the door. But as a teacher in the time of COVID-19 — a Montessori practitioner who devotes 14 hours a day, five days a week to teaching 19 homebound, publicschool 6- to 9-year-olds online — she’s both overtaxed and isolated. Maybe she doesn’t have the time to take the tree down. Maybe she just needs the warmth it provides. Educators of every ilk have been faced with the sterile challenge of retooling their way of doing things because of the pandemic. For Denise, that means inventing virtual work-arounds in her dining room, which serves as a solitary, one-room schoolhouse. Montessori teaching emphasizes a hands-on approach. Online teaching ties those hands. Boisterous children whom Denise once engaged in a warm, energetic social setting now appear as individual faces lined up in neat rows on her small, school-issued laptop. Meanwhile she materializes on their screens as just another talking head. She does her best to compensate. “My style in the classroom was Fred Rogers,” she says. “Online, I feel like I have to be Barney the Purple Dinosaur.” Tell me about it. Thousands of educators who work with every age level have been adapting to Jurassicperiod transitions of their own. That includes me and my Rollins College colleagues. The only visible post-coronavirus changes on cam-
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pus are a few tented open-air classrooms and signs advising (insisting, actually) that visitors wear masks. Underneath it all is a transformation roughly equivalent to a GMC production line suddenly charged with cranking out Teslas. Of the 2,100 students enrolled in Rollins’ College of Liberal Arts, 541 are taking classes from off campus. That turns professors into jugglers: face-to-face with some students while connecting concurrently, via WebEx, to others. It’s a situation met with scholarly inventiveness by the likes of environmental science professor Lee Lines, who uses a headset for sound and a cell phone link for visuals to bring virtual students along for the ride as he conducts tours of Winter Park to study architecture, urban hydrology and tree canopies. Lucy Littler, a lecturer in the English Department, worries about how to be sure virtual students are fully engaged. So she borrowed a tactic from a favorite professor from her own undergraduate days, who perked everyone up by asking a silly question while taking attendance (“If a movie was made of your life, what would the title be?”). Her approach is less jovial, but effective: She poses a question about class content to each student. “I’m not as funny as he was,” she concedes. But her expectations about classroom preparation, be it online or in person, are clarified quite nicely. Mindful of how isolated first-year virtual students can feel, Ellane Park, who teaches an introductory chemistry class, sometimes uses her Apple iPad as a social conduit during breaks, flipping it around so that her virtual students can get a glimpse of both
campus and classmates and take part in casual chats. When I had students in my composition class write about the situation, I was struck by an essay penned by communications major Danielle Gober, who addressed how cheated she felt after deciding to spend her senior year off campus. It took me back to how pride and nostalgia mingle during that long-awaited final year, when the feeling that you own the place is gradually superseded by the dawning revelation that the place, in its own particular way, will always own you. Rollins has a longstanding hands-on approach of its own, going overboard to provide students with an array of seminars, performances, lectures, focus groups and social events — roughly 400 a year, according to Micki Meyer, the college’s Lord Family Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs, who’s been in charge of arranging such activities for 16 years. She says that despite the screen burnout plaguing both online and face-to-face students, the response has been enthusiastic for virtual gatherings this year, ranging from crafts to karaoke to trivia to creating tailor-made greeting cards. She told me, as did many professors, her online adaptations have been a bumpy but enlightening ride. “I feel like my entire professional identity had to change. I’ve had to reimagine my whole career.” Sounds like a Montessori teacher I know. Michael McLeod, firstname.lastname@example.org, is a contributing writer for Winter Park Magazine and an adjunct instructor in the English department at Rollins College.
Writer’s Block Bookstore is proud to present our “Open Book: Author Interview Series,” an on-demand viewing platform featuring bestselling authors from all literary genres. Join us as we chat with your favorite authors, as well as some debut authors who are soon-to-be favorites! We talk about their books, their inspirations, their publishing journeys, their writing processes and learn some of the stories behind the pages. Occasionally, we engage storytellers in some fun lightning-round “speed dating” questions.
One Day. Hundreds of Bookstores. Fifty States. Join the Party! All Day! 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Upcoming Event APRIL 13, 6:30 P.M.
Your Time to Thrive
WRITER’S BLOCK BOOKSTORE 316 N. Park Avenue Winter Park, FL 32789
A Virtual Event with Arianna Huffington and Marina Khidekel
And Our New Location:
Co-sponsored by Writer’s Block and the Winter Park Institute
WRITER’S BLOCK BOOKSTORE 32 West Plant Street Winter Garden, FL 34787 Independent Bookstore Day is a one-day national party that takes place at indie bookstores across the country. In addition to author virtual events, discounts, goodies and other fun stuff, Writer’s Block Bookstore will be offering exclusive “day-of” merchandise created especially for Independent Bookstore Day by major publishers and authors. Since its inception in 2014, hundreds of authors have shown their support for independent bookstores by donating work for Independent Bookstore Day. These limited-edition and unique items will be available only at participating Independent Bookstore Day participants on April 24. Not before. Not after. Not online. And not in chain stores! writersblockbookstore.com/event/independent-bookstore-day-2
Huffington is the founder of The Huffington Post, author of 15 books and founder and CEO of Thrive Global, a leading behavior change tech company helping individuals, corporations and communities improve their well-being and performance. Khidekel is Thrive Global’s Head of Content Development and author of Your Time to Thrive: End Burnout, Increase Well-Being, and Unlock Your Full Potential with the New Science of Microsteps. Huffington and Khidekel will offer practical and inspiring advice on how to make every aspect of your life better — starting with your communication and relationships. And they’ll share plenty of too-small-to-fail “Microsteps” that will help you communicate more effectively and authentically, no matter where you are in your journey or what you want to accomplish.
Event information can be found at writersblockbookstore.com/events
THE POEM | BILLY COLLINS
s one of the many millions who experienced the Great National Exhalation following this year’s inauguration, I thought I might write a poem that registered this palpable shift. The two stanzas here divide the new sensations into those felt by the physical body and those affecting the imagination. After all, we know that with calmer breathing comes more open thinking, even wonder. I don’t know about your goldfish, much less your dancing bear, but mine appear to be much less troubled now, almost back to their sprightly old selves.
PHOTO BY SUZANNAH GILMAN
Billy Collins is a former two-term U.S. poet laureate (2002-03) and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. His most recent collection is Whale Day: And Other Poems (Random House, 2020).
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AFTER THE INAUGURATION Citizens from all over the country are reporting a lowering of the shoulders. They say they are breathing more easily, as they inhale and exhale this abundance of American air. I, too, have slowed back down to my old speed of 23 mph, and my pulse is as slow as a sundial. In addition, my polar bear is dancing in the living room again. The goldfish is singing in her glass bowl, and the tall palms outside seem to be acting more like themselves. Things appear to be getting back to normal, the pencil in my hand is saying, as it hops across the page once more.
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