Lake Maitland by Stephen Bach
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CONTENTS SUMMER 2016
14 | TALENT FOR TUMULT True, he was brilliant. But John Andrew Rice offended just about everyone – mocking the community, ridiculing his colleagues, shocking his students, challenging his boss and causing a crisis at Rollins College. By Randy Noles and Ed Gfeller
DINING 90 | LET’S JUST CALL IT FRESH MEX In Hannibal Square, Pepe’s Cantina puts a pequeño twist on Mexican staples. But it’s worth a visit just for the guacamole and the flan, both of which are unforgettable. By Rona Gindin, photographs by Rafael Tongol
72 | SUMMER CHIC Summertime, and the living is easy — especially in Winter Park, with its profusion of lakes. Photographs by Rafael Tongol, styling by Marianne Ilunga, makeup and hair by Elsie Knab 80 | A BIG CHEER FOR THE SEYMOURS Winter Park comes together to salute two of its most beloved residents. By Randy Noles
IN EVERY ISSUE 6 | FIRST WORD 8 | COVER ARTIST 94 | EVENTS 104 | ARTSBEAT
WIN T E R P A R K M A G A ZI N E | SUM M ER 2016
W I NTE R P ARK MAG AZ I NE | S U MME R 2 0 1 6
SPECIAL REPORT 32 | THE INFLUENTIALS Here we go again! Our second annual compilation of the people who make things happen in Winter Park. By Randy Noles with Dana S. Eagles, photographs by Rafael Tongol
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Clyde Butcher’s upcoming Mead Garden visit is a timely one.
A HEALING PLACE LEGENDARY PHOTOGRAPHER CLYDE BUTCHER IS COMING TO MEAD GARDEN. HERE’S WHY IT MATTERS.
PHOTO BY WOODY WALTERS
lyde Butcher is among the greatest living wilderness photographers. Like Ansel Adams’ iconic images of the American West, Butcher’s haunting black-and-white landscapes of primal Florida, especially the Florida Everglades, are considered artistic masterpieces. Butcher, now 75, is coming to Winter Park to photograph our own Mead Garden. And, after spending a couple of days roaming through the 47-acre wonderland with his camera equipment in tow, the white-bearded raconteur will give a presentation about his life and work. And we’re all invited. The event, which will include a reception and an opportunity to meet Butcher, will serve as a fundraiser for Mead Botanical Garden Inc. (MBG), the not-for-profit organization that operates “Winter Park’s Natural Place.” It’s happening Thursday, September 22, under the stars at the Florida Federation of Garden Clubs headquarters, which is located within Mead Garden. The time is 6:45 to 9:30 p.m. A limited number of tickets are available starting at $100. So, why is this announcement being touted here rather than in our calendar of events? Because, just as this issue of Winter Park Magazine was being completed, news broke of the horrific mass shooting at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub. In Winter Park, there was a heart-tugging community service at Rollins College in Knowles Memorial Chapel — the historic building was bathed in rainbow-colored lights — and 49 small American flags were arrayed like a bed of colorful wildflowers on the City Hall lawn, one for each person who was murdered.
WIN T E R P A R K M A G A ZI N E | SUMM ER 2016
Vigils and other symbols of solidarity are important in the aftermath of tragedies. But Mother Nature can be important, too. Although Hippocrates had figured it out by the fourth century B.C., modern medical science is now confirming the power of so-called eco-therapy to help heal physical and psychological wounds. Take Butcher, for example. After their teenaged son was killed by a drunk driver in 1986, he and his wife, Niki, retreated to south Florida’s Big Cypress National Preserve, where they sought solace among the sawgrass marshes, mangrove forests and hardwood hammocks. Working to assuage his grief, Butcher put aside color photography and concentrated on his now-iconic black-and-white landscapes, using large-format cameras. As his work attracted acclaim, he leveraged his celebrity to become a leading advocate for conservation. So, there are several good reasons to attend this special event at Mead Garden. Proceeds will help MBG in its ongoing effort to reclaim and restore this irreplacable attraction, which celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2015. Visit meadgarden.org for more details. I think we could all use a healthy, healing dose of nature. And we could all use some insight from a man who knows firsthand about its restorative power.
Jenna Carberg GRAPHIC DESIGNER Dana S. Eagles, Ed Gfeller Michael McLeod CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Rona Gindin DINING EDITOR Marianne Ilunga FASHION EDITOR Marianne Popkins, Ned Popkins, Harry Wessel CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Rafael Tongol CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER
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‘PEACEFUL AND PRIMORDIAL’
ARTIST STEPHEN BACH IS DRAWN TO THE SOLITUDE OF WINTER PARK’S LAKES.
tephen Bach’s work has appeared on the cover of Winter Park Magalandscape painter. Today he works from Winter Park’s McRae Art Studios, zine more than that of any other artist. That’s a testament not only a 10,620-square-foot warehouse that has served as a collective home for the to the breathtaking quality of his work, but also to his penchant for region’s most renowned artists since 1998. choosing local subjects. At press time, though, the deceivably nondescript building was for sale, And, of course, his versatility. Bach is equally adept at painting images of and Bach is involved in finding a new home for the 20 or so artists that cremoody urbanscapes, lush landscapes and sleek vintage automobiles. ate in this magical place. For the cover of this issue, Bach captures the natural splendor of Lake Bach, in the meantime, continues to travel to festivals around the country Maitland. The original work hangs in the Capen-Showalter and has emerged as the go-to artist for special-event posters. His House and was used as the poster for the 2012 Winter Park painting, Veteran’s Fountain by Night, was selected as the official Paint Out, a plein air art event sponsored by the Albin Polasek poster of the 2013 Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival. Museum & Sculpture Gardens. And, for 10 of the past 14 years, he has been the poster artist “Maybe the most appealing natural feature of our commufor the Winter Park Concours d’Elegance, an annual collectornity, and what distinguishes us from so many like-sized cities, car show held earlier this year at the Winter Park Country Club. is the sanctuary of water,” says Bach. In addition to classic cars and rural landscapes, Bach is fasci“Our lakes and rivers are painting subjects I return to regularly. nated by homes and commercial buildings. His knack for capturLake Maitland’s solitude invites an evening ride in a kayak, watching the personalities of structures is why he was asked to render a ing osprey soar and anhingas drying wings on cypress. It’s a peaceportrait of the historic Capen-Showalter House, which appeared ful, primordial experience amid the expanding urban center.” on the cover of the Winter 2016 issue of Winter Park Magazine. Stephen Bach Bach, an Orlando native who trained at the Pratt Institute in But for Bach, landscapes remain his passion. “I wanted landNew York City, began his career traveling across the U.S. to paint murals scape painting to be my career destination, since it has held my fascination in nearly 500 Olive Garden restaurants in 47 states. (The parent compafrom the beginning,” he says. ny of the ubiquitous Italian eateries, then General Mills and now Darden For more information about Bach’s work visit stephenbach.com or Restaurants, is located in Orlando.) mcraeartstudios.com. Fifteen years ago, Bach decided to pursue his goal of becoming a fine-art — Randy Noles.
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John A. Rice was hired by Rollins College President Hamilton Holt to teach classical languages. But he was far more effective at angering his boss and his colleagues.
W I N T E R P A R K M A G AZI N E | SUMM ER 2016
for TUMULT True, he was brilliant. But John Andrew Rice offended just about everyone – mocking the community, ridiculing his colleagues, shocking his students, challenging his boss and causing a crisis at Rollins College. By Randy Noles and Ed Gfeller S U MME R 2 0 1 6 | W INT ER PARK MAGAZ IN E
uring its 130 years of existence, Rollins College has employed its share of controversial faculty members. But few could match John Andrew Rice Jr., a pugnacious professor of classics whose combination of intellect and insufferability flummoxed the community, divided the campus and enraged President Hamilton Holt. By the time Rice was fired in 1933, he had been accused of everything from parading around in public clad only in a jock strap (which he denied) to insulting religion and alienating members of the local clergy (which he didn’t deny). But the impact of Rice’s dismissal on Rollins was significant, causing the college to be censured by the American Association of University Professors, and leading to an exodus of eight highly regarded faculty members. Some of those academic exiles joined Rice in founding a now-legendary experimental college near Asheville, North Carolina. Black Mountain College embraced innovation and was governed based upon the kind of democratic principles that Rice accused Holt of quashing at Rollins. Ultimately, however, Rice’s prickly personality doomed him — even in a place designed specifically around his educational philosophies. Wherever he went, turmoil followed Rice, who was described as witty and engaging when he chose to be, but harsh and sarcastic with those whom he judged to be intellectually lazy or hidebound by tradition — particularly his colleagues and bosses. The famously liberal Holt, who took pride in his teaching-oriented faculty of “golden personalities,” certainly foresaw no tumult when he hired Rice, a 41-year-old native of South Carolina.
W I N T E R P A R K M A GAZI N E | SUMM ER 2016
ILLUSTRATION BY DANA SUMMERS
OFFENSE: Rice was accused of parading around his campusowned home, in full view of students, wearing only a jock strap.
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But Rice, who elevated insubordination to an art form, was to expose Holt’s autocratic streak while testing the proud progressive’s tolerance for dissension and disharmony. The ill-fated relationship began in 1929, when Rice was on a Guggenheim Fellowship at Oxford University. Holt was also visiting England, and met with Rice at the behest of his friend Frank Aydelotte, president of prestigious Swarthmore College near Philadelphia. Impressed and intrigued, Holt proffered a position teaching Greek and Latin in Winter Park. “I think it’s about time I had a liberal on my faculty,” said Holt, according to a later account by Rice. “I haven’t got one now.” (Holt was likely being facetious; his faculty, in fact, included several notable liberals — including attorney Royal Wilbur France, a professor of economics who advocated for free speech and would later become chairman of the Florida Socialist Party.) Indeed, Holt was favorably predisposed toward Rice because of the recommendation from Aydelotte, who might actually have believed that the pugnacious professor would be a good fit for Rollins. Of course, the fact that Rice also happened to be Aydelotte’s brother-in-law couldn’t have hurt.
HERE COMES TROUBLE
While public relations was clearly not Rice’s calling, academia seemed to be a logical career path. He was born in 1888 at the family home, Tanglewood Plantation, near Lynchburg, South Carolina. His father, John Andrew Rice Sr., was a Methodist minister who eventually became president of Columbia College, a women’s liberal arts college in Columbia, South Carolina. The elder Rice was also a founding faculty member at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. An enlightened theologian, Rice’s father resigned from SMU after being thwarted in his attempt to design a course that reconciled creationism with evolution. But he continued preaching, and was called to lead prestigious churches around the country. Rice’s mother, Annabelle Smith, was the sister of U.S. Sen. Ellison Du-
W I N T E R P A R K M A GAZI N E | SUMM ER 2016
rant “Cotton Ed” Smith, a virulent white supremacist who represented South Carolina from 1909 to 1944. (Rice, who would later write for political magazines that promoted racial justice, frequently repudiated his infamous uncle’s views.) Annabelle died in 1899. Two years later, his father married Launa Darnell, a schoolteacher and the daughter of a Methodist minister, who became stepmother to Rice and his two brothers. Launa encouraged Rice to attend the Webb School, a highly regarded college-prep boarding school in Bell Buckle, Tennessee. During his time there, from 1905 to 1908, he was inspired by co-founder John “Old Jack” Webb, whom he would credit for many of his own unorthodox views on teaching and learning. “Webb used to sit talking to himself and trimming his grey beard with pocket scissors,” Rice told Time magazine in 1940. “He taught Greek, English, history, math, everything — sitting in a split-bottom chair and gently posing riddles to his pupils.” Rice then attended Tulane University — his father was serving as pastor of a church in New Orleans — where he graduated in just three years. “The diploma said I was a baccalaureus artium, and when the president handed it to me, he welcomed me into the ‘company of educated men,’” Rice later wrote. “They were both liars.” Degree in hand, Rice won a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford, where he met Aydelotte and his sister, Nell, whom he wed upon graduation in 1914. He began his teaching career at the Webb School, but left after a year to pursue a doctorate in classics — which he never completed — at the University of Chicago. Nonetheless, Rice secured a position as an instructor in Greek at the University of Nebraska, where he, his wife and their two young children lived from 1920 to 1927. Rice was popular with students for his freewheeling classroom style, which favored the discussion of ideas over the memorization of facts. But he won few friends among other faculty members — especially when he began writing articles for academic journals that harshly criticized their traditional
ILLUSTRATION BY DANA SUMMERS
OFFENSE: Rice was accused of offending local religious leaders and mocking a service in the Knowles Memorial Chapel.
OFFENSE: Rice was accused of making derisive remarks about fellow faculty members, describing some as incompetent and boring.
W I N T E R P A R K M A GAZI N E | SUMM ER 2016
High-profile activists such as France, the socialist, had indeed found a friend in the open-minded president, who always seemed to strike a balance between supporting academic freedom and maintaining community goodwill. But France, like Holt, was at least a gentlemanly sort. Such a description would not be applicable to the unfiltered Rice. In fact, the veneer of harmony on campus — and the conservative conventions of Winter Park — seemed to intensify his need to foment divisiveness.
RECKONING AT ROLLINS
Not long after Rice’s arrival, he began to make his presence felt. During a conference dubbed “The Place of the Church in the Modern World,” Rice chose to question the place of the church in Winter Park, specifically. Addressing a roomful of clergymen, he posited what the impact might be if all the houses of worship along Interlachen Avenue vanished and were replaced by open space. “What difference would it make,” he asked, “and to whom?” Rice was, of course, accused of anti-clericalism. But this kind of exchange was indicative of the Socratic teaching method — at least Rice’s ultra-aggressive version of it — which encouraged students to find deeper meaning through the posing of provocative questions. Locals, however, saw only an arrogant atheist mocking their traditions. And, truth be told, they weren’t entirely wrong. Rice offended many others, most significantly Frances “Fannie” Knowles Warren, donor of the college’s impressive new Knowles Memorial Chapel, by indiscreetly describing the chapel’s inaugural Christmas service as “obscene.” Holt, too, was outraged, since the chapel was a source of pride and Warren was an important patron. Plus, Rice had once again seemed to diminish
ILLUSTRATION BY DANA SUMMERS
lecture-and-response teaching methods. Fortunately for Rice, he was close to Chancellor Sam Avery, who enjoyed the ornery educator’s blunt pronouncements and shielded him from his many campus enemies. Still, despite his relatively high regard for Avery, Rice judged the university to be “full of incompetents, misfits, the intellectually lazy, and trash.” Rice wrote that Avery tried to tame him — or at least prevent him from sabotaging his own career. “Why don’t you keep your mouth shut, Rice?” Avery asked, exasperated. “If you would just keep it shut for, say, six months or a year, I could raise your salary.” Discretion was apparently too much to expect. When his powerful protector retired due to ill health, Rice was quickly — and not surprisingly — fired. Then, after two years at the New Jersey College for Women, he was forced to resign after again antagonizing administrators and colleagues. In typical Rice fashion, he blamed his troubles in New Jersey on inferior intellects who failed to understand him. He later referred to the dean as “an energetic butter-and-egg woman” who had been a poor student and founded the college primarily to exact revenge on professors. The Guggenheim Fellowship, which ultimately led to Rice’s position at Rollins, followed. Undeniably, Holt failed to conduct routine due diligence. But even if he had realized how difficult a character Rice could be, it might not have made any difference in his hiring decision. The genial Holt may simply have reasoned that pacifying eccentric professors was his specialty. After all, his picture-postcard campus was something of an oasis for strong-willed intellectuals — and, from all appearances, he enjoyed their respect as well as their affection. Some of them even called him “Hammy.”
ILLUSTRATION BY DANA SUMMERS
OFFENSE: Rice was accused of displaying a pinup in his classroom and leading frank discussions about sex.
the importance of Christianity in a community where religious faith was central to the lives of most residents. Founded by the Florida Congregational Association through a campaign led by members of the First Congregational Church of Winter Park — its pastor, Edward P. Hooker, would become the college’s first president — Rollins was nevertheless a secular institution. Holt, Rice wrote, never indicated that there was any sort of religious litmus test for faculty members. If the president “had been any kind of judge of men,” Rice added, “he had full opportunity to discover that I was not the kind of man he wanted” when the two met and spoke at length in England. Rice’s disdain for churches, however, was only one of the ways in which he goaded Holt. His classroom behavior also caused controversy. While Rice had been hired to teach classical languages, his students didn’t learn much Latin or Greek. Instead, they were led on intense intellectual tangents that often bore little resemblance to the published course descriptions. Once, he displayed a photograph of a scantily clad woman from a calendar purchased at a local drugstore for the sole purpose of provoking a discussion on the meaning of art. And he initiated frank dialogues about sex — much to the chagrin of administrators, parents and perhaps even some sheltered students. Rice also used his classroom platform to disparage other faculty members by name, calling them “incompetent” or describing them as “old-fashioned pedagogues who were wedded to a book.” When Rice — a disheveled, pudgy figure wearing thick, round-framed glasses — strode to the podium, students didn’t know what to expect. They knew only that there would be no drills testing their aptitude for Greek or Latin.
Rice, in fact, found it ridiculous that the courses he was hired to teach were required for graduation. “This was not the latest thing in education,” he wrote. “It was one of the oldest.” Still, despite his contrarian nature, Rice was asked by Holt to chair a faculty committee that would recommend whether or not fraternities were compatible with the college’s democratic values. To Holt’s surprise, the panel called for abolishing the Greek system altogether because it “fostered elitism, exclusiveness, snobbishness, superiority, and promoted an unnatural and unhealthy relationship, and even social discrimination.” Holt, a booster of school spirit and a supporter of fraternities, chose to ignore the recommendations. But why he thought a group headed by Rice might come to any other conclusion remains a mystery. The very idea of fraternities in a supposedly enlightened learning environment was anathema to Rice, as Holt ought to have realized in advance. No single event seems to have led to Rice’s termination in 1933. After several years of turmoil, the cumulative effect of his presence had simply become too much for a president who valued loyalty and congeniality. Rice, Holt decided, had to go. But he didn’t make his firing — or his “non-reappointment” — easy. When informed by Holt that he was not to return the following semester, Rice asked for another chance, vowing to moderate his behavior and even consult with the school psychologist. Holt agreed to think about it. During his deliberations, some progressive faculty members aligned themselves with Rice. Others, grateful to have jobs during the Great Depression, tried to steer clear of the impending storm. S U MME R 2 0 1 6 | W INT ER PARK MAGAZ IN E
Most, however, vocally supported Holt’s effort to rid the campus of a man they had come to regard as an intellectual bully. Rice’s students — some of whom loved him and some of whom loathed him — were more eager than his colleagues to rally around him. But, unlike faculty members, students didn’t endanger their careers by taking a pro-Rice stance. By the following Friday, Rice wrote, Holt “had by all reports, relented, and I was to see him on Saturday morning.” But on Friday night, Rice continued, Holt had dinner with Warren and Irving Bacheller, the bestselling author and trustee who had brought Holt to Rollins. Neither of Holt’s dinner guests, Rice speculated, would have been sympathetic to his cause. Warren, in particular, likely offered particularly strong opinions about what should happen to the man she believed had insulted her beloved chapel. “When I stepped into [Holt’s] office the next day his face was grim,” wrote Rice. “He said, ‘Have you anything to say before I give you my decision?’” That’s when Holt fired Rice the second time. Soon Rice filed a complaint with the AAUP, a professional association that dealt with issues of academic freedom and tenure. The organization had been co-founded in 1915 by educational reformer John Dewey, who had visited Rollins just two years earlier to chair a high-profile conference on the future of the liberal arts curriculum. Ironically, both Holt and Rice were adherents of Dewey’s student-centered approach to higher education. Holt incorporated many of Dewey’s ideas in his vaunted “conference plan,” which de-emphasized lectures, valued teaching over research and, in Holt’s words, “put Socrates on an eight-hour day.” Under the conference plan, three two-hour periods per day were dedicated to “work of the mind under a professor in a classroom” and a fourth two-hour period to activities “which may range from working to pay tuition to rehearsing for the arts.” On the surface, it seems that Holt and Rice really had little to argue about
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except matters of decorum. In many other ways, they shared similar philosophies. Rice, however, came to believe that Holt was a phony reformer — a closet conservative whose highly publicized innovations were no more than smoke and mirrors. “Two hours with a bore is at least an hour too much,” wrote Rice of the conference plan’s structure and the teaching style of many professors. He also criticized students, many of whom he felt “were there for a good time — had they not been promised freedom?” Rice, it appears, was convinced that he was merely implementing the lofty ideals to which Holt gave lip service — and was being punished for trying to deliver on Holt’s revolutionary rhetoric. The AAUP had no official standing, as a union would today. But its roster included more than 5,000 members from 200 institutions of higher learning. Its approbation could at least cause embarrassment within the world of academia. Responding to Rice’s complaint, AAUP representatives traveled to Winter Park and launched an investigation encompassing the charges against Rice as well as the college’s vague tenure policy — an issue that Holt believed was outside the panel’s purview. The stage was set and a fiasco, predictably, ensued. Holt had many perfectly defensible reasons for firing Rice. But instead of focusing on a few of the more egregious ones — for example, Rice’s refusal to teach the subjects he was contracted to teach — he chose to employ, as Rice described it, “a blunderbuss of hate,” presenting a laundry list of accusations that conflated the serious with the trivial. Rice, Holt charged, had hung indecent pictures in his classroom. (“Indecent” was a subjective judgment, Rice replied, but he admitted to having displayed a calendar pinup to facilitate that now-infamous art conversation.) He had strolled around his campus-supplied home wearing only a jockstrap. (No, he had not, Rice retorted, adding that he didn’t even own a jockstrap.) He had left fish scales in the sink of a college-owned rental cottage.
PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE ROLLINS COLLEGE DEPARTMENT OF ARCHIVES AND SPECIAL COLLECTIONS
In his book, I Came Out of the Eighteenth Century, Rice took aim at Holt and several faculty members, including (left to right) Fleetwood Peeples, Cora Harris and Edwin Osgood Grover. He made valid points about Peeples, “professor of hunting and fishing,” and Harris, “professor of evil.” Grover, though, was unfairly maligned.
PHOTOS COURTESY OF THE ROLLINS COLLEGE DEPARTMENT OF ARCHIVES AND SPECIAL COLLECTIONS
Ralph Lounsbury (left) and Frederick Georgia (right) were among the faculty members who left with Rice and founded Black Mountain College in North Carolina. Lounsbury’s departure was particularly painful for Holt, since the two had been friends since their undergraduate days together at Yale.
(Yes, he acknowledged, he probably had, if that’s what the housekeeper said.) Further, he had “scoffed” at a chapel service. (“You can’t put on a vaudeville show … and start winging with a choirmaster standing with his back to the altar in a Catholic-style chapel without incurring the charge of obscenity,” Rice responded.) On and on it went. Rice, it was alleged, demeaned students he didn’t favor. He was critical of fraternities and sororities, encouraging disloyalty and disparaging youthful idealism. As for Rice’s classes, Holt conceded that he had never actually audited one, but had heard about them secondhand. After eight days of contentious and sometimes comical testimony and commentary, AAUP co-founder Arthur Lovejoy, a Johns Hopkins philosophy professor and chairman of the investigating committee, had heard quite enough. He thanked everyone for their patience and promised a report as soon as possible. Holt expected the worst — and he got it. The AAUP exonerated Rice, censured Rollins and criticized the college’s lack of a coherent tenure policy. Worse, the investigators disseminated their findings locally and nationally. Rollins, its proverbial dirty laundry now publically aired, was placed on the organization’s “unacceptable institutions” list, much to Holt’s indignation and Rice’s delight. But the AAUP couldn’t get Rice his job back. Nor could it prevent Holt from seeking retribution against those who had supported Rice, and now refused to offer a convincingly affirmative answer to the following question: “Will you give your loyalty and support to reducing the [dissension] on the campus and in carrying out policies of the trustees, the faculty or acts by [Holt] or any others in authority even though you may intellectually differ with them?” Ultimately, eight faculty members were fired or resigned, including several highly respected golden personalities, none of whom had any particular affection for Rice but all of whom disagreed with Holt’s tactics. The Orlando Morning Sentinel headline read, “Rollins Goes Off Gold Standard.” Rice unquestionably brought many of his problems on himself. But he
wasn’t alone in his views. Construction of the chapel, for example, wasn’t universally praised. During a national economic calamity, some thought that Warren’s gift of $300,000 could have been put to better use. Moreover, there was a general concern that Holt had simply become too dictatorial in his operation of a college that touted collaboration and consensus. “Rollins is Holt and Holt is Rollins” was generally accepted as a statement of fact. But, as Rice never hesitated to point out, that was hardly the mantra of a democratic utopia. “An enlightened patriarch (but a patriarch nonetheless), Holt demanded sweet harmony among the members of a community he was so painstakingly nurturing in Winter Park,” wrote Jack Lane, professor emeritus of history, in his unpublished 1985 manuscript marking the college’s centennial. “So long as an issue was undecided, Holt encouraged the widest possible debate. But once the president or the community had decided, Holt deemed further discussion not only unnecessary but also counterproductive.” In Lane’s manuscript, he describes “two souls that beat in the breast of Hamilton Holt.” There was the progressive Holt: “honest, broad-minded, forthcoming, openhearted, liberal, humorous, generous and kind — a delightful and lovable person.” But Rice, according to Lane, managed to expose another side of Holt: “possessive, assertive, paternalistic … demanding authority within his realm.” It was this conventionally conservative administrator, Lane wrote, who allowed the infuriating Rice “to turn what would otherwise have been a routine faculty dismissal into a campus crisis.”
Led by Rice, three banished Rollins professors — among them Ralph Lounsbury (government); Frederick Georgia (chemistry); and Theodore Dreier (physics) — went on to found Black Mountain College. Continued on page 26 S U MME R 2 0 1 6 | W IN T ER PARK MAGAZ IN E
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Artist Josef Albers from Germany’s Bauhaus Art and Architecture Institute was one of many prominent faculty members at Black Mountain College, where the arts were incorporated into every academic discipline. Albers’ drawing course was a requirement for every student.
Continued from page 23 “I like the ones leaving better than the ones who are staying,” Holt later said, if Rice’s account is to be believed. But even if Holt never uttered those precise words, there’s truth in the sentiment. The departure of Lounsbury was particularly painful, since the two had been friends since their undergraduate days together at Yale. Lounsbury, a conservative by nature, had tried in vain to broker a face-saving agreement between Holt and Rice. He died suddenly of a stroke at Black Mountain less than a year after his arrival. Losing Dreier was also unfortunate for Holt, and for Rollins. Dreier’s family was quite wealthy, and he had many wealthy friends. Among them was Malcolm Forbes, a cousin of the publishing entrepreneur. Forbes had been a professor of psychology at the college, but had left several years earlier. Together, Dreier and Forbes bailed out Black Mountain many times in the 1930s and ’40s. Dreier’s aunt, Margaret Dreier Robbins, resigned from the Rollins board of trustees in 1934, after her nephew was fired. An activist for women’s rights, the ardently liberal Robbins had tried — and failed — to persuade an increasingly intransigent Holt to explore conciliatory approaches and avoid a damaging campus rift. More than a dozen students also left Rollins to follow Rice and his compatriots. Amazingly, the group founded and organized the college in a short few months, opening for classes on the site of a YMCA summer conference facility in the fall of 1933 with 21 students. (At its peak, Black Mountain boasted an enrollment of about 100.) Despite constant financial problems, the college garnered national attention for testing innovative ideas, including incorporation of the arts into all academic disciplines and adoption of an administrative model that shared governance between faculty and students. There would be no trustees, although there was a board of advisers on which Dewey served. Rice, the college’s “rector,” recruited artist Josef Albers and weaver Anni
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Albers from Germany’s famed Bauhaus Art and Architecture Institute after it was closed by the Nazi regime. The couple was joined by Bauhaus stage designer and graphic artist Xanti Schawinsky. Although Black Mountain students might select economics, foreign languages, mathematics or music as major areas in their individually tailored programs, all were required to take Albers’ drawing course and Rice’s classics course. There were no formal degrees or graduation ceremonies, and the exams were oral, often administered by subject-matter experts outside the faculty. Students who completed their studies and wished to enter graduate programs at elite universities generally had little trouble doing so. As the college’s reputation for innovation grew, numerous well-known visitors joined the community for days or weeks at a time, including Dewey, playwright Thornton Wilder, novelists Aldous Huxley and Henry Miller, and architects Marcel Breuer and Buckminster Fuller, who built his first geodesic dome on the campus. Black Mountain influenced progressive higher education at institutions such as the University of California at Santa Cruz, the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena and New College in Sarasota. By 1940, though, Rice was accused of the same overbearing tactics that he had previously attributed to Holt. He was sent on sabbatical and then asked not to return. Time magazine, in an interview with Rice, summed it up this way: “Individualist Rice soon began to find even his fellow experimenters too conventional, and argued bitterly with them. ‘I began to see, but slowly and with reluctance,’ he concludes, ‘that I must live apart from people, for their good and mine. A teacher should bring peace.’” Black Mountain soldiered on, but finally closed in 1957 due to financial problems. Rice, however, had no intention of “bringing peace.” He had an autobiography to write — and perhaps a score to settle — with the educational establishment, including Holt.
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In the summer of 1940, Rice started working on an autobiographical book, I Came Out of the Eighteenth Century, which was published in 1942 by Harper & Brothers (now HarperCollins). It earned rave reviews — Newsweek called Rice “a skilled and deadly writer” — but the book vanished seven months after its initial release when Holt threatened a libel suit and the publisher halted distribution. In a chapter called “Rollins Was Holt,” Rice committed what Holt must have viewed as an unpardonable sin: He portrayed the president as an autocrat and described his college as a decidedly unserious, even silly, place. To a modern reader, the chapter reads as funny and caustic — Rice was, indeed, skilled and deadly with words — but hardly libelous. That makes Harper & Brothers’ decision to abandon the book, which it had chosen for its 125th Anniversary Prize, all the more puzzling. Rice mocked Holt’s tendency to bestow fanciful titles on faculty members, and skewered some of the people who held those titles. Cora Harris, a celebrated Southern writer who had written a bestselling autobiography, was “professor of evil.” Rice claimed that Harris’ class had met only once, to have a picture taken. In fact, Harris was an unrepentant racist whose essays should have offended any enlightened person, even by the standards of the day. Holt, in most respects ahead of the curve on civil rights, not only published her writing, he praised it as “genius” when he was managing editor of The Independent, a New York-based magazine espousing progressive ideals. Why he did so remains a mystery. Surely if Rice had known anything about Harris, he would have used her presence on campus to eviscerate Holt. It certainly would have been uncharacteristic of him to pass over such a tantalizing opportunity. But Holt escaped embarrassment because Rice seemed unaware of Harris’ pre-Rollins work. Rice also ridiculed Fleetwood Peeples, a swimming instructor and director of aquatics who was also “professor of fishing and hunting.” The worst he could say of Peeples was that he was inept at catching speckled perch. Of course, Rice couldn’t have known that Peeples, who was affiliated with the college for 50 years, would posthumously — and credibly — be accused by multiple women of molesting them when they were children. Likewise, Rice lampooned the presence of a “professor of books,” from whom, he mused, he “might learn new uses to which books might be put.” He also attempted to debunk Holt’s claim that the college had the world’s only professor of books. But while Harris and Peeples were easy targets, Rice missed the mark when he turned his attention toward Edwin Osgood Grover. In an effort to diminish Grover, Rice claimed
that the professor of books had been a “salesman” for Rand McNally. As a young man, Grover had indeed been a textbook salesman for Ginn & Co. But he had been editor and vice-president at Rand McNally. Rice also claimed that, just before being hired by Rollins, Grover had been an advance agent for Billy Sunday, a baseball player turned evangelist whose fundamentalism led him to oppose the teaching of evolution, immigration from southern and eastern Europe, and such popular amusements as dancing, playing cards and attending the theater. (Baseball was fine, Sunday opined, as long as it wasn’t played on the Lord’s Day.) There’s no evidence of a connection between Grover and Sunday, so it’s difficult to know if Rice was being purposely misleading or was simply misinformed. In either case, Grover was irritated by Rice’s accusations, and asked Harper & Brothers to remove the erroneous passages — which the publisher agreed to do in a second edition. But there would be no second edition for 72 years. (Oddly, when a researcher bought a copy from the first printing of Rice’s book through eBay, he was surprised that the vintage volume was inscribed by none other than Grover. He wrote: “Freda Pendelton, Christmas 1942 from EOG.” Why, one wonders, would Grover had given Rice’s book as a gift if he had been so offended by some of its content?) At first, Holt believed that the less attention the book received, the better. However, in the margins of two copies now held by the college’s Department of Archives and Special Collections, Holt’s handwritten comments reveal the extent to which Rice’s words had stung. “Untrue,” “lies,” “never happened,” “doubt that occurred” and similar sentiments can be found scribbled in Holt’s hand throughout. I Came Out of the Eighteenth Century was reissued in 2014 by the University of South Carolina Press through its Southern Classics series. In an afterword, Rice’s grandson, William Craig Rice, blames Holt for the suppression of his grandfather’s book. William Craig Rice, now director of education programs at the National Endowment for the Humanities, further describes the publisher’s capitulation to Holt as “baffling” since the book contains nothing resembling libel. Mark Bauerlein, a professor of English at Emory University who wrote the new edition’s foreword, added that the book’s suppression silenced an important voice when it most needed to be heard. “The nation lost a rich first-person historical account of race and class relations during a critical period — not only during the days of Rice’s youth, but at the dawn of the civil rights movement,” Bauerlein wrote. As for Rice, he divorced his first wife and, in 1942, married Dikka Moen, with whom he had two more children. He then began a new career
as a writer, contributing fiction to such publications as Collier’s, The Saturday Evening Post, Harper’s and the New Yorker. He also published a book of short stories, many dealing with race relations, entitled Local Color (1957). Rice, who was never again offered a teaching position, died in 1968 at his home in Maryland. Although he was happy in retirement, according to his grandson, he never shook the notion that he was born a century too late, and might have found more kindred spirits in an earlier time. He told Time magazine that if he had his life to live over again, he would “choose the 18th century for its violence, yet touched with grace
… for its long, clockless days … for its passionate belief that the world would be better, perhaps tomorrow … for its simple faith in simple words: justice, freedom, happiness; and belief in the rights of man, and faith in man.” Ed Gfeller is a retired psychiatrist with an abiding interest in Winter Park history. In 2013, he produced a documentary on the Langford Resort Hotel and is currently working on a biography and a documentary on Edwin Osgood Grover (1870-1965), professor of books at Rollins College from 1926 to 1951. His contribution to this article is part of a chapter on the Rice affair that will appear in the Grover biography.
S U MME R 2 0 1 6 | W INT ER PARK MAGAZ IN E
W I N T E R P A R K M A G AZI N E | SUM M ER 2016
Influentials Here we go again! Our second annual compilation of the people who make things happen in Winter Park.
BY RANDY NOLES WITH DANA S. EAGLES PHOTOGRAPHS BY RAFAEL TONGOL
ast year, Winter Park Magazine published a compilation of the city’s Most Influential People — and it caused an extraordinary amount of buzz. But in a city filled with achievers, many of whom are passionately involved in civic affairs, no single list could have encompassed everyone who should have been recognized. So, we asked last year’s selectees for guidance in assembling a new list for 2016. We also put out a call on social media for suggestions before winnowing our way through dozens upon dozens of worthy contenders. Because this is a pivotal year for Winter Park, it’s important to identify the people who’ll be most influential in guiding the city through what promises to be a challenging time. The city’s comprehensive plan is up for review, commercial development is spurring traffic concerns, historic-preservation policies remain contentious, and even the soon-to-be-constructed public library and events center is still being debated — despite voter approval of a bond issue funding the project. West-side gentrification remains a hot topic, as does the disposition of city-owned property, such as Progress Point on North Orange Avenue. And Winter Park’s most high-profile institution, Rollins College, has a new president for the first time in a decade. The list goes on and on. Some say this year is a tipping point in a battle for the soul of the city. Others say it’s just business as usual in a place where everybody has an opin-
ion about everything. Indeed, to the extent that Winter Park issues are covered by outside media, it’s usually regarding the nastiness of its politics and the testiness of its civic debates. Yet, when they pull together, Winter Parkers are capable of great things. There’s a reason that 32789 is the most prestigious zip code in Central Florida — and that reason is its people, many of whom may disagree about specific policies, but all of whom share the opinion that their city is an exceptional place in every way. The Most Influential People are exceptional as well. But how were they chosen? As previously stated, most names, along with supporting statements, were submitted by a panel consisting of 2015’s movers and shakers. The only rule was that they couldn’t nominate themselves. In addition, we nixed elected officials whose purview stretches beyond the city, hence the absence of, for example, Rep. John Mica (R-Winter Park), who is no doubt influential locally but whose congressional district also includes much of Seminole and Volusia counties. How, then, did we define influential? Basically, we asked our panelists to consider not only old-school power brokers but also lesser-known advocates who work primarily behind the scenes. Likewise, we wanted the list to be diverse, involving influential people from every walk of life. Agree or disagree with the final selections, one thing can be said for certain: Few cities in Central Florida — or anywhere else, for that matter — would have such a rich array of choices. S U MME R 2 0 1 6 | W IN T ER PARK MAGAZ IN E
Grant and Peg Cornwell at the Barker House on the campus of Rollins College.
First Couple Grant and Peg Cornwell
President; Associate to the President for Community Relations, Rollins College When Grant Cornwell was hired as the 15th president of Rollins College, he took the helm of an institution in the throes of a pitched battle over its very mission. The previous president, physicist Lewis Duncan, was accused of diluting the college’s historic liberal arts focus by introducing a College of Professional Studies, through which students could earn undergraduate degrees in business. Although the Crummer Graduate School of Business had offered MBAs since 1957, Rollins had dropped its undergraduate business majors in 1980, under President Thaddeus Seymour. For that and other reasons, in 2013 the Arts & Sciences faculty took a vote of no confidence in Duncan’s leadership. He resigned the following year. Cornwell, 59, previously president of the College of Wooster in Ohio, appears poised to reclaim the college’s liberal arts heritage — and to refine it for the 21st century. In fact, the importance of the liberal arts is a topic about which Cornwell, who holds a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Chicago, is a passionate spokesperson. (By the way, his big-tent vision of liberal arts has plenty of room for business majors.) Peg, 58, had a career in corporate banking before holding director positions at the couple’s alma mater, New York’s St. Lawrence College, where Grant was a vice president. Later, when Grant was tapped to lead Wooster, Peg was named associate to the president for community, trustee and parent relations. While the Cornwells both advocate a student-focused approach, they’ve embraced the mission of making Rollins a more fully integrated community partner. Through various functions, they’ve already hosted more than 3,000 people at the Barker House, the president’s on-campus residence. That alone is making a warm impression on longtime Winter Parkers, few of whom had ever been invited there before.
WHAT THEY SAY: “While Rollins and Winter Park are inextricably linked historically, we’re eager to cultivate the Rollins presence in Winter Park as we look toward the future. We want the college to be a natural extension of the arts and cultural hub that is Winter Park.” WHAT OTHERS SAY: “A breath of fresh air for Rollins … a very
approachable and accessible couple … Peg is really down-to-earth … I love to see Grant on his scooter and Peg on her bicycle; that’s so Rollins … they have an opportunity to make Rollins a true community partner, like it was during the Seymour era.”
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Jill Hamilton Buss at Kraft Azalea Gardens.
Advocate Jill Hamilton Buss Executive Director, Healthy Central Florida As Winter Park’s most fervent advocate for healthy living, Jill Hamilton Buss talks the talk, walks the walk and even runs the run. For the past five years, the high-energy Buss, 56, has been executive director of Healthy Central Florida, a partnership of Florida Hospital and Winter Park Health Foundation. Her mission: Get residents of Winter Park, Maitland and Eatonville off their sofas, out of their cars and into more active pursuits. Under Buss, HCF has organized all manner of walking and biking events, pushed for sidewalks and bike lanes, and started Breathe Free Winter Park, a campaign in which almost 40 restaurants have agreed to offer smoke-free dining outdoors as well as indoors. And in Eatonville, HCF is combating diabetes, obesity and other chronic diseases through a community center called Healthy Eatonville Place. Buss, a former marketing VP for Heart of Florida United Way, says walkable, bikable communities aren’t just healthier. They’re also more successful economically, because they enhance home values and retail spending while attracting millennials. Buss says HCF is making progress; its own studies show a significant increase between 2011 and 2014 in the number of residents using a park or trail at least weekly, for example. But she knows that expensive structural changes will come only as attitudes evolve. “You have to stay at the table and keep working at it. We need to design roads for walkers, bikers and children going forward,” says Buss, who envisions a less auto-centric city for Jorge, the 10-year-old that she and her husband, Spence, fostered and then adopted in 2014. Meanwhile, Buss will continue her own regimen of walking and running through Winter Park — and of indulging in the two health sins to which she’ll admit: coffee and Jeremiah’s Italian ice.
WHAT SHE SAYS: “When you’re whizzing by in a car at 45 mph,
it’s impossible to stop and visit with neighbors. But when you’re walking or biking, you can stop and say hi. You interact with your community differently. And we’re all healthier — physically and emotionally — when we do.”
WHAT OTHERS SAY: “Jill’s enthusiasm for the health of the Winter Park area is infectious (no pun intended) … resourceful and persuasive … she brings people together and encourages them to become effective ambassadors for health in their neighborhoods.” S U MME R 2 0 1 6 | W INT ER PARK MAGAZ IN E
Debra Hendrickson at the gazebo in Central Park.
Vice President, Winter Park Chamber of Commerce When Debra Hendrickson was just 30 years old, she opened a small business, Petite Clothiers, on Park Avenue. She operated it successfully for more than 15 years, eventually expanding to four locations. So when local businesspeople seek Hendrickson’s counsel through her role with the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce, they’re confident that she understands their challenges. Hendrickson, 64, was an active chamber member when she was in business. Now she’s been the No. 2 staffer for 13 years. (Shortly before press time, chamber Executive Director Patrick Chapin announced his resignation to take on a new role as CEO for Business High Point Inc. in North Carolina.) During her tenure, Hendrickson has become a master planner, networker and mentor. She’s the force behind Leadership Winter Park, which consists of eight daylong sessions, held once per month, through which participants receive a thorough grounding in Winter Park’s history, governance, cultural assets and political issues. A roster of participants in the program’s 27 sessions so far reads like a who’s who of local movers and shakers. Because of its success, Leadership Winter Park recently hosted the Southeast Conference for the Association of Leadership Programs. “This was a truly rewarding moment for my team and me,” says Hendrickson, who traces her civic activism back to her somewhat nomadic upbringing. “As the daughter of a military officer, I found myself in a new community every few years,” she recalls. “Established communities don’t often welcome newcomers, so I had to learn quickly how to be the initiator when building relationships.” Hendrickson, who graduated from Florida State University with a degree in fashion merchandising, is a member of the Rotary Club of Winter Park and a Paul Harris Fellow. She’s a past president of Florida Executive Women, and a graduate of both Leadership Seminole — she was president of that organization for four years before joining the Winter Park Chamber — and, of course, Leadership Winter Park.
WHAT SHE SAYS: “As a former business owner on Park Avenue, my passion is maintaining the economic growth of our business community — keeping it vibrant and appealing — and preserving Winter Park’s charm while embracing the future.” WHAT OTHERS SAY: “Debra was a great resource for me when I started my business … she really cares about and understands the business community … a great collaborator and consensus builder.”
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Phil Kean at his Fairbanks Avenue offices.
President, Phil Kean Design Group
Winter Parkers take justifiable pride in the architectural diversity of their city’s tree-lined neighborhoods. James Gamble Rogers II, the most revered local architect of the 20th century, designed elegant homes in an array of styles, and helped to define the city’s eclectic residential ambiance. A generation from now, architectural aficionados may be saying the same thing about Phil Kean, 54, whose sleek, modern homes are winning national acclaim. Plus, as Kean’s business has boomed, he’s transformed a stretch of cluttered Fairbanks Avenue by developing a spiffy corporate campus that includes offices, a model home and other buildings adapted to accommodate his burgeoning empire. Kean, who attended Harvard University as an undergraduate and later earned both an MBA and a master of architecture degree at Washington University in St. Louis, appreciates every architectural genre, In fact, he and Brad Grosberg, his husband and business partner, live in a circa-1930s colonial-style home designed by Rogers. Kean is also an alternate member of the city’s historic-preservation board. He’s best known, though, for contemporary showplaces like the one on Alexander Place, where he and Grosberg lived until recently. It was featured as the New American Home during the 2012 International Builders show, held in Orlando and sponsored by the National Association of Home Builders. He’s building the New American Home again in 2017, as well the New American Remodel, both in Lake Nona Golf & Country Club. Kean is the immediate past president of the Winter Park-based Master Custom Builder Council and a member of the University of Central Florida Foundation’s board of directors. He has donated renovation services to the Zebra Coalition, which provides services to LGBT youth, and architectural services to Mead Botanical Garden and the St. Jude Dream Home, which was built this year in San Antonio. His local, regional and national professional accolades run in the dozens, but most notably he was named 2013 National Custom Builder of the Year by NAHB and 2014 Contractor of the Year by the Orlando Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. “My life has been so much better than I ever imagined,” says Kean, a marathoner whose goal is to race in all 50 states. “I’m proudest of the incredible people in my life: my husband of 32 years, the Phil Kean Design Group team that makes the magic happen, and friends and family who inspire and nurture me.”
WHAT HE SAYS: “My personal goal is to help make Winter Park more beautiful, one building at a time. I appreciate the incredible architectural fabric in our community.” WHAT OTHERS SAY: “Phil’s work has really helped make contemporary architecture popular everywhere, but especially in Winter Park, which has been a more traditional market … a national figure in architecture, but a community-minded guy … supports causes he cares about.”
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Julian Chambliss at Rollins College.
Chair, Department of History, Rollins College
Rollins College Professor Julian Chambliss explores the history of cities both large and small. And he says Winter Park has “unlocked potential” for historians like him, who specialize in urban development and culture. The story of Winter Park’s historically African-American west side is a significant — if overlooked — key to understanding the city’s evolution, says Chambliss, who has led a project to unearth and digitize articles from the Winter Park Advocate, a black-owned newspaper whose content, as Chambliss puts it, “adds to the narrative of the 1880s and ’90s, after Reconstruction and during the rise of Jim Crow segregation.” Chambliss, chair of the college’s history department and coordinator of its Africa & African-American Studies program, received his Ph.D. in U.S. history from the University of Florida. He has been honored with the college’s Cornell Distinguished Service Award and its Presidential Award for Diversity and Inclusion. Chambliss, 45, likes looking at urban issues such as race through unusual lenses. Last year on Memorial Day, he led the ceremonial scattering of ashes from a burned Confederate flag. The Orlando event — one of several across the South conducted as part of an art project — helped participants deal with “unresolved feelings about the Confederate flag in regards to race,” Chambliss says. And then there’s his collection of comic books — about 1,000 of them, dominated by Iron Man and Black Panther. As a historian, he came to see comic books as “elaborate visual narratives about urban history.” He co-edited and contributed to a book called Ages of Heroes, Eras of Men, and he delivers engaging talks about superheroes in American history. “On the surface, superheroes are fighting criminals,” Chambliss says. But, of course, he finds deeper meaning. Through the decades, he says, the wars between superheroes and villains have provided a window into hopes and fears about American culture and the urban environment.
WHAT HE SAYS: “My approach to Winter Park history is to emphasize the community’s link to broader social and political questions shaping contemporary debates. My work emphasizes seeing Winter Park within a broader framework that uncovers the hidden legacy link to race, class and power in Florida.”
WHAT OTHERS SAY: “Julian is telling a crucial part of Winter Park’s history … carrying on a grand Rollins tradition of professor as civic activist … makes me want to go back to college.”
W I N T E R P A R K M A GAZI N E | SUM M ER 2016
Thank You For Making a Difference. What makes our city so distinctive? Is it the beautiful lakes, lush parks, welcoming neighborhoods, vibrant businesses and world-class cultural attractions? Of course. But it’s more than that. It’s also the people who make this gem of a community unlike any other. Caring people. Talented people. Involved people. People who want the very best for the community in which they live and raise their families. To Winter Park’s Most Influential People, we say thank you for all you do. Winter Park wouldn’t be the same without you.
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Pete Weldon at the Capen-Showalter House.
Retired Investment Advisor, Commissioner, City of Winter Park
When Pete Weldon, 67, was a student at the University of Miami, he was part of a musical group called the Singing Hurricanes. His experience in an ensemble, he contends, has influenced his approach to local politics. “I like to put things together in ways that get harmonious results,” he says. Many of those who disagree with him, he contends, “are not interested in getting a harmonious result, but in getting their own way.” That’s Weldon all over, say both fans and foes. He’s an analytical thinker who reaches conclusions after exhaustive research and analysis. But he’s also prone to dismiss opponents as uninformed or unreasonable. Weldon, running for a second time, squeaked by incumbent Tom McMacken in March. His campaign was bolstered by his opposition to a strengthened historic-preservation ordinance, which passed on a 3-2 vote with McMacken in favor. Although the ordinance pleased preservation advocates, it galvanized those who believed that it impinged on property rights. Weldon, who prefers a voluntary preservation policy, quickly delivered on his promise to roll back changes his predecessor had supported. Nobody can say the outspoken New Jersey native hasn’t been forthright about his beliefs. For years, he’s run a wonky (and at times acerbic) blog called Winter Park Perspectives, which he describes as an intellectual exercise that compels him to research issues on which he opines. But he also uses his online platform to urge vigilance against policies that, he says, would unnecessarily inhibit freedom. Nonetheless, Weldon recognizes that regulation can sometimes be appropriate. He served on the city’s code enforcement board, planning and zoning board and tree preservation board. “My philosophical desire to praise individual liberty doesn’t preclude my support for a reasonable set of zoning regulations,” he says. As for his role as a commissioner, Weldon is clear. “I’m going to ask the questions,” he adds. “My job is to be myself.”
WHAT HE SAYS: “My personal goal as a commissioner and volunteer is to serve the long-term interests of the city and its residents by contributing to reasoned judgments respecting the realities we face.” WHAT OTHERS SAY: “I think people will be surprised at the way Pete will raise the level of discourse on the commission … if you want to argue with Pete, you’d better have your facts straight … smart guy and he knows it.”
W I N T E R P A R K M A G AZI N E | SUM M ER 2016
A HISTORIC OPPORTUNITY First Congregational Church of Winter Park was Winter Park’s first church. It was the founding church of Rollins College, and the place where the city’s pioneering leaders worshipped. The church’s beautiful sanctuary on the corner of New England and Interlachen avenues is one of Winter Park’s most cherished historic buildings. We are asking for the community’s help in restoring it to its original appearance.
HIGH ASPIRATIONS As you may know, through our High Aspirations capital campaign, we recently replaced the cupola, which had been damaged during Hurricane Frances. Once again, this magnificent structure soars above Winter Park’s skyline. The cupola project was made possible by a grant from the Elizabeth Morse Genius Foundation, donations from members and support from local residents who care about historic preservation.
CAN YOU HELP? We now urgently need to renovate the entire exterior of this historically important building. But to do so will require a community-wide effort. If you wish to assist, we invite you to make a tax-deductible donation of any amount.
PLEASE CALL 407-647-2416 TO FIND OUT MORE Credit card donations are accepted. • All donations of any size are appreciated.
FIRST CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH OF WINTER PARK United Church of Christ
225 S. Interlachen Ave., Winter Park, FL 32789 | fccwp.org
Cindy Bowman LaFronz at Rollins College.
Cindy Bowman LaFronz Director, Community Relations, Rollins College
Influential? It’s not a term Cindy Bowman LaFronz would apply to herself — and she’s not just being modest. LaFronz, 50, says she sees herself more as a connector who listens to people and brings them together around a cause. For the past six years, LaFronz has worked as Rollins College’s director of community relations. “We’re in a relationship economy, and it’s a marathon, not a sprint,” LaFronz says. “Through those relationships, Rollins remains a mainstay of the community.” As an example, she points to Feed the Need Winter Park, an annual fundraising drive for Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida. The campaign stretches across the Rollins campus but also involves the city, the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce, Winter Park Memorial Hospital and several other partners. The result: More than $100,000 a year is raised to fight hunger. Such efforts help break down lingering misconceptions that Rollins students are all privileged Northeasterners, disconnected from the community. The reality, she says, is that almost half the student body is from Florida, making local “social learning and engagement” an even more important part of their college experience. LaFronz is involved in numerous civic groups and, in addition to her Rollins job, serves as editor of Orlando Arts, the official magazine of United Arts of Central Florida. She also has a seat on several boards, including those of the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Metro Orlando. Rollins’ student body is 16 percent Hispanic, so creating opportunity for Hispanic entrepreneurs helps both grads and the larger community, LaFronz says. She’s optimistic about strengthening ties between the college and the community under new President Grant Cornwell. “Grant completely understands the role of being a good neighbor, and really wants to grow those relationships,” she says. “He gets it; he supports it.”
WHAT SHE SAYS: “On all the committees and boards I have the privilege to serve, I try to infuse a sense of place, where diversity is embraced and new ideas
WHAT OTHERS SAY: “The Cornwells will be looking to Cindy for input about how to strengthen town-gown ties … a great representative for the college … super connected and involved … recognizes the value of partnerships.”
W I N T E R P A R K M A G AZI N E | SUMM ER 2016
Congratulations to the “heart and soul” of Mead Botanical Garden, as well as to your great Board of Directors, Executive Director Cindy Hasenau, other committed staffers and thousands of volunteers. Bill Weir, Jeffrey Blydenburgh, Sue Foreman and Linda Keen . . . your commitment and energy have taken this “jewel of an asset” in the middle of Winter Park to new heights, and set it on a course for greatness. You are the nucleus of energy and involvement, all truly dedicated to this worthy cause. So, from the citizens of Winter Park — including everyone who now enjoys Mead Botanical Garden, and so many others who will be future users of this amazing greenspace asset — we offer our thanks and congratulations! Keep up the great work!
Winter Park’s Most Prestigious Condominium Living 140 East Morse Boulevard Located just 100 feet off Park Avenue To learn more, call Michael Gonick at Regal Christie’s International, 407-383-2563 and
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S U MME R 2 0 1 6 | W INT ER PARK MAGAZ IN E
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Allan E. Keen Friend, husband and supporter of the Mead Botanical Garden mission, and its great leadership.
Shawn Garvey at the First Congregational Church of Winter Park.
Senior Minister, First Congregational Church of Winter Park
The First Congregational Church of Winter Park was Winter Park’s first church, organized in 1884 by New Englanders who settled here and supported the denomination’s progressive tenants and commitment to education. (The church founded Rollins College, and its first minister was the college’s first president.) Today, First Congregational remains a voice for tolerance, openness and social justice under Shawn Garvey, 47, a dynamo of energy and enthusiasm whose favored adjective is “awesome.” Garvey, who was selected as senior minister three years ago, previously led churches in Massachusetts, New Hampshire and New Jersey. He holds a bachelor of arts in philosophy from Long Island University and a master of divinity from Andover Newton Theological School in Newton, Massachusetts. But despite his theological chops, Garvey is also a folk-oriented singer-guitarist who digs John Denver — and sounds eerily like his musical idol when he covers such hits as “Poems and Prayers and Promises” and “Rocky Mountain High.” (In fact, Garvey has performed Denver tribute shows — including one at First Congregational — backed by the late Steve Weisberg, for years Denver’s lead guitarist.) He also brought Livingston Taylor (brother of James) to Winter Park for a sanctuary shindig in which the two friends performed several duets. Quickly immersing himself in civic affairs, Garvey serves as the faith community representative on Winter Park’s Visioning Steering Committee, and helped organize the first annual “Side-By-Side” event along with the city, the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce and Rollins College. Held in Knowles Memorial Chapel — where Garvey served as interim dean for more than a year — Side by Side featured live music and remarks from civic leaders. It was designed to “celebrate our gifts and strengthen our relationships with one another,” which is a message very much in keeping with Garvey’s inclusive philosophy. First Congregational is the first — and thus far the only — church in Winter Park to perform same-sex marriages, and has adopted an “open and affirming” policy that specifically welcomes people regardless of their sexual orientation. Its Jeramiah Project is an arts-oriented outreach project for at-risk children in the Winter Park area.
WHAT HE SAYS: “Honestly, I just try to be authentically nice to everyone I meet, and start from a place of ‘yes’ with just about everything I do. Genuine kindness with no agenda goes a long way.”
WHAT OTHERS SAY: “Shawn is becoming Winter Park’s pastor, regardless of denomination … a bastion of progressive thought in a conservative town is a good thing … not your grandfather’s Congregational minister.”
W I N T E R P A R K M A G AZI N E | SUMM ER 2016
Sarah Grafton at the train depot that houses the Winter Park Farmers’ Market and the Winter Park History Museum.
Booster Sarah Grafton
Assistant Vice President, Senior Financial Advisor, Grafton Wealth Management at Merrill Lynch Bank of America You don’t have to be a boomer or beyond to rank among Winter Park’s most prominent influencers. Sarah Grafton, 31, is a millennial who has built up a reservoir of good will in the Winter Park business community that few others of any age can match. And she’s done it by consistent involvement in an array of good causes, and what her fans describe as a generous spirit and a relentlessly positive attitude. Grafton, who earned a degree in public administration and political science at Auburn University, has worked in the family business for nearly nine years. During that time, she’s served on the boards of such civic organizations as the Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens, the Winter Park YMCA, the Children’s Home Society of Florida, the American Heart Association and the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce, among many others. A graduate of the chamber’s Leadership Winter Park program, she’s also the current president of the Park Avenue Merchants Association and chaired Park Avenue Fashion Week in 2013. It’s easier to the list the awards Grafton hasn’t won than those she has, but a few of her more notable accolades include a ranking in the Orlando Business Journal’s “40 Under 40” and “Women Who Mean Business” compilations. “When I look at Winter Park, I see an incredibly beautiful city whose intrinsic value is irreplaceable to our region,” she says. Her goals include protection of the city’s brand, which she says is defined by both its rich history and its “cultivated beauty, magnetism and hospitality.” Through collaborations and partnerships, she also wants to continue promoting local businesses and creating an environment that facilitates success. “Our city is stronger and more successful when we come together,” she notes.
WHAT SHE SAYS: “In all my experience with leadership, my goal has never been to become a leader. My goal has always been to serve. Also, I’m stubbornly optimistic. When faced with a challenge, I’ll always get excited about how we can conquer it and achieve success. I don’t believe in bad days. Each day is a gift, and I want to make an impact with every gift I’m given.” WHAT OTHERS SAY:
“People like Sarah give me hope for the future of this community … she’s a role model for a new generation of leaders … one of the most effective community boosters we’ve got.” S U MME R 2 0 1 6 | W INT ER PARK MAGAZ IN E
Catherine Hinman at the Morse Museum of American Art.
Ambassador Catherine Hinman
Director of Public Affairs and Publications, The Morse Museum of American Art There’s still a bit of awe in Catherine Hinman’s voice when she talks about the late Hugh and Jeannette McKean, whose priceless collection of Tiffany glass draws art lovers from around the world to Winter Park’s Morse Museum of American Art. Hinman, a former Orlando Sentinel reporter who has been the museum’s director of public affairs and publications since 1999, says the McKeans “built their art collection so that it would be an endless source of enrichment, renewal and joy for the town they loved so well.” The museum had 76,000 visitors last year. That’s an increase of 80 percent since the Morse’s current home on Park Avenue opened in 1995 — and it’s due in no small part to Hinman, whose passionate yet exacting approach to promoting the museum seems well matched to its finely wrought treasures. Hinman’s work is very 21st century, even if the building in which she works displays the splendors of a bygone era. Raising awareness of the museum and its programs means endless hours on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest in addition to chatting up travel writers and managing events. A new ticketing and membership system planned for this summer will keep better track of the museum’s audiences, Hinman says, and making its website more mobile-friendly is a looming challenge. In the fall, the Morse will begin celebrating its 75th anniversary (the date is in February), and Hinman promises exhibitions that honor the breadth of the collection, including paintings not now on view. Hinman raised two daughters (now 22 and 25) while building the museum’s reputation, and she sees her role as helping to educate both young and old about the glories of American art. “We’d like residents to make this collection their own,” says Hinman, noting that only 25 percent of visitors are local. “Hugh would say, ‘Come, and come often.’”
WHAT SHE SAYS: “My hope is that Winter Park will protect and
retain its deeply rooted identity, evolving gracefully and intelligently as change and growth bring inevitable pressures.”
WHAT OTHERS SAY: “Catherine isn’t just a PR master; she has
a mastery of the museum’s collections … smart and sophisticated … she’s regarded as a ‘grownup’ who knows how to get things done.”
W I N T E R P A R K M A G AZI N E | SUMM ER 2016
Debra Hendrickson, on your recognition as one of Winter Park Magazineâ€™s
Most Influential. Your passion for small business and leadership development is an
inspiration to us all! This spring, Rollins launched the inauguration of its 15th president, Grant H. Cornwell, with a special day of service that included three service projects in Winter Park. Here, Peg Cornwell and a young friend contribute to beautification efforts in Central Park.
LEADERSHIP STARTS AT HOME
Educating Rollins students for global citizenship and responsible leadership begins right here in Winter Park. From our longtime commitment to service learning and civic engagement to our topranked MBA and leadership development programs, explore the many ways Rollins is building a brighter world in our neighborhoods and beyond at rollins.edu/servingwinterpark.
ESSENTIAL TO THE FABRIC OF WINTER PARK FOR OVER 130 YEARS.
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Ronnie Moore at the Winter Park Community Center.
Assistant Director, City of Winter Park Parks and Recreation Department
Winter Parkers who use any city-run facilities for events have likely worked with Ronnie Moore, 59, who some say is perhaps the most connected and committed city employee they’ve ever encountered. Longtime locals may remember him as an all-star defensive end on the Winter Park High School football team. (He played college ball at Virginia State, and was inducted into the Winter Park High School Sports Hall of Fame in 2009.) But most people — particularly residents of the west side, where he was born and raised — know Moore through his civic involvement. He serves on the boards of Arthur Jackson Midnight Basketball of Florida, created by the Center for Drug-Free Living; the Welbourne Avenue Nursery and Kindergarten, founded in the 1930s for west-side working mothers; and the Unity Heritage Festival, a citysponsored fundraiser for disadvantaged youth held annually in Hannibal Square. He’s a trustee at Bethel Missionary Baptist Church, where he won its Layperson of the Year Award. He’s also won the Crealdé School of Art Visionary Award, the Habitat for Humanity of Winter Park-Maitland Outstanding Service Award and the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce Hero Award. But there are other good works that Moore does quietly, like buying gear for high-school kids who want to play football at his alma mater. “I know all the families here and I know their situations and needs,” says Moore, whose mother, Joyce Swain, began as a domestic worker but eventually became Winter Park’s city clerk. (She retired in 2001.) Moore’s office is in the Winter Park Community Center in Hannibal Square. “My goal has always been that the center should join the east side and the west side,” he says. As for his job, Moore sees it as more of a mission. “A lot of families helped me growing up,” he recalls. “I’m just doing what I’m supposed to do, now that I’m in a position to give back.”
WHAT HE SAYS: “I’m very blessed with the love and support that I receive from the citizens of this community. I feel that my calling in life is to make a difference in the lives of those I come in contact with.” WHAT OTHERS SAY: “I doubt anybody on the list has touched more lives in a more meaningful way than Ronnie.”
W I N T E R P A R K M A G AZI N E | SUM M ER 2016
Shawn Shaffer at the Martin Luther King Jr. Park playground.
Bibliophile Shawn Shaffer
Executive Director, Winter Park Public Library If you’re looking for evidence that librarians are stuffy, introverted knowit-alls, don’t knock on Shawn Shaffer’s door. During her three years as executive director of the Winter Park Public Library, Shaffer has proven to be a hardy advocate for the library and literacy who loves getting out in the community. Shaffer, who says she’s “almost 60,” took the Winter Park job in 2013 after leading the Elmwood Park Public Library in Illinois, where she grew up and went to college. She soon became immersed in the campaign to replace Winter Park’s outmoded library building, and in March, voters narrowly approved a referendum to spend $30 million on a new library, event center and parking garage. In a separate vote, the City Commission selected a site in Martin Luther King Jr. Park, where the soon-to-be-demolished Winter Park Civic Center now sits. Although a contingent of die-hards continues to try and scuttle the project — this is, after all, Winter Park — Shaffer says she was always confident that the referendum would pass. “Politics is sort of the same everywhere,” she says. “You have to communicate really well, and make sure you have both a good story and the facts.” Now, as design begins on the 50,000-square-foot building, she’s refining the menu of services the library will offer. On Shaffer’s list: an outdoor café, expanded bookstore, gathering places and a “makerspace” where patrons can create their own works, including audio and video productions. And she wants to improve access to the local history collection, much of which is in storage. Despite the internet and e-books, printed volumes aren’t going away, says Shaffer, who adds, “I want generations of Winter Park young people to have a safe, inviting place they can come to find what sparks their imagination and propels them into the best possible future, regardless of how much or how little their family has.”
WHAT SHE SAYS: “When the choice is to laugh or cry, I always try
to choose laughter. Whether it is dressing up as a stereotypical librarian or a superhero, I will do whatever I can to encourage people and put a smile on someone’s face.”
WHAT OTHERS SAY: “Shawn has an encyclopedic knowledge of how libraries function … she probably didn’t expect the library campaign to be so contentious, but she answered objections with facts … she’ll be leading what will be a signature institution for this city.” S U MME R 2 0 1 6 | W INT ER PARK MAGAZ IN E
Jane Hames at Osceola Lodge, home of the Winter Park Institute at Rollins College and the Bach Festival Society of Winter Park.
Founder and President, Embassy Communications
It happened like this. Someone casually opined that a community-wide event honoring beloved Rollins College President Emeritus Thad Seymour and his wife, Polly, was long overdue. Jane Hames agreed. But the difference between Hames, 66, and most everyone else is that she can take a well-intentioned but non-specific notion, such as a salute to the Seymours, and through the depth of her connections, the savvy of her salesmanship and the sheer force of her personality make it happen — seemingly overnight. (See page ?? for more about the recent Seymour Family Reunion.) Everybody takes calls from Hames, even when they know in advance that she’ll be asking for a check to support some worthy cause. Her work ethic has always been superhuman; she took a record-setting 31 credit hours per semester for two semesters at the University of Florida en route to an undergraduate degree in journalism. Her company, founded in 1984, specializes in public relations, government relations and media relations for corporate clients. But she’s best known for her volunteer work, having chaired Florida Citrus Sports, Visit Orlando, the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce and the Gardens at DePugh Nursing Center, among many other organizations. She’s currently chair of an advisory board for the Winter Park Institute at Rollins College. Perhaps most significantly, Hames infiltrated Central Florida’s good old boy network more than 30 years ago, and paved the way for a new generation of professional women to be ranked among the region’s power players. She has won the Professional of the Year Award from the Florida Public Relations Association, the Businesswoman of the Year Award from the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce, the Up and Comer Award from the Orlando Economic Development Commission and the Summit Award from the Central Florida Women’s Resource Center. Hames notes that “it’s truly amazing what you can accomplish if you don’t care who gets the credit.”
WHAT SHE SAYS: “My personal style, as a farm-raised, natural-born problem solver, is to listen as hard as I can, gather all the facts and then act to get things done.” WHAT OTHERS SAY: “Jane is a force of nature … she was a major player in this town when women didn’t usually have a seat at the table … if you want something done, ask Jane and get out of the way.”
W I N T E R P A R K M A GAZI N E | SUM M ER 2016
Catherine Hinman tirelessly champions the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art, effectively and with style. She well represents the Morse to our community and beyond. The Trustees of the Charles Hosmer Morse Foundation, the trustees of the Elizabeth Now Open Morse Genius Foundation and the museum staff are grateful to you, Catherine, for your contribution and commitment. Congratulations on your well-deserved recognition by Winter Park Magazine.
445 North Park Avenue, Winter Park, FL 32789 407-645-5311 morsemuseum.org
The Knowles Memorial Chapel on the Rollins College campus, bathed in rainbow-colored lighting. not valid on merchandise. not redeemable for cash. may not be combined with any other promotion, offer or spafinder. first time guests only. locally owned. expired 12/31/16.
newly opened July 2016
The staff of Winter Park Magazine expresses shock regarding the tragedy at Pulse. We offer prayers for those who were killed, wishes for emotional and physical restoration for those who were injured, condolences for grieving loved ones, gratitude for first responders, and confidence that our community will remain loving, welcoming, inclusive and supportive.
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Sam Stark at the Orlando Avenue offices of Moxē.
Persuader Sam Stark
President and CEO, Moxē Inc. When Sam Stark left Winter Park for Chicago five years ago, he was pursuing a unique challenge: building a sports commission from the ground up in the nation’s third-largest market. When he returned to Winter Park, he found his new challenge equally appealing: leading a marketing agency in the city he still called home. Stark, a 46-year-old Rollins College graduate, spent almost three years attracting sporting events to the Windy City and building tourism around them as the first executive director of the Chicago Sports Commission. Now, he’s president and CEO of Moxē, the agency owned by philanthropist Harvey Massey and formerly known as Massey Communications. His clients include sports groups, nonprofits and, of course, Massey Services. Before his Chicago sojourn, Stark led the Central Florida Sports Commission and the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce, where he guided the creation of the Winter Park Welcome Center. Local leaders wasted no time in putting him back to work. Among his many civic roles, he’s a trustee of the Winter Park Health Foundation, and recently headed the city’s Library Facility Task Force. After months of study and public forums, Stark’s group recommended a new and bigger building to serve the city’s current and future information needs — a flexible space “designed for perpetual learning.” Although the debate was heated, voters agreed in March, narrowly approving a referendum to spend $30 million on a new library and event center. His immersion in sports marketing has proved to be a good background for civic work, Stark says: “It’s so much about relationships. The more you can have a can-do and win-win approach to projects, it just seems easier to get things done.”
WHAT HE SAYS: “While community and business are very important to me, nothing is more important and cherished than my family and friends, and that allows me to not take things too seriously or personally.” WHAT OTHERS SAY: “Sam asks good questions, listens carefully and excels in connecting the dots, finding new relationships among community organizations to increase capacity and get results.”
W I N T E R P A R K M A GAZI N E | SUM M ER 2016
TO WINTER PARK’S MOST INFLUENTIAL:
Congratulations & Thank You! Since 1989, The Mayflower has been woven into the very fabric of Winter Park, with a synergy that has flourished through strategic partnerships, civic involvement and philanthropy. Our staff and residents actively support worthwhile causes that preserve the city’s history, character, environment and business climate. Simply put, we are part of Winter Park . . . and it is part of us. So it is with great pride that we salute Winter Park Magazine’s 2016 Most Influential People. With vision, creativity, dedication and hard work, you continue to enrich and advance our hometown – bringing new ideas and perspectives that build on a legacy of success. Your leadership makes a difference – not only for the community at large, but for each of us as individuals. Whether we live here, work here, or just visit here, we’re all better . . . because of you.
THE MAYFLOWER Winter Park’s Distinctive Retirement Community
Proud Co-sponsor of Winter Park Magazine’s Reception Saluting Winter Park’s Most Influential People at The Alfond Inn
1 62 0 M A Y F L O W E R C O U R T
WINTER PARK, FL 32792
88141 PRAD WPM 6/2016
Linda Keen, Sue Foreman, Jeffrey Blydenburgh, Bill Weir Mead Garden Volunteers
Winter Park’s hallowed Mead Botanical Garden marked its 75th birthday last year. But there might not have been much to celebrate if a grass-roots (pun intended) group of locals hadn’t decided that this 47-acre urban oasis was worth reclaiming. Hundreds of volunteers deserve kudos. But we’ve picked four of the most effective advocates to represent all the kindred spirits who, over the past 13 years, have done everything from raise funds to pull weeds. The quartet includes Linda Keen, 68, a civic activist; Jeffrey Blydenburgh, 68, an architect and planner; Sue Foreman, 75, a retired educator; and Bill Weir, 79, a retired executive who spent 35 years at Hughes Supply. Most Winter Parkers know the story by now. The garden, named for botanist Theodore L. Mead, exists primarily due to the determination and ingenuity of Edwin Osgood Grover, a tireless professor of books at Rollins College. It was initially owned and operated by a nonprofit organization formed by Grover and others. However, following a rift over admission fees in 1953, the city took control. That’s when a slow but inexorable decline began. In 2003, concerned citizens formed a new nonprofit, the Friends of Mead Garden Inc. (now Mead Botanical Garden Inc.), which unleashed brigades of “weed warriors” and orchestrated a massive reclamation project. Today, although the city still owns the garden, it’s operated by the same group that rescued it from ruin. The result? Thanks to volunteers and various public-private partnerships, you’ll find a new amphitheater as well as a greenhouse, a pole barn, a butterfly garden and an educational building. Wetlands have been restored and boardwalks have been rebuilt. Kids flock to a popular summer camp. Families picnic on the grassy shores of picturesque Alice’s Pond (named for longtime volunteer Alice Mikkleson). And birdwatchers come from across the state to catch a glimpse of barred owls, hooded warblers, red-bellied woodpeckers and other winged visitors and residents. “Our commitment is to create a nationally recognized natural display garden with a campus for education and recreation,” says Keen. Without question, magical Mead Botanical Garden ranks among the city’s most important assets. And, as development around it booms, the intrinsic value of “Winter Park’s Natural Place” multiplies exponentially.
WHAT THEY SAY: Linda Keen: “My personal goal for Winter Park is to enrich and enhance the vision and make Mead Botanical Garden the best place for the community, emphasizing its importance as a unique city asset and how lucky we are to have it.” Jeffrey Blydenburgh: “Winter Park is more than the sum of its parts. We have an amazing cluster of cultural and educational organizations that together would comprise an amazing arts and cultural collaborative. My goal is to make that collaboration happen.” Sue Foreman: “I want to help establish the ethos, facilities, network of people and processes for innovative and inclusive community engagement, problem solving and transformational relationships.” Bill Weir: “My goal is to help build a world-class community for quality of life. To do that, you visualize where you want to go, build a team, and then take action.” WHAT OTHERS SAY: “Leu Gardens [in Orlando] has a $2 million budget; Mead gets about $100,000 from Winter Park. Does that make sense? … a priceless jewel, thanks to volunteers … it feels like you’re in a different world there … great educational programs for kids.”
W I N T E R P A R K M A GAZI N E | SUM M ER 2016
Left to right: Bill Weir, Linda Keen, Sue Foreman and Jeffrey Blydenburgh at Mead Garden.
Randy Knight at Winter Park City Hall.
City Manager, City of Winter Park
Since 1949, Winter Park has operated under a commission-manager form of government. The city manager is essentially the chief executive officer, responsible for implementing the commission’s policies while ensuring that the city remains on solid fiscal footing. Sounds straightforward enough, except that in Winter Park, the makeup of the commission changes every year. That all but guarantees ever-shifting balances of power and, at times, abrupt policy reversals (see: historic-preservation ordinance). Randy Knight, 56, is the man “who keeps all the plates spinning.” For obvious reasons, most city managers don’t last as long as Knight, a Georgia native who was named to the city’s top job in 2007. Prior to that, he’d served 13 years as assistant city manager and three years as finance director. “I’m Switzerland,” he says of his unflappable neutrality. Still, the coming year promises to be a challenging one. The city’s comprehensive plan — the blueprint for growth and development — is due for its seven-year review. That review comes on the heels of a yearlong visioning process, a citizen-run initiative that was still underway at press time. Commercial development, especially along U.S. Highway 17-92, is snowballing. And, of course, there’s the unanticipated controversy surrounding the proposed new Winter Park Public Library complex. But Knight, a CPA who graduated from Florida Southern College, has dealt with thorny issues before. One of his proudest accomplishments was leading the city through the lawsuit-laden process of forming its own electric utility more than a decade ago. Clearly, whatever Winter Park’s problems are, they’re often problems that other municipalities only wish they had. Certainly, the city’s in solid financial shape, with reserves equaling 27 percent of its annual operating budget. The folksy Knight, of course, says that’s mostly because the city has consistently elected smart commissioners. Smart enough, certainly, to make a great hire.
WHAT HE SAYS: “I try to be accessible and approachable to everyone, regardless of their stature, wealth, position, professional or political affiliations. I work for all 29,000 residents, and believe each deserves the city’s very best.” WHAT OTHERS SAY: “The next year or two will be pivotal for Winter Park, so I’m glad Randy has stayed with us … a guy with no agenda except doing a good job for the city … he seems to have the trust of the commission and most residents, which is saying a lot in this town.”
W I N T E R P A R K M A GAZI N E | SUM M ER 2016
statement At Hill Gray Seven LLC, we’re making a statement about Winter Park by building Park Hill, the most beautiful and luxurious townhome project ever seen in Central Florida – right in the heart of downtown. But making a statement doesn’t have to involve bricks and mortar. It doesn’t have to involve anything that you can touch and feel. It can be advocating for a cause. Running for an office. Serving on a board. Offering a helping hand. It can be any activity that makes Winter Park an ever better place to live, work and play. That’s why we’re proud to congratulate Winter Park’s Most Influential People. Through your efforts, Winter Park is a one-of-a-kind community. We’re proud to be part of it. And we’re proud of you.
For information about Park Hill or Penn Place, our Winter Park townhomes, please call Drew Hill at 407-588-2122.
EPICURIAN John Rife
Fr. Richard Walsh
Harold Ward III
Owner, East End Market
President, Sydgan Corp.
Pastor, St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church
Attorney, Winderweedle, Haines, Ward & Woodman, P.A.
Allan E. Keen
Jeffery G. Eisenbarth
Chairman and CEO, The Keewin Real Property Co.
Editor, Winter Park Voice
Vice President for Business and Finance and Treasurer, Rollins College
Here's the inaugural class of Winter Park's Most Influential People. For more detailed profiles of last year's selectees, visit winterparkmag.com and select the summer 2015 issue.
CLASS of 2015
President Emeritus, Rollins College
ENTREPRENEUR Lambrine Macejewski Partner/Co-Founder, Cocina 214
Director of Planning and Development, City of Winter Park
Debbie Komanski Executive Director, Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens
Patricia A. Maddox
Chair, Department of Music, Rollins College
Executive Director, Winter Park Institute at Rollins College
Vice President, Leary Management Group; Mayor, City of Winter Park
President and CEO, Winter Park Health Foundation
COO, Battaglia Group Management, LLC
Past President, Winter Park History Museum Board of Directors
Executive Director, Winter Park History Museum
PRESERVATIONIST Betsy Rogers Owens
Partner/Shareholder, Lowndes, Drosdick, Doster, Kantor & Reed, P.A.
Executive Director, Friends of Casa Feliz
City Commissioner, City of Winter Park
President and CEO, Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation
Rebecca “Becky” Wilson
RENAISSANCE MAN Steve Goldman Entrepreneur/ Philanthropist
Retired; Volunteer Docent, Hannibal Square Heritage Center
President and CEO, Winter Park Chamber of Commerce
KELLY L. PRICE Broker Kelly Price & Company
of Winter Park
Her distinctive yellow-and-black signs can be seen in front of homes in nearly every neighborhood in Central Florida. So it’s no surprise that Broker Kelly Price describes herself as a “real estate junkie.” Kelly’s passion is one reason that Kelly Price & Company, founded in 2002, has grown into one of the region’s most successful real estate firms. “I like people. I love houses. It’s fun to match them up, like Match.com,” says Kelly, who has called Winter Park home for more than 40 years. After graduating from the University of Florida, Kelly returned home and began her career in real estate, an industry she was born to lead. “My father was in real estate development, and it always felt very natural for me,” she says. “I guess you could say it was in my blood.” Her intimate knowledge of the area, and her passion for the community, have been advantages. So have the 35 agents who represent Kelly Price & Company and its “unwavering enthusiasm” motto. Year after year, her agents are recognized as the best in the industry, consistently ranking as top producers. Though her name is ubiquitous, Kelly is a private person. She loves to spend time with her family, including her dog, Scout, a loveable goldendoodle who’s as charismatic as his owner. And she’s a competitively trained equestrian, who frequently visits her cutting horse, Sugardaddy. To unwind, she loves to travel, most recently visiting the Great Smoky Mountains to see the synchronous fireflies.
I like people. I love houses. It’s fun to match them up.
243 W. Park Ave. Winter Park, FL 32789 407-645-4321 kellypriceandcompany.com
Executive Director Winter Park YMCA Family Center
of Winter Park
Many people hit midlife and dream about pursuing an unrealized passion. David Rider, 51, a native of Maitland, could be their hero. A year into his job as executive director of the Winter Park YMCA Family Center, he feels that he’s exactly where he belongs. David made the leap after two decades in the corporate world, and after he and his wife, Beverly, sat down one morning in June 2015 and decided to sell a business they built from scratch. “I told my wife, ‘Listen, I want to be a coach like my dad, and work in the community.’” David recalls. “She said, ‘I support you. Go do it.’” He met a friend for lunch two hours later. Serendipitously, into the restaurant walked Bud Oliver, longtime Winter Park YMCA executive director, who announced that he was leaving the job. “I said, ba-ding!” David recalls. A star high school athlete at Lake Highland Prep and Winter Park High, David had been visiting the Y since his father, Dale, now 83, carried him through the doors in his arms. Many local residents fondly remember Dale as basketball coach at what was then called Maitland Junior High School. Today, you can still find David on the Y’s basketball courts, playing on an over-40 team with lifelong friends. Whatever activity you enjoy, David says you can find it at the Winter Park YMCA Family Center.
I told my wife, ‘Listen, I want to be a coach like
my dad, and work in the community.’ She said, ‘I support you. Go do it.’
1201 N. Lakemont Ave. Winter Park, FL 32792 407-644-1509 ymcacentralflorida.com
RICK CACCAVELLO President Central Kitchen & Bath
of Winter Park
Rick Caccavello, 56, knows his way around a kitchen in more ways than one. As longtime owner of Central Kitchen & Bath, Rick oversees an award-winning team that sells, designs and installs cabinetry for two of the most complex rooms in a house. “We listen to the client, then we serve as their personal guide to create a spectacular design,” he says. Rick, a native of Connecticut, knows what works from personal experience. The grandson of an Italian immigrant, he comes from a large family that bonded over lovingly cooked homemade meals prepared using recipes from the old country. To my family, cooking was an art form,” recalls Rick, whose own specialty is fettucine alfredo. His secret? “There’s no real recipe,” he says. “I can tell you what the ingredients are. But how much you put in is to taste.” Rick also inherited an entrepreneurial gene, and bought Winter Park-based Central Kitchen & Bath in 2000. He and his wife, Cindy, raised three children in Oviedo. When not designing or cooking, Rick can be found Saturdays playing ice hockey at RDV Sportsplex. It’s the kind of friendly game, he says, where everyone goes home with teeth intact.
We listen to the client, then we serve as their personal guide to create a spectacular design.
935 Orange Ave., Suite 102 Winter Park, FL 32789 407-629-9366 centralkitchenbath.com
FACES of Winter Park
FANNIE HILLMAN + ASSOCIATES Locally owned and operated since 1981, Fannie Hillman + Associates is a trusted neighbor whose staff of licensed real estate brokers and sales associates have been actively involved in the local community for over 35 years.
THE BAGBY TEAM
No. 1 Top Producing Team, Nancy Bagby, Awarded 2016 Hot 100, Julie Bagby Williams and SueAnn Rand 407-644-2145 firstname.lastname@example.org
MARIA VAN WARNER
No. 1 Top Producer, Awarded 2016 Hot 100 407-256-8066 email@example.com
Top Producer, Awarded 2016 Hot 100 407-353-9997 firstname.lastname@example.org
Top Producer, Awarded 2016 Hot 100 407-252-3210 email@example.com
Top Producer, Awarded 2016 Hot 100 407-620-8683 firstname.lastname@example.org
We live here, we work here and we have an unparalleled knowledge of the local market.
Top Producer, Awarded 2016 Hot 100 407-721-7275 email@example.com
Pictured (left to right): MaryStuart Day, John McDade, Megan Cross, Catherine D’Amico, Julie Williams, Maria Van Warner, Nancy Bagby and SueAnn Rand.
205 W. Fairbanks Ave. Winter Park, FL 32789 407-644-1234 fanniehillman.com
A LEGACY PROJECT ON
PARK AVENUE Hill Gray Sevenâ€™s Park Hill raises the bar on luxury at a one-of-a-kind location.
S P E C I A L
R E P O R T
The Hill family (left to right): Gregg Hill Jr., Gray Hill, Gregg Hill Sr. and Drew Hill.
SETTING A NEW STANDARD
elcome to Hill Gray Seven LLC. Although we’re active in 17 states, we’re particularly excited about Park Hill. As a Winter Park resident, it’s a project in which I take particular pride. In fact, you might call it our legacy project. Simply put, we wanted to develop the most luxurious townhomes ever offered in Central Florida — in the best location imaginable. That’s why we were so pleased when we had an opportunity to buy residential property — the last property of its kind — on Park Avenue in the heart of the downtown district. Frankly, the opportunity to develop this one-of-a-kind parcel came with great responsibility. Park Avenue is internationally known for its beauty and charm. So it was incumbent on us to spearhead a project worthy of the address; a project that raises the bar and sets a new standard for luxury living. We think you’ll agree that we’ve accomplished exactly what we set out to do. For me, Park Hill will be a legacy project. Thirty years from now, I fully expect to be bragging about it to my grandchildren. Honestly, there were more profitable options available to us. But we chose instead to spare no expense, cut no corners and create something unlike anything Central Florida has ever seen. If you believe the Park Hill lifestyle is right for you, I encourage you to call me right away. There are only 10 homes available. And we expect that they will be the last new homes constructed in the heart of Winter Park’s downtown core. I look forward to discussing Park Hill with you in person. Drew Hill Partner Hill Gray Seven LLC 407-588-2122
2 A LEGACY PROJECT ON PARK AVENUE
Park Hill, an ultra-luxury townhome project, offers a rare opportunity to live directly on Park Avenue in downtown Winter Park.
rew Hill had a vision. He just didn’t know, at first, where he’d be able to make it a reality. He wanted to build the most luxurious townhomes ever offered in Central Florida, townhomes that rivaled anything you’d find in the most affluent urban neighborhoods in the Northeast. Hill, a Winter Park resident, wanted to create a legacy project for his family owned company, Hill Gray Seven LLC. He wanted a project that would retain its wow factor for generations to come; a project that would permanently raise the bar locally for high-end townhomes; a project in which no compromises would be accepted, no expense would be spared and no detail would be overlooked.
But, Hill realized, the location for such an over-the-top endeavor had to be every bit as extraordinary as the opulent but dignified buildings he imagined. You couldn’t develop a project of this caliber and plunk it down just anywhere, even in the most affluent suburb. Then it hit him. Why not Park Avenue, perhaps the best-known thoroughfare in the region? Why not squarely in the vibrant heart of Winter Park’s lively, picture-postcard downtown district, with its beguiling European-meets-Mediterranean ambience and its intriguing assortment of boutiques, restaurants and museums? He’d call the project Park Hill and market it toward baby boomers, some of whom may be downsizing from lakefront mansions but aren’t
willing to swap the luxury to which they’re accustomed for the hasslefree lifestyle offered by townhome living. Why not have both? “We felt there was a need for this product, especially for people who want a luxurious setting but also want to be able to lock and leave and not worry about maintenance,” says Hill, a Rollins College graduate who runs the Oviedo-based investment and development company along with his father, Gregg Hill Sr., and brothers, Gray Hill and Gregg Hill Jr. Sure, everyone would love to have a Park Avenue address. But where could a new residential project be built in the downtown core? Only one place, as it turns out, and Hill Gray Seven quickly snapped it
A LEGACY PROJECT ON PARK AVENUE 3
The three rear Park Hill units face Whipple Avenue and the Winter Park Country Club golf course. All units have a Park Avenue address.
up. It’s two parcels totaling roughly an acre at the southwest corner of North Park Avenue and Whipple Avenue. The site had encompassed the 18-unit Spanish Oaks Apartments and the eight-unit Golfview Apartments, both built in the 1960s and 1970s. In January, Hill Gray Seven paid $5.2 million for the property and put its ambitious plan in motion. Ground is breaking this summer on Park Hill, and presales will begin soon. The project will include 10 three-bedroom homes with private elevators, two-car garages, private first-floor courtyards and covered rooftop terraces with summer kitchens and fireplaces. Seven of the 10 homes will front Park Avenue and encompass about
4 A LEGACY PROJECT ON PARK AVENUE
4,300 square feet of living area. They’ll have three bedrooms, three bathrooms and two half-bathrooms. Three other homes, equally luxurious at 3,300 square feet of living area, will have one less full bathroom. They’re separated from the row of seven homes by a private bricked driveway and face the Winter Park Country Club golf course across Whipple. All 10, however, will boast a Park Avenue address. Prices start at about $3.3 million for the larger seven homes and at about $2.7 million for the smaller three homes. Hill believes they’ll go quickly at that price. “No one has attempted anything like this in Central Florida,” Hill says. “And the only place it could really work is Park Avenue. That’s
Park Hill isn’t Hill Gray Seven’s only Winter Park project. Nearby, on quiet Pennsylvania Avenue, is four-unit Penn Place.
WELCOME TO PENN PLACE Hill Gray Seven LLC is developing another high-end townhome project not far from Park Avenue. Penn Place is a four-unit project on the southwest corner of Pennsylvania and Minnesota avenues. It’s across from the Winter Park High School Ninth Grade Center and near the eastern entrance to Mead Garden, one of the most beautiful and tranquil botanical gardens in Central Florida. Penn Place, also designed by Slocum Platts and built by Zoltan Construction, offers 3,300-square-foot homes with three or four bedrooms. They’re comparable to Park Hill, with elevators, high-style finishes, private courtyards and two-car garages. These two-story townhomes feature 11-foot ceilings on both floors and interior design by Mark Rash Interiors. Rollins College is about a five-minute stroll away, and the project is surrounded by charming historic homes lining walkable brick streets. Prices start at about $1.45 million. For more information, contact Drew Hill at 407-588-2122.
why we were willing to pay whatever it cost to get the property. That’s why this is something no one else can replicate. There’s really no competition.” Hill says he didn’t want Park Hill to look like anything you’d typically find in Florida. “I want people to look at this and say, ‘That fits in; that’s Park Avenue,’” Hill adds. The architect is award-winning, Maitland-based Slocum Platts. Company principle Randall J. Slocum says Hill gave him general guidelines, including the instruction that he wanted “a more northern look, with lots of brick and stone and a high level of detail.” Slocum delivered a classically stylish design that buyers in the upper
stratosphere will appreciate. The beautifully detailed facades feature smooth precast stone on the first floor, and rustic handmade brick on the upper floors. Mansard slate roofs add a European touch. The flashing and gutters are copper, and the exterior window trim, cornices and quoins are precast stone, demonstrating Hill’s insistence that there’ll be no corner-cutting on materials. The complex is surrounded by a decorative iron fence with Europeanstyle gaslights topping brick columns. The walkways are bluestone, and the landscaping — maintained by an owners’ association — is lush. Interiors, by Orlando-based Mark Rash, are no less impressive. Buyers will be able to choose from among several general styles, Hill says,
A LEGACY PROJECT ON PARK AVENUE 5
Dramatic open spaces ideal for entertaining or family time are shown in the floorplan for a first-floor end unit.
from contemporary to transitional to traditional. All the homes will feature high-style detailing, such as coffered ceilings and crown molding, as well as hardwood floors, marble countertops and cabinetry custom-made to the buyerâ€™s specifications. Master bathrooms will have rainhead showers and large soaking tubs as well as his-and-hers vanities, while gourmet kitchens will boast top-ofthe-line Wolf appliances. Thereâ€™ll be wet bars and wine towers that can store up to 160 bottles.
Perhaps the most impressive design feature will be three stories of glass along the back walls. That means natural light will spill unimpeded into every floor. Construction will be energy efficient and airtight, with spray-foam insulation and high-SEER Carrier air conditioning units. Smart-home technology, including security systems, will be stateof-the-art. For reservations, contact Drew Hill at 407-588-2122.
Hill Gray Seven LLC is a family owned company that develops high-end residential, retail, office, medical and industrial projects in more than 17 states. The company is a preferred developer to many national firms such as DaVita Dialysis, a Fortune 500 company.
6 A LEGACY PROJECT ON PARK AVENUE
Mark Rash Interiors is the interior designer for Park Hill. Although high-style finishes are common to all the homes, buyers will be able to select from contemporary, traditional and transitional styles.
A LEGACY PROJECT ON PARK AVENUE 7
Downtown Winter Park features beautiful Central Park and the picture-postcard shopping district. The 100-year-old Winter Park Country Club is across the street.
DELIGHTFULLY DOWNTOWN Surely just about everyone who has visited downtown Winter Park has mused, “I’d sure like to live on Park Avenue.” However, the picture-postcard downtown district — especially Park Avenue itself — has offered precious few such opportunities. Park Hill, an ultra-luxury townhome project by Hill Gray Seven LLC, will be the only new residential construction along the stretch of Park Avenue that encompasses downtown and its many charms. In fact, Park Hill may fairly be described as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The Park Avenue shopping and dining district dates to 1887. By the turn of the century it included a general store, a railroad depot, a bakery, a watchmaker, a saw mill, a wagon factory, an ice house and a combination livery stable and blacksmith shop. Today, it’s Central Florida’s undisputed retail, dining, cultural and intellectual hub. Park Hill residents will be just steps from some of the region’s finest restaurants, from Tex-Mex to Turkish, and most fashion-forward boutiques. The world-renowned Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art and its astounding collection of Louis Comfort Tiffany creations is two blocks south.
8 A LEGACY PROJECT ON PARK AVENUE
And the historic Winter Park Country Club, where the golf course is undergoing a $1.2 million renovation, is right across the street. So is the adjacent Casa Feliz Historic Home and Museum. Eleven-acre Central Park is the scene of numerous concerts and festivals, including the annual Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival, the Olde Fashioned 4th of July Celebration and the Bach Festival of Winter Park’s Christmas in the Park. Park Hill residents will never have to worry about finding a parking space for these popular events. And it’ll be an easy stroll to the Winter Park Farmer’s Market, held every Saturday. The Winter Park History Museum is in the historic depot around which the market is held. Rollins College anchors the south end of Park Avenue. There you’ll find the Cornell Fine Arts Museum and its eclectic and encyclopedic collection. Or you can attend a concert, a lecture or a sporting event. If you have more guests than you can accommodate — and in this location, that’s entirely possible — you can send them to the Alfond Inn, located just a block off Park Avenue. The boutique hotel has been named by Condé Nast Traveler as one of the best in the nation.
JAGUAR ORLANDO 4249 Millenia Boulevard Orlando, FL 32839 888-671-3164 www.jaguarorlando.com
CHIC PHOTOGRAPHY BY RAFAEL TONGOL | STYLING BY MARIANNE ILUNGA MAKEUP AND HAIR BY ELSIE KNAB | MODEL: MARIA WEIMAN AT MODERN MUSE MODELS PHOTO ASSISTANTS: CHRIS RANK AND JENN ALLAN
ummertime, and the living is easy — especially in Winter Park, with its profusion of lakes. There’s no lovelier locale in town than the Harold Alfond Boathouse on Lake Virginia. Owned by Rollins College, the boathouse was built in 1990 with funding from philanthropist Harold Alfond, founder of the Dexter Shoe Company. In addition to paying for the building, Alfond, who died in 2007, contributed to refurbishing the shoreline to create a better setting for sailing, waterskiing, boating and canoeing. And, as it turns out, for modeling summer fashions.
Maria wears a white kimono with embroidery and tassel details ($44) and white shorts with embroidery details ($29), both by Gypsy Rose and both from Forema Boutique, Park Avenue. Accessories are the stylist’s own. S PRING 2 0 1 6 | W IN T ER PARK MAGAZ IN E
Maria wears a Hawaiian flower-print bikini top and bottom by Stone Fox Swim ($88 each), both from Charyli on Park Avenue. Her turquoise and gold-tone headpiece ($20) is by Headbands, while her triple stone band druzy ring ($125) is by Darae. Her gold-tone bracelet ($80) and gold-tone ring ($68) are both by Yachi Design and both from Tuni on Park Avenue. Her cuff bracelet with bar stones ($98) and gold-tone and turquoise ring ($68) are both by Joy Dravecky and both from Charyli on Park Avenue. Her crescent moon and stars lariat necklace ($78) and teardrop necklace ($128) are both by Long Lost Jewelry, while her velvet choker necklace ($58) is by Frasier Sterling Jewelry. All are from Charyli on Park Avenue.
W I N T E R P A R K M A G AZI N E | SP RI N G 2016
Maria wears a white fringe vest by MinkPink ($98) and a one-piece floral print by Frankieâ€™s Bikinis ($235), both from Charyli on Park Avenue. Her multicolor stone bracelet and bowtie by Bourbon ($28 each) and gold-tone necklaces by India Rib ($21-$39) are all from Forema Boutique, Park Avenue. Her yellow hat by Goal 20/20 ($48) is from Tuni on Park Avenue. S PRING 2 0 1 6 | W INT ER PARK MAGAZ IN E
Maria wears a gray animal print V-neck maxi coverup by Camilla Swim ($500) and high-waisted jeweled denim shorts by Sparkle ($48). Her round-frame sunglasses by Karen Walker ($280) and jeweled gray suede slides by Grazie Footwear ($68) are both from Tuni on Park Avenue, while her turquoise bikini top by LSpace ($88) is from Charyli on Park Avenue. Her silver-tone teardrop bracelets ($199 each) and layered silver retro coin necklace ($360) are both from Coralia Leets Jewelry on Park Avenue.
W I N T E R P A R K M A GAZI N E | SP RI N G 2016
Maria wears a white long-sleeve beach coverup with pink tassel details by Sundress ($142) and carries a cotton pink and white stripe clutch by Rue De Verneuil ($156). Her oversize gold-tone disc earrings ($156) and pink Lucite cuff ($24) are both by Lisi Lerch and both from The Grove, Winter Park.
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BIG CHEER FOR THE SEYMOURS
had and Polly Seymour were told that they had been invited to a “unity party,” the purpose of which was to heal divisions that had resulted from a contentious city election. Of course, they probably knew better. But the revered Rollins College president emeritus and his wife of 57 years were gracious enough to attend anyway — and to feign surprise when it turned out that the party was to honor them. In fact, the “unity party” descriptor wasn’t entirely untrue. Affection for the Seymours — who were president and first lady of Rollins College from 1978 through 1990 — is one of the few things on which all Winter Parkers can agree. In early May, a handful of community movers and shakers led by public relations consultant Jane Hames organized the “surprise” celebration for the couple, both of whom have become iconic local figures for their community service. “The Seymour Family Reunion” brought several hundred of Winter Park’s most prominent civic, cultural, business and political leaders to the shores of Lake Virginia, behind the Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens and the adjacent Capen-Showalter House. There they listened to a Dixieland jazz combo, enjoyed tricks from strolling magicians (Thad is an accomplished amateur illusionist), feasted on catered cuisine from Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, and shared seemingly countless stories about the ways in which the Seymours had inspired them, led civic improvement efforts or assisted their organizations with good works. The Seymours, at turns deeply moved and laugh-out-loud entertained by the sometimes tongue-in-cheek (but always sincere) presentations, accepted one plaudit after another with their usual combination of modesty and good humor. Thad, still a towering physical and intellectual force at 87, was even persuaded (actually, not much persuasion was required) to belt out a satirical 1880s musical ditty that saluted the Dinky Line, a notoriously unreliable
W I N T E R P A R K M A GAZI N E | SUMM ER 2016
train service that connected Winter Park and Orlando. Polly, whose dry humor complements her husband’s unabashed exuberance, told the crowd that she and Thad had at first been uncertain about taking the job at Rollins. “I had never heard anything about Florida that I was impressed about,” she said. But the canny Hugh McKean, another legendary Winter Parker and a past college president, arranged for the Seymours to take a boat ride on Lake Virginia and see the campus from the water. McKean rightly figured that no one could resist such an extraordinary view. The ploy had the desired effect. “I saw it and I said, ‘Well, we may have stumbled on to something,’” Polly recalled. It was clearly the good fortune of Rollins — and the community — that the beauty of the campus lured the Seymours away from Indiana’s Wabash College, where Thad had been president for the previous nine years. At Rollins, Thad led the college’s centennial celebration, rededicated the Walk of Fame and raised funds for the construction of the Olin Library and the Cornell Hall for the Social Sciences. He also eliminated operating deficits while concurrently abolishing a popular undergraduate business major, vowing that “if you’re going to be a liberal arts college, then be a liberal arts college.” On a lighter note, he reinstated Fox Day, a random holiday from classes during which students are encouraged to participate in a community service activity. But Thad and Polly became best known for their wide-ranging civic involvement. Under the Seymours, Rollins became not an isolated and insular island of academia, but an institution thoroughly enmeshed in the surrounding community. In fact, of the nearly 20 speakers at the Seymour Family Reunion, all but a few represented organizations unrelated to Rollins. During the event, Winter Park Mayor Steve Leary declared May 1 Thaddeus Seymour Day, presenting the Seymours with a key to the city. Hal George, president of Habitat for Humanity of Winter Park-Maitland, then
DIGITAL ART BY CHIP WESTON, ORIGINAL IMAGE COURTESY OF THE ROLLINS COLLEGE DEPARTMENT OF ARCHIVES AND SPECIAL COLLECTIONS
BY RANDY NOLES
Winter Park comes together to salute two of its most beloved residents.
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began introducing speakers. George co-emceed along with Patrick Chapin, executive officer of the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce. “We should be done by about 9 tonight, I think,” joked George at the late-afternoon beginning of the program. It didn’t take quite that long, but only because presenters were urged to keep their comments brief. And that was no easy task when talking about the positive impact the Seymours have had on Winter Park. Grant Cornwell, the current Rollins president, gave the couple a framed silver coin. During his presidency, Thad randomly handed out silver coins on campus when he saw students doing good deeds. Fred Jones, Rotary Club of Winter Park board member, gave Thad a small statue of Rotary founder Paul Harris. Thad had previously won the Paul Harris Award, the club’s highest honor, and remains an active member of the local organization. Debbie Komanski, executive director of the Polasek, gave Thad a small replica of Man Carving His Own Destiny, a sculpture on the property. The figure represents Thad’s indomitable spirit, said Komanski. She reminded the crowd that Thad had been instrumental in raising funds to save the 130-year-old Capen-Showalter House, and recalled how he kept her spirits up with his unflagging optimism. “Thad always manages to bring out my
silly side,” she said. To honor Thad’s role as chairman of Habitat for Humanity of Winter Park-Maitland, George announced the next home built will be dubbed the Thad Seymour House. “We’ll try to do a better job on that one,” George deadpanned. And Diana Silvey, program director for the Winter Park Health Foundation, noted that Thad was a longtime volunteer for the not-for-profit organization. But, she added, “we know that the wind beneath his wings this whole time has been Polly.” Polly was recognized for her time as the Winter Park Public Library board of trustees’ president. She started the library’s New Leaf Bookstore, which continues today. “This is the most wonderful community,” she said. “This has been the most wonderful tribute to my husband.” Thad, who described the event as “heart-bursting,” apologized for “making you all stay out in the hot weather for so long.” But in typical fashion, he got a laugh with a recollection. Early in his presidency, the Rollins theater department decided to stage Equus, which featured full-frontal male nudity, much to the horror of some locals. “We had picketers in from of the theater,” Thad recalled. “And I remember my favorite sign. It read, ‘Seymour wants to see more!”
PRESENTERS Below, in the order in which they appeared, are the Seymour Family Reunion presenters and the organizations they represented, as well as the commemorative items they brought and the announcements they made. In some cases, space limitations don’t allow room for elaboration. But all the gifts have special significance for the Seymours and the organizations represented. Mayor Steve Leary, City of Winter Park, key to the city and declaration of Thaddeus Seymour Day. President Grant Cornwell, Rollins College, framed silver coin. David Odahowski, Edyth Bush Foundation, pedestal of coquina stone used to build the Archibald Granville Bush Science Center. Betsy Owens, Friends of Casa Feliz, original line drawing of the Casa Feliz Historic Home and Museum and sponsorship of the Dixieland band. Sharon Line Clary, Winter Park Memorial Hospital, his-and-hers embroidered lab coats. Mike Haye, Westminster Winter Park, announcement that a tree would be planted on the Westminster’s grounds in honor of the Seymours. Janna Ricci, The Mayflower, announcement that residents would contribute to a scholarship fund in honor of the Seymours. Fred Jones, Winter Park Rotary Club, statue of Rotary founder Paul Harris. Gail Sinclair and Billy Collins, Winter Park Institute at Rollins College, framed cover of Animated Magazine commemorative program. Kimber Saint-Preux, Independent Transportation Network (ITN), “Star” trophy. Peter Schreyer, Crealdé School of Art and Hannibal Square Heritage Center, inscribed copy of The Hannibal Square Heritage Collection: Photographs and Oral Histories, published by the Florida Historical Society. Diana Silvey, Winter Park Health Foundation, flowers and framed photograph. Randy Noles, Winter Park Magazine, sponsorship of photography and announcement of a story about the event. Susan Skolfield, Winter Park History Museum, dedication to the Seymours of its current exhibit, Winter Park: The War Years 1941-1945 — Home Front Life in an American Small Town. Shawn Shaffer, Winter Park Public Library, gold hard hats. Mike Marlowe, Winter Park Chamber of Commerce, lifetime chamber memberships. Debra Hendrickson, Winter Park Chamber of Commerce, honorary graduation certificates from Leadership Winter Park. Debbie Komanski, Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens and Capen-Showalter House, replica of Man Carving His Own Destiny. Thad and Polly Seymour arrive at the surprise celebration planned in their honor.
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The Basin Street Dixieland Jazz Band
Debra Hendrickson, the Seymours
Angela Roark, Frank Roark
Betsy Owens, Patrick Chapin, Thad Seymour
Diane Silvey, the Seymours
Grant Cornwell, Hal George
Teresa George, Pat Robertson
Billy Collins, Larry Hames
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Hal George, Mayor Steve Leary
Jana Ricci, David McGuffin
Poster art by Sara England
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Shawn Shaffer, the Seymours
The Seymours get a standing ovation.
Steve Schone, Hal George, Teresa George
Gail Sinclair, John Sinclair
Debbie Komanski, the Seymours
Kimber Saint-Preux, the Seymours, Hal George
Billy Collins, Thad Seymour
Rita Bornstein, Cynthia Wood, Linda Chapin
The key to the city, presented to the Seymours
Ned and Carolyn Cooper
Michael Clary, the Seymours
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Co-owners Jose Baranenko, the chef, and Frank Chavez, the manager, chose to open a Mexican restaurant because the genre is relentlessly popular.
LET’S JUST CALL IT FRESH MEX In Hannibal Square, Pepe’s Cantina puts a pequeño twist on Mexican staples. But it’s worth a visit just for the guacamole and the flan, both of which are unforgettable. BY RONA GINDIN PHOTOGRAPHS BY RAFAEL TONGOL
W I N T E R P A R K M A GAZI N E | SUMM ER 2016
xpect to see Pepe’s Cantina pop up on your Instagram feed. Whether you’re chuckling at a photo of a monstrous two-liter margarita, or salivating at a video of guacamole being made tableside, you’ll be getting a peek into Pepe’s excesses through the eyes of your social-media-savvy friends. That’s by design. When three veterans of Mi Tomatina, which occupied the Pepe’s space for five years, emerged last October with this fresh-Mex concept, they planned to rely heavily on social media to get the word out. But while a strong digital presence might tempt you to visit out of curiosity, the Pepe’s team knows that the food must be up to par if you’re going to become a regular. After tasting its fresher-than-average Mexican fare, I expect that your first visit likely won’t be your last. “The market for Mexican restaurants is huge,” says General Manager Frank Chavez, who owns and runs the restaurant with Executive Chef Jose Baranenko. (One of Mi Tomatina’s former owners, Stuart Kirban, is a silent partner.) Adds Chavez: “American people love them. Hispanic people love them. They love the casual atmosphere, the flavors, the margaritas and the tequilas.” Hey, what’s not to love? The downside, if you’re a restauranteur, is that there’s a lot of competition in the Mexican category. Undaunted, Chavez and Baranenko began planning their culinary venture, and they jumped on the Mi Tomatina site when they learned their employer was closing. While the former eatery specialized in the foods of Spain, the natives of Ecuador and Venezuela, respectively, decided on Mexican fare. They spruced up Mi Tomatina’s tiny dining room, front patio and backyard bar, where hightops stand at the side of the building, hidden from the street. On the interior walls were hung photos from Xico, Mexico, and a painting by south-of-the-border artist Frida Kahlo. Chavez and Baranenko kept the colorful stainedglass mosaic tables, since the vivid hues complemented the upbeat concept they envisioned. Chavez also carefully chose the musical backdrop. Soothing Colombian songs play early in the day, while in the afternoon more lively mariachi standards get the drinking crowd up and dancing. Then, at night, more sensual salsa and merengue tunes predominate. In the kitchen, Baranenko chose to add some twists here and there. For example, the refried beans are laced with Mexican chorizo sausage. Most important, though, is the fact that he uses fresh ingredients consistently, beginning with housemade corn tortillas. “The chefs made salsa from canned tomatoes in every Mexican restaurant I ever worked in,” Chavez says. “All of
Fresh, Florida Cuisine in an Award-Winning Hotel Enjoy seasonal specialties surrounded by museum-quality art and a beautiful Mediterranean-style atmosphere. Relax on our patio and enjoy the sights and sounds of Winter Park.
The guacamole (above) starts with two unpeeled avocados in a wooden bowl, and is made at your table by a server.
them.” At Pepe’s, however, the culinary crew creates its signature dip twice a day with fresh tomatoes. That way, the salsa is, as Chavez says, “super fresh.” The chips served with them are deepfried, hand-cut white corn tortillas — although of a commercial make. Word-of-mouth reviews have been mixed. In the months preceding our visit, some food-wise friends gushed that Pepe’s has “the most amazing Mexican food I’ve ever had,” while others shrugged and proclaimed it to be “a typical Mexican restaurant.” The truth lies between the two extremes. Under the category of exceptional, look no further than the guacamole. It’s not unusual for the mashed avocado starter to be made tableside, which I’ve seen before — but not in Winter Park. And at Pepe’s, they do it right. During a recent visit, we watched a serious young man peel and cut two whole avocados in a wooden bowl, then mix them with onions, cilantro, lime juice, tomatoes and a jalapeño sauce. The result? The most delightfully flavored guacamole we’ve ever had. The chunks were too big, but the flavor
made that fact forgivable. The ceviche isn’t nearly as exciting. It’s fresh — lime juice-marinated tilapia with crisp vegetables — but it didn’t have us dancing the jarabe. Pepe’s food menu is mostly familiar. You’ll find tacos and fajitas, chimichangas and burritos, plus entrées like chicken mole and fish Veracruz. The ingredients are consistently top-notch — we saw no gloppy canned cheese, for instance, as we do elsewhere in greater Orlando. And these entrées weren’t preplated and popped in a microwave — a common practice elsewhere. We went for the chiles rellenos — roasted, battered and fried poblano peppers filled with cheese and topped with red sauce — and the grilled shrimp and al pastor (marinated and roasted pork with pineapple) tacos. All were fine. And then dessert came along. Like the guacamole, this was a game-changer. Flan is a custard dessert with an enticingly almost-burnt taste. Here, Baranenko made the classic Latino mealender richer by adding a generous amount of cream cheese. “We think of our flan as being like cheesecake
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S U MME R 2 0 1 6 | W INT ER PARK MAGAZ IN E
flan,” he says. That’s a good description; this was one memorable sweet. But, chef, that maraschino cherry needs to go. The dish doesn’t need it. Speaking of sweet, Pepe’s is intense with its margaritas. A house version is available frozen, on the rocks, or in a two-liter version called the Don Pepe, which is topped with two mini bottles of Corona beer. Cranberry, spicy pineapple and peach margaritas are among the other options. You might instead choose a fruity rum punch, which packs an olé punch with four types of rum plus grenadine and pineapple and orange juices. But, again with the maraschino cherry. Ay yi yi. So, is there really a Pepe? Yes, in fact. “Pepe” is a common Mexican nickname for Jose, which is Baranenko’s moniker. The owners liked the way Pepe’s Cantina sounds and chose it. Then they started actually calling the chef Pepe instead of Jose. “He likes it,” Chavez says. So head on over to Hannibal Square, order a margarita or rum punch, and take in the sunshine over guacamole and flan. (Don’t forget your camera in case you get the social media calling.) While you do, share a toast to Pepe-slashJose. ¡Salud! PEPE’S CANTINA 433 W. New England Ave. Winter Park, FL 32789 321-972-4881 • pepescantina.com
The flan is exceptionally rich due to the addition of cream cheese. But those maraschino cherries have to go.
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Celebrating A Decade Of Director Iain Webb Dominic Walsh’s Wolfgang for Webb
2016 2017 SEASON
Ricardo Graziano’s World Premiere
Antony Tudor’s Continuo
Will Tuckett’s Changing Light
Joe Layton’s The Grand Tour
Sir Frederick Ashton’s Scènes de ballet
George Balanchine’s Apollo
Sir Frederick Ashton’s The Two Pigeons
Sir Frederick Ashton’s Sinfonietta
Sir Frederick Ashton’s Apparitions
Antony Tudor’s Gala Performance
Dame Ninette de Valois’ Checkmate
George Balanchine’s Jewels
Jerome Robbins’ Fancy Free
Danielle Brown in George Balanchine’s DIAMONDS
APOLLO and JEWELS choreography by George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust
Photography Frank Atura
“Few, though, can have appreciated the extraordinary level both of Mr. Webb’s ambition and his company’s level of achievement.” – Alastair Macaulay, The New York Times For Tickets And Further Information Contact:
The Sarasota Ballet Box Office - 941.359.0099 | SarasotaBallet.org
Autumn Art Festival
FLORIDA ARTISTS | LIVE MUSIC | BEER GARDEN | PARK AVE SIDEWALK SALE | CHILDREN’S ART
Saturday, October 8 & Sunday, October 9, 2016
9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m., Central Park, Winter Park Patron packages, VIP experiences and festival details are available at AutumnArtFestival.org or call 407-644-8281. PRESENTED BY
WINTER PARK VILLAGE
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EVENTS ART, HISTORY, ENTERTAINMENT AND MORE
FAST FACTS What: An Evening With Garrison Keillor
When: Tuesday, September 13, 7:30 p.m. Where: Warden Arena in the Harold & Ted Alfond Sports Center on the campus of Rollins College. Tickets: From $15 to $50; available beginning July 12 by calling 407-646-2145 or visiting rollins.edu/wpitickets. Notes: The iconic humorist, presented by the Winter Park Institute at Rollins College, is the first speaker in the institute’s 2016-17 season. The entire season had not been finalized at press time, but for more information about subsequent speakers visit rollins.edu/wpi.
A Visitor from Lake Wobegon By the time he ambles into Winter Park, Garrison Keillor will have ended his 42-year stint as host of A Prairie Home Companion. The Minnesota-born author and performer announced in 2015 that he would retire from the long-running public radio show in July of this year. Keillor — who had vowed to step away from the microphone before, only to change his mind — really meant it this time. Still, he’ll be forever associated with fictional Lake Wobegon, where “all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average.” The 73-year-old Keillor will bring his gentle brand of Midwestern wisdom and humor to Rollins College on Tuesday, September 13 at 7:30 p.m. An Evening With Garrison Keillor will be held at Warden Arena in the Harold & Ted Alfond Sports Center. Tickets, available beginning July 12, range from $15 to $50. Call 407-646-2145 or visit rollins.edu/wpitickets to buy online. The institute, started by the college in 2008, has hosted an array of luminaries from every field imaginable for performances, lectures, readings and master classes. Past speakers have included author Bill Bryson, documentarian Ken Burns, conservationist Jane Goodall and director Oliver Stone. Musical legends Paul Simon and Paul McCartney have visited for conversations with Billy Collins, a two-time U.S. poet laureate and the institute’s senior distinguished fellow. Even by the institute’s historically lofty standards, snaring an iconic figure such as Keillor — especially as he exits the limelight — ranks as quite a coup. Warden Arena, which holds 2,500 people, is expected to be filled to capacity, says Gail Sinclair, the institute’s executive director.
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Past institute events have been free, with no advance reservations required (or even allowed). However, when high-profile speakers were scheduled, attendees often had to wait in line — sometimes for hours — and scramble for good seats when the doors were opened. “Implementing a ticketing procedure and charging a modest fee accomplishes several things,” adds Sinclair. “First, guaranteed seating will be a major convenience for our guests from the community. Second, we’ll be able to create a financial model that will allow us to bring even more major speakers to Winter Park.” The institute has certainly kicked off its new ticketing policy in grand style with Keillor, whose honors include a National Humanities Medal and election to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He’s also the winner of a George Foster Peabody Award for A Prairie Home Companion and a Grammy Award for Best Spoken Word Album (1985’s Lake Wobegon Days). Keillor still hosts The Writer’s Almanac, a daily radio and online program, and has edited several anthologies of poetry, most recently Good Poems: American Places. He has published more than two dozen books, including Lake Wobegon Days, The Book of Guys, Pilgrims, Guy Noir and the Straight Skinny and Homegrown Democrat. In 2006, Keillor played himself alongside a cast that included Meryl Streep, Lily Tomlin, Lindsay Lohan and Kevin Kline, in the critically praised film adaptation of A Prairie Home Companion, directed by the late Robert Altman. A Prairie Home Companion, which Keillor created and has hosted since 1974, attracts more than 4 million listeners weekly on more than 600 public radio stations. Chris Thile, 35, a mandolin player for Nickel Creek and Punch Brothers, is slated to take over hosting duties when Keillor departs. In typical Keillor fashion, it will be a low-key departure. “I don’t want to make a big deal of retirement,” he recently told the Tampa Tribune. “I’ve done the show for 42 years, which is an eon in broadcasting. And frankly, longevity isn’t a great honor in this field. The real honor is to have been fired, which I’ve never achieved. Bob & Ray were fired over and over again, which was a testament to their stature. Brilliance makes management nervous.” — Randy Noles
"I don't want to make a big deal of retirement. I've done the show for 42 years, which is an eon in broadcasting. And frankly, longevity isn't a great honor in this field. The real honor is to have been fired, which I've never achieved."
EVENTS VISUAL ARTS Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens. This 54-year-old lakeside museum is dedicated to preserving the works of the famed Czech sculptor, for whom it was both home and studio for more than a decade. Running through August 14 is Preserving a National Legacy: The Historic Artists’ Homes & Studios. The traveling exhibition consists of photographs and original objects from the workspaces of HAHS artists such as Georgia O’Keeffe, Jackson Pollock and Grant Wood. Never-before-seen molds, sculpture tools and sketches from the Polasek archives are also included. (The Polasek is one of just 36 HAHS sites nationwide — and the only one in Florida.) While focused on Polasek’s sculptures, the museum also features the work of internationally renowned artists in all mediums. Coming up: From August 23 through November 27, The Missing Matisse: Pierre Henri Matisse celebrates a painter and writer who also happens to be a grandson of Henri Matisse, one of the most important artists of the early 20th century. Pierre Matisse, an 88-yearold Paris native, specializes in an art form known as gouaches découpés, or “cuts outs,” a form of mixed media. Also, the museum offers tours of the restored Capen-Showalter House on Wednesdays at 11:30 a.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. Regular admission to the museum, which was Polasek’s home from 1949 until his death in 1965, is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, $3 for students and free for children. 633 Osceola Ave., Winter Park. 407-647-6294. polasek.org. Art & History Museums-Maitland. The Maitland Art Center, one of five museums anchoring the city’s Cultural Corridor, was founded as an art colony in 1937 by visionary American artist and architect André Smith. The center offers exhibits and classes at its Maitland campus, located at 231 W. Packwood Ave. The complex is the Orlando area’s only National Historic Landmark and one of the few surviving examples of Mayan Revival architecture in the Southeast. Regularly scheduled events include the Ladies’ Art Lounge, a hands-on art program held the first Friday of each month from 6 to 8 p.m. Coming up: Ink Wash Drawing (July 1) and Portraits 101 (August 5). Additional themes hadn’t been announced at press time. From July 15 through September 4, under the single heading Untold Stories, the center is staging a pair of otherwise unrelated exhibitions: Inspired Storytelling: Tomengo’s Maitland Project, which features oil paintings by Trent Tomengo inspired by photographs, artifacts and profiles of Maitland-area residents from the late 1800s and early 1900s; and The African-American Narrative: Selected Works from the Polk Museum of Art, which features contemporary African-American artists whose works are in the permanent collection of the Lakelandbased museum, including Faith Ringgold, Radcliffe Bailey, Howardena Pindell and Lorna Simpson. The Cultural Corridor also includes the Maitland Historical Museum and the Telephone Museum, both at 221 W. Packwood Ave., and the Waterhouse Residence Museum and the Carpentry Shop Museum, both
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built in the 1880s and located at 820 Lake Lily Drive. 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 museum houses the world’s most important collection of Louis Comfort Tiffany creations, including jewelry, pottery, paintings, art glass and an entire chapel interior originally designed and built for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Continuing through September 25, Lifelines: Forms and Themes of Art Nouveau features more than 100 objects representing art, architecture and craftsmanship that was considered “modern art” in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Continuing through September 24, 2017, The Bride Elect: Gifts from the 1905 Wedding of Elizabeth Owens Morse features the original registry and some of the 250 gifts presented to the daughter of Charles Hosmer Morse and Martha Owens Morse by her wealthy friends. Among the surviving items: Tiffany art glass, Rookwood Pottery and Gorham silver. Ongoing exhibitions include Revival and Reform: Eclecticism in the 19th-Century Environment, which encompasses two galleries and has as its centerpiece The Arts, a neoclassical window created by The J&R Lamb Studios, a prominent American glasshouse of the late 19th century. Admission is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors, $1 for students and free for children younger than 12. In an Independence Day tradition dating from 1995, the museum provides free admission to its galleries on July 4 from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in conjunction with Winter Park’s Olde Fashioned 4th of July Celebration in Central Park. (See page 100.) 445 N. Park Ave., Winter Park. 407-645-5311. morsemuseum.org. Cornell Fine Arts Museum. Located on the campus of Rollins College, the museum houses one of the oldest and most eclectic collections of fine art in Florida. Free weekend tours take place at 1 p.m. every Saturday at the campus facility and 1 p.m. every Sunday at the nearby Alfond Inn, which displays dozens of works from the museum’s Alfond Collection of Contemporary Art. Happy Hour art tours of the Alfond Collection are also conducted the first Wednesday of each month at 5:30 p.m. Coming up: In the Light of Naples: The Art of Francesco de Mura, the first-ever exhibition of works by arguably the greatest painter of the Golden Age of Naples. The exhibition runs September 17 through December 18. (See page 102.) The museum’s continuing exhibition, Ongoing Conversations: Selections from the Permanent Collection, aims to inspire dialogue about art created during disparate eras and among various cultures. Works are grouped under four broad thematic categories: “Religion Redefined,” “Gesture and Pose,” “A Sense of Place” and “History and Myth.” Continuing through September 4, the exhibition Displacement: Symbols and Journeys features works focused on the issue of displacement, with a particular emphasis on the border region between the U.S. and Mexico. Admission to the museum is free, courtesy of Dale Montgomery, Rollins Class of 1960. 1000 Holt Ave., Winter Park. 407-646-2526. rollins.edu/cfam.
Crealdé School of Art. Established in 1975, this not-for-profit arts organization offers year-round visual-arts classes for all ages taught by more than 40 working artists. In The Florida Painters: Return to Crealdé, an exhibition that continues through July 16, artists who met at the school during a 2008 plein air workshop display paintings in an array of styles. The school’s 35th Annual Juried Student Exhibition, which runs July 8 through September 3, showcases some of the past year’s best student work in painting, drawing, photography, ceramics, sculpture, jewelry and fiber arts. From August 13 through 27, an exhibition featuring work from each of the school’s 300 Summer ArtCamp participants, age 3 to 13, is slated. The opening reception is August 13 from 7-9 p.m. Admission to Crealdé’s galleries is free, though there are fees for art classes. 600 St. Andrews Blvd., Winter Park. 407-6711886. 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. To that end, from July 12 through September 3 the center presents Phase VIII of the Heritage Collection: Photographs and Oral Histories of West Winter Park. An opening reception is slated July 22 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Crealdé School of Art. Ongoing is the Hannibal Square Timeline, a display that documents significant local and national events in African-American history since the Emancipation Proclamation. Admission to the center is free. 642 W. New England Ave., Winter Park. 407-539-2680. hannibalsquareheritagecenter.org.
PERFORMING ARTS Annie Russell Theatre. “The Annie,” in continuous operation since 1932, returns from summer break to kick off its 2016-17 season on September 23 with The Foreigner, a modern-day farce by the late American playwright Larry Shue that won two Obie Awards in the ’80s when it ran off-Broadway. Single tickets start at $20. The Second Stage Series, in the nearby Fred Stone Theater, features studentproduced and student-directed plays. Coming up: Dying City, written by Christopher Shinn, on October 19. Second Stage shows are free to the public, with seating on a first-come, first-served basis. 1000 Holt Ave., Winter Park. 407-646-2145. rollins.edu/ annie-russell-theatre. Center for Contemporary Dance. A not-for-profit organization focused on dance education, incubation and production, the center’s programs and performances are designed to provide students of all ages, from novice to professional, with experience in classical, post-classical and world dance forms. Over the past 13 years, the center, located at 3580 Aloma Ave., has supported artists in the presentation of more than 250 new works. This year’s Choreographers’ Showcase, slated for August 13 and 14, takes audiences into the
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rehearsal studio and gives them a chance to talk with artistic directors, choreographers and dancers. The two shows are Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 3 p.m. 407-695-8366. thecenterfordance.org. Winter Park Playhouse. Winter Park’s only professional, not-for-profit theater opens its 2016-17 mainstage season with I Love My Wife, which runs July 29 to August 21. The Tony Award-winning musical comedy, set during the sexual revolution of the 1970s, is about two married couples who contemplate adding some spice to their suburban lives. Up next, running September 16 through October 9, is All Hands on Deck!, a musical based on comedian Bob Hope’s 1942 USO tours during World War II. Both shows are Thursday through Sunday at 7:30 p.m. or 2 p.m. Single tickets range from $15 (for students) to $40 for evening performances. 711 Orange Ave., Winter Park. 407-645-0145. winterparkplayhouse.org.
FILM Enzian. This cozy, not-for-profit alternative cinema offers a plethora of film series. Peanut Butter Matinee Family Films are shown on the fourth Sunday of each month at noon. Upcoming films include The Sandlot (June 26) and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (August 28). Admission is $5. Saturday Matinee Classics are shown on the second Saturday of each month at noon. Upcoming films include The 400 Blows (July 9), The Third Man (August 13) and Giant (September 10). Admission is $8, or $7.50 for Enzian Film Society members. Wednesday Night Pitcher Shows — outdoor movies with seating on Enzian’s lawn — are slated the first and third Wednesday of each month. Admission is free, as is parking at Park Maitland School or First Watch. (Valet parking is available for $3.) Cult Classics are shown on the second and last Tuesday of each month at 9:30 p.m. Upcoming films include American Pie (July 12), Dirty Harry (July 26), Stand by Me (August 9) and Monkey Business (August 30). Admission is $5. FilmSlam, a showcase for Florida-made short films, is held every month except April and November. Upcoming dates are July 10, August 14 and September 11. Other special showings include the original Jaws (July 2, noon); Paris Ballet performing Ballet Russes (July 16, 11 a.m.); The Late Late Show host James Corden giving a Tony Award-winning performance in the National Theatre Live production of One Man, Two Guvnors (July 30, 11 a.m.); the Paris Opera’s rendition of Rigoletto (August 20, 11 a.m.); and the Paris Ballet’s presentation of Millepied, Robbins, Balanchine (September 24, 11 a.m.). 1300 S. Orlando Ave., Maitland. 407-629-0054 (info line), 407-629-1088 (theater offices). enzian.org. Popcorn Flicks in the Park. The City of Winter Park and Enzian collaborate to offer classic, family friendly films free in Central Park on Park Avenue in downtown Winter Park. This outdoor event usually occurs on the second Thursday of each month, and starts at about 8 p.m. Upcoming films include Sabrina (July 14) and Toy Story 2 (August 11). Bring a blanket or chairs and a snack. 407-629-1088. enzian.org.
407.770.2002 | www.OrlandoAI.com
Screen on the Green. The City of Maitland offers free outdoor movies most every month on the field
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at Maitland Middle School. Bring a blanket or chairs for seating. The program’s summer break won’t end until October 1, with a 7:30 p.m. showing of the animated feature The Good Dinosaur. 1902 Choctaw Trail, Maitland. itsmymaitland.com.
HISTORY Casa Feliz Historic Home Museum. This stunningly restored Spanish farmhouse-style home was designed by acclaimed architect James Gamble Rogers II and is now a community center and museum. Free open houses are hosted by trained docents every Tuesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to noon. Also, live music is featured in the large downstairs parlor on Sundays from noon to 3 p.m. 656 N. Park Ave. (adjacent to the Winter Park Country Club golf course). 407-6288200. casafeliz.us. Holocaust Memorial Resource & Education Center of Florida. The center is dedicated to combating anti-Semitism, racism and prejudice, with the goal of developing a moral and just community through educational and cultural programs. It houses permanent and temporary exhibitions, archives and a research library. Its ongoing exhibition, Tribute to the Holocaust, presents an overview of the Holocaust through artifacts, videos, text, photographs and artwork. Its current exhibition, Jehovah’s Witnesses: Faith Under Fire, focuses on Jehovah’s Witnesses who were persecuted during the Holocaust because of their nonviolent resistance to Nazi terror. A companion exhibition, Who Am I?, examines the experiences of young Jehovah’s Witnesses who suffered because of their refusal to accept Nazi ideology. Both exhibitions run through August 26. Admission to the center’s exhibits, films and other programs is free. 851 N. Maitland Ave., Maitland. 407-628-0555. holocaustedu.org. Winter Park History Museum. Ongoing displays include artifacts dating from the city’s start as a New England-style resort in the 1880s. Its current exhibition, Winter Park — The War Years 1941-1945, looks at homefront life in an American small town during World War II. Admission is free. (See page 99.) 200 W. New England Ave., Winter Park. 407-644-2330. wphistory.org. Zora Neale Hurston National Museum of Fine Arts. Eatonville, arguably the first municipality in the U.S. formed by African-Americans, is strongly associated with Harlem Renaissance writer and folklorist Zora Neale Huston, 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 on the historic city and sponsors exhibitions featuring the works of African-American artists. Continuing through July 29 is The Journey Projects: Eatonville, a multimedia celebration of residents’ photos with cyanotypes created by local youth on woven fabric. The exhibition was produced by Atlanta-based artist Lynn Marshall-Linnemeier. Admission is free, though group tours require reservations and include a fee. 227 E. Kennedy Blvd., Eatonville. 407-6473188. zorafestival.org.
Soldiers march along Park Avenue as Winter Park prepares itself for World War II.
DIGITAL ART BY WILL SETZER, CIRCLE 7 DESIGN STUDIO, COURTESY OF THE WINTER PARK HISTORY MUSEUM
ONE NATION, INDIVISIBLE If you’re despairing over the state of the country and wondering if there was ever a time when just about everyone rallied around a common cause, then the new exhibit at the Winter Park History Museum may provide a patriotic pick-me-up. Winter Park: The War Years, 1941-1945 — Home Front Life in an American Small Town is a bracing look back at a time when entire communities banded together to help defeat a common enemy and protect a cherished way of life. Of course, the military did the actual fighting in World War II. But, unlike today, those who stayed home also sacrificed and tried to contribute in whatever way they could. The exhibition, which makes ingenious use of the museum’s small space, entwines the lives of the men and women fighting overseas with the lives of their friends and family members. You’ll see an interactive 1940s’ living room, kitchen and child’s bedroom surrounded by the artifacts of war, including pristine uniforms, as well as films, letters, photographs and newspapers of the era. The ceiling is hung with aircraft replicas. “World War II is such an interesting time in our country’s history,” says Susan
Skolfield, the museum’s executive director. “The climate was very different then. Everyone, in every American town, pulled together for a common goal. It was the saddest of times, and yet embedded in the music and movies of the time is a joyful optimism — the sort of patriotism we haven’t seen since.” But it was a frightening time as well. The exhibit includes rules issued by Winter Park Mayor John Moody that instruct locals what to do in case of enemy attack. German U-boats could be seen off the nation’s eastern seaboard — several German soldiers famously stumbled ashore in Jacksonville — so the idea of an invasion in Florida was plausible. Winter Park: The War Years runs through the spring of 2018. Admission to the museum is free, although donations are accepted. It’s located in the Farmers’ Market building at 200 W. New England Ave. Hours are Tuesday-Friday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., and Saturday from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. For more information, visit winterparkhistory.org. — Randy Noles
S U MME R 2 0 1 6 | W INT ER PARK MAGAZ IN E
LECTURES Winter Park Institute at Rollins College. The institute presents lectures, readings and seminars by thought leaders in an array of disciplines. Its 2016-17 season kicks off September 13 with Garrison Keillor, the recently retired host of public radio’s A Prairie Home Companion. An Evening With Garrison Keillor will be held at Warden Arena in the Harold & Ted Alfond Sports Center. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. (See pages 94 and 95.) Tickets, available beginning July 12, range from $15 and $50. Call 407-646-2145 or visit rollins.edu/wpitickets to buy online.
MARKETS Maitland Farmers’ Market. This year-round, openair 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 serene 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. at the old railroad depot that houses the Winter Park History Museum. The open-air market offers baked goods, produce, plants, honey, cheese, meat, flowers, crafts and other specialty items for sale. After shopping, make a morning of it with a stroll along nearby Park Avenue. Dogs are welcome to bring their people. 200 W. New England Ave., Winter Park. cityofwinterpark.org. Market to Park. This mini-version of Winter Park’s Saturday Farmers’ Market is held on the first Tuesday of each month from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and the first Thursday of each month from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. in Hannibal Square’s Shady Park. It’s basically one big food truck stocked with fresh fruits and vegetables. Upcoming dates are July 5 and 7, August 2 and 4, and September 1 and 6. 407-599-3334. cityofwinterpark.org.
MUSIC Opera in the Park. The first official performances of Opera Orlando’s inaugural, 2016-17 season are its three-part Opera in the Park series, an outdoor recital program originally started by its predecessor, Florida Opera Theatre. The series, which begins August 21, features mezzo-soprano Amanda Crider of Miami. “The Three Baritones” — Gabriel Preisser, Nathan Stark and Brian Myer — follows on August 28, with tenor Adam Diegel wrapping up the series on September 4. The 2 p.m. concerts take place at the University Club in Winter Park; tickets are $30 each or $75 for all three. 841 N. Park Ave., Winter Park. operaorlando.org. Music at the Casa. The Casa Feliz Historic Home Museum regularly presents Sunday afternoon acoustic performances from noon to 3 p.m. in the home’s main parlor. Upcoming performers include cellist Mike Bloomer (July 3), Beautiful Music with Shannon Caine (July 10), harpist Catherine Way (July 17), saxophonist Matt Festa (July 24), harpist
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Victoria Schultz (July 31), “Johnny Accordion” with John Keith & Co. (August 7) and harpist Christine MacPhail (August 28). Admission is free. 656 N. Park Ave. (adjacent to the Winter Park Country Club golf course). 407-628-8200. casafeliz.us. Bach Festival Society of Winter Park: Bach @ the Alfond. This intimate concert series in the music conservatory of the Alfond Inn allows patrons to learn more about the Bach Festival’s visiting soloists, vocalists and orchestra members while listening to them perform some of their favorite pieces. On July 26, Chuck Archard will present a program of electric bass jazz improvisations on classical pieces. Currently an artist-in-residence at Rollins College, Archard teaches numerous classes, including History of Jazz, History of Rock, Music Business, Music of the Caribbean and Brazil, and Improvisation. On August 24, Joshua Lee, who played with the Bach Festival Orchestra during the recently concluded 2016 season, will perform on the viola da gamba. In addition to classical artists, Lee has appeared with such mainstream performers as The Cure, 10,000 Maniacs, REM and the late Tammy Wynette. Both concerts are at 3 p.m. Tickets are $12.50 each. Tea and scones from the Alfond are included. 300 E. New England Ave., Winter Park. Parking is available a block away at the SunTrust Plaza garage. 407-646-2182. bachfestivalflorida.org.
CELEBRATIONS Olde Fashioned 4th of July Celebration. Dress in your best red, white and blue and head for downtown Winter Park on Independence Day to enjoy a bicycle parade, patriotic music by the Bach Festival Brass Band and Bach Festival Choir, free hot dogs and watermelon, horse-drawn wagon rides, games and more from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. In a July 4 tradition, the Morse Museum of American Art also provides free admission to its galleries from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. In addition to the Bach Festival musicians, the main stage in Central Park will feature entertainment from the Orlando Cloggers, the Rockin’ Roadster Road Show and others. If you want to start your Independence Day celebration even earlier, you can kick it off with the annual Watermelon 5K, which begins at 7 a.m. on Park Avenue. The race is followed by a Watermelon Eating Contest at 8 a.m. and a Kids’ Run at 8:15 a.m. Military personnel and their family members receive a $10 discount on the 5K registration fee plus a special race bib. 407-599-3463. For information about the race, visit trackshack.com. For information about other events, visit cityofwinterpark.org. Summer Sidewalk Sale. Enjoy savings of 50 to 75 percent at participating merchants along Park and New England avenues from July 8 through 10. Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sponsored by the Park Avenue Merchants Association. 407-644-8281. experienceparkavenue.com. 4th Annual Luau by the Pool. Celebrate the final days of summer vacation at the Winter Park Community Center on August 13 from 1 to 4 p.m., There’ll be games, contests with prizes, and a drawing for a 10-day punch pass good for free admission
to the pool. 721 W. New England Ave., Winter Park. 407-599-3275. cityofwinterpark.org. Sip, Shop & Stroll: Fall in Love with Park Avenue. The Winter Park Chamber of Commerce and the Park Avenue Merchants Association invite you to sip, stroll and experience the charm of the region’s premier shopping district on September 15. Discover new merchants while checking out the latest fashions, gift ideas and seasonal menus — all while enjoying wine and hors d’oeuvres at participating locations from 5 to 8 p.m. Cost is $25; check in at the corner of Park Avenue and Morse Boulevard between 5 and 7 p.m. to receive your wine glass and “passport.” 407-644-8281. winterpark.org.
ISSUES CoffeeTalk. These free gatherings, sponsored by the City of Winter Park on the second Thursday of each month, offer an opportunity to discuss issues with top city officials. Coffee is supplied by Barnie’s Coffee Kitchen. Upcoming topics and guests: Commissioner Greg Seidel (July 14), Vice Mayor Sarah Sprinkel (August 11), and Commissioner Carolyn Cooper (September 15). The hour-long sessions start at 8 a.m. at the Winter Park Welcome Center, 151 W. Lyman Ave., Winter Park. 407-6448281. cityofwinterpark.org. Winter Park Political Mingle. The Winter Park Chamber of Commerce hosts the 2016 Winter Park Political Mingle, an opportunity for local residents, business owners and community leaders to meet and greet with candidates for elected office. The event, held July 19 from 5 to 8 p.m., costs $25 in advance or $30 at the door. Rachel D. Murrah Civic Center, 1050 W. Morse Blvd., Winter Park. 407644-8281. winterpark.org
BUSINESS Good Morning Winter Park. Hosted by the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce, these monthly gatherings attract civic-minded locals who enjoy coffee and conversation about community issues. Typically scheduled for the second Friday of each month; upcoming dates include July 8, August 12 and September 9. Networking begins at 7:45 a.m.; each month’s program begins at 8:15 a.m. Admission, which includes a complimentary continental breakfast, is free. Winter Park Welcome Center, 151 W. Lyman Ave., Winter Park. 407-644-8281. winterpark.org. Winter Park Executive Women. Hosted by the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce, these monthly gatherings feature guest speakers and provide networking opportunities for women business owners. Topics revolve around leadership development, business growth and local initiatives of special interest to women. Typically scheduled for the first Monday of most months; upcoming dates include August 1 and September 12 (postponed a week because of Labor Day). Admission, which includes lunch, is $20 for members, $25 for non-members; reservations are required. Winter Park Welcome Center, 151 W. Lyman Ave., Winter Park. 407-644-8281. winterpark.org.
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HOW DE MURA GOT HIS DUE
De Mura’s The Visitation (above) and The Glory of the Prince or Allegory of the Virtues of King Carlo di Borbone (below) are among 40-plus paintings and drawings that will be displayed during In the Light of Naples: The Art of Francesco de Mura. Most are on loan from collectors and museums, but The Visitation is owned by the Cornell Fine Arts Museum.
Francesco de Mura’s importance in art history has never been fully appreciated, in large part because fully a third of the Italian artist’s works were destroyed during World War II, when the U.S. bombed an abbey at Monte Cassino, a German stronghold. De Mura’s (1696-1782) undeserved obscurity is an oversight that Arthur Blumenthal, director emeritus of the Cornell Fine Arts Museum on the Rollins College campus, aims to rectify with an extraordinary exhibition called In the Light of Naples: The Art of Francesco de Mura. The exhibition, which showcases 40-plus paintings and drawings from the 18th-century master, will run at the Cornell from September 17 through December 18 before traveling to the University of Wisconsin-Madison and later the Frances Loeb Art Center at Vassar College. De Mura’s breathtaking compositions, with their exquisite light and color, exemplified the Rococo and late Baroque styles. His later work, though, veered toward Neoclassicism, a more simple, sculptural approach inspired by the art of ancient Greece and Rome. The exhibition features religious and classical subjects as well as portraits. Most are on loan from an assortment of 30 major museums and private collections worldwide. Four, in fact, are owned by actor Federico Castelluccio, best known for his role as oldschool gangster Furio Giunta on TV’s The Sopranos. Yes, Castelluccio is a serious art collector who struck up an unlikely friendship with curator Blumenthal, a bespectacled, professorial type who had never watched The Sopranos. They met after the TV star attended one of Blumenthal’s de Mura lectures at the Italian Cultural Institute of New York. Among the notable works are large oil studies and paintings related to The Adoration of the Magi (1732) and The Assumption of the Virgin (1751), frescoes that can still be seen at the Church of the Nunziatella in Naples. Also featured is de Mura’s Visitation, which is owned by the Cornell. “De Mura’s art demonstrates a sensitivity and spiritual restraint very different from the previous generation of Baroque artists,” says Blumenthal, noting that the exhibition will be the largest single gathering of de Mura’s works in the world. “Through this show, we’ll finally be giving this richly deserving artist his due.” “In the Light of Naples fits eminently well within our mission,” adds Ena Heller, the Cornell’s director. “As a college art museum, we’re particularly interested in looking at the continuum of art history, and how to teach it. I’m grateful to Dr. Blumenthal for fitting the pieces of the de Mura puzzle back together.” Admission to the exhibition — and the museum generally — is free. It’s closed Monday, but open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. For more information, visit rollins.edu/cfam. — Randy Noles
ARTSBEAT | BY MICHAEL MCLEOD
ADJUDICATING ’80S’ MUSIC IS A JUDGE’S GUILTY PLEASURE
W I N T E R P A R K MAG AZI N E | SUMM ER 2016
The Honorable Bob LeBlanc is a Ninth Judicial Circuit Court Judge. But his alter ego is “D.J. Rufus,” an aficionado of ’80s music who hosts an early-morning show on eclectic WPRK 91.5.
college station lists, and fans can tune in via the tunein app on their smart devices. “When I’m on the air, I might hear from my brother-in-law from D.C., my cousin in Toronto, my sister in Boston,” says LeBlanc as he and I squeeze into the cluttered control room. LeBlanc became an ’80s music buff listening to college stations as an undergraduate in Boston, and then during law school in Miami. “The songs just never made it into mainstream radio,” he says. Disabusing me of my preconceptions about music of the era, he cues up a track from one of his most requested albums: Floodland, a 1987 release by the British rock band The Sisters of Mercy. A part-time deejay gig had been on LeBlanc’s bucket list for some time when he finally got himself worked into the WPRK rotation a year ago. He chose “Rufus” as his on-air alias as an homage to singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright and the blues guitarist Rufus Smith. Now LeBlanc spends the bulk of the workweek presiding over the waning moments of marriages gone sour as a divorce court judge. Then he squeezes into the control booth on predawn Wednesdays to adjudicate deep tracks from the likes of the Lightning Seeds, the Pet Shop Boys,
the Neville Brothers, Depeche Mode, Toad the Wet Sprocket and his favorite band, The Smiths. In some ways, LeBlanc seems a better fit for a liberal arts campus than a courtroom. In his younger years, he went through a would-be writer phase, submitting several stories — and collecting as many rejection letters — from The New Yorker. He and his wife, Joanie, have a sizeable collection of fine art and found art by local artists. And then there’s his personal collection of ’80s CDs, which numbers in the hundreds. LeBlanc initially gave himself a year to decide whether or not his deejay aspirations were just a passing phase. More and more, he’s thinking long term. In the distant future, he and Joanie plan to spend part of the year in Orlando and part of the year at their second home in Blue Hill, Maine, a small coastal town that just happens to have a volunteer-run radio station. Which would make it a simple enough matter, he figures, to be stuck in the ’80s all year long. Michael McLeod is a contributing writer for Winter Park Magazine and an adjunct instructor in the English department at Rollins College.
PHOTO BY RAFAEL TONGOL
n summertime, a college campus gets a bit of a coffee break. So Rollins College looked as peaceful as a fallow field as I drove along deserted Holt Avenue not too long ago for a 5 a.m. rendezvous with a man who calls himself “D.J. Rufus.” I’m no dummy. I knew that wasn’t his real name. I also had a pretty good idea what was inside the small paper bag he was carrying as he emerged from his car in the predawn darkness: CDs — from the ’80s! No wonder he goes by a street name. Who wants to get caught hauling around music from the decade that brought us Flock-of-Seagull haircuts and Milli Vanilli? But such is the stock in trade of Mr. D.J. Rufus — aka Ninth Judicial Circuit Court Judge Bob LeBlanc. At least, it is from 5 to 7 a.m. every Wednesday morning. That’s the time slot for LeBlanc’s show, “Stuck in the ’80s (Or Thereabouts),” broadcast from the studio of the campus radio station, WPRK 91.5 FM, located in a basement beneath Mills Memorial Hall. LeBlanc is part of a corps of volunteers who deejay at the station, both during the school year, when their shows are interspersed with those of student broadcasters, and in the summer, when they pretty much have the place to themselves. Most of the 50-odd (sometimes very odd) moonlighters have two-hour shows, during which they play music in genres ranging from country to classical, from Bollywood to the blues. Some are educators: There’s an ESOL teacher for preschoolers and an English composition instructor from Valencia College. Others are in the entertainment business: The director of the Orlando Fringe Festival has a show, as does an actor who plays Shrek at Universal Orlando. There’s also a hairstylist, a pesticide manufacturer, a programmer analyst, a yoga instructor and a marketer for the Franciscan Ministry of Peace. Of all the ways Rollins enlivens Winter Park’s cultural scene, WPRK’s influence is the least visible. But it’s also one of the most far-reaching. The station frequently turns up on “best of ”
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