The Capen-Showalter House by Stephen Bach
CHARLES CLAYTON CONSTRUCTION
CHARLES CLAYTON CONSTRUCTION
Breathtaking D E T A I L S
AURORA AWARD WINNER FOR NEW CONSTRUCTION & REMODEL SERVING WINTER PARK, CENTRAL FLORIDA AND COASTAL VOLUSIA COUNTY.
Â©Cucciaioni Photography 2016
CONTENTS WINTER 2016
32 | THE HUGH WE NEVER KNEW Hugh McKean, the patrician Rollins president, became the embodiment of Winter Park. But it’s as an artist that the generous man behind the iconic image becomes harder to figure out. By Randy Noles
BUSINESS 12 | REAL ESTATE AS A LIBERAL ART At Rollins, behind a savvy group of boosters, development has become a source of both revenue and controversy. Plus, the Top 5 Coolest Things about having Rollins as our neighbor. By Randy Noles, lead photograph by Rafael Tongol
52 | DREAM MAKERS Winter Park inventors let their imaginations run wild as they celebrate the creative process. By Karen LeBlanc, photographs by Rafael Tongol 58 | ART, IDEAS AND ILLUMINATION GladdeningLight, Randy Robertson’s visionary venture, explores the intriguing intersection of spirituality and creativity. By Dana S. Eagles, photographs by Rafael Tongol 66 | TIMELESS BEAUTY Check out these new looks in a renewed setting at the Capen-Showalter House. Photographs by Rafael Tongol, styling by Marianne Ilunga, makeup and hair by Elsie Knab
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ISSUES 22 | PASSION WITH A PURPOSE Betsy Rogers Owens is at the center of a volatile debate about historic preservation. Agree or disagree with her approach, she’s a formidable advocate for her cause. By Randy Noles, photographs by Rafael Tongol DINING 76 | BRAZILIAN OR ITALIAN? We don’t know and, frankly, don’t care. Let’s just describe Braccia as “different.” But don’t call this pizzeria a pizzeria, because it’s really a lot more than that. By Rona Gindin, photographs by Rafael Tongol
IN EVERY ISSUE 6 | FIRST WORD 8 | COVER ARTIST 79 | EVENTS 88 | ARTSBEAT
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FIRST IMPRESSIONS AND COWBOY SHIRTS
ne of the first VIPs my dad met when we moved to Winter Park in 1967 was Hugh McKean, then president of Rollins College. Worrell Newspapers, a chain of medium-sized dailies located mostly in the Southeast, had bought the venerable Winter Park Sun-Herald, and had plucked my dad from a position as advertising manager for the daily newspaper in Florence, Alabama, to move south and become the long-established weekly’s publisher. Having made several advance trips to Winter Park with other Worrell executives in the months leading up to the purchase, my dad quickly learned that earning Dr. McKean’s good will should be among his first priorities. So, before we were even fully unpacked, my dad had made an appointment to visit the sophisticated artist-turned-administrator at his campus office. Dad was determined to make an important ally, and to prove that Winter Park’s hometown newspaper had not been taken over by hillbillies — the parent company’s Alabama connections notwithstanding. But a cowboy shirt threatened to undermine those efforts. The morning of his meeting with Dr. McKean, my dad could not find the box that contained his suits. In fact, the only shirt he could locate was a horrific western-cut garment fashioned from some shiny, chemical-based substance such as rayon. A scene of cacti, tumbleweeds and cowpokes with lassos twirling adorned the front above each pocket. The images weren’t even properly embroidered — they were garishly printed on the shimmering white fabric. The shirt looked like something Roy Rogers’ ne’er-do-well cousin might have worn. Decades later, my dad vowed that he had never before even seen this shirt. It was certainly not something he ever would have worn, even as a joke. Yet, he was due to arrive at Dr. McKean’s office in 15 minutes. And, because the appointment was early in the morning, no stores were
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open where he could buy something more acceptable. My dad felt that it would be rude to call and cancel at the last minute (although perhaps not as rude as showing up bare chested). So he resolved to keep the appointment, wear the cowboy shirt and make the best of it. He’d simply tell Dr. McKean the truth — that we hadn’t finished unpacking, and he unexpectedly couldn’t locate his suits. At least he’d find out whether or not this particular pillar of the community possessed a sense of humor. I recall hearing later that the meeting went well, and that Dr. McKean was greatly amused about the sartorial snafu. In years to come, he would visit the Sun-Herald offices on Park Avenue and drop off essays — which my dad usually ran on the front page — about whatever was on his mind. One essay, I recall, was a prescient prediction about offering college courses on educational television or otherwise delivering them electronically, making higher education accessible to everyone. Nearly 50 years later, I’m writing about Dr. McKean in this issue of Winter Park Magazine. Hopefully, the story will offer a balanced — and perhaps unexpected — look at this extraordinary Winter Park icon, who’s remembered today mainly as an endearingly quirky philanthropist. That’s a partially true — but grossly simplistic — description of a complex man. And as my dad could have told you, he had a sense of humor about cheap cowboy shirts.
Randy Noles Editor and Publisher Lorna Osborn Senior Associate Publisher Kathy Byrd Associate Publisher Theresa Swanson Group Publisher/new-home publications Jenna Carberg GRAPHIC DESIGNER Dana S. Eagles, Karen LeBlanc Michael McLeod CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Jay Boyar ArTS EDITOR Rona Gindin DINING EDITOR Marianne Ilunga FASHION EDITOR Harry Wessel CONTRIBUTING EDITOR Rafael Tongol Contributing Photographer
Rick Walsh, Jim DeSimone FOUNDING PARTNERS
FLORIDA CITIES MEDIA LLC Daniel Denton President Randy Noles Consulting Publisher Pam Flanagan General Manager
Copyright 2016 by Florida Home Media LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Florida Cities Media LLC. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part is prohibited without written permission of the copyright holder. Winter Park Magazine is published four times yearly by Florida Home Media LLC, 2700 Westhall Lane, Suite 220, Maitland, FL 32751
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PORTRAIT OF THE PAST ARTIST STEPHEN BACH CELEBRATES THE CAPEN-SHOWALTER HOUSE.
tephen Bach is one of the region’s most acclaimed painters. His award-winning works — moody explorations of color and light — hang in numerous private collections and have been featured in national publications. But your first exposure to Bach might have come over a plate of pasta and breadsticks at Olive Garden. Trained at the Pratt Institute in New York City, the Orlando native spent 15 years painting murals in roughly 500 of the ubiquitous Italian eateries, traveling to 47 states in the process. Fifteen years ago, Bach decided to pursue his goal of becoming a fine-art landscape painter. Today he works from Winter Park’s McRae Art Studios and travels to high-profile festivals around the country. He has also emerged as the region’s go-to source for special-event posters. His painting, Veteran’s Fountain by Night, was selected as the official poster for the 2013 Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival. And, for 10 of the past 14 years, he has been the poster artist for the Winter Park Concours d’Elegance, an annual collector-car show held this year at the Winter Park Country Club. In addition to classic cars and rural landscapes, Bach is fascinated by homes and commercial buildings — especially those in Winter Park. His skill at capturing the personality of a structure is one reason he was asked to render the Capen-Showalter House for the cover of Winter Park Magazine. The house, as every Winter Parker surely knows, was rescued from demolition, sawed in half and floated across Lake Osceola, where it was placed next Stephen Bach and his portrait of the vintage home that the community rallied to save.
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to the Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens and renovated for use as museum offices and community event space. Work was completed in October. Debbie Komanski, executive director of the Polasek, personally asked Bach to do the painting as a commemoration of the project’s successful completion. “Stephen seemed to be the perfect choice,” says Komanski of the artist, who’s a regular participant in the annual Polasek-sponsored Winter Park Paint Out, an invitation-only plein air event during which 25 artists explore the city and capture what they see on canvas. “He appreciates the beauty of Winter Park and the significance of this effort,” she adds. “And I knew his finished work would do it all justice.” Says Bach: “It was an honor to be asked to paint a portrait of the CapenShowalter House. Over the past 15 years, I’ve gotten to know Debbie and the staff and board of the Polasek. So I wasn’t surprised when I heard they wanted to move the house across the lake. After all, that’s what a museum does — preserve treasures.” Bach notes that the house “has existed for nearly as long as the town, and now it will host generations to come. The beauty of the art it will hold, the laughter and celebration that will fill its rooms — all this should be seen as confirmation of the good that comes from repurposing the past.” For more information about Bach’s work, visit stephenbach.com or mcraeartstudios.com. —Randy Noles
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Jeffery G. Eisenbarth, vice president for business and finance at Rollins College, enjoys his morning coffee outside the SunTrust Plaza Starbucks on Park Avenue.
REAL ESTATE AS A LIBERAL ART At Rollins, behind a savvy group of boosters, development has become a source of both revenue and controversy. But, according to the numbers, the city gets plenty of bang for the college’s bucks. BY RANDY NOLES LEAD PHOTOGRAPH BY RAFAEL TONGOL
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elationships between colleges and college towns are often multilayered and complex, encompassing both cooperation and condescension; harmony and hostility. Some colleges operate in isolation from the communities surrounding them, behaving as though the only commonality is geography. “But sir, they’re not good enough,” whined an obnoxious jock to the president of Indiana University in the film Breaking Away (1979). “They’re cutters.” The university had invited locals, derisively called “cutters” because many had worked in local quarries, to participate in the annual Indiana University Little 500 bicycle race. You’ve seen the movie; you know the snooty collegians get their comeuppance. Rollins College and the City of Winter Park have had their disagreements over the years. But few towns and colleges have histories so intertwined, or interests so aligned. Indeed, the same cadre of enlightened New Englanders who pioneered the city also rallied its residents to donate land and money for the college, which was founded by the Florida Congregational Association. In the years since 1885, the goals of the city and the goals of the college have, for the most part, been in concert. “We started together and we’re in this together,” says Randy Knight, city manager. “Working together helps keep our city strong, thriving and vibrant — for those who already live here and those who may someday want to call Winter Park home.” Patrick Chapin, president and chief executive officer of the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce, says the college is a boon to business — especially in the downtown shopping and dining district. “When I think about Park Avenue and Rollins College, I can’t imagine one without the other,” he says. For Rollins, its location in the heart of a lively and affluent city is considered a key selling point for applicants and their parents. For Winter Park, the presence of a prestigious liberal arts institution is confirmation of its stature as the cultural and intellectual mecca of Central Florida. From time to time, though, some locals complain about the college’s extracurricular real estate activity. That wariness has increased in recent years, as Rollins has aggressively acquired and redeveloped property outside its compact 70-acre campus. “The campus is landlocked and lake-locked,” says Allan E. Keen, chief executive officer of The Keewin Real Property Co. Keen, who helped to develop a strategic plan for such ventures, is the incoming chairman of the college’s board of trustees and serves on its real estate task force. “When we buy property, it isn’t to sell,” adds Keen, who has been a trustee since 1987. “Rollins has been here for 130 years, so we hope to keep what we buy basically forever. Obviously, that means we look further ahead than most property buyers would.”
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The Alfond Inn is the biggest — and most lucrative — of the college’s commercial developments. Profits endow a scholarship fund.
Eventually, Keen says, much of the real estate Rollins absorbs may be used for campus expansion. But “eventually,” in this context, may mean generations from now. In the meantime, the college has been spectacularly successful in redeveloping nearby property and using it to generate income. Because Rollins pays cash for its purchases and doesn’t finance any debt, its real estate activities are expected this year to generate a profit of $2.6 million on income of $4.5 million. That’s an astronomical 58 percent operating margin. And those numbers don’t include the Alfond Inn, a wildly popular boutique hotel on East New England Avenue. The Alfond, opened by the college in 2013, is owned by a separate LLC for accounting purposes. That’s because its profits, instead of benefitting the college directly, endow a scholarship fund. Using a cost basis — which is the acquisition price adjusted for such factors as depreciation and improvements — the return on the college’s real estate portfolio, this time including the hotel, has averaged more than 15 percent annually since 1999. Comparing the cost basis of college-owned property to its current market value is basically an indicator of appreciation. In light of the economic crash of 2007, during which real estate values collapsed and remained depressed for years, the return Rollins has enjoyed becomes even more impressive. That calamitous bursting bubble, in fact, created opportunities for the college to pick up some properties on the cheap. Keen, who has been involved in real estate transactions valued at more than $450 million since 1978, says that an 8 or 9 percent annual return is considered good for a private company that owns and manages commercial property. Sure, he adds, Rollins could have invested money in stocks instead of property. But the Standard & Poors 500 index has averaged a comparatively measly 9.85 percent return over the past 20 years. “Our return was 12 percent even before the Alfond,” notes Keen. So, at a time when many institutions of higher learning are scrambling to find non-tuition revenue sources, this small liberal-arts college tucked along the shores of Lake Virginia seems to have
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hit the jackpot. Its real estate assets are not only gaining equity but putting money in the bank. “The earnings on our commercial real estate effectively function like our endowment,” says President Grant H. Cornwell. “This strategy enables us to keep the escalation of tuition as disciplined as possible.” But has this eye-popping success come at the expense of the city? It’s difficult to see how.
Jeffrey G. Eisenbarth, the college’s vice president for business and finance and treasurer, joking refers to Rollins as “the 800-pound gorilla sitting at the end of Park Avenue South.” Eisenbarth, who joined the college in 2008, says he constantly fights the perception that his employer is a land-hungry, cash-rich behemoth bent on snaring every property possible and removing it from the tax rolls. “When people say, ‘Rollins isn’t paying any taxes,’ it just isn’t true,” says Eisenbarth. “It’s an urban legend.” The fact is, Rollins rarely changes the taxable status of its real estate purchases. And its commercial properties are taxed no differently than those owned by for-profit investors. Of 60 properties bought by the college since 1993, 45 — or 75 percent — have remained on the tax rolls, Eisenbarth points out. Consequently the college’s property tax bill has soared — particularly since the opening of the Alfond. With the hotel added to the tax rolls, Rollins is now the city’s second-largest taxpayer, behind only Winter Park Village, a sprawling commercial development on U.S. Highway 17-92. Here’s how it breaks down as of 2015: All properties owned by Rollins, whatever their use, are assessed at a grand total of $164,436,948. That’s 3.1 percent of the combined assessed value of every property in Winter Park. Most college-owned properties — including the main campus — are tax-exempt. But 28 percent of the assessed value — or $46,343,184 — is related to properties categorized as non-exempt. Consequently, the college’s 2015 property tax bill is estimated to be $850,223 — up nearly 9
percent from 2014. The jump is due in large part to the increased valuation of the Alfond, which paid a $261,116 property tax bill last year and expects that obligation to soar 25 percent — to $326,831 — this year. Still, despite the enviable numbers Rollins has been able to achieve — and despite the financial benefit to the institution and the city — should a college be in the real estate business at all? There can be a significant downside, as the economic crash demonstrated. And a college that buys and develops property risks being cast as a competitor instead of a partner by high-powered locals, whose ongoing good will is crucial. “I wouldn’t recommend our approach to other small colleges unless they had opportunities as proximate as we do, and had the trustees and professional staff as sophisticated and experienced as we do,” says Cornwell. “What colleges do best is be colleges,” he adds. “It’s risky to wander off into other enterprises. It works so well at Rollins because of our unique situation.”
Rollins first entered the commercial real estate arena in a major way when it developed SunTrust Plaza and an accompanying parking garage on the 400 block of Park Avenue South. The college already owned the 2.5-acre site, upon which sat a three-story brick building — dating from 1916 — which once housed the Winter Park Grade School, later Park Avenue Elementary. Rollins, which bought the property in 1961, used the building for classrooms and offices. But by the late 1980s, it had fallen into disrepair and had become structurally unsafe. The college announced plans to demolish the building and redevelop the site, outraging preservationists, some business owners and many longtime residents who had attended the school and had a sentimental attachment to it. Although the structure was razed, substantial angst had been generated. The site remained vacant, like a missing front tooth in an otherwise perfect smile, for the better part of a decade. George H. Herbst, Eisenbarth’s predecessor, was eventually tasked by President Rita Bornstein
BUSINESS and the college trustees with selling the community on a development plan. “Our greatest challenge proved to be negotiating the politically sensitive process of securing city approvals,” Bornstein told a reporter after the project was complete. “Nothing prepared us for the complexities and intense scrutiny of a real estate venture.” Herbst says the college considered simply selling the land and letting an outside developer take the heat. But, he adds, “the more we looked at it, the more self-development made sense.” Frank Herring, then managing partner for Dallas-based developer Trammell Crow Co., was hired as project manager. Now president of his own company, The Herring Group, he continues to advise the college on its commercial real estate ventures and serves on the real estate task force with Keen and others. “I guess you could say I was the arms and legs,” says Herring, who’s also a trustee for the Hamilton Holt School, the college’s evening program. “I ran the day to day operation of getting the project done.” But there were plenty of feelings to be soothed and reassurances to be made before construction actually got underway. Herring, who describes himself as “low profile,” was a developer, not a public relations practitioner. It was up to the college to reassure suspicious locals. “I spoke to every group around town,” Herbst recalls. “It was before PowerPoint, so I lugged around all these renderings. People were afraid we were going to build a skyscraper. They were afraid that whatever we built wasn’t going to be on the tax rolls. There was a lot of doubt.” SunTrust Plaza, after considerable discussion and debate, was opened in 1999 as a threestory, 82,000-square-foot complex abutting an 850-space parking garage. Tenants include Gap, Starbucks, Restoration Hardware and Merrill Lynch, as well as its namesake bank. At 40 feet tall, the structure exceeds the city’s height limit by 10 feet. But with the third story partially recessed, it doesn’t feel out of scale with the rest of Park Avenue. And it provides the city with $248,890 in annual property tax revenue. Subsequently, Rollins began buying various commercial properties along the south side of West Fairbanks Avenue, from the campus entrance to the railroad tracks. In 2012, it redeveloped Winter Park Plaza — a strip center anchored by Ethos, a vegetarian restaurant — and is now landlord to an array of businesses, from a waxing salon to a vitamin emporium. The center’s original developers had defaulted on a $7 million note, and the college snapped it up for $2.8 million via an Internet auction. It’s expected to generate $43,658 in property taxes this year. Other college-owned commercial properties lining Fairbanks bring in considerably less,
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TAXES ARE ONLY PART OF ROLLINS’ TOTAL IMPACT Determining the amount of property taxes paid isn’t the only way to measure the economic impact of a college on a community. It isn’t even the most important way. The accompanying story deals primarily with that topic because it engenders so much discussion and conjecture. So, apart from its hefty tax bill, what are the other economic benefits to Winter Park of having Rollins College within the city limits? And can these benefits be quantified? Such studies are often done on behalf of governmental agencies and major institutions of all types, from colleges to sports franchises. But the last full-fledged impact study involving Rollins was done in 2008 by Tripp Umbach, a Pittsburgh-based consulting company whose services include research, strategic planning and economic analysis. The study was commissioned by the college. The Tripp Umbach team analyzed taxes paid; the spending power of students, staff, faculty and visitors; purchases made for ongoing operations and capital improvements; and the number of jobs supported directly or indirectly by the college. As is standard procedure with such studies, a multiplier was applied to determine the indirect impact of college and college-related expenditures on the state, county and city economies. Using data from 2006, the consultants figured the college’s total impact, direct and indirect, was $204.9 million. What would the number be today? Obviously, considerably higher since the Tripp Umbach data is nine years old. But as of now, a new study giving a broader picture of the college’s economic impact isn’t planned.
but all contribute to city coffers proportionally, based on their assessments. This summer, Rollins jumped across Fairbanks to buy its only property on the north side of the street — the building at 315 W. Fairbanks that housed the law offices of the late Russell Troutman. The college paid $2.65 million for the building and an adjacent parking lot. The Holt School’s offices have temporarily moved there from the Pioneer Building, located in the college’s Samuel B. Lawrence Center. The Lawrence Center is a city block in downtown Winter Park that also encompasses a 40,000-square-foot building occupied by PNC Bank and other tenants. The Pioneer Building sustained water damage over the summer and is undergoing repairs.
Eventually, says Eisenbarth, the Holt School will probably move back and the Troutman building will be offered for lease. A college-owned property that will soon change uses is 200 W. Fairbanks, until recently home of Frank & Stein’s, a bar and restaurant. Eisenbarth says he hopes the site will be used for a campus and community bookstore. It was announced earlier this year that the on-campus bookstore would be converted into an event center. It’s unclear whether or not the property would become tax exempt if it’s used for a bookstore — especially if an outside company runs the operation and pays the college rent. In 2007, Rollins began a townhome-buying spree, corralling nine units on Orchard Avenue near Mead Botannical Garden. The college uses these and other scattered townhomes for faculty housing. New hires pay market rate for rent, and may remain for a maximum of three years. The townhomes remain on the tax rolls because they’re considered incidental to the college’s core educational mission. Faculty housing is expected to generate $65,872 in property taxes this year.
But the biggest development project ever undertaken by the college was the Alfond. The idea to build a hotel emerged from a freewheeling 2008 trustee brainstorming session, Eisenbarth says. Although Rollins was nationally renowned for its picture-postcard campus, there was a vexing problem. Visitors, including prospective students and their parents, had no place on campus — or even adjacent to it — to spend the night. In addition, following on-campus weddings for alumni, there was no convenient venue to gather for receptions. There was also a shortage of meeting and conference space for the college and the community. The solution seemed obvious. “I was on the job two months and got the job of hotel developer,” recalls Eisenbarth, who had been hired from a comparable post at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon. “I went back to the office and looked at the job description. I didn’t see ‘hotel developer’ in there anywhere. I saw ‘other duties as assigned.’” The trustees formed an Alfond task force, and asked Keen to work with Eisenbarth and formulate a plan. The Alfond family — longtime college benefactors — had already committed to putting up $12.5 million, with the condition that profits be used to provide scholarships and endow a scholarship fund. But $12.5 million wasn’t nearly enough to get the job done. Instead of partnering with a developer, though, Eisenbarth and Keen recommended that the college finance the remainder with a $20 million
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BUSINESS loan from its reserves, to be repaid over 25 years at 4.5 percent interest. In 2009, the college spent $9.9 million for a 3.3-acre parcel at the corner of New England and Interlachen avenues, just blocks from the campus. On the site once stood the storied Langford Hotel, a local landmark that closed in 2000 and was demolished in 2003. With Herring again serving as project manager, ground was broken for the new hotel in November 2011. Almost immediately upon its opening, the 112room facility began earning rave reviews. Most recently, in Conde Nast Traveler’s annual Readers’ Choice Awards, it was rated No. 1 in Florida, No. 7 in the U.S. and No. 63 in the world. It also holds a AAA Four-Diamond rating. But if you’re an accountant, you’ll be more impressed by the numbers. In 2015, the Alfond is expected to gross more than $14 million and earn an operating profit of $4.7 million. From the net, the college will be repaid $1.2 million. The remainder will bolster the Alfond Scholars, a program established by the hotel’s namesake family. This agreement will continue for 25 years or until the endowment reaches $50 million — whichever comes first.
What’s next for Rollins? On the wall of Eisenbarth’s office hangs an aerial photograph of Winter Park showing properties owned by the college and properties it would like to acquire, each outlined in different colors. The wish list is proprietary information, Eisenbarth says. But it doesn’t take a PhD to figure out that parcels already buffeted by college-owned property, especially along Fairbanks, would be prime candidates for acquisition. Certainly it’s no secret that Rollins would be interested in the two-acres at 460 E. New England Ave. where the Winter Park Public Library now sits. It’s ideally situated next door to the Alfond and across the street from the campus. The property could become available if voters approve a $30 million bond issue in March to fund construction of a new combined library and civic center at the northwest corner of Martin Luther King Jr. Park, where the current
George H. Herbst was vice president for business and finance when the college embarked on its first major real estate development, SunTrust Center.
Rachel D. Murrah Civic Center is now located. Some on social media are already buzzing that Rollins somehow manipulated the volunteer citizens’ committee that studied the issue and recommended the move — an accusation that committee members vehemently deny. Such gossip baffles Eisenbarth, who says that if the referendum passes, and if the city decides to sell, and if the price is right — which is a lot of ifs — the college could be interested in buying the property and perhaps retrofitting the existing building as a permanent home for the Holt School. “We can’t tell the city what to do,” Eisenbarth says. “They tell us what to do.” It’s true that Rollins doesn’t always get its way. In October, it pulled from consideration a petition to rezone property at 315 Holt Ave. abutting the College Quarter historic district. The college had asked that the site, which is now occupied by a small circa-1930s apartment complex, be rezoned from residential to PQP (public, quasi-public) so it could build a 5,000-square-foot child-care development center. College Quarter residents didn’t particularly object to a child-care development center. But some worried that a zoning change to accommodate it would set a disagreeable precedent. Because churches and other nonprofits may operate child-care centers under R2 zoning, the request will likely be resubmitted once the city clarifies that a facility of the kind proposed by the college would likewise be permissible.
SUCCESS IS ORCHESTRATED BY A FORMIDABLE TASK FORCE Part of the reason Rollins has compiled such a solid record of profitability in its real estate ventures is due to the savvy of its real estate task force. The chairman is Tom Kuntz, who retired in 2013 as corporate executive vice president of SunTrust Banks Inc. and chairman, president and chief executive officer of SunTrust Bank Florida. Other members include Theodore D. “Ted” Alfond, art collector and retired executive vice president of Dexter Shoe Company, Weston, Massachusetts; Bruce A.
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Looking further into the future, Eisenbarth points to the Lawrence Center as a site that has redevelopment potential. The center, bounded by New England Avenue to the north, Knowles Avenue to the west, Interlachen Avenue to the east, and Lyman Avenue to the south, is tucked between the Alfond and SunTrust Center. Just what might be built there — and when — isn’t known. But it’s certainly a first-rate location, just a block off Park Avenue. (Samuel B. Lawrence, by the way, was the father of Barbara Lawrence Alfond. He made a fortune as an original investor in Budget Rent a Car and died in 2011.) Keen says the college isn’t looking to buy more property unless it’s strategically placed near the campus or offers proximity to other collegeowned assets. “We try to be a good neighbor.” he notes. “That’s why nobody builds anything prettier or better than we do.” Nobody doubts that Rollins develops quality projects. What’s more, the college appears to be unique among its peers in the scope of its real estate operation. “I don’t know of any colleges who do as much as we do,” says Eisenbarth. “Maybe Harvard.” Not that others aren’t at least peripherally involved in real estate. Comparably sized colleges, particularly those in unremarkable towns or even rural areas, are increasingly trying to promote mixed-use commercial and residential development around their campuses to help lure students and faculty. But such colleges rarely have the expertise — or the cash — to do it themselves. So they take on development partners who assume the risks (and reap the rewards). However, creating an appealing college-town atmosphere around Rollins has never been necessary. It’s hard to improve on Winter Park just the way it is — and has been for generations. So why is Rollins in the development business? Because it can be, for one reason, blessed as it is with cash, expertise and an enviable location. But it’s also positioning itself for growth — perhaps decades from now — and in the meantime generating healthy returns in both asset value and cold, hard cash. “It’s all for the students, current and future,” says Eisenbarth. “So it’s all good.”
Beal, advisor to Harvard University on real estate matters and chairman of Related Beal, Cambridge, Massachusetts; William H. Bierbach, president of Miller Industrial Solutions, a division of Motion Industries, Orlando; Orlando L. Evora, attorney and comanaging shareholder of Greenberg Traurig, Orlando; Alan Ginsberg, developer and founder of The CED Companies, Orlando; Frank Herring, developer and president of The Herring Group, Winter Park; Allan E. Keen, developer and chief executive officer of The Keewin Real Property Co., Winter Park; David H. Lord, asset manager of Griffis Group of Companies, Denver, Colorado; and Harold A. Ward III, attorney and senior adviser of Winderweedle, Haines, Ward & Woodman, Winter Park. From Rollins, members include President Grant H. Cornwell and Vice President for Business and Finance and Treasurer Jeffrey G. Eisenbarth.
COOLEST THINGS ABOUT HAVING ROLLINS COLLEGE AS OUR NEIGHBOR. Let’s put aside economic impact for now. From the community’s point of view — based on the editorial judgment of Winter Park Magazine and the results of an informal social-media survey — here are the Top 5 Coolest Things about having Rollins College in Winter Park.
Winter Park Institute Institute speaker LeVar Burton captivated the crowd at Warden Arena.
The Bach Festival Society of Winter Park
Its first event — a Vespers service at Knowles Memorial Chapel — was held in 1935. Now, more than 80 years later, the Bach Festival Society of Winter Park ranks among the region’s most important and respected arts organizations. In addition to staging the venerable Bach Festival each February, the society presents an eclectic array of concerts virtually year round, many of which spotlight internationally renowned guest soloists. The society, which boasts a 160-voice choir and a permanent orchestra, is a separate nonprofit and technically unaffiliated with Rollins. But the two institutions are intertwined in numerous ways, not the least of which is a shared creative force in artistic director John Sinclair, who also chairs the college’s Department of Music. bachfestivalflorida.org.
The Winter Park Institute
The WPI hosts a who’s who of luminaries — among them artists, activists and authors — for appearances that are free and open to the public. The celebrated guests typically hang around campus for readings, master classes, discussions and surprise drop-ins. Most recently, LeVar Burton — star of Star Trek: The Next Generation and Roots as well as creator of Reading Rainbow — packed the house at Warden Arena in the Harold & Ted Alfond Sports Center. Bestselling author Bill Bryson (A Walk in the Woods, A Short History of Nearly Everything) is coming in February. Past speakers have included Maya Angelou, Jane Goodall, Izsak Pearlman, Jane Pauley and even Sir Paul McCartney — yes, that Paul McCartney — who chatted with two-time U.S. poet laureate Billy Collins during a students-only event. Over the summer, the popular program appeared to be on shaky ground. The roster of speakers was pared and Collins — the institute’s senior distinguished fellow — was abruptly let go. But incoming President Grant H. Cornwell, realizing the value of the WPI and Collins’ affiliation with it, rehired the poet in November. Gail Sinclair, a professor of American literature, is the executive director. rollins.edu/rollins-winter-park-institute.
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John Sinclair has been artistic director of the Bach Festival Society of Winter Park for 25 years.
Senior Tars (STARS) The cast Reefer Madness, a recent production at the Annie Russell Theater.
The Annie Russell Theater
“The Annie,” the longest continuously operating theater in Florida, is named for stage actress Annie Russell, who headed the college’s drama department in the 1930s. Each year, the Department of Theatre & Dance presents an entertaining and sometimes provocative slate of shows featuring student performers. The last two offerings of the current season include Expecting Isabel (Feb. 12-20), a comedy-drama with adult themes, and Hello, Dolly! (April 15-23), a timeless musical for the whole family. But regardless of what you see, it’ll be first-rate. And the surroundings — in a jewel-box of a historic theater where generations of Winter Parkers have been entertained — can’t be duplicated anyplace else in Central Florida. For edgier fare, check out the student-directed Second Stage Series at the Fred Stone Theater, where admission is free and the stated mission is to “spank your mind.” rollins.edu/annie-russell-theatre.
Mah-jongg is one of dozens of classes offered through Senior Tars (STARS).
STARS, offered through the college’s Center for Lifelong Learning, was launched in 2013 with the goal of reaching 500 students by its third year. But the program, aimed at adults aged 50 and over, wrapped up its second year having served 1,300 lifelong learners. Dozens of non-credit classes are offered encompassing, well, just about everything imaginable. A sampling: photography, writing, bridge, mahjongg, contemporary art, constitutional law, alternative medicine, current events and foreign languages. Sessions, which last 90 minutes, are held once a week for four weeks. The cost is $65 per course — and best of all, there are no tests. STARS is funded by a grant from the Winter Park Health Foundation. Jill Norburn is the center’s director. rollins.edu/evening/rollins-center-lifelong-learning.
The Cornell Fine Arts Museum
The Cornell, tucked on the campus overlooking Lake Virginia, is an under-the-radar cultural treasure that’s been getting more notice since the arrival in 2012 of director Ena Heller, a Romanian emigrant with a PhD in art history who was previously founding director of the Museum of Biblical Art in New York. The Cornell boasts the region’s only “encyclopedic” collection of art, including works by Europe’s Old Masters. Holdings also include more than 500 paintings, some dating from the 14th century; 1,600 prints, drawings and photographs; and thousands of objects, artifacts and archaeological fragments from around the world. The museum’s burgeoning collection of contemporary art, much of which is displayed at the Alfond Inn, is also recognized as world class. Of course, only a fraction of the museum’s collection can be displayed at any given time — but whatever’s there is guaranteed to be interesting. Admission, for the time being, remains free. rollins.edu/cornell-fine-arts-museum.
The Cornell Fine Arts Museum boasts an eclectic and extensive collection. W INTE R 2 0 1 6 | W INT ER PARK MAGAZ IN E
Betsy Rogers Owens is executive director of the Friends of Casa Feliz, which operates the Casa Feliz Historic Home Museum. She’s also a high-profile crusader for preserving historic homes.
PASSION WITH A PURPOSE Betsy Rogers Owens is at the center of a volatile debate about historic preservation. Agree or disagree with her approach, she’s a formidable advocate for her cause. BY RANDY NOLES PHOTOGRAPHS BY RAFAEL TONGOL
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etsy Rogers Owens has spent the past decade overseeing the house her grandfather designed, but she introduces it to a visitor with the admiration of someone who has just discovered its simple splendor. Come see its intimate courtyard, lined with bricks recovered from an old Orlando armory, she says. Note the “human scale” of the residence, which was inspired by a Spanish farmhouse. Appreciate its “wonderful, shaggy appearance,” with a broken archway designed to simulate aging. Casa Feliz, designed by James Gamble Rogers II, was built in 1933, when Winter Park was too young to worry about preservation. Yet, along with the eminent architect’s many distinguished homes, his legacy includes a deep respect for the past. Most of his work was inspired by traditional styles he thought best suited Winter Park and its Old World ambiance. Rogers’ outspoken granddaughter is now executive director of the Friends of Casa Feliz, the nonprofit organization that operates the Casa Feliz Historic Home Museum. Owens’ legacy has become a crusade aimed at protecting other historically significant homes. But her advocacy has placed the 49-year-old mother of two at the center of a noisy debate about preserving the city’s heritage on the one hand and protecting property rights on the other. In November, Owens and fellow preservationists prevailed when the Winter Park City Commission voted 3-2 for a strengthened historic-preservation ordinance. Commissioners Carolyn Cooper, Tom McMacken, and Greg Seidel were in favor while Commissioner Sarah Sprinkel and Mayor Steve Leary were opposed. Among other changes, approval of historic-district designations will now require an affirmative vote from a simple majority of homeowners instead of the previous 67 percent. Ironically, a city that touts “heritage” in its slogan had the toughest criteria in the state for district formation. The morning after the contentious vote, Owens was gratified but not gloating. “I have pretty thick skin,” she notes. “I don’t worry about personal attacks, but I do hate the deception. We provided study after study, produced by independent academic sources, on the economic benefits of preservation. The property rights folks countered with a ‘study’ featured in an online publication devoted to debunking global warming — I’m not making this up — and criticizing Pope Francis for his ‘liberal politics.’” It’s frustrating, Owens says, when intelligent people “buy a false bill of goods.” Harsh words on both sides — some of them personal in tone — were spoken during the run-up to the pivotal commission meeting. While many homeowners expressed reasoned concerns and asked thoughtful questions, others called
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Owens meets with the Friends of Casa Feliz in the historic home’s conference room.
Owens a busybody and a socialist. One Facebook post even compared preservationists to Nazis. Perhaps most vexing to Owens was the claim that she cared about historic preservation only because she wanted to protect her grandfather’s remaining homes. Nonsense, she says, insisting that it was the city’s character she was trying to protect, not the work of any particular architect. “I’m just glad most people seem to respond to good, empirical information instead of hyperbole,” she adds, while admitting that she can sometimes be guilty of hyperbole herself. “The commissioners knew the issue. They had done their homework.” There’s no debate over the fact that Winter Park has been losing old homes for decades. Even the most ardent preservationists would concede that the majority of those homes — some of which were impractical to remodel — won’t be particularly missed. Others, however, were of historic importance. And a few — like Casa Feliz and the CapenShowalter House — were saved only through frantic community fundraising efforts. Owens points out that since Winter Park’s
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first historic preservation ordinance was passed in 2001, just 82 historic buildings and two historic districts — College Quarter and Virginia Heights East — have been designated. She adds that only 14 percent of the local structures eligible to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places — a largely honorary recognition — are also listed on the Winter Park Register of Historic Places, which offers protection from hasty demolition. “I would say 2001 was when I really became passionate about this,” Owens says. “I saw that things were changing in Winter Park — which is inevitable — but some of the changes weren’t for the better.” Fellow preservationists use words like “blunt,” “transparent” and “energetic” to describe Owens. To read her spirited, occasionally wonkish blog, Preservation Winter Park, is to get an education about both architectural history and preservation policy. If Owens is a wonk, she’s an entertaining one. She’s chatty, articulate and frequently flashes an oversized grin. Though she can be sarcastic — sometimes in a self-deprecating way — she seems
to have little in common with the strident, confrontational figure whom her opponents describe. “The public that shows up at City Hall sees her as intractable,” says Jeffrey Blydenburgh, an architect who worked with Owens on an ad hoc citizens committee that recommended changes to the ordinance. “I don’t see it that way.” Stephen Pategas, a landscape architect who is vice chairman of the Friends of Casa Feliz, agrees. “Betsy will take time to analyze the situation and doesn’t jump to any conclusions,” he says. “I would call it passion with a purpose.”
Owens was born in Pittsburgh and grew up in Winter Park. Her father died when she was 5, and her mother, Peggy, married Jack Rogers, the son of James Gamble Rogers II, when Owens was 7. “After my father died, I was living in a house with my mother, my grandmother and my greataunt,” Owens recalls. “I had these three women doting on me. The next thing I knew, I was on my way to Winter Park.” Jack, who joined and eventually led his father’s architectural firm, became her adoptive father and her connection to the Rogers design tradition.
Because Jack, a widower, already had two sons, Owens got two ready-made brothers: John, now 49, who teaches at Winter Park Tech; and Geoffrey, now 46, who owns an advertising agency in Portland, Oregon. Owens becomes emotional when discussing her biological father and her stepfather. “My mom married two of the greatest men on earth, as far as I’m concerned,” she says. “They were both renaissance men,” she continues. “They were both senior class presidents and both valedictorians. I was so fortunate to have a second chance at having a fabulous family.” (Her biological father was, coincidentally, also named Jack and was an engineer.) Of her adoptive father, now 76, she speaks in reverent tones. He is, she says, “a gifted, kind and humble man.” Jack’s brother — Betsy’s uncle — was Gamble Rogers IV, the late Florida folksinger who she remembers as “Jimmy.” As for her legendary grandfather, Owens recalls him in his later years as a quiet, methodical man who squeezed his own juice from temple oranges, swam in Lake Osceola and drove around town in a Volkswagen Beetle he dubbed Sputnik. He didn’t like vacations much, Owens says, and seemed ill at ease on the family’s farm in Georgia. “He was a presence in our lives, and
wonderfully generous with us,” she recalls. “But he wasn’t a warm and fuzzy person. I got the sense that he didn’t quite know what to do with younger children.”
After earning an economics degree at the University of Virginia and an MBA at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Owens worked for seven years as managing director of the West Virginia Roundtable, a nonprofit CEO group in Charleston. Her journalist husband, Paul Owens, had taken a job at the Charleston Daily Mail. She got the chance to come home in late 2001, when Paul was hired as an editorial writer for the Orlando Sentinel, where he is now opinions editor. At the time, Casa Feliz had just escaped the wrecking ball and had been moved to city property abutting the Winter Park Golf Course. That effort, led by Jack Rogers, spurred the city to take inventory of its significant structures and adopt its first historic-preservation ordinance. In 2004, Owens became the part-time executive director at Casa Feliz, which serves as a special-events space as well as a museum. “I guess I had the right name,” she says. The Owenses’ children — Meg, 19, a student at New College in Sarasota; and Jack, 15, a student at Bishop Moore
High School in Orlando — are adopted. The family lives in a circa-1940s Orwin Manor home that sits just outside Winter Park’s city limits. Owens says her Orlando address has led some to label her an interloper, despite her Winter Park roots and leadership of Casa Feliz. “I grew up in Winter Park. My family has a long history of making contributions to Winter Park,” says Owens, who sings in the Bach Festival Choir at Rollins College. “My heart is here.” On behalf of the Friends of Casa Feliz — about 150 strong today, according to Owens — she has fostered an appreciation of the city’s architectural heritage by promoting such events as the James Gamble Rogers II Colloquium on Historic Preservation, held each May. But it wasn’t until another high-profile historic home was threatened that Owens became truly immersed in preservation issues. After hearing one day in 2013 that the 1885 Capen House — now referred to as the CapenShowalter House — might be demolished, Owens posted the news on her blog and helped to make the issue a citywide cause célèbre. Moving the house — a scheme that had saved Casa Feliz — emerged as the only solution. But there was a problem. Because of Winter Park’s tree canopy, the streets couldn’t accommodate
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“I would say 2001 was when I really became passionate about this. I saw that things were changing in Winter Park — which is inevitable — but some of the changes weren’t for the better.” —Betsy Rogers Owens
the two-story structure. Still, Owens and others who rallied to the cause remained undaunted. Owens recalls that the notion of floating the home across Lake Osceola to a vacant lot owned by the Albin Polasek Museum & Gardens was the result of a brainstorming session among a group of preservationists and contractor Frank Roark, who eventually supervised the move and the restoration. Debbie Komanski, executive director of the Polasek, remembers getting a call from Owens as discussion and debate raged over how — and whether — to save the house. “Have I got an idea for you,” Komanski recalls hearing from her Casa Feliz counterpart. “Betsy’s very, very bright, and she likes to figure out solutions,” Komanski says. The donated structure, which was famously sawed in half for the trip by barge, reopened in October. It now houses Polasek offices on the second floor while the first floor is available for community functions. The project cost about $1.1 million, Komanski says, and funds were raised through a partnership among the Polasek, the Friends of Casa Feliz and the Winter Park History Museum. More than 400 individuals, many of them encouraged by the involvement of Rollins College President Emeritus Thaddeus Seymour, made donations. “Going through this experience with the Capen-Showalter House helped Betsy and the board of Casa Feliz figure out what their mission was,” adds Komanski. It also reinforced Owens’ view that trying to raise a million dollars every time a significant home was threatened wasn’t an effective preservation strategy. What was needed, Owens believed, was a stronger historic-preservation ordinance than the one adopted in 2001. Determined to head off future last-minute rescue efforts, Owens and an ad hoc citizens committee spent more than a year studying preservation policies in other cities and cobbling together a revised ordinance tailored for Winter Park. In addition to Owens, Blydenburgh and Pategas, committee members included Frank Hamner, a Winter Park attorney; Dykes Everett, owner of a land and natural-resources consulting company; and Scott Hillman, a real estate broker. The city’s appointed Historic Preservation Board,
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which had been tasked with suggesting new incentives for individuals to voluntarily seek historic designation, eventually incorporated most of the committee’s suggestions in its own ordinance revision. So it’s basically a hybrid document that passed on first reading during a marathon meeting attended by scores of opponents and proponents. Most significantly, the threshold to form a district was lowered from 67 percent (or from 58 percent, a compromise offered in the draft submitted by the Historic Preservation Board) to 50 percent plus one, which is what the ad hoc committee had sought. Nearly a dozen less-consequential amendments were approved by commissioners. However, an amendment proposed by Sprinkel that would have allowed individual homeowners to opt out of districts failed on a 3-2 vote. Jack Rogers, who was among the 46 speakers addressing commissioners, insisted that the ordinance would enhance property values and asked, “Are we forgetting why we chose to live here in Winter Park?” Districts are indeed good for property values, Owens argues in her blog. “Historic district designations give potential homebuyers the assurance that the neighborhood’s appearance will endure over time, and that they can reinvest in sensitive improvements to their own home without the fear that neighbors will undermine this investment.” Even after lowering the voting threshold, Owens says, it will be no easy task to form a district. At least half the homes in the proposed district would have to be considered “contributing” to the neighborhood’s historic character before designation would even be considered. Then, 20 percent of property owners — at least half of whom would have to live in contributing homes — would petition the city, which would in turn conduct a study, write a report and disseminate it within the proposed district’s boundaries. Finally, with the lower bar in place, an up-ordown vote would be held. Property owners who didn’t cast ballots would be counted as no votes. “There’ll be all kinds of hoops to jump through,” Owens notes. As few as 12 homes could theoretically constitute a district, according to language in the ordinance. But how many new districts will actually
come to pass is unknowable. Plus, outside the two existing districts, nothing in the ordinance would prevent another Casa Feliz or Capen-Showalter House fiasco. Although some cities can simply decree historic status, in Winter Park individual homeowners must seek designation for their properties. “That’s why we now have to focus on improving incentives” to get people to register their homes and start the district formation process, says Owens. The issue of incentives is potentially fraught with contention. Should owners of historic homes — many of whom are likely to be affluent — get tax breaks for improving their properties? A sure-to-belively debate will play out in the coming months.
Whenever Owens needs a reminder of why any of this matters, she can walk from her tiny office on the second floor of Casa Feliz to a downstairs room, where her grandfather’s sturdy drawing table occupies a corner and images of his graceful homes and other buildings adorn the walls. “What appeals to me about my grandfather’s architecture is his artistry and attention to detail,” she says. “Nowadays people build to impress. He didn’t. His homes are of a human scale, built to nestle into the surrounding neighborhood rather than jut out from it.” It’s serious business, and Owens takes it seriously. But those close to her know her as wickedly funny, with a keen sense of irony. Her Facebook friends enjoy her wry observations about family life and her pointed political commentaries. Sometimes she’s just silly. “Which is more depressing?” She posted recently. “That Dennis Miller is 62 or that Adam Ant is 61 today?” On a list entitled “25 Random Things About Me,” she opines that she’d make a good actress, recalls childhood anxiety over her large shoe size and confesses that her favorite TV show is Survivor because “I love all the Machiavellian intrigue.” After good-naturedly ridiculing a reporter’s embarrassingly obsolete cell phone, Owens owns up to the fact that she has “an obnoxious sense of humor — I have a hard time keeping my mouth shut when I have something I want to say.” Additional reporting by Dana S. Eagles.
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Hugh F. McKean is remembered today for his stint as president of Rollins College and his role in founding the Morse Museum of American Art with his wife, Jeannette. His art, however, is often overlooked.
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HUGH we never KNEW
The patrician Rollins president became the embodiment of Winter Park. But it’s as an artist that the generous man behind the iconic image becomes harder to figure out.
COURTESY OF THE ROLLINS COLLEGE ARCHIVES
BY RANDY NOLES
hose who spent any time with Hugh F. McKean likely remember him as a dashingly patrician older man with a shock of wavy white hair, a twinkle in his eye and a square jaw indicative of the matineeidol good looks that he enjoyed in his youth. They recall his wry humor, his courtly manner and his cultural pursuits, usually those aimed at making art more accessible to people not generally inclined to visit museums. Some were lucky enough to join McKean and his childhood friend John Tiedtke for one of the duo’s legendary lunches. Tiedtke, a wealthy sugar cane grower, also headed the Bach Festival Society of Winter Park and was a past professor, dean, treasurer and vice president of Rollins College, which McKean led as president from 1951 to 1969. The pair discussed every topic imaginable — guests were invariably awed by the breadth and depth of their knowledge — and often concluded their confabs by goodnaturedly griping about the reluctance of one or the other to pick up the check.
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You can judge the work for yourself. Or perhaps you can’t. Although McKean’s art isn’t hidden or lost, it’s seldom displayed. Some paintings are hung on walls in the Morse’s administrative offices, while others are stored in its sprawling warehouse. The last largescale public exhibition was in 1997— and that one happened only because the artist was no longer around to forbid it. Clearly, though, McKean was no mere dabbler. Early on, he produced extremely literal portraits, often of family members or friends, using textbook Renaissance conventions. These formative works, if not particularly original, display substantial technical proficiency. For a time, McKean’s style was influenced by American realists such as Grant Wood, Thomas Hart Benton and Edward Hopper. Although his paintings in this genre are affecting, with their isolated figures and lonely landscapes, they might justifiably be viewed as highly evolved homages to familiar artistic icons. Then, later in McKean’s long life, something changed. He began turning out haunting, impressionistic images dominated by blues, greens and blacks — some containing the sort of supernatural elements, such as ghosts and angels, often found in folk art. Because these pictures defy easy characterization or comparison, they probably best represent McKean as an artist fully realized. But what do they mean? Because he rarely discussed his own work, we’re left with only our visceral reactions to it — which McKean would be the first to insist can be neither right nor wrong. “With Hugh’s art, there was always that withholding of information,” says Laurence J. Ruggiero, director of the Morse. “There’s a story going on [in his paintings], but it’s a mystery. For all he talked about beauty, some of these works suggest a more complicated vision.”
HIS EARLY YEARS: TALENT AND TUMULT
Hugh Ferguson McKean was born in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, in 1908. His father, Arthur McKean, was an attorney who served for a brief time in the Pennsylvania legislature. His mother, Eleanor Ferguson, was a homemaker. Not surprisingly, Arthur was a man of many interests. In addition to careers in politics and the law, he roamed the sidelines for five seasons as head football coach at his alma mater, Geneva College, which Eleanor had also attended. McKean had three brothers: John (19071993), Keith (1915-2007) and Vance (born in 1917 and now living in a California retirement
The Sandspur, Rollins College’s campus newspaper, announced the appointment of McKean as an assistant art instructor in 1929, while he was still an undergraduate. W I N T E R P A R K M A G AZI N E | WI N TER 2016
COURTESY OF THE ROLLINS COLLEGE ARCHIVES
McKean’s endearing quirks are usually prominent in any conversation about him. Although he wasn’t an eccentric — that descriptor generally denotes episodes of bizarre behavior — he was undeniably quirky, in a visionary sort of way. In 1967, for example, he submitted to the Rollins board of trustees an annual report that was hand lettered and illustrated with whimsical cartoons. And in his post-presidential years, he began salvaging and restoring commercial signs — particularly garish neon ones — including two from notorious local strip clubs. Others who didn’t know McKean personally know of him through his vocations and avocations: educator, philosopher, philanthropist, college president, Tiffany preservationist and director of the Morse Museum of American Art, where the eclectic collection includes the world’s most comprehensive assortment of works by Louis Comfort Tiffany. McKean was also the man who, with his wife, Jeannette, brought the first peacocks to Winter Park and opened the grounds surrounding their sprawling estate, Wind Song, to let the public see the noisy peafowl strut and preen. Today, a peacock is emblazoned on the city’s official logo. Undoubtedly, McKean came to embody Winter Park in all its sophisticated yet egalitarian panache. But how many people remember Hugh McKean, artist? Had he not become engulfed by the responsibilities of being Hugh McKean, he might have become as well known for his paintings as for his projects, the scope of which relegated his art to something considerably more than a hobby — but something considerably less than a profession. Still, for as long as he lived — and despite constant demands for his time and attention — McKean continued to paint. Ensconced in an apartment above the Winter Park Land Co. overlooking Park Avenue, which he dubbed his “scriptorium,” he surrounded himself with can vases, brushes and tubes of oils. He delighted in producing pictures that reflected his particular and sometimes puzzling vision of humanity in general, and Florida in particular. Even the name he gave his sanctuary was vintage McKean. A scriptorium, literally “a place for writing,” is commonly used to refer to rooms in medieval European monasteries devoted to the copying and illustrating of manuscripts by monastic scribes. McKean was a high-profile public figure, not a sequestered monk. So perhaps the moniker was nothing more than a reflection of his sometimes ironic sense of humor. Or perhaps it was meant — in an unpretentious way, of course — to signal his belief that the work he produced while cloistered there had significance.
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home). The McKeans weren’t wealthy, but they were well-connected, socially prominent and solidly upper middle class. In 1920, the family moved to Orlando, where they lived in an impressive home, since demolished, on Hillcrest Street near East Colonial Drive. According to U.S. Census records, the home was then valued at $40,000 — the equivalent of nearly $600,000 today. Arthur practiced law and eventually became a municipal judge, running unsuccessfully for mayor, as a Democrat, in 1930. McKean graduated from Orlando High School in 1926 before enrolling at Rollins, where he majored in English and creative writing. His father had insisted that he earn an undergraduate degree in a subject other than art. That same year, McKean met a young woman who would become his lifelong creative and intellectual soulmate — 17-year-old Jeannette Morse Genius, a Chicago resident who had vacationed in Winter Park since childhood and was now taking summer classes at Rollins.
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Jeannette’s maternal grandfather was none other than Charles Hosmer Morse, the Windy City industrialist who shaped modern Winter Park and is remembered today as the city’s most important benefactor. A serious artist, Jeannette — who would become a Rollins trustee at age 27 — had attended exclusive private schools and, like her future husband, would later study in New York at the Grand Central School of Art and the Art Students League. Not surprisingly, these two kindred spirits — who would individually and separately dedicate their talent and treasure to energizing Winter Park’s cultural life — struck up a romance that blossomed like a Tiffany daffodil. McKean, though he didn’t major in art, spent the summer following his sophomore year in France, studying at L’École de Beaux-Arts in Fontainebleau. And while still a senior, he was named assistant instructor in landscape painting in the art department at Rollins. He graduated in 1930, having followed his
father’s wishes — at least nominally — by earning an academic degree. Arthur, perhaps resigned to having an artist in the family, then submitted two of his son’s paintings to the jury of the Tiffany Foundation. One of those paintings, Ruins of Old Florida Mission, New Smyrna, earned McKean a Tiffany Fellowship, which allowed him to spend two heady months at Laurelton Hall, the legendary artist’s Oyster Bay estate. Tiffany, 82 and in failing health, had created a sort of surreal summer camp where aspiring artists could live and work in an unstructured but inspirational setting. It was certainly inspirational to McKean, who later described the 84-room home and the 580 acres surrounding it as “a three-dimensional work of art, fabricated of marble, wood, plaster, winds, glass, copper, rains, light, sound, sunlight, flower gardens, running water, terraces, woods, hills.” McKean also recalled the magnetism of Tiffany himself, who began his career as a painter but whose name became synonymous with ornate mo-
COURTESY OF THE MORSE MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ART
This painting, Ruins of Old Florida Mission, New Smyrna, won McKean a Tiffany Fellowship and a residency at the aging artist’s estate, Laurelton Hall. That connection would reverberate in Winter Park for generations.
On view January 16–April 3, 2016
TRANSCOMMUNALITY Laura Anderson Barbata, Collaboration Beyond Borders
Laura Anderson Barbata in collaboration with Los Zarcudos de Zaachila and the Brooklyn Jumbies, Performance for San Pedro festivities, 2011, Zaachila, Oaxaca. Photo: Marco Pacheco, Courtesy of the artist
Also on view Doris Leeper
Information about related programming (talks, tours, performances) can be found at
Attributed to PAULUS MOREELSE (Dutch, 1571–1638), Portrait of a Lady, ca. 1620, Oil on canvas, Gift of the Myers family, Mr. and Mrs. John C. Myers, Jr. ‘42 and June Reinhold Myers ‘41, 1961.03
Courtesy of Dale Montgomery ‘60
Doris Leeper Multiple Images: 24, ca. 1975 Enamel on canvas Collection of Atlantic Center for the Arts (Gift of Cobb, Cole & Bell Law Firm)
McKean looks out over the ruins of Laurelton Hall, where he and his wife, Jeannette, salvaged truckloads of Tiffany creations before they could be scrapped.
saics and colorful stained-glass lamps and windows. Frail but formidable, the artist spent evenings with his students, offering kindly critiques of their work and “talking about the importance of beauty … I thought he was wonderful,” McKean later said of Tiffany, whose work even then was rapidly falling out of favor. The star-struck novice would return more than 25 years later and rescue truckloads of Tiffany’s creations — by then so maligned by the art world’s cognoscenti that they were considered virtually worthless. But in the meantime, McKean had a world of other artistic styles to explore — and sought to absorb all he could, as quickly as he could. In the busy summer of 1930, he also studied at the Art Students League in New York, learning anatomy and figure drawing from George B. Bridgman, whose book Bridgman’s Complete Guide to Drawing from Life remains a classic in art instruction. While in Manhattan, McKean somehow found
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the time for additional courses at the Grand Central School of Art, run by the Painters and Sculptors Gallery Association, a collective formed by painters Edmund Greacen, Walter Leighton Clark and John Singer Sargent. Greacen, under whom McKean studied, was a notable impressionist. The following summer, McKean won a Carnegie Foundation scholarship to attend a series of art-appreciation lectures at Harvard University’s Fogg Museum. There he was exposed to the facility’s vast collection of sculpture, photographs, prints, drawings and paintings. Back at Rollins, McKean became a full-fledged art instructor. He returned to New York briefly in 1935 for a one-man show at Delphic Studios, a gallery established by a bohemian journalist, pacifist and patron of the arts named Alma Marie Sullivan Reed. In 1937, McKean was named assistant to William H. Fox, chairman of the Rollins art department. Fox, previously director of the world-renowned Brooklyn Museum, undoubtedly shared
a wealth of knowledge about collecting and exhibiting art. Although McKean seemed to be leading a charmed life personally and professionally, his family was rocked by upheaval that the ensuing decades have shrouded in mystery and ambiguity. According to the Orlando city directory, Arthur no longer lived with the family after 1933. Public records are scarce, but he had returned to Pennsylvania by 1940, when he was listed in the New Kensington city directory as an attorney. Whatever precipitated the marital split — some accounts of McKean’s life indicate that Arthur lost substantial money on real estate investments during the Great Depression — his departure seems to have left Eleanor’s circumstances considerably reduced. In a turn of events no doubt facilitated by her son, 54-year-old Eleanor went to work at Rollins. She spent three years — 1935, 1936 and 1937 — as what was then known as a housemother. Kappa Kappa Gamma, the sorority that employed her, would have supplied a salary and an apartment. By 1938, Eleanor was no longer a Rollins employee. She was living with her son at 18 N. Shine Ave. in a home valued at $7,500 — the equivalent of about $125,000 today. (The twostory charmer, located in the gentrified Lake Lawsona Historic District near Thornton Park, was on the market at press time for $400,000.) In 1939, McKean enrolled in a one-year master’s program at Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, where he earned his graduate degree in art history. His thesis was entitled American Patterns of Thinking as Reflected in American Painting. Finally, he had a credential with “art” in the title. McKean returned to Rollins, and shortly thereafter was elevated to art department chairman — a position he presumably would have happily occupied for the remainder of his career. Although Arthur remained very much alive, Eleanor began referring to herself as a widow in 1945. No evidence can be found that the couple ever divorced. In fact, Arthur’s 1957 death certificate lists Eleanor, who died two years later, as his spouse. Members of McKean’s extended family, who happened to be in Winter Park as this story was being written, sent word that they had nothing of substance to add regarding the relationship between Arthur and Eleanor. Two of McKean’s former colleagues — both of whom considered themselves to have been close
COURTESY OF THE MORSE MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ART
“With Hugh’s art, there was always that withholding of information. There’s a story going on [in his paintings], but it’s a mystery. For all he talked about beauty, some of these works suggest a more complicated vision.” —Laurence J. Ruggiero
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to him — said they’d never heard him mention a contentious situation involving his parents, even decades after Arthur and Eleanor were dead and buried (he in Beaver Falls, she in Winter Park). Were they surprised? Not really. McKean, they agreed, was a private man who would have found it unseemly — worse yet, impolite — to dredge up family matters and discuss them with others. Besides, he was far more interested in looking ahead than in ruminating about years gone by. Perhaps, though, his parents’ domestic travails — or, more specifically, his feelings about them — were reflected in his paintings, particularly those with a more somber and lonely tone.
HIS PROFESSION: VISION AND VINDICATION
Jeannette decided in the late 1930s to fund construction of a facility on the Rollins campus that she would call the Morse Gallery of Art. It would honor the man who, in 1904, had bought much of Winter Park when its major landholders defaulted on a note But instead of maximizing the profit on his investment, Morse spent the rest of his life shap-
ing what he considered to be an ideal small town — beautiful, well planned and brimming with cultural and recreational amenities. Fortunately, Jeannette knew someone who would be perfect to run the gallery, which opened in 1942 on the site of the current Cornell Museum of Fine Art. McKean, who shared Jeannette’s enthusiasm for collecting and sharing art with the community, got the director’s job. Jeannette’s stature as both an artist and an heiress was undeniably a bonus for all involved. The gallery’s holdings quickly grew to encompass an intriguing assortment of American and European fine art. Surely by now the couple was engaged, implicitly if not formally. But marriage would have to wait. McKean, a lieutenant, junior grade, in the U.S. Navy Reserve, served three years in World War II, attaining the rank of lieutenant commander and spending at least a portion of his stint as an instructor at the Advanced Naval Intelligence School in New York. The intelligence assignment was likely a result of his travel abroad; he and Tiedtke had traipsed across Europe together in 1936, ostensibly to tour the continent’s great museums and concert
NOT LOST, JUST HARD TO FIND
Two Figures in a Green Landscape (undated) by Hugh McKean is on display at Orlando City Hall.
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Would you like to see paintings by Hugh or Jeannette McKean? In person? Two — and only two — original works are on display anywhere. They’re at the Terrace Gallery at Orlando City Hall, 400 S. Orange Ave., Orlando, as part of the Art Legends of Orange County program. The yearlong salute to the region’s most important art figures, which was organized by a consortium of local mu-
halls. The navy’s intelligence units were actively seeking Americans who had spent time overseas. Then, when McKean returned to Winter Park in 1945, he and Jeannette were finally wed. He was 37, she was 36, and their courtship — if such a proasic descriptor is applicable — had spanned 18 years. The couple, who would have no children, lavished attention on their hometown instead. “Jeannette brought this huge fortune to the marriage, and Hugh brought all this knowledge,” recalled Keith McKean in a 1995 Orlando Sentinel obituary written about his brother. “So she learned more about art from him, and he and she together found ways to spend this fortune … They were wonderfully generous to the community.” In 1951, McKean unexpectedly became president of Rollins following the brief, tumultuous tenure of a 33-year-old wunderkind named Paul Wagner, who had roiled the campus with massive faculty reductions and an autocratic management style. Announcement of Wagner’s firing and McKean’s appointment was greeted with jubilation. However, the beleaguered Wagner at first refused to vacate his office, forcing McKean to operate out of a makeshift headquarters at the gallery.
seums and galleries, features more than a dozen exhibitions saluting artists and patrons of the arts who made their mark between 1932 and 1982. Also, the gift shop at the Morse Museum of American Art, 445 N. Park Ave., features inexpensive paperback guidebooks that were published in conjunction with the museum’s exhibition of works by Jeannette (1996) and Hugh (1997). At $2.50 each, they’re a bargain. The administrative offices at the Morse, where the public is generally not allowed, probably has the largest number of paintings by the McKeans actually hanging on the walls. Many others are stored in the Morse warehouse.
COURTESY OF THE MORSE MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ART
Hugh and Jeannette thumbed their noses at the art snobs who disdained Tiffany by staging a major exhibition of his work in 1955 at the Morse Gallery of Art, then located on the Rollins campus.
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When Wagner was finally deposed — and escorted from campus surrounded by police officers — McKean was carried around campus on the shoulders of celebrating students, many of whom had threatened to transfer or had gone on strike demanding Wagner’s ouster. (During the uproar, Jeannette, in her role as a trustee, at first recused herself from voting on her husband’s appointment. She relented only when other trustees convinced her that the vote should be unanimous.) Although an art professor with limited administrative experience might have been an unconventional choice to run a college — particularly one so steeped in intrigue — McKean went on to enjoy a successful 18-year presidency, which was followed by a stint as chancellor and chairman of the board of trustees. Writing in an unpublished 1985 manuscript, Rollins College: A Centennial History, Jack C. Lane, professor of history emeritus, noted that McKean’s unpretentious demeanor helped mitigate the turmoil of the previous spring and summer. “A soft-spoken, artistic man with a penchant for philosophizing on any subject from the art of fishing to the meaning of art, McKean, with a gentle, unassuming manner, seemed an especially appropriate leader for the college in the post-Wagner years,” Lane wrote. “There was a certain romantic appeal to this picture of an uncomplicated man, happily teaching art and suddenly propelled into the presidency with an urgent mission to wrest his alma mater from the throes of deep crisis.”
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McKean’s administration was not without controversy — he was never comfortable fundraising, for example, a chore he seemed to regard with particular distaste — but order was restored, budgets were balanced, courses of study were added and nine major buildings were constructed. Enrollment soared (from 600 to 1,000) even as admission standards became more stringent. In addition, a business administration program that would become the Roy E. Crummer Graduate School of Business was launched. Students, regardless of their majors, benefitted from McKean’s passion for teaching, which led him to describe Rollins as “a community of learning rather than a seat of mass education.” His emphasis on instruction seemed to harken back to the days of President Hamilton Holt, who led the college to national prominence with his Conference Plan, which required extensive one-on-one interaction between students and faculty members. As for the McKeans, they were leading an idyllic life. They had homes in New York, New Hampshire and California in addition to Wind Song, the Spanish revival villa built in 1936 on the shores of lakes Mizell, Barry and Virginia by Jeannette’s father, Richard Genius. (Her mother, Elizabeth Morse Genius, had died in 1928.) Hugh concentrated on the college, while Jeannette established herself as an interior designer and a businesswoman. (Her Center Street Gallery was a downtown fixture for nearly 40 years.) She also served as president of the Winter Park Land Co., founded by her grandfather, which still man-
aged most of the family’s local real estate. Both McKeans continued to paint, albeit in different styles. (Some of Jeannette’s works were abstract — a genre her husband never explored in his own art — while others depicted flowers and still-life arrangements.) They also involved themselves in countless civic activities, arguably becoming Winter Park’s pre-eminent power couple. Then, in Oyster Bay, the already-diminished legacy of Louis Comfort Tiffany suffered the ultimate indignity. Laurelton Hall, where many Tiffany treasures remained in storage, burned in 1957 — and almost no one cared. The McKeans were among a handful of serious collectors who still revered Tiffany’s work. In 1955, they had defied convention by staging a Tiffany exhibition comprised largely of pieces bought at bargain-basement prices from Manhattan antique shops. Although the proprietors were surely pleased to find anyone willing to buy their dusty Art Nouveau junk, they must have privately questioned the judgment of the apparently clueless Floridians who so eagerly snapped it up. Tiffany? What could be more passé? “Hugh once told me that if he just had some money, he could buy all this stuff Tiffany had done,” Keith McKean later recalled. “He recognized its value immediately.” After the Laurelton Hall fire, the McKeans were asked by a Tiffany daughter to try and rescue what they believed to be important from the ruins. The couple hurried to Oyster Bay, where they were shocked and saddened at what they found.
COURTESY OF THE ROLLINS COLLEGE ARCHIVES
When McKean was installed as president, the Rollins campus erupted in celebrations. Students even carried the onetime art professor on their shoulders.
COURTESY OF THE ROLLINS COLLEGE ARCHIVES
McKean clearly wasn’t a typical college president. In 1967, he produced an annual report to the board of trustees using only cartoon-style illustrations.
“I shook something against a tree,” McKean wrote in his book The Lost Treasures of Louis Comfort Tiffany (Doubleday, 1980). “It rattled. The head of the wrecking company waiting to clear the property was with us. I asked him what it was. ‘That’s one of the old man’s windows,’ he replied.” And not just any window. It was one of the Four Seasons windows, created in 1900 for the Exposition Universelle in Paris. Seeing this quartet of magnificent, fully restored panels today, it’s almost beyond comprehension that they were once regarded as little more than trash. The McKeans, using a small fleet of rented moving vans, salvaged hundreds of pieces that became the core of the Morse collection, which is today literally priceless. “It’s virtually impossible to put a value on the collection because so many pieces are one of a kind,” says Harold Ward III, whose law firm, Winderweedle, Haines, Ward & Woodman, manages the Charles Hosmer Morse Foundation, which was set up by the McKeans in 1959 to fund the museum. The McKeans didn’t hoard their holdings, nor did they confine them to traditional museum settings. They launched “Christmas in the Park” in the 1970s, during which staffers set up huge Tiffany windows in Central Park and invited the community to come and have a look. And in 1991, Hugh had a van converted into the Morse Mobile Museum, which still visits schools throughout Central Florida. Even in the final months of his life, he delighted in accompanying the van and talking to children about the treasures it contained. In 1977, the Morse Gallery of Art was relocated to 151 E. Welbourne Ave. Its name was changed to the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art in 1985, and a greatly expanded facility debuted at 445 N. Park Ave. in 1995, just months before McKean’s death. (Jeannette had died in 1989.) Although McKean was suffering from cancer and didn’t know if he’d live to see the new facility open, he remained intimately involved in every aspect of its design, sometimes sketching exterior treatments and gallery layouts. “Thousands will get more of a charge out of
life in general, and the world’s beauty in particular, because of this little museum,” McKean wrote Nancy Long, then the museum’s public information director, shortly before his death. In 1996, McKean was posthumously named Floridian of the Year by the Orlando Sentinel because “he believed passionately that art and culture should be part of everyone’s everyday life — regardless of age. He felt that the soul and intellect would flourish when exposed to beauty and knowledge. To that, he devoted his life.”
HIS ART: PERSONAL AND MYSTERIOUS
Chip Weston, who enrolled at Rollins in 1966, remembers McKean approaching him after a welcome ceremony and asking, “Why are you here?” Weston, whose diverse career has encompassed both technology and art, was at the time a physics major. But he told McKean that he enjoyed painting. “So Hugh walked me over to the art department and said [to a professor], ‘Here, keep him busy,’” recalls Weston. “He really shepherded my entire art career after that.” Decades later, Weston and McKean would consider themselves to be colleagues and friends. As a student, however, Weston worked briefly for his mentor at the Morse Gallery of Art. “Hugh said he wanted me to work in the gallery, but there was one condition,” Weston recalls. “He said I had to set up an easel in the picture window and paint every day, so people could watch.” Such a request was certainly in keeping with McKean’s philosophy that art was for everyone to see and experience. But Weston noticed that McKean was reticent about putting his own work forward because “he didn’t think he could trust people to tell him the truth about it.” When McKean did decide to display some of his paintings, they were unsigned — he rarely signed or dated his work — and there was no accompanying material identifying the artist or discussing the subject matter. “Hugh told me just to listen to what people
McKean with the fox statue that, to this day, every Rollins student looks forward to seeing.
FOX DAY EXEMPLIFIED MCKEAN’S WHIMSICAL LEADERSHIP STYLE In addition to achieving higher standards of quality as reflected in the classes of the late ’60s, credit must be given to the informal, personal and sensitive style of Hugh McKean, who helped re-establish the sense of harmony and community that had been so much a part of the early Hamilton Holt years. Fox Day typified, perhaps even symbolized, this aspect of McKean’s presidency. In 1956, the president created a full-day celebration based upon a statue presented to the college in 1934 by DeLand lawyer Murray Sams. Actually, Sams had donated two statues — a fox and a cat — for display on the campus. But when a student prank destroyed the cat, Holt stored the fox for safekeeping. A year after assuming the presidency, McKean secretly brought the fox from hiding, placed it on the library lawn and announced that the fox had decided to return one day each spring to proclaim a celebration. Upon his appearance, classes would be dismissed, and the Rollins family would “just take it easy,” going to the beach or participating in organized activities. The day ended with an all-college picnic and a choral concert at Knowles Memorial Chapel. McKean’s Fox Day proclamations, poetically melding the college’s natural beauty with the joy of learning, created nostalgic memories for students and invariably captured the essence of the day. Fox Day was discontinued by McKean’s successor, Jack Critchfield (1969-1978), but revived by Thaddeus Seymour (1978-1990). It remains a cherished Rollins tradition. —Jack C. Lane W INTE R 2 0 1 6 | W INT ER PARK MAGAZ IN E
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who came in said about [the paintings],” Weston says. “He said to take notes about what I heard.” Weston was entranced by McKean’s paintings, which he describes as “having a loneliness to them.” Because McKean shouldered so many high-profile responsibilities, he was able to express “a true sense of self ” only through his art, Weston believes. Human nature — especially its dark side — fascinated McKean, recalls Weston. He says that sometime in the mid-1960s, McKean surreptitiously attended a Ku Klux Klan meeting in Apopka to try and better understand how its adherents could develop such inexplicable hatred. (That visit resulted in at least two Klanthemed paintings, one of which is reproduced for the first time on page 50. It can only be imagined how the Klansmen would have reacted had they discovered that a curious college president — one who found their views repugnant — was unobtrusively listening and observing.) Ruggiero, who was hired as associate director of the Morse in 1992, took over as director upon McKean’s death. He was instrumental in the museum’s move as well as the addition of the Tiffany Chapel in 1999 and completion of a new wing re-creating portions of Laurelton Hall in 2011. “Hugh and I would have these long lunches over at the Langford Hotel,” Ruggiero recalls. They tended to dine outdoors, near the nowdemolished hotel’s pool, where McKean “could shout and I could shout, because he wasn’t hearing too well.” McKean, Ruggiero says, “was a real artist; a serious artist who developed a sophisticated artistic vision.” Painting became more personal to McKean, he says, when professional and civic obligations began consuming more of his energy. Ruggiero, who in 1996 and 1997 oversaw separate exhibitions of paintings by Jeannette and Hugh, noted that his former boss’s work evolved over time, from traditional portraiture to American regionalism to those hauntingly ethereal, enigmatic works that define his later years. McKean was intrigued by man’s place in the universe, Ruggiero says, noting that many of his paintings — especially the later ones — emphasize the smallness of humans trudging through vast open spaces. “I also think of him as a Florida artist,” says Ruggiero, who points to Floridabased settings in some works. Still, Ruggiero isn’t certain that McKean’s paintings reveal anything profound about the artist’s psyche. After all, he says, the work of a writer or a craftsperson isn’t necessarily presumed to provide a window into the creator’s soul. Why should the work of a painter be viewed any differently? “Hugh liked the act of painting; he liked moving the paint around the canvas,” Ruggiero notes. “I don’t know what the work says beyond the fact that he was a skilled painter.”
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Certainly, McKean’s hesitation to offer rationales or analyses of his work can be frustrating to those trying to make sense of it all. But he did speak — and write — about art in general. In the Department of Archives and Special Collections at the Olin Library, there are boxes of McKean ephemera, including everything from memos to articles to a polite but pointed admonition to a contractor whom he believed had been rude to his mother. There are even dues statements for a squaredancing club and records of Winter Park’s barometric pressure, which for a time he faithfully measured using a vintage device manufactured by his grandfather-in law’s company. In one folder, there’s an untitled and undated essay, probably from the 1950s, in which he discusses his philosophy of art and what it means to the individuals who create it. It appears that the “spirited gray fox of campus story and song” — that’s the fanciful way McKean was described at the 1972 Rollins commencement ceremony where he was awarded an honorary doctor of fine arts degree — may have considered painting to be the most important thing he did. Or at least the most important thing he did for himself. “Art is a record of the artist’s discovery about life,” he wrote. “It has a special quality arising from his own experiences; it is a record of growth in his mind, testimony that he has lived thoughtfully and creatively; evidence that he has fulfilled his destiny as a man.” Editor’s Note: On the following pages is assembled a sampling of paintings in various styles by Hugh F. McKean. Most, unfortunately, are undated, but they are ordered roughly chronologically. Shown first are two traditional portraits, one of McKean’s maternal grandfather, Hugh Ferguson, and the other of his then-future wife, Jeannette Morse Genius. Following the portraits are two scenes of lonely figures in stark settings that reflect McKean’s appreciation of American realists such as Grant Wood and Edward Hopper. Finally, a series of later-career paintings reveal a more surreal aspect of McKean’s imagination. The church may be the Church of the Good Shepherd, built in 1880 and still standing next to a more modern sanctuary at 331 Lake Ave. in Maitland. Perhaps most intriguing is a haunting image of a solitary Ku Klux Klan member in full regalia. The untitled painting, reproduced here for the first time, was apparently inspired by a surreptitious visit McKean is thought to have made to a KKK meeting or rally sometime in the 1960s. Does the work make a statement? It’s impossible to know — McKean never said — but it’s not a stretch to ascribe meaning to the angry red gash, which resembles a knife wound in flesh, carved across the night sky directly above the seemingly oblivious hooded subject. It also may be significant that McKean uncharacteristically signed this painting.
Hugh Ferguson, the Artistâ€™s Grandfather (oil on canvas, date unknown) W INTE R 2 0 1 6 | W INT ER PARK MAGAZ IN E
Jeannette Genius (oil on canvas, 1938)
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Man Looking Over Wall (oil on canvas, date unknown)
Azalea (oil on canvas, date unknown) W INTE R 2 0 1 6 | W IN T ER PARK MAGAZ IN E
Jehovahâ€™s Witness (oil on canvas, date unknown) W I N T E R P A R K M A G AZI N E | WI N TER 2016
Country Church (oil on canvas, date unknown) W INTE R 2 0 1 6 | W INT ER PARK MAGAZ IN E
Fishing Party (oil on canvas, date unknown)
Untitled (oil on canvas, 1960s) W I N T E R P A R K M A GAZI N E | WI N TER 2016
Welcome to Park Maitland!
A legacy of leadership for over 45 years. Since 1968, Park Maitland has been growing the leaders of tomorrow. We offer a proven foundation of excellence in education and provide children the tools they need to realize their dreams!
RACHEL CHIPMAN ALLEN Park Maitland Graduate â€“ 1979 Northwestern University, B.A. in Communications & Performance Studies University of Oregon, Masterâ€™s degree in Theatre Rachel is currently a tenured Professor of Humanities at Valencia College (18 years) and is the Coordinator of the Peace and Justice Institute at the college.
For more information: 407-647-3038, or visit ParkMaitland.org Fully accredited by The Florida Council of Independent Schools and The Florida Kindergarten Council
Winter Park inventors let their imaginations run wild as they celebrate the creative process.
BY KAREN LEBLANC
his fall, a plush and huggable storytelling robot will be teaching young children about science, technology, engineering and math (known collectively as STEM). TROBO — who comes in male (“Newton”) and female (“Curie”) versions — is the creation of Winter Park resident Jeremy Scheinberg, formerly chief operating officer of Alcorn McBride, a leading manufacturer of audio, video and control products for theme parks; and Chris Harden, formerly development director of the EA Sports IGNITE team, which develops engines to handle PlayStation 4 and Xbox. “We’re both parents of small children, and we wanted to create a toy that teaches kids how to solve problems using STEM skills,” says Scheinberg. The men, both of whom left lucrative careers to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams, are modern-day Makers — inventors, tinkerers, hackers and hobbyists working in garages, woodshops, hobby rooms and community hackerspaces across the country and the world. After launching TROBO as a Kickstarter project, which was fully funded in October 2014, the pair set up headquarters at Canvas, a co-working space in downtown Orlando. Other local shared workspaces, including FamLab, a hackerspace in Longwood, and Factur, a fabrication lab in Orlando, even provide technology and tools — including 3-D printers — for local Makers to use. TROBO is emblematic of the growing Maker Movement, which was
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inspired by California-based Make magazine “to celebrate arts, crafts, engineering, science projects and the Do-It-Yourself (DIY) mindset.” The first Maker Faire was held a decade ago in the San Mateo County Event Center. Since then, the events have spread to dozens of major cities across the U.S., Canada and Europe. There are Flagship Faires co-sponsored by Maker Media, the magazine’s parent company, along with local organizers and sponsors. And there are Mini-Faires, which have the blessing of the magazine but are independently produced. Orlando had held prior Mini-Faires, but in 2014 the local event earned Flagship status. In 2015, with the involvement of the Maker Effect Foundation, a local nonprofit, and participation from the Orlando Science Center and the Orlando Museum of Art, the Faire was bigger than ever, drawing more than 250 exhibitors and 15,000 people to Loch Haven Park. Last summer, in conjunction with the National Maker Faire, which was held in Washington, D.C., President Barack Obama declared a National Week of Making. That’s in keeping with the federal government’s interest in encouraging STEM education and entrepreneurship. Not all Makers are going to change the world, of course, and not all intend to try. Some are just having fun, and hope you are, too. But the creative process — and the satisfaction inherent in making something that brings entertainment, education (or both) to others — is what’s truly important and worth nurturing. On the following pages are prominent Winter Park Makers and their Maker Faire projects.
Jeremy Scheinberg and Chris Harden TROBO the Storytelling Robot Scheinberg and Harden, both former engineers, left high-powered careers and sunk their life savings into TROBOs, plush robots that wirelessly connect to iPads or iPhones. Children hear TROBO’s voice reading digital STEM-themed stories and follow along by watching animation starring avatars of themselves. “The stories have the child’s name and likeness in them, so as the child goes on the adventure with TROBO, he or she builds an emotional connection with the content being taught,” says Scheinberg. “Without guilt, parents can give iPads to their children, enabling them to learn while playing instead of watching mindless videos or playing mindless games.” TROBO is aimed at children ages 2 through 5 who have access to a compatible mobile device. Scheinberg and Harden envision quickly expanding their downloadable library of stories to offer more content.
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Steve Emery ChipScapes Emery turned his hobby of collecting computer chips into collectible artwork. “The idea for ChipScapes started when I began framing old computer chips along with images as gifts for my family and friends,” says Emery, whose work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal. “My artwork seems to appeal to artistically and scientifically minded people, and the Maker Faire overflows with them.” Emery, now retired after a 40-year career working with computer systems, will never run short of raw materials. He has a computer-chip collection numbering 40,000. “I was having a hard time explaining why I was [collecting chips],” admits Emery. “Most chips look boring until you look at them at the microscopic level. Creating this artwork was a way to share the excitement I had for these chips in a non-technical way.”
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Barry Anderson Ghoul School Anderson, a Maker Faire regular, uses his aptly named Ghoul School to teach children the art of looking truly monsterous. “With Ghoul School, I become this wacky B-movie horror movie character, a kind of mad scientist, and I teach children to do what I do,” says Anderson, a special-effects makeup artist with a 30-plus year career working in films and on museum exhibits. “I think it’s critical to share with children and parents how important it is to use the imagination,” he adds. “Every job, every career demands it. Unfortunately, art programs are disappearing from schools, as standardized testing leaves less time for creative pursuits and stimulation.” Anderson’s TV credits include the PBS documentary series, Secrets of the Dead, and National Geographic’s The Mummy Road Show.
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Kenny Geils Lego Mini-Figures Geils, a custom-home builder, loves Legos. “My professional peers laugh at me. They think I’m a nerd, and I know it,” says Geils, whose own wedding cake featured custom Lego figurines he crafted. “I’m really just trying to inspire younger children to make it themselves if they don’t see it in the marketplace.” Geils points to a worldwide Lego customization culture that has embraced his creations. “Some of these mini-figures sell for thousands of dollars,” says Geils, who works out of a spare room filled with parts and pieces. “Each figure takes about four to six hours to make over the course of two weeks.”
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Pat and Randy Robertson, relaxing at their lakeside home in Winter Park, work together on an annual symposium that melds art and faith, but isnâ€™t overtly religious.
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ART, IDEAS AND
Illumination GladdeningLight, Randy Robertson’s visionary venture, explores the intriguing intersection of spirituality and creativity.
BY dana s. eagles
PHOTOGRAPHs BY RAFAEL TONGOL
piphanies can occur in some pretty strange places. For Randall B. Robertson, the realization that he could use exquisite Giotto frescoes to help others find their spiritual path came in the early 1990s while he was driving along one of Central Florida’s least picturesque stretches of highway: State Road 436 in Casselberry. Robertson, 61, then a sports-marketing entrepreneur, had been reading The Glorious Impossible, a book that combined a narrative by Madeleine L’Engle with images of those frescoes, which depicted the life of Christ. His grandmother had given him a copy of L’Engle’s classic young-adult novel A Wrinkle in Time when he was 13, and it had a big impact, says Robertson, whose friends call him Randy. “There’s a climactic moment in that book that is about divine love and the power of infinite love,” he recalls in his elegant Winter Park home overlooking Lake Virginia. For a teenager struggling with the strictures of a fundamentalist upbringing in Jackson, Mississippi, the book had been “a real powerful alternative to show that there was another path. It was all about love.”
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Robertson had seen the frescoes when he visited Padua, Italy, as a college student studying Renaissance art. He had been transfixed by them, lingering in the Scrovegni Chapel for hours. Convinced that The Glorious Impossible deserved a bigger audience, he impulsively pulled into a Wendy’s parking lot and used a pay phone to call L’Engle, writer-in-residence at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in New York City. To his surprise, she answered — and listened. Their collaboration resulted in a multimedia presentation that brought together images of Giotto’s frescoes with L’Engle’s live reading of her narrative and lots of music — choral works, opera and even a David Crosby song. Sound effects included whales wailing when Christ was seen on the cross. Robertson and L’Engle, who died in 2007, presented The Glorious Impossible across North America for years, mainly in sacred spaces. The work became a foundation of GladdeningLight, the nonprofit Robertson now runs with the goal, as he puts it, “of introducing a spiritual element
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into an aesthetic experience.” The organization’s annual symposium, featuring poet David Whyte, will be held Jan. 29-31 at All Saints Episcopal Church in Winter Park. Barbara Brown Taylor, an author, religion professor and Episcopal priest who spoke at the 2015 symposium, says Robertson’s events aren’t quite like anything else. “I’ve been keynoting events for 30 years, and GladdeningLight is among a handful — say, five — that have fed my soul while I’ve been trying to help other people,” she says. The 2015 event drew more than 300 people from 23 states and Canada, according to Robertson. Taylor, author of Learning to Walk in the Dark and many other books about faith, appeared with sculptor and painter Tobi Kahn and Irish singers Owen and Moley Ó Súilleabháin. She says GladdeningLight events reflect Robertson’s own spiritual quest. “We write the books we need to read,” Taylor says. “Randy creates the kind of events he needs to attend.”
no black and white
Robertson isn’t a clergyman or a theologian, but he projects a pastoral calm and a keen intellect in discussing his own religious past and his mission of offering fellow seekers a different kind of spiritual experience during a time of declining church attendance. In Robertson’s world, an understanding of art history, theology and philosophy come together with a practical ability, honed in his sports-marketing business, for putting on a show. Yet, despite his zeal for creating new spiritual avenues, he takes part in traditional forms of worship and service. He’s an active member of All Saints Episcopal Church (which is hosting the symposium), and for 10 years he has worked once a week with inmates at Tomoka State Prison in Daytona Beach, leading discussions about character and philosophy. Robertson was raised in a loving home, he recalls, but his family attended the Church of
When he visited the Scrovegni Chapel in Italy and saw the Giotto frescoes depicting the life of Christ, a transfixed Robertson was inspired to incorporate the frescoes into a multimedia presentation in collaboration with author Madeleine L’Engle, whose books he had loved since childhood.
Christ, with fundamentalist teachings steeped in guilt and shame. “We were the Church of Chraast,” he jokes, feigning a Deep South drawl. Dancing was a no-no. So was swimming with the opposite sex. “It was all about what you can’t do.” Sin is a legitimate component of spiritual awareness, but being imprisoned by it is counterproductive, explains Robertson. Over the years, he has moved away from what he calls “atonement theology” and toward “progressive Christianity.” “We in the West have a real tendency to think in dual terms: black, white; we’re the good guys, you’re the bad guys; right, wrong; my way or the highway,” Robertson says. He describes progressive Christianity as “moving beyond oppositional thinking toward unitive consciousness, relinquishing judgment to God. That doesn’t mean anything goes — but it leaves room for questions to express doubts.” While a student at Rhodes College in Memphis, Robertson’s faith took a turn. As a 21-yearold undergraduate pursuing a liberal arts degree,
he went to Italy and visited the Scrovegni Chapel, home of the Giotto frescoes. The experience changed his worldview. “It was the seed for this art component as being central, at least for me, to spirituality.” It was also at Rhodes that Robertson met his wife, Pat Schenk, a Winter Park native who was daughter of Jay Schenk, a civic leader and founder of Central Florida’s largest beer distributorship. (The elder Schenk died in 2004, and the distributorship was sold in 2011.) While a student, Robertson discovered an innate but previously untapped talent for organizing and promoting events, from concerts to an alternative-film series. In addition, he was a member of the college’s golf team. Those experiences led Robertson to a job with the sports marketing firm IMG, where he set up events and dealt with hospitality and media for golfing legend Arnold Palmer. He went on to build his own successful golf event-marketing firm, R.B. Robertson and Co., from which he’s
now retired. In 2008, with The Glorious Impossible experience behind him, Robertson combined video, photography, special effects, computer graphics, music and nature sounds in another multimedia production, Phos Hilaron, billed as a “Christmas pageant for thinking adults.” Based on The First Christmas by theologians Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan, Phos Hilaron played to audiences in Georgia and North Carolina. It was around then that Robertson began wondering whether his future might be in the ministry. “There’s kind of an urge that dwells in your belly,” he says. “While this is all great stuff, and you’re making a lot of money, there’s some other calling out there.” So, with the last of the Robertsons’ three children having gone to college, he headed to New York City in January 2009 for seminary studies, living in what he calls “a monastic environment.” After a year, however, he decided the life of W INTE R 2 0 1 6 | W INT ER PARK MAGAZ IN E
Robertson might have found himself behind the altar in a place like Knowles Memorial Chapel. But after a brief stint in seminary, he decided that being an ordained minister would be too confining.
an ordained minister was too confining, and he abandoned his studies. “Having that collar and that power platform just really wasn’t that important to me,” he says.
Let There Be Light
Instead of entering the clergy, Robertson started GladdeningLight, with the mission of bringing together writers, thinkers, visual artists and musicians who “honor the divine spark” and inspire others in a collaborative setting. The first event, in 2011, was called Lovefest, and although it attracted a good crowd, the name now makes Robertson wince. Later programs have been called “symposiums” to emphasize an exchange of ideas. (The name GladdeningLight is a translation from Greek of Phos Hilaron, and refers to the introduction of light into darkness.) Like Robertson himself, GladdeningLight events can’t be neatly classified. It’s perhaps easier to describe what they’re not. They’re not worship services or revivals; they have no overt religious message and few references to Scripture. Though rooted in Christianity, they’re open to people of all faiths. “Even though we’re in a church facility, you’re not going to hear anybody preach, and you’re not going to be subject to any conversion attempt,” Robertson says. “These symposiums are for serious thinkers. They’re for people who are reading
Valentine Concert in Central Park
An afternoon of art, music & romance in downtown Winter Park
Sunday, February 7 1:30 p.m.
Sunday in the Park with John Sinclair featuring members of the Bach Festival Choir & Orchestra
presented by Art on the Green & The Bach Festival Society of Winter Park
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A Wrinkle in Time, a spiritually themed 1963 fantasy novel aimed at children, still entertains and challenges readers of all ages today. Author Madeleine L’Engle, above, was a Robertson collaborator and a major influence on the GladdeningLight ethos.
and listening and are intellectually curious.” Robertson says they’re also not a substitute for church. “What we’re offering is not sacramental in the truest sense. I still believe in the tenets of the sacraments, where you’re called to participate in communion, and some other things in church that are just irreplaceable.” The cross-currents of spirituality and the arts, along with the opportunity to reflect alone and with others, give GladdeningLight events their unique character, participants say. “The atmosphere was one of almost going to camp in an elegant place with time to really think about important things,” says Elaine Woods Johnson, a retired educator who lives in Dothan, Alabama and attended her first GladdeningLight event — a retreat at an Oregon resort — in 2012. “It’s enlightening to see that people are trying to make sense of things, more than what the church has dictated over the years,” says Johnson, a Presbyterian elder who’s a member of the Alabama State Council on the Arts. “The key is getting out of self and appreciating the ‘otherness.’ What resonates with me is that through the arts, you break open. The arts, for me, are a way into something much bigger.” Taylor, the 2015 keynote speaker, says GladdeningLight’s liberal use of art and music reduces the dominance of talk found in more traditional pursuits of spirituality. “The great relief is that we live in a culture that’s word-saturated and agenda-saturated. There’s a freedom in these events that I love.” Taylor, who serves on Robertson’s advisory council, says there’s one other thing that makes GladdeningLight distinctive: The attention to detail that Pat brings to hospitality for the events. Robertson, who refers to his spouse as his “spiritual right arm,” couldn’t agree more. “Pat makes me look good,” he says.
Robertson says he tries to make GladdeningLight’s events self-sustaining through registration
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fees, but notes that “we lose money on almost everything we do. It’s coming out of my pocket. It’s been a labor of love. I was really lucky to do well in my secular life, and now I’m shoveling it back out the door.” He has been branching out, organizing “pilgrimages” that combine tours of significant art collections with time for reflection and discussion. So far, GladdeningLight has offered trips to New York City and Washington, D.C., led by Ena Heller, director of the Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College and founding director of the Museum of Biblical Art in New York. Robertson serves as chairman of the Cornell’s Board of Visitors, an advisory group that, under his guidance, has developed a new strategic plan for raising the museum’s visibility. “He was able to get everybody excited about a vision of where we could really go,” Heller says. “Randy helped us dream.” He also hopes to collaborate with Central Florida arts organizations. Though no date has been announced, during the 2016-17 season he plans to partner with the Bach Festival Society of Winter Park and Enzian Theater on a performance of a musical work by Richard Einhorn, Voices of Light, which will accompany a screening of Carl Theodor Dreyer’s celebrated 1928 silent film The Passion of Joan of Arc. The Bach Festival Choir and Orchestra, along with soloists, will be conducted by the society’s artistic director, John Sinclair. As GladdeningLight grows, Robertson says, it will continue to be rooted in shared experiences. “I think all of us in the ’60s saw what Woodstock was about and enjoyed this sort of Family of Man concept,” he says. “Even in this day of social media, I’m still a firm believer in face-toface interaction, and that’s what GladdeningLight is about. It’s bringing people together in a physical space — because there’s energy there.”
Poet David Whyte will appear at the annual GladdeningLight Symposium of the Spiritual Arts.
WORLD-RENOWNED POET, IRISH SINGERS HEADLINE SYMPOSIUM Oprah Winfrey’s favorite poet headlines the annual GladdeningLight Symposium of the Spiritual Arts, slated for Jan. 29-31 at All Saints Episcopal Church, 338 E. Lyman Ave., Winter Park. World-renowned poet David Whyte, author of seven books of poetry and four books of prose, is associate fellow at Oxford University’s Said Business School. And he’s an unusual sort of poet in that he combines the esoteric worlds of poetry, theology and business leadership. The theme of this year’s symposium is “Solace: The Art of Asking the Beautiful Question.” Joining Whyte — and returning to the GladdeningLight Symposium for the second consecutive year — are Owen and Moley Ó Súilleabháin, brothers from Western Ireland who sing ancient canticles and traditional Gaelic folk hymns. The brothers, who have worked with actor Russell Crowe and director Steven Spielberg on War Horse, delighted attendees last year with their humor and musicality. GladdeningLight is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to explore the relationship of art and spirituality through conferences, exhibits, performances, retreats and pilgrimages. The cost is $225 for the entire weekend, although some lectures are priced separately. The Ó Súilleabháin brothers will give a free performance Saturday at 8 p.m. in Tiedtke Concert Hall on the Rollins College campus. For a complete schedule of events and registration details, call 407-647-3963 or visit gladdeninglight.org.
CLASS 2015 OF
Winter Park Chamber of Commerce Welcome Center’s Galloway Gallery 151 W. Lyman Ave., Winter Park Jan. 11 - Feb. 19 Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. - 2 p.m. Admission is free
SPONSORED BY E XHIBITION GU IDE BOOK
GIVING NEW LIFE TO OLD IMAGES BY CHIP WESTON ARTIST
THE WINTER PARK HALL OF FAME BY RANDY NOLES EDITOR AND PUBLISHER, WINTER PARK MAGAZINE
inter Park is “the city of culture and heritage.” And yet, it has no place to permanently honor the amazing assortment of accomplished and intriguing people who built it from a bucolic winter resort 130 years ago to the social and intellectual capital of Central Florida that it is today. In our fall 2015 issue, Winter Park Magazine sought to remedy the situation by launching an unofficial Hall of Fame with an inaugural class of 16 inductees. There were hundreds of worthy candidates — but it was a start. We researched and wrote brief profiles of each inductee. Then artist Chip Weston worked his digital magic on faded and tattered old photographs. The restored images from the past ran in the magazine — and can be seen in all their glory at this exhibition. But that’s not all. The idea of an ongoing Winter Park Hall of Fame also gained traction. After this year, a committee consisting of local historians and representatives of cultural, educational and civic organizations — under the auspices of the Winter Park History Museum — will take over the selection process. A search is also underway for a suitable permanent home for the display, which will grow each year as new inductees are selected. In the meantime, thanks to all the Winter Park Magazine readers who supported this idea. More specifically, thanks to Chip Weston for his amazing work and the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce for hosting the display and an opening reception. Also, thanks to our sponsors — Keewin Real Property Co. and the Grafton Family Foundation — for their financial support, which enabled us to reproduce the images and mount the display. We cordially invite you to visit the exhibit in the Galloway Gallery at the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce Welcome Center, 151 W. Lyman Ave., Winter Park. The exhibit will run from Jan. 11 through Feb. 19. Hours are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Admission is free.
EX HIBIT I O N G UI D E B O O K
started out with a group of black-and-white photographs that had been digitized and were generally in deteriorated condition. They had blotches, stains, rips and areas that needed extensive retouching just to make them usable. The first step was to complete the retouching and to use digital techniques to try and discover details that were hiding in dark areas, and then to add back information that had been washed out. Sometimes, I had to re-create — guess — what needed to go back into the areas that were obscured. Then, as a group, the images were balanced so that they all had similar characteristics of light and dark (chiaroscuro and histogram) and were formatted to the final size. I added color, which required a fair amount of research to try and get the hair, eyes, skin tone and clothes as authentic as possible. Finally I was able to take what looked like color photos and give them an impressionistic portraiture treatment similar to what some of the Hudson River or California School painters might have done at the turn of the 20th century.
Chip Weston, an accomplished painter and one of the leading digital artists in the U.S., is a 1970 graduate of Rollins College who was encouraged in his art career by Hugh F. McKean, then the college’s president (and now also a Hall of Famer). Weston serves on the board of the Enzian Theater, the Winter Park Public Library and is past member of the board of directors of the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce and the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival. He maintains a workspace at McRae Art Studios, and his paintings can be seen at various locations throughout Winter Park, including the Roy E. Crummer Graduate School of Business.
E XHIBITION GU IDE BOOK
EX HIBIT I O N G UI D E B O O K
1. David Mizell Jr. (1808-1884) Homesteader — —————————— Mizell and his family moved to the area in 1858 from Alachua County, making them the first non-Native American residents in what was to become Winter Park. He built a cabin on a homestead between present-day lakes Osceola, Mizell, Berry and Virginia, and called the area Lake View. The Mizells grew cotton and raised horses, cattle, hogs, turkeys and goats. Mizell became politically influential, serving on the Orange County Commission and in the state Legislature. His eldest son, David W. Mizell, became the first sheriff of Orange County and was killed in the line of duty. Another son, John, became the first judge in Orange County and was elected to the first board of aldermen for the Town of Winter Park in 1887.
2. Wilson Phelps (1821-Unknown) Grower, Promoter ————————— Phelps, a Chicago businessman-turned-citrus grower who toured the area in 1874, purchased most of the land where the Mizells had lived and much more east of Lake Osceola. In addition to his citrus ventures, Phelps sold lots to fellow Chicagoans and played a key role in encouraging Loring Chase and Oliver Chapman to move forward when they sought his advice regarding the wisdom of turning the largely unsettled area into a posh winter resort. Phelps provided a strong letter of endorsement and all the data he could compile in a four-page, handwritten letter that is arguably the “big bang” of Winter Park’s creation. There is no known photograph of Phelps. This is a photograph of his home on Lake Osceola.
3. Loring A. Chase (1839-1906) Developer —————————————
(1851-1936) Developer ————————————— Chase, a real-estate broker from Chicago, moved to the area for his health in 1881. Enchanted by the lakes and woods, he believed he had found an ideal place to
develop a winter resort catering to wealthy Northerners. He shared his idea with Chapman, a Massachusetts importer of luxury goods, and the two bought about 600 acres of what would become Winter Park. They commissioned a well-conceived town plan and soon began advertising heavily and selling lots to “Northern men of means.” In 1885, Chase bought out Chapman’s interest for $40,000 and the partnership was dissolved. Chapman, who feared his health was failing, returned to Massachusetts and enjoyed another 51 years of life, outlasting his former partner by decades.
4. Edward P. Hooker (1834-1904) Clergyman; President, Rollins College Hooker, a Congregationalist minister, came to Winter Park from Massachusetts in 1882 to oversee the establishment of a local church, now the First Congregational Church of Winter Park. Following Daytona Beach educator Lucy Cross’ 1884 challenge to the Florida Congregational Association to build a college in the state, Hooker was asked to prepare a paper on the subject to be delivered at the association’s 1885 annual meeting. When the association decided that a college was indeed needed, Hooker was selected as one of five committee members receiving proposals from competing communities. When Winter Park was selected, Hooker was named Rollins College’s first president.
5. Lucy Cross (1839-1927) Educator —————————————— Cross had already founded the Daytona Institute for Young Women when she proposed that a liberalarts college be built in Florida “for the education of the South, in the South” at the 1884 meeting of the Florida Congregational Association. Her proposal, presented on her behalf by a minister from Daytona, was a major factor in the association’s decision in 1885 to hold a competition, and to build such an institution in the city offering the most generous inducements. Today Cross is known as “The Mother of Rollins College,” which is ironic since she pushed for a Daytona location. However, when the decision was made to choose Winter Park, Cross supported it strongly — and clearly deserves credit for bringing the issue of higher education in Florida to the forefront.
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6. Alonzo W. Rollins (1832-1887) Industrialist, Benefactor —————— Rollins, a Chicago industrialist and seasonal resident of Winter Park, never attended college. But he was instrumental in founding one. He contributed $50,000 — a huge sum at the time — to the local effort to win a competition sponsored by the Florida Congregational Association, which had decided in 1885 that it would build a college somewhere in the state. That generous gift pushed Winter Park’s inducement to $114,180, far more than was offered by Jacksonville, Daytona, Mount Dora or Orange City. The institution, Rollins College, was named in its primary benefactor’s honor, although he died after attending only two meetings of the board of trustees.
7. Charles H. Morse (1833-1921) Industrialist, Philanthropist ———— Morse was born in St. Johnsbury, Vermont. As president of Fairbanks, Morse & Co., he became a multimillionaire and began spending winters at the Seminole Hotel in Winter Park. In 1904, the Winter Park Company, the city’s primary land developer, defaulted on loan payments to the estate of Francis Bangs Knowles, and surrendered roughly 1,200 lots to satisfy the debt. Morse bought the Knowles estate’s holdings as well as other local properties, and began to oversee their development. In 1906, Morse deeded land that became Central Park to the city, but only so long as it was open to the public and not developed. He helped form the Winter Park Country Club, serving as its first president and providing the land on which the clubhouse and golf course were built. Morse, who retired and moved to Winter Park permanently in 1915, continued to support community improvements and civic causes, often anonymously, and lived long enough to see Winter Park firmly established as the vibrant and cultured city that he envisioned.
8. William C. Comstock (1847-1924) Civic Leader ———————————— Comstock, a grain merchant from Chicago, moved to the area in 1872. A former president of the Chicago Board of Trade, Comstock encouraged other wealthy Chicagoans to join him in Central Florida. He was a
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director of the Winter Park Land Company and, in 1923, was elected first president of the newly organized Winter Park Chamber of Commerce. Comstock was involved in virtually every community cause, donating heavily to Rollins College and serving as a charter member of its board of trustees. Comstock’s enthusiasm and commitment, in fact, kept trustees from closing the college during hard times.
9. Gus C. Henderson (1865-1917) Editor, Activist ——————————— Henderson, a charismatic African-American traveling salesman, moved from Lake City to Hannibal Square in 1886. He founded a printing company and, two years later, a weekly newspaper, the Winter Park Advocate. One of only two black-owned papers in the state, the Advocate was read by both black and white residents. He quickly became involved in local issues and was a strong supporter of incorporation. In 1887, when an incorporation vote was scheduled at Ergood’s Hall, he rallied west side registered voters to violate curfew and attend. Without Henderson’s efforts, it’s no sure bet that incorporation would have passed, at least not then. And it’s a virtual certainty that if it had passed, Hannibal Square would not have been included in the town limits. Two years after incorporation, Henderson moved to Orlando where he published The Christian Recorder and later The Recorder.
10. Hamilton Holt (1872-1951) President, Rollins College ————— Holt, previously a progressive journalist and social activist, arguably did more than any previous Rollins College president to shape the institution’s image and hone its mission. His innovative ideas on classroom learning were embodied in his “conference plan,” which eschewed traditional lectures in favor of oneon-one interaction between instructors and students. Holt’s innovative approach and personal charisma attracted a faculty of academic superstars who, above all else, loved teaching. In 1926 Holt created the Animated Magazine, a live program that hosted speakers ranging from actors to scientists to politicians. During Holt’s tenure, which lasted from 1925 to 1949, Rollins became a cultural center for musical and theatrical performances. In 1932, for example, he hired stage actress Annie Russell — for whom a new on-campus theater was built — to direct the drama department. The Rol-
lins evening program, the Hamilton Holt School, is named in the legendary president’s honor.
11. Edwin Osgood Grover (1870-1965) Professor, Civic Activist ——————
Jeannette Genius McKean (1909-1989) Businesswoman, Artist, Philanthropist
12. James Gamble Rogers II
Hugh and Jeannette McKean must surely be regarded as Winter Park’s first power couple. Hugh — artist, educator, collector and writer — was the 10th president of Rollins College, serving from 1951 through 1969. He then became the college’s chancellor and chairman of its board of trustees. In 1945, while still an art professor at the college, he married Jeannette Morse Genius, granddaughter of Charles Hosmer Morse, the Chicago industrialist and philanthropist who helped to shape modern Winter Park. In 1942, Jeannette built and donated the Morse Gallery of Art on the Rollins campus. Hugh became the gallery’s director, a position he held until his death, just months prior to the opening of the new Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art, the facility’s showplace on Park Avenue North. The museum displays the world’s most important collection of Louis Comfort Tiffany’s works, many of which the McKeans salvaged from the artist’s ruined Long Island estate, Laurelton Hall. Jeannette, an acclaimed artist in her own right, was also a successful businesswoman, working as an interior designer, owning and operating the Center Street Gallery on Park Avenue and managing her grandfather’s properties as president of the Winter Park Land Company.
(1900-1990) Architect —————————————
14. John M. Tiedtke
Grover was born in Minnesota but was raised in Maine and New Hampshire, where he wandered in the thick woods and developed a love for nature. After “serving a sentence of [almost] 30 years in the publishing business,” he might have comfortably retired. Instead he persuaded Rollins College President Hamilton Holt to create a new academic position, “professor of books,” and to hire him for the job. A civic activist, Grover organized the Hannibal Square Library and raised funds for the dePugh Nursing Home while his wife, Mertie, founded the Welbourne Avenue Nursery and Kindergarten. Grover and Holt introduced the Animated Magazine, which for years brought renowned speakers to campus. But Grover’s most important work may have been his role as the driving force behind the creation of Mead Botanical Garden, which debuted in 1940 as a tribute to Oviedobased horticulturist Theodore L. Mead.
In a career spanning nearly 70 years, Rogers’ commercial, educational and residential designs enriched Winter Park’s distinctive aura of charm, culture and sophistication. Stylistically, Rogers insisted that “architectural designs should be in harmony and should correlate with the general terrain and type of foliage that form the background for a town.” In Winter Park, he believed the subtropical environment lent itself to the kind of Spanish-style architecture that became his signature. The highlight of Rogers’ final years of practice was the Mediterranean-style Olin Library at Rollins College, which he designed in 1985. Over the years, he was involved in the construction or the remodeling of more than 20 buildings on the Rollins campus. Today his remaining homes are prized by architecture aficionados. A prime example, Casa Feliz, was saved from the wrecking ball, moved and is now a community center and museum.
13. Hugh F. McKean (1908-1995) Educator, Artist, Philanthropist ——
(1907-2004) Businessman, Philanthropist ———— Tiedtke played a little piano, but mostly he enjoyed listening to classical music, performed live. Thanks to him, thousands of other Central Floridians can do the same. He was a founding member of the Florida Symphony Orchestra, which played its last note in 1993. But Tiedtke’s most lasting legacy is the worldrenowned Bach Festival Society of Winter Park. The organization’s viability was in doubt before Tiedtke — at the behest of boyhood friend Hugh McKean — assumed control in 1950. It not only survived but thrived, thanks in large part to Tiedtke’s 45 years of hands-on leadership and generous financial support. Tiedtke, who made his fortune cultivating sugar in the Florida Everglades, was a professor, treasurer, second vice president and dean of graduate programs at Rollins College before becoming a member of the institution’s board of trustees. In 2003, on his 96th birthday, Rollins established the John M. Tiedtke Endowed Chair of Music. Later, the John M. Tiedtke Concert Hall was named in his memory. E XHIBITION GU IDE BOOK
Proud to Be Part of Winter Park History The Kummer Kilbourne House 1916-2016
Celebrating 100 Years February 2016
Offices of The Keewin Real Property Company
The Grafton Family is proud to support Winter Park and those who work to preserve its rich history. Investing in the success and growth of our community is one of our top priorities.
William D Grafton III and wife Sue; William D. Grafton IV, wife Kyle and son William D. “Liam” Grafton V; Sarah Grafton and sons Benjamin “Ryder” Grafton and Robert “Bobby” Dexter Grafton.
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Madison from Modern Muse Models wears a red silk dress custom made by Park Avenue Fashion Week Emerging Designer winner Inna Rudenko ($850), available at innasdesign.com. Her black fedora hat ($68) and knee-high black suede boots with fringe details ($525) are by Rebecca Minkoff. She also wears a black leather jacket ($685) by June, goldtone geometric hoop earrings ($25), a pearl-coin detail bracelet ($135), and a square-shape bracelet with pearl details ($85), by Lula â€˜nâ€™ Lee. All from Tuni on Park Avenue.
New looks in a renewed setting at the Capen-Showalter House. Photography by Rafael Tongol Styling by Marianne Ilunga Makeup and Hair by Elsie Knab
It caused a literal and figurative splash when the renovated Capen-Showalter House made its grand debut after being floated by barge, in halves, across Lake Osceola. Because the 130-year-old structure â€” and its grounds â€” was dressed to the nines and looking more gorgeous than ever, we figured it would provide an ideal setting for a Winter Park Magazine fashion shoot. So, to salute the stately Tudor Revival charmer, and spotlight the thoroughly modern clothing and accessories available from local boutiques, we headed to the Albin Polasek Museum & Gardens, where the lovingly restored house now serves as museum offices and community event space.
Madison wears a multiprint button-down blouse ($179) by Ecru, a sleeveless jeweled top ($229) by Bailey44 and a fur vest ($229) by Waverly Grey. She also wears a cream shearling coat ($199) by Curtis and faux leather leggings ($159) by Hale Bob. Her gold-tone moonstone cuff bracelets, ($285-$330) and gold-tone necklace (worn as a bracelet, $280) are by Julie Vos. All from Hutton Park Avenue.
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Madison wears a black laser-cut faux leather trench ($502) by Donna Degnan, a black short tank top ($118) and a sheer long blouse ($192) by Alice McCall. Her black leggings with leather details ($225) are by Iconic and her ankle-strap jeweled-heel sandals ($242) are by Schutz. She also wears a silver-tone statement necklace ($168), a silver-tone collar with pearl details ($110), silver-tone cuff bracelets ($25-$60) and a druzy statement ring with crystal details ($134). Alongside is a silver cross-body bag ($195). All from Tuni Winter Park.
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Maidson wears a black suede fringe vest ($49) and a black and white paisley print top ($49) by Gypsy Rose. Her distressed high-rise bellÂ bottom jeans ($47) are by Aphrodite. She also wears multilayered long necklaces ($12-$18) and two statement bangles ($22-$50) from Forema Boutique on Park Avenue. Her oversized jeweled chain bag ($575) by Kristina George is available at kristinageorge.com. Her black chandelier earrings ($60), two druzy statement rings ($122 each) and suede laser cutout sandals ($225) are by Klub Nico and from Tuni on Park Avenue.
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Madison wears a sheer embroidered romper ($305) by Alice McCall and carries a black fur jacket ($895) by June. She also wears a druzy statement ring ($135), arrow detail gold-tone drop earrings ($116), and two arrow detail gold-tone bangles ($92 each). All from Tuni on Park Avenue. FA L L 2 0 1 5 | W IN T ER PARK MAGAZ IN E
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The Portuguese pizza boasts a distinctive combination of toppings, including turkey ham, hard-boiled eggs and green olives. At 12 inches, there’s plenty of pie for two.
BRAZILIAN OR ITALIAN? We don’t know and, frankly, don’t care. Let’s just describe Braccia as “different.” But don’t call this pizzeria a pizzeria, because it’s really a lot more than that. By Rona Gindin Photographs by Rafael Tongol
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ou want to open a restaurant in Winter Park. So, you think Park Avenue, right? The sidewalks have foot traffic. They’re busy with shoppers and diners — carefree collegians, harried businesspeople, moneyed retirees and ladies who lunch. Park Avenue also has competition, and plenty of it — both along the city’s signature thoroughfare and nestled on its humbler side streets. That’s why Hugo Passos, one of Braccia Pizzeria & Ristorante’s three owners, constantly uses the word different when describing his establishment. “We knew we needed to be different, to have something different,” he notes. Passos and his partners, all Brazilian natives from Fortaleza and Recife, were leaning toward an Italian menu, which made the challenge even bigger. “Winter Park has a lot of Italian restaurants,” Passos says. “So we had to be completely different from them.” A pizza’s a pizza, a pasta’s a pasta, correct? Not at Braccia. While the menu has a few familiar items, it’s most distinctive culinary twist is that nearly every item mixes Italian, Brazilian and random other flavors. Oh, plus this: The menu’s foundation is a light bread used for dips and for pizza crust. It’s neither Italian nor Brazilian. It’s — say it with me — different. This isn’t the thin crust of an artisan pie at Prato or a purposely well-done one at Anthony’s Coal-Fired. It’s nearly golden, just shy of flakey. It’s also light. “Customers like that they can have the taste of pizza but not feel heavy,” Passos says. Even so, most diners order a pie apiece on the first visit — but split one and add a salad thereafter. At 12 inches, there’s plenty of pizza to go around. Don’t stop reading if you aren’t interested in pizza. The Braccia team has made every effort not to be viewed as a pizza joint, despite the 16 savory and sweet offerings on its menu. “We’re not a pizzeria,” Passos insists, despite the obvious presence of the word “pizzeria” in the restaurant’s moniker. “We’re a unique restaurant concept with octopus, carpaccio, steaks and homemade ice creams.” Four substantial non-pizza entrées are offered, including a ridiculously satisfying rack of lamb with mint, mashed potatoes and a red wine reduction. The salmon entrée is grilled and served with pepper jelly and housemade brie ravioli. Pastas and appetizers round out the menu. For starters, you might try a bruschetta made with fresh tomatoes, or “casquinha,” which is basically wedges of that proprietary pizza crust. The baked dough is sprinkled with rosemary and served with a choice of dips, such as eggplant or gorgonzola. The kitchen is small, so chef-owner Bartolomeu Lins can’t offer unlimited options. “But we want to accommo-
The bruschetta’s tomato sauce and mozzarella toppings come with or without prosciutto.
Marc Kusche made his debut at the prestigious James Beard House in New York City, where he prepared a multi-course menu for a sold-out crowd.
date everyone, and some people don’t want pizza,” Passos explains. Lins makes the dough from scratch, but that’s not all. “We make the pomodoro sauce for the pizzas and pastas, we make the pesto, we make the churros and we make the ice cream,” Passos notes. “You are not going to find these in other Italian restaurants.” The written menu should be clearer. It uses words like “schiavo,” “sardela” and “catupiry” without defining them. Our server knew answers to some questions, but not all. When we pointed to three casquinha dips, asking, “Which of these three dips is which?” she hesitated. “That one is tomato with anchovy [the anchovy, though tasty, isn’t mentioned on the menu], the pink one is pepperoni, and — um — I don’t know what the middle dip is.” Since the restaurant was otherwise empty, she might have gone into the kitchen to ask. If you visit Braccia not expecting a traditional Italian or Brazilian meal, you’ll find it to be a refreshing change from the ordinary. The food is fun, particularly the shrimp with catupiry pizza — assuming you like garlic. This bestseller enhances the tomato sauce, shrimp, mozzarella and herbs with catupiry — a creamy, almost ricotta-like cheese from Brazil. Catupiry is a main reason so many social media reviewers say Braccia’s pizza seems authentically Brazilian, except for the crust. The Portuguese pizza is an interesting choice as well. Here, the basic cheese-mozzarella pizza combo is piled high with turkey ham, hard-
boiled eggs, onions, green olives and oregano. It’s curiously addicting; we had our leftovers for lunch the next day. Not sold? How about a pizza topped with shiitake mushrooms? Or Canadian ham with mango chutney? Or brie with apricot? Or smoked sliced calabresa sausage with black olives? Of course you can always have a simple mozzarella or margherita pie, or a pasta such as penne with prosciutto and pesto sauce. Chocolate, banana and guava pizzas are available for dessert. While Passos has lived in the U.S. for nearly 13 years — and in the Orlando area since 2011 — his partners, friends from Brazil, saved for two years before moving to Central Florida and getting down to business. They arrived in the spring, found a location and opened the eatery in July. While Passos mans the front of the house, his partners, who speak little English, handle the kitchen (Lins) and the finances (Eduardo Nobre). The trio spent three months renovating the space that had previously been occupied by the raw-foods restaurant Café 118°. And the hard work shows. Inside, the dining room is warm yet stylish. Fake grass partially covers a brick wall. Original paintings by a Brazilian artist add color. There are cage-like bamboo chandeliers, made by yet another Brazilian artist, and the tabletops are crafted from reclaimed wood by an artist in New Jersey. Bossa nova tunes play in the background. As lovely as the interior is, in nice weather you’ll be drawn to the patio. It’s reasonably qui-
Photos by Tom Kirkman
Enjoy fresh Florida cuisine in an award winning hotel with museum quality art Relax on our patio and enjoy the sights and sounds of Winter Park Condé Nast Traveler’s Reader’s Choice Visit us at www.TheAlfondInn.com or on Facebook
The Alfond Inn - A Work of heArT
Located in beautiful Winter Park just steps from historic Park Avenue 300 E. New England Avenue
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et since Braccia is off the main drag, on Morse Boulevard, yet it offers enough people-watching to help with lulls in conversation. On Friday and some Saturday nights, there’s live music — bossa nova, of course. To attract attention, Passos has employees hand out samples on the corner and distribute flyers redeemable for a free glass of wine with a meal. “It’s a challenge, finding a way to get people to give us a try one time,” he says. It’s tough to predict which Park Avenue-area restaurants will make it past the first year and which won’t. With its unusual foods and welcoming ambience, Braccia has a real shot. Price won’t be much of an obstacle for diners. Pizzas start at $11.90, and are large enough for leftovers. Other entrées are pricier; lamb with red wine and fish en croite are $26.90, while salmon with brie is $24.90. The most expensive item is filet mignon at $31.90. Pasta dishes are generally $12.90, with an upcharge for shrimp, chicken and steak. Salads range from $7.90 to $12.90, and appetizers from $4.90 (an extra helping of antipasto) to $14.90 (schiavo octopus). And, Braccia has this going for it: It’s different. BRACCIA PIZZERIA & RISTORANTE 153 E. Morse Blvd., Winter Park 407-636-9918 • bracciapizzeria.com
A floor-to-ceiling menu board highlights ingredients from Brazil, Italy and assorted destinations.
Thank You Central Florida for 10 Great Years!
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W inter Park 400 South Orlando Avenue • 407-644-7770
Enjoy LIVE music in the bar Wed.-Sat.
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events art, history, entertainment and more
All the Write Stuff Bestselling author Bill Bryson has released books about virtually everything. In fact, one of his most acclaimed works was A Short History of Nearly Everything (2003), in which he explained complex scientific concepts, such as how the universe was created, in an accessible and even humorous way. Bryson also had Robert Redford portray him in a film based on another popular book, A Walk in the Woods (2006), concerning the writer’s seemingly foolhardy quest to hike the entire length of the Appalachian Trail. So there’ll certainly be no shortage of topics for discussion when Bryson visits Rollins College for a free public lecture courtesy of the Winter Park Institute, which presents lectures, readings and seminars and invites the community to attend. Bryson’s talk, slated for Feb. 22, gets underway at 7:30 p.m. at Warden Arena in the Harold & Ted Alfond Sports Center. All institute lectures are free and no tickets are required. 407-691-1995. winterparkinstitute.org.
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EVENTS VISUAL ARTS The Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens. Although the 54-year-old museum is dedicated to preserving the works of the famed Czech sculptor, it hosts frequent exhibitions from internationally renowned artists working in all mediums. The historic Capen-Showalter House, once a private residence and now an events space, is also on the grounds. 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. 407-647-6294. polasek.org. Art & History Museums-Maitland. The Maitland Art Center, at 231 W. Packwood Ave., one of five museums that anchor the city’s Cultural Corridor, was founded as a creative colony in 1937 by visionary American artist and architect J. André Smith. The center, which offers exhibitions and classes, is one of the few surviving examples of Mayan Revival architecture in the Southeast and has been named a National Historic Landmark, the only such landmark in the four-county region. Regular monthly events include Family Days at the Museum, held the third Saturday of each month at 1 p.m.; Artists’ Critique and Conversation, held the fourth Tuesday of each month at 6 p.m.; and Ladies’ Art Lounge, held the first Friday of each month at 7:30 p.m. Continuing through Jan. 3, Contemporary and Historic Landscapes juxtaposes the work of contemporary landscape artists Bruce Marsh and Dawn Roe with historic landscapes on loan from the Cornell Fine Arts Museum. Opening on Jan. 15 and continuing through Feb. 28 is Art Legends of Orange County: The Grand Experiment, which features the work of Smith as well as Maury Hurt, Bill Orr and Mary Louise Curtis Bok. Opening March 4 is ART31-Material World: Glass, Rubber & Paper, which features work in those mediums by Dale Chihuly, Jason Hackenwerth, Lorrie Fredette and Paige Smith. Admission is $3 for adults, $2 for seniors and children 4-18, and free for children 3 and under. Additional components of the complex include the Maitland Historical Museum and the Telephone Museum, both located at 221 W. Packwood Ave. The museum’s permanent exhibit, Maitland Legacies: Creativity and Innovation, uses archival photographs, artifacts and documents to commemorate the city’s founding families and earliest institutions. The fourth and fifth components are the Waterhouse Residence Museum and the Carpentry Shop Museum, both built in the 1880s and located at 820 Lake Lily Drive. 407-539-2181. artandhistory.org. Art on the Green. The City of Winter Park and the Public Art Advisory Board have teamed to mount an exhibition in Central Park of large-scale sculptures by seven noted artists with ties to Florida. The exhibition, which opened in the fall, continues through March 1. Begin your tour at the Central Park Rose Garden, located near the intersection of Park and New England avenues, or from anywhere in Central Park. Art on the Green is organized by guest curator Suzanne Delehanty, founding director of the Miami Art Museum (now Pérez Art Museum Miami). cityofwinterpark.org. Casa Feliz Historic Home Museum. The stunningly restored Spanish farmhouse-style home was designed by acclaimed architect James Gamble Rogers II and is now a community center and museum. Casa Feliz hosts free public open houses led by trained docents every Tuesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to noon. In addition to tours of the home, 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). 407-628-8200. casafeliz.us. 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. It now also houses a newly renovated Education Gallery aimed at inspiring creativ-
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ity in budding artists of all ages. Weekend tours are held at 1 p.m. every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, although not all in the same place. Saturday and Sunday tours are at the on-campus facility, while Friday tours are at the nearby Alfond Inn, where dozens of pieces from the museum’s contemporary art collection are displayed. Also at the Alfond, Happy Hour Art Tours are held the first Wednesday of each month at 5:30 p.m. Back on campus, a 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.” Opening Jan. 16 is Transcommunality: Laura Anderson Barbata, Collaboration Beyond Borders. The multimedia exhibition — encompassing stilts, costumes, sculptures, videos and photographs — celebrates the work of Barbata, a Mexican-born “transdisciplinary” artist, professor and social activist now based in New York City. Also opening on Jan. 16 is Doris Leeper: Hard Edges, which features work by the late New Smyrna Beach painter, sculptor and environmentalist. Additional upcoming events include a CFAMily Day on Jan. 23, which offers children’s activities inspired by Leeper’s work. On Feb. 18 there’s a stilt-dancing performance by Barbata and Brooklyn Jumbies. That’s followed on Feb. 20 by another CFAMily Day, which offers children’s activities inspired by Barbata’s work. On Feb. 26 is a lecture, Gainsborough, Reynolds, and Lawrence: A Triad of Society Portraitists in Georgian England, by Rangsook Yoon. On March 18 is a tour of the Transcommunality exhibition led by Amy Galpin, the museum’s curator. At the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival, on March 19-20, the museum will host a booth offering activities for kids and families. Courtesy of alumni philanthropist Dale Montgomery, admission to the Cornell is free. 407-646-2526. rollins.edu/cfam. Crealdé School of Art. Established in 1975, this nonprofit arts organization offers year-round visual arts classes for all ages taught by more than 40 working artists. There are ongoing exhibits in the William and Alice Jenkins Gallery and the Showalter Hughes Community Gallery. Admission to the galleries is free, although there are fees for art classes. 600 St. Andrews Blvd. 407-671-1886. crealde.org. Hannibal Square Heritage Center. Established in 2007 by the Crealdé School of Art in partnership with residents of Hannibal Square and the City of Winter Park, the center celebrates the city’s historically African-American west side with archival photographs, original artwork and oral histories from longtime residents. Admission is free. 642 W. New England Ave. 407539-2680. hannibalsquareheritagecenter.org. Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art. The museum, with more than 19,000 square feet of gallery and public space, houses the world’s most extensive collection of Louis Comfort Tiffany creations. Treasures include jewelry, pottery, paintings, art glass and the entire chapel interior originally designed and built for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Ongoing exhibitions include Focus Exhibition: Tiffany Studios’ Daffodil Reading Lamp, which concentrates on a single iconic work of Tiffany’s — its inspiration, creation, production and marketing — and Tiffany Lamps and Lighting from the Morse Collection, which highlights later designs that helped extend Tiffany’s popularity worldwide. Continuing are two exhibitions: Lifelines — Forms and Themes of Art Nouveau, which displays art, crafts and architecture that were considered “modern art” in the late 19th and early 20th centuries; and The Bride Elect: Gifts from the 1905 Wedding of Elizabeth Owens Morse, which features the original gift 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 are Tiffany art glass, Rookwood Pottery and Gorham silver. Permanent exhibitions include Revival and Reform: Eclecticism in the 19thCentury Environment, which encompasses two galleries. Its centerpiece is The Arts, a neoclassical window created by J. & R. Lamb Studios, a prominent American glasshouse of the late 19th century. It’s displayed with an array of leaded-glass windows and selections of art glass, pottery and furniture of the period. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, $1 for students and free for children younger than 12. 445 N. Park Ave. 407-645-5311. morsemuseum.org.
PERFORMING ARTS Winter Park Playhouse. Winter Park’s only professional, nonprofit theater continues its 2015-16 season with I Left My Heart: A Salute to the Music of Tony Bennett, which runs from Jan. 22-Feb. 27; and I Love My Wife, the Tony Award-winning musical comedy, which runs from March 18-19 and March 31-April 23. The season closes with The Fantasticks, the timeless Off-Broadway musical featuring such standards as “They Were You,” “Soon It’s Gonna Rain” and, of course, “Try to Remember.” There’ll be two runs: from May 13-22 and June 2-11. Tickets range from $15 (for students) up to $40 for evening performances. 711 Orange Ave. 407-645-0145. winterparkplayhouse.org. Annie Russell Theater. “The Annie,” in continuous operation since 1932, continues its 2015-16 season with Expecting Isabel, which explores the marital and parenting challenges facing a young New York City couple. Written by actress, standup comedian and playwright Lisa Loomer, the comedy, intended for mature audiences, runs Feb. 12-13 and 17-20. The season concludes with the classic musical Hello, Dolly!, which runs April 15-16 and 20-23. Tickets for the general public are $20. The Annie also features a Second Stage Series in its Fred Stone Theater, with student-produced and student-directed plays. Second Stage shows are free to the public, and seating is first-come, firstserved. 407-646-2145. rollins.edu/annie-russell-theatre.
FESTIVALS Unity Heritage Festival. Shady Park at Hannibal Square is the setting for the 14th annual gathering to promote family history and raise funds for economically disadvantaged youth. The afternoon festival, which starts at 1 p.m. on Feb. 15, features entertainment by gospel artists, children’s games, food concessions, retail vendors and presentation of the annual Heritage Award. Admission is free. 407-599-3334. cityofwinterpark.org. 27th Annual Zora Neale Hurston Festival of the Arts and Humanities. The popular festival is held in Eatonville and multiple venues throughout Orange County beginning Jan. 23 and continuing through the end of the month. There’s an opening-day gala dinner, a reception at the Zora Neale Hurston National Museum of Fine Arts, an exhibition at UCF featuring works by artist Eric Gottesman, a mobile bus tour of Eatonville, an education day for students and historic preservation workshops. 407-647-3307. zorafestival.org. Pookies Pet RescueFest. The annual fundraiser and pet adoption day returns for its seventh year to Lake Lily Park in Maitland. The event, slated for Jan. 30 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., attracts dozens of rescue groups and thousands of pet lovers. In addition to adoptions, there’s a wealth of information offered by a wide variety of pet-oriented vendors, including trainers, sitters, boarders and veterinarians. Proceeds benefit local animal rescue groups. Lake Lily Park. 321-2870390. pookiespetrescuefest.org. Maitland Spring Festival of the Arts. The 28th annual juried arts and crafts show, sponsored by the Maitland Chamber of Commerce, takes over Lake Lily Park for the weekend
EVENTS of March 12-13. In addition to artists and craftspeople displaying and selling their works, there’s live music and entertainment. Festival hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday. 407-644-0741. maitlandspringartfestival. Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival. Among the oldest, largest and most prestigious juried outdoor art festivals in the U.S., the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival celebrates its 57th year on March 18-20. Last year’s festival, which featured 225 artists selected from more than 1,100 applicants, drew an estimated 300,000 visitors to Central Park. Participating artists compete for 63 awards totaling $72,500. In addition to works in a variety of media — painting, sculpture, photography, graphics, fiber, leather, wood, glass and jewelry — there are kid-friendly activities in the Children’s Workshop Village and an exhibition of student art from Orange County public and private schools. There are also dozens of food and drink concessions and live entertainment by a host of bands, orchestras and musical groups. Festival hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free. 407-644-7207. wpsaf.org.
FILM Enzian Film Series. This cozy 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 in the series include Journey to the Center of the Earth (1959) on Jan. 24 and To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) on Feb. 28. Admission is $8, and a kids’ menu is offered. Films in Saturday Matinee Classics, shown at noon on the second Saturday of each month, include M*A*S*H (1970) on Jan. 9, Beauty and the Beast (1946) on Feb. 13 and Das Boot (1981) on March 12. Admission is $8, and $7.50 for Enzian Film Society members. Films in Wednesday Night Picture Shows, shown on the first and third Wednesday of each month, include Red Dawn (1984) on Jan. 6, Valley Girl (1983) on Jan. 20, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (2005) on Feb. 3, Easy A (2010) on Feb. 17 and Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993) on March 2. The March 16 film hadn’t been chosen at press time. Admission is free to the outdoor series, with valet parking available for $3 per car. Films in Cult Classics, shown at 9:30 p.m. on the second and last Tuesday of each month, include The Matrix (1999) on Jan. 12, 1941 (1979) on Jan. 26, Before Sunrise (1995) on Feb. 9, Kung Fu Hustle (2004) on Feb. 23, Brazil (1985) on March 8 and CryBaby (1990) on March 29. Admission is $8. FilmSlam, a showcase for Florida-made short films, is held every month except April and November. Upcoming dates are Jan. 10, Feb. 14 and March 13. Films hadn’t been selected at press time. Also upcoming is a Youth Acting Program, which gets underway Jan. 12, and a fourhour Filmmaker Workshop on Jan. 17. Branagh Theatre Live: The Winter’s Tale, a cinema broadcast of a live performance starring Judi Dench, is set for Jan. 23. The Richard Gere-Debra Winger weeper An Officer and a Gentleman (1982) is shown on Feb. 14, and An Animator’s Journey: Deanne Morse, a lecture and a screening by the filmmaker, is planned for Feb. 27. On March 6 is The Reel Short Teen Film Festival, co-sponsored by the Winter Park Public Library, which features short films by students in grades 8-12. The documentary You Belong to Me: Sex, Race and Murder in the South (2014) is shown on March 19, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005) is shown on Easter Sunday, March 27. 1300 S. Orlando Ave. 407-629-0054. enzian.org. Popcorn Flicks in the Park. The City of Winter Park and Enzian collaborate to offer free classic films for the whole family in Central Park. Popcorn Flicks are held the second Thursday of each month. During winter months the flicks start at 7 p.m., moving to 8 p.m. after Daylight Savings Time returns in April. Bring a blanket and a snack. The Public Enemy — the 1931 gangster classic in which James Cagney famously mashes
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a grapefruit into Mae Clarke’s face — is shown on Jan. 14, followed by the 1987 romantic comedy Moonstruck, starring Cher, Nicholas Cage and Olympia Dukakis, on Feb. 11. On March 10, John Wayne and Maureen O’Hara star in the 1952 comedy-drama The Quiet Man, directed by John Ford. 407629-1088. enzian.org Screen on the Green. Beginning in March, the City of Maitland resumes its series of monthly free movies on the Maitland Middle School Field. The movies to be shown on March 5 (7 p.m.) and April 2 (8 p.m.) had not been chosen at press time. itsmymaitlaned.com.
HOLIDAYS Winter in the Park. For most folks, the holidays end with New Year’s Day. But Winter Park’s Holiday Ice Skating Rink in Central Park’s West Meadow remains open through Jan. 10. Hours are 3 to 9 p.m. on Monday through Thursday, 3 to 10 p.m. on Friday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday and noon to 8 p.m. on Sunday. 407-599-3203. cityofwinterpark.org. Valentine Concert in Central Park. The Winter Park Chamber of Commerce and Park Avenue Merchants Association hosts an afternoon of romance in Central Park with crooner Michael Andrew and Swingerhead on Feb. 7 at 4 p.m. Bring a blanket, picnic and someone special for this pre-Valentine’s Day celebration. The concert is free. 407-644-8281. experienceparkavenue.com. 62nd Annual Winter Park Easter Egg Hunt. A Winter Park tradition dating back to Eisenhower’s first term in office, the hunt is held the day before Easter — this year that’s Saturday, March 26. Roughly 10,000 Easter eggs are hidden in Central Park’s West Meadow and several hundred kids show up to try and find them. The fun begins at 10 a.m., with kids 10 and under allowed to line up a half hour earlier. Extra treats will be on hand for the eggless. 407-599-3334. cityofwinterpark.org.
HISTORY Winter Park History Museum. With the 2014 opening of a new SunRail station in Central Park, the museum takes a look at railroading history with A Whistle in the Distance: The Trains of Winter Park. This fascinating multimedia exhibit traces the role of railroads in Winter Park’s growth and development. Ongoing displays include artifacts dating from the city’s founding as a New England-style resort in the 1880s. Admission is free. 200 W. New England Ave. 407-644-2330. wphistory.org. The 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 exhibit space, archives and a research library. Admission to the center’s exhibits, films and other programs is free. 851 N. Maitland Ave. 407-6280555. holocaustedu.org. Zora Neale Hurston National Museum of Fine Arts. Eatonville, arguably the first municipality in the U.S. formed by AfricanAmericans, is strongly associated with Harlem Renaissance writer and folklorist Zora Neale Hurston, who lived there as a girl and recorded her childhood memories in her classic autobiography, Dust Tracks on a Road. The museum that bears her name provides information on the historic city and sponsors quarterly exhibitions featuring the works of AfricanAmerican artists. Continuing through Jan. 15 is Introducing Zora Neale Hurston, a special exhibition developed from the museum’s archives. On Jan. 7 the museum hosts a “Happy Birthday Zora” party at 5:30 p.m. The gathering begins a yearlong celebration dubbed Zora Neale Hurston at 125 … a Global Icon and Her Legacy. Eatonville’s Zora Neale Hurston Trail
encompasses 16 historic sites and 10 markers; a walking/driving tour brochure is available at the museum. There’s no admission charge, although donations are accepted. For group tours, there is a fee and reservations are required. 227 E. Kennedy Blvd., Eatonville. 407-647-3307. Orange County Regional History Center. The downtown Orlando history museum is worth the trip for its current exhibit, 100 Years of Hannibal Square: Historic and Contemporary Photographs of West Winter Park. Continuing through Feb. 21, the collection of photographs from the Crealdé School of Art’s Hannibal Square Heritage Center spans the history of Winter Park’s African American west side. Admission is $8 for adults, $7 for seniors, students and military, $6 for children aged 5-12 and free for kids 4 and under. 65 E. Central Blvd., Orlando. 407-836-8500. thehistorycenter.org.
LECTURES Gladdening Light Symposium. Author and poet David Whyte, an associate fellow at Oxford University’s Said Business School, opens this annual three-day event sponsored by Gladdening Light, a nonprofit spiritual initiative that explores transcendent elements of art through lectures and interactive sessions. See the feature story on page 58 for more details. 407-647-3963. gladdeninglight.org. Winter With the Writers. Sponsored by the Rollins College Department of English and open to the community, this annual festival of the literary arts dates back to 1927 when it was known as the Animated Magazine and featured such luminaries as Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Ogden Nash and Carl Sandburg. This year’s series opens on Feb. 4 with Antonio Skármeta, Chilean novelist, screenwriter and diplomat. It continues with author and Rollins English professor Phillip Deaver in Feb. 11, followed by poet Chase Twichell on Feb. 18. The grand finale features recently announced National Book Award finalists Sy Montgomery and Ross Gay on Feb. 24. Each writer will give a master class for students at 4 p.m. and a public reading and on-stage interview at 7:30 p.m. in the Bush Auditorium. 407646-2666. rollins.edu/winter-with-the-writers. Winter Park Institute. The institute, affiliated with Rollins College, presents lectures, readings and seminars by thought leaders in an array of disciplines. Its eighth season began in September with Nobel Prize-winning Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee, who was followed in November by actor, writer and literacy advocate Levar Burton. The series continues on Feb. 22 with Bill Bryson, the bestselling author whose books include A Short History of Nearly Everything; One Summer: America, 1927; and A Walk in the Woods. The latter, an account of Bryson’s quest to hike the entire 2,200-mile Appalachian Trail, was last year adapted as a film starring Robert Redford. Bryson’s talk gets underway at 7:30 p.m. in the Warden Arena. The series concludes on April 5 with entrepreneur and humanitarian Adam Braun, the thirtysomething author of The Promise of a Pencil: How an Ordinary Person Can Create Extraordinary Change. All institute lectures are free, open to the public and no tickets are required. Parking is available in the SunTrust parking garage, 166 E. Lyman Ave. 407-691-1995. winterparkinstitute.org.
MARKETS Maitland Farmers’ Market. This year-round, open-air market — held each Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. — features fresh produce, seafood, breads and cheeses along with plants, allnatural skin-care products and live music. The setting on Lake Lily boasts a serene boardwalk, jogging trails and a playground as well as picnic areas. 701 Lake Lily Drive. itsmymaitland.com. Winter Park Farmers’ Market. The region’s busiest and arguably most popular farmers’ market is held every Saturday
Spring Season Photography Frank Atura
George Balanchine’s Stars and Stripes
ASHTON & BALANCHINE Sir Frederick Ashton’s Enigma Variations George Balanchine’s Stars and Stripes Accompanied by the Sarasota Orchestra
8 - 9 APRIL 2016 | Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall
WHEELDON & ASHTON Christopher Wheeldon’s The American Sir Frederick Ashton’s Jazz Calendar Sir Frederick Ashton’s A Wedding Bouquet Accompanied by the Sarasota Orchestra
29 - 30 APRIL 2016 | Sarasota Opera House
Stars and Stripes Choreography by George Balanchine © The George Balanchine Trust
The Sarasota Ballet Box Office: 941.359.0099 | www.SarasotaBallet.org
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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 fine 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. cityofwinterpark.org. Market to Park. This mini-version of Winter Park’s Saturday Farmers’ Market is held on the first Tuesday (11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.) and the first Thursday (4:30 to 6:30 p.m.) of each month in Hannibal Square’s Shady Park. It’s basically one big food truck stocked with fresh fruits and vegetables. Upcoming dates are: Jan. 5, Jan. 7, Feb. 2, Feb. 4, March 1 and March 3. cityofwinterpark.org.
MUSIC Music at the Casa. The Casa Feliz Historic Home Museum presents Sunday afternoon acoustic performances, from noon to 3 p.m., in its intimate main parlor. Upcoming performers include classical guitarist Vasily Yurin on Jan. 3, an ensemble from Beautiful Music by Shannon Caine (a company that provides musicians for weddings and other special events) on Jan. 10, jazz saxophonist Matt Festa on Jan. 17, harpist Catherine Way on Jan. 24, and violinist Lisa Ferrigno & Friends on Jan. 31. Flamenco guitarist Don Soledad will perform on Feb. 7, followed by singer, songwriter and guitarist Rev. Shawn Garvey on Feb. 14. Harpist Way has a return engagement on Feb. 21, and Alborea Flamenco dancers Ernesto and Jenny Caballero are slated for Feb. 28. There’ll be just two musical performances in March, since the home will be closed the last two Sundays for the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival and Easter. Violinist Amy Xaychaleum performs on March 6, followed by musicians supplied by Caine on March 13. Admission is free. 656 N. Park Ave. (adjacent to the Winter Park Country Club golf course). 407-628-8200. casafeliz.us. Yonetani Concert Series. The Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens continues its 10th annual chamber concert series on Jan. 17 at 2 p.m. with internationally acclaimed violin/ viola soloist Ayako Yonetani, who performs with guest guitarist Eladio Scharron. The series concludes on March 6 with a 2 p.m. performance by Yonetani accompanied by guest harpist Elizabeth Louise Gerberding and guest violinist Karl Singletary. Admission is $30 for museum members, $35 for non-members. 633 Osceola Ave. 407-647-6294. polasek.org.
Bach Festival Society of Winter Park Visiting Artist Series. The Bach Festival Society of Winter Park presents the British baroque ensemble Red Priest, which plays works by Vivaldi, Telemann, Schmelzer and Castello, on Jan. 24 at 3 p.m. at Tiedtke Concert Hall on the Rollins College campus. The husband-and-wife duet, violinist Jaime Laredo and cellist Sharon Robinson, performs on Feb. 21 at 3 p.m., also at Tiedtke Concert Hall. Their program hadn’t been announced at press time. On March 13 at 3 p.m., the world-renown Romero Guitar Quartet performs in Knowles Memorial Chapel. The quartet’s program hadn’t been announced at press time. Tickets for all Visiting Artist Series concerts are $35. 407-646-2182. bachfestivalflorida.org. 81st Annual Bach Festival. The Bach Festival Society of Winter Park celebrates its 81st season with a jam-packed February. Performances include a concert by Canadian organist Ken Cowan Feb. 12, (7:30 p.m.) and back-to-back Concertos by Candlelight (Feb. 19-20, 7:30 p.m. both nights), in which the Bach Festival Orchestra performs works by Beethoven, Poulenc and Albinoni with organist Ken Cowan and the KalichsteinLaredo-Robinson Trio. The Bach Festival Choir and Orchestra, along with a stellar cast of soloists, perform Rossini’s choral masterpiece, Stabat Mater, on Feb. 27 at 7:30 p.m. The combined choir and orchestra close out the festival with Bach’s St. Matthew Passion on Feb. 28 at 3 p.m. All performances are in Knowles
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Vision WINTER PARK Participate and help build the City’s vision together! “Winter Park Game Night” at Winter Park Community Center
721 W. New England Avenue, Winter Park Saturday, January 16 6 - 10 p.m. Please RSVP at winterparkgamenight.eventbrite.com, or call 407-599-3665, Option 1 by Friday, January 8
We’re coming to your neighborhood soon! Please stay tuned for more info announcing specific dates and times for meetings within your neighborhood park.
Join the conversation and register online to learn more about great community events, visioning opportunities, and interactive ways to share your ideas. Our Phase 2 Survey is now live! Please use the QR code to offer your feedback.
407-599-3665 Option #1 visionwinterpark.org #visionwinterpark
Memorial Chapel on the campus of Rollins College. Ticket prices vary. 407-646-2182. bachfestivalflorida.org.
EVENTS 15th Annual Dinner on the Avenue. The city supplies the tables, chairs, white linen tablecloths and the outdoor setting while you and your friends, family and/or co-workers supply the fellowship and clever conversation. The annual event, slated for Jan. 4, is also a friendly competition, with awards for table decorations in such categories as “Most Colorful,” “Most Elegant” and “Most Original.” Tickets for tables of eight cost $125 and go on sale at 8 a.m. on the same day as the event. 407-599-3334. cityofwinterpark.org. Park Avenue Sidewalk Sale. The Park Avenue Merchants Association will host a four-day sidewalk sale running Jan. 7 through 10 at participating stores along and near Park Avenue. Shop early for savings up to 70 percent. 407-644-8281. experienceparkavenue.com. Winter Park Game Night. The City of Winter Park will offer an evening of board games at its Community Center on Jan. 16 from 6 to 10 p.m. Try your hand at Monopoly, Ticket to Ride, Machi Koro, Pokemon and Magic the Gathering, to name just a few. Admission is free. 721 W. New England Ave. 407-599-3275. cityofwinterpark.org. Ovations Awards Ceremony. The Winter Park Chamber of Commerce will host its annual Ovations Awards, a “best of” celebration of local businesses and organizations, on Jan. 21 at 5:30 p.m. Finalists and winners are recognized during ceremonies at the Rachel D. Murrah Civic Center. Hors d’ouevres and refreshments are served. $10 for members in advance, $15 for non-members and at the door. 1050 W. Morse Blvd. 407-6448281. winterpark.org. Radical Raptors. Michael Goldman, education manager for the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey, focuses on hawks, eagles and other raptors in his talk on Jan. 20 at 10 a.m. at Mead Botanical Garden. The presentation is sponsored by the Winter Park Garden Club, founded in 1922 to promote gardening and the beautification of Winter Park. 407-6445770. winterparkgardenclub.com. Unique Tropical Fruit Species and Varieties for Central Florida Gardens. Audrey Jones of the Tropical Fruit Society discusses ways in which local home gardeners can add fruit to their bounty in her presentation on Feb. 10 at 10 a.m. at Mead Botanical Garden. 407-644-5770. winterparkgardenclub.com. Chili for Charity. The Rotary Club of Winter Park offers the best in chili you’ve ever tasted from top local caterers and restaurants in this much-anticipated annual event, held Feb. 17 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at the Winter Park Farmers’ Market. In addition to chili, enjoy a live auction and entertainment by the Papa Jack Express Band. Net proceeds benefit the Rotary Club of Winter Park Foundation, which provides grants to more than 30 local charities. 200 W. New England Ave. Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 at the door. Patron packages, which include four tickets and program recognition, are $250. Additional sponsorship levels are also available with more benefits. For tickets call 503-807-8669. For more information call 407-408-5850. Winter Park Sip, Shop & Stroll. Sip wine and enjoy appetizers while checking out what’s new at your favorite Park Avenue area shops and restaurants. March 3 from 5 to 8 p.m. Tickets are $25. 407-644-8281. experienceparkavenue.com. Butterflies, Pollinators, and Other Beneficial Insects in the Garden. Kelly Greer of the Orange County Extension Service explains why not all bugs are bad in her talk on March 9 at 10 a.m. at Mead Botanical Garden. 407-644-5770. winterparkgardenclub.com.
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Fun with Flowers. The Winter Park Garden Club presents a class on creating beautiful spring arrangements. The 10 a.m. class on March 23 is at Mead Botanical Garden. Tickets are $25 and must be purchased by March 19. 407-644-5770. winterparkgardenclub.com.
ISSUES CoffeeTalk. The monthly free CoffeeTalk gatherings, sponsored by the City of Winter Park, offer the opportunity to discuss whatever’s on your mind with top city officials, with coffee supplied by Barnie’s Coffee Kitchen. Upcoming guests include Police Chief Brett Railey on Jan 14; Electric Utility Director Jerry Warren and Water & Wastewater Utilities Director David Zusi on Feb. 11; and Public Works Director Troy Attaway and Building & Permitting Services Director George Wiggins on March 10. The hour-long chats start at 8 a.m. at the Winter Park Welcome Center. 407-644-8281. cityofwinterpark.org. State of the City Luncheon. Mayor Steve Leary delivers his State of the City Address at Winter Park’s annual Mayor/City Commission Luncheon at The Alfond Inn. Sponsored by the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce and the City of Winter Park, the event is Jan. 15 at 11:30 a.m. Tickets are $35, and reservations are required. There’ll also be brief remarks from Winter Park City Commissioners and recognition of the city’s Employees of the Year. 407-644-8281. cityofwinterpark.org.
BUSINESS Good Morning Winter Park. Hosted by the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce, these monthly gatherings attract attendees who enjoy coffee and conversation covering an array of community issues. Events are typically held the second Friday of each month. Upcoming dates are Jan. 8, Feb. 12 and March 11. Networking begins at 7:45 a.m. and the program begins at 8:15 a.m. Admission is free, and a complimentary continental breakfast is served. Winter Park Welcome Center, 151 W. Lyman Ave. 407-644-8281. winterpark.org. Winter Park Executive Women. Hosted by the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by Orlando Health, these monthly lunchtime gatherings offer networking opportunities for women business owners and guest speakers who address topics related to leadership development, business growth and local initiatives of special interest to women. Events are typically held the first Monday of most months. Upcoming dates include Jan. 11, Feb. 1 and March 7. Speakers had not been chosen at press time. Registration begins at 11:30 a.m., with lunch and the program starting at noon. Admission is $20 for members, $25 for non-members; reservations required. Winter Park Welcome Center, 151 W. Lyman Ave. 407-6448281. winterpark.org. Winter Park Chamber of Commerce Membership Awards Celebration. The chamber’s annual gala, slated for Feb. 5 at 6 p.m. at The Alfond Inn, pays tribute to the members and volunteers who make the organization and community so exceptional. Reservations are required; ticket prices had not been decided by press time. 300 E. New England Ave. 407644-8281. winterpark.org. The Hot Seat. Hosted by the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by Strombeck Consulting CPAs, this new series puts local executives in the spotlight as they offer advice and discuss entrepreneurism, leadership and sales and marketing techniques. The hour-long, lunchtime events are held quarterly at the Winter Park Welcome Center, with the first Hot Seat scheduled for Feb. 24 at noon. Tickets are $10 for members, $15 for non-members. Reservations required. 151 W. Lyman Ave. 407-644-8281. winterpark.org.
The Kummer-Kilbourne House turns 100 in 2016. Everyone’s invited to the party on Feb. 20.
A 100-YEAR OPEN HOUSE There aren’t too many homes in Winter Park — or anywhere else in Central Florida, for that matter — that make it to 100. So when one reaches the century mark, it’s cause for celebration. That’s true, in particular, for the KummerKilbourne House, a modest bungalow facing Central Park’s West Meadow. For generations, it was the only residential property left in the city’s downtown shopping district. In 2011, after years of relentless pressure to sell, the grandchildren of lumberyard owner Gotthilf Oscar Kummer, the original builder, finally found a buyer they trusted in Allan Keen, CEO of The Keewin Real Property Co. Keen and his wife, Linda, embarked on a meticulous restoration project and repurposed the old relic as offices for Keen’s company and commercial rental space upstairs. Best of all, down to the tiniest detail, the Kummer-Kilbourne House looks pretty much as it looked when it was built, when Woodrow Wilson was president. (A second floor was added later.) To celebrate, Keen is inviting the public to a Community Open House on Saturday, Feb. 20, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mayor Steve Leary will issue a proclamation at 11 a.m. You don’t need a ticket or a reservation; just pop in and get a feel for Winter Park as it was 100 years ago.
January 23, 2016
Park Avenue, Winter Park
[ Formerly Run Around the Pines ]
February 13, 2016
Showalter Field, Winter Park
March 12, 2016
Park Avenue, Winter Park
Running and walking events for everyone.
Benefiting youth in this community. #RunWinterPark
April 23, 2016
Park Avenue, Winter Park
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July 4, 2016
Park Avenue, Winter Park
ARTSBEAT | BY MICHAEL MCLEOD
ART SCHOLAR AND TV GANGSTER WILL GO FOR BAROQUE
n kindergarten, Federico Castelluccio was so wicked good with crayons that a teacher who was impressed with his artistry decided to bring him a set of watercolors. She watched over his shoulder as he painted still lifes — a wine decanter, grapes draped across a table’s edge — from memory. Then she took the paintings home, to keep for herself. Smart teacher. Those watercolors, created in a New Jersey classroom more than 40 years ago, were a sign of things to come. Castelluccio went on to become successful as an actor, a painter and a pretty savvy art collector in his own right. Five years ago, browsing through antique canvases at an auction gallery in Frankfurt, Germany, he was drawn to a large portrait of St. Sebastian. Although the painting was labelled as an anonymous 18th-century work, Castelluccio’s instincts as a collector told him otherwise. And so — he is convinced of this — did his DNA. He was born in Turin, Italy, an ancient cultural center still suffused with the architecture, iconography and lingering spirits of centuries past. For whatever reason, peering through the yellowing layers of lacquer generated in Castelluccio a jolt of familiarity that was akin to seeing a dear friend’s smiling face emerge from a crowd of strangers. He feigned casual interest in the painting — the training as an actor comes in handy sometimes — then won it at auction for roughly $160,000. It’s worth $10 million. Experts confirmed what Castelluccio had intuited: The painting was the work of Giovanni Barbieri, a 17th-century Italian Baroque master with a lazy eye who was nicknamed “Il Guercino” (the squinter). The collecting coup generated quite a bit of publicity because Castelluccio, whose lucky stars and paisano pedigree apparently also impact his acting career, already had a measure of pop culture stature, having landed a coveted recurring role in The Sopranos as Furio Giunta, an oldschool, rank-and-file Italian mobster. Sample headline: Sopranos Star Makes a Killing. I met Castelluccio a few weeks ago, when he flew to Orlando from his home in Denville, New
W I N T E R P A R K M A G AZI N E | WI N TER 2016
You may know him from The Sopranos, but Federico Castelluccio is also an artist and collector whose improbable friendship with Winter Park’s Arthur Blumenthal will result in an extraordinary exhibition at the Cornell Fine Arts Museum.
Jersey, to see a guy in a basement about some paintings. It’s actually a pretty nice basement. And in a few months, you’ll have a chance to see the paintings for yourself. The visit was on behalf of Arthur Blumenthal, a Renaissance and Baroque art scholar who has spent much of the past five years sequestered in a tiny office in the basement of the Warren Administration Building on the campus of Rollins College. Blumenthal is director emeritus of the college’s Cornell Fine Arts Museum. His basement office is the headquarters of his one-man crusade to stage the first-ever exhibition of the art of Francesco de Mura, an 18th-century, lateBaroque Italian artist who painted mainly in Naples — and, as it happens, in Turin. The art scholar and the TV thug struck up an improbable friendship several years ago after Blumenthal delivered a lecture about de Mura at the Italian Cultural Institute of New York in Manhattan. “Federico came up to me afterwards,“ recalls Blumenthal, “and he was asking me such specific, well-educated questions that eventually I said something like, ‘How do you know so much about de Mura?’ And he said, ‘Well, I own one of his paintings.’” De Mura’s rightful place in art history was obscured after a third of his work was destroyed
during World War II, when the U.S. bombed the abbey at Monte Cassino, a German stronghold. “His genius was lost in time,” says Castelluccio, who met with potential donors in a posh private gathering at the Cornell to help raise money for his friend’s exhibition, which will open at the museum in September, then travel to three other U.S. venues. The display will feature 49 paintings, including works on loan from the Louvre in Paris, the Museo di Capodimonte in Naples, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York — and a private collector whose name you can probably guess. Sometimes, when Blumenthal’s wife, Karen, marvels at the unlikely chain of events that brought the two men together and made the exhibition possible, she visualizes a painterly flight of chubby cherubs hovering overhead, directing traffic. “I’m sure Federico and Arthur spent other lives together in the 17th and 18th century, as comrades wandering the cobblestone streets,” she says. “I feel they knew Caravaggio, Giordano, Solimena — the whole crew. And of course, the two of them must have promised de Mura that they would not let history forget him.” Michael McLeod is a contributing writer for Winter Park Magazine and an adjunct instructor in the English department at Rollins College.