- January 26, 2017
The outdoor patio being built in front of the SoBo Art Gallery will be complete with tables, chairs and electricity and will serve as a gathering place for gallery guests and others visiting downtown Winter Garden.
Winter Garden’s SoBo Art Gallery is getting a facelift.
A new outdoor patio is being constructed in front of the SoBo Gallery that will give gallery guests and other members of the public an additional space to sit and relax in downtown Winter Garden. In addition, the arts center room behind the gallery — which is where classes typically are held — also will be seeing some upgrades. Philip Self, executive director of the SoBo Art Gallery and the Winter Garden Art Association, said the new additions to the gallery will add to the experiences of the guests who visit it.
“It’s going to have flowers and stuff around it, (and) it’s going to have electricity, so we’ll be able to have lights out there — it’s going to be a beautiful setting (that will have) tables, chairs and umbrellas,” Self said. “In the back room, we’re taking out the dropped ceiling … so you’ll get to see all the rafters and all the old woodwork and that kind of thing. … We’re going to do LED lighting along the edges, a little bit of uplighting, nice chandeliers and track lighting to light up the back. It should be a really beautiful setting and big improvement.
“(We’re) encouraging people to come here and hang out,” Self said about the patio space. “It’s a good place to sit, and you can come in here and see art on a rotating basis.”
The improvements would not have been possible without the support of the Winter Garden City Commission, City Manager Mike Bollhoefer and Economic Development Director Tanja Gerhartz, Self said. City leaders required the improvements from the developer of the Tremaine Boyd Building being constructed next to the gallery.
“That (new patio) was part of what the city of Winter Garden required of the builder … when they build the Tremaine Boyd Building,” Self said. “They allocated money for us to redo our front patio.”
The new patio and art room upgrades are just the beginning of what is in store for SoBo Art Gallery and the Winter Garden Art Association. The gallery also is considering incorporating outdoor art installations throughout Winter Garden to bring more exposure and to further support local artists. Additionally, a new gallery building is being planned on the parking lot adjacent to the SoBo Gallery, Self said.
“We’re about to do some outdoor murals around the city; we’re talking about an outdoor sculpture exhibition that would rotate on a yearly basis, so that may be coming in 2020,” Self said. “This parking lot that’s next to us is going to be a brand-new gallery, so eventually we will have both spaces. We’ll have this (current) building, and that (new) building.
“Part of why we’re looking to build that new building is because we get so much art submitted here,” Self said. “For a regular exhibition, we average somewhere between 200 and 250 submissions and we can only display 50 or 60 pieces, so we could only display about 20 to 30% of our (submitted) art depending on the exhibition. There’s a huge community of artists out here that are very active … so the new gallery space will just add to that.”