The city of Winter Garden is bringing the community together with a monthlong celebration of Arts in April called The World Outside, and city officials are hoping residents and guests will visit the historic downtown area and love on the local arts community.
The entire month of April will be dedicated to activities and special exhibits that showcase and support local arts. It is all part of the city’s Love Local campaign.
“All arts organizations rely on fundraisers and donations,” said Tanja Gerhartz, the city’s economic development director. “Now into their second year of canceling, they’re hurting, just like small businesses, so have our local artists and our local art orgs. We met, and we said, ‘Let’s find a way to celebrate the arts, bring it out to the community, because art is very nurturing, art is therapy, and our community could use that as well. Is there a way we can help our art community, our art organizations and our community as a whole, so our thought was World Art Day is in April.”
On Saturday, April 17, a daylong event throughout historic downtown will feature children’s art, sidewalk chalk art, Plein Air artists and more. The festivities start in the morning with the Winter Garden Farmers Market and continue all day and into the evening with the downtown streets artistically lit up.
In the Chalkin’ It Up sidewalk art contest, participants will have a 6x6 square to depict the theme “Garden Walk — Bright Colorful Flowers.” Judging begins at 4 p.m., and prizes will be awarded. This will take place in front of City Hall and is sponsored by the Bloom & Grow Garden Society.
Children ages 4 through 12 can take free art classes from 10 a.m. to noon Saturdays, April 3 and 10, to create an object for the Beautiful Sights exhibit on display April 17 in the Highland Building. That same day, the farmers market will have opportunities for children to paint their own flowerpot and a rock to take home.
The city pays tribute to local artists in An Artistic Legacy exhibit at Heller Hall in the WGHF History Research and Education Center, 21 E. Plant St. The exhibit opens April 17 and then is available for viewing from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays.
Travel from the past to the present and see work created by artists who teach, share and practice their love of art and history. Work by earlier artists such as Joe Burch and Dorothy Kannon display talent that was appreciated by generations of residents, and interviews with art instructor Rod Reeves, photographer Peter Schreyer and painter Catherine Hempel chronicle the ongoing process that keeps the legacy alive.
An exhibit at the SoBo Art Gallery, 127 S. Boyd St., focuses on 2D and 3D works related to getting outside again in life, thinking outside the box and other fun interpretations of the “outside” theme. The space is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday, through Saturday.
On April 17, live performing artists will feature visual display arts, live music, and immersive and experiential artists at SoBo.
Winter Garden City Hall, 300 W. Plant St., has a Springtime in Winter Garden exhibit, and it can be viewed 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
The Winter Garden Heritage Museum will have its extensive map collection on display, and folks can explore West Orange County’s iconic cartographic history and view examples of rare maps from the WGHF archive that date back to the West Orange settlement in the 19th century.
Downtown merchants will be showcasing local art that can be purchased. Participating businesses will have an event display in the window to let people know they’re in the right place.
The WGAA is offering community art classes from 6 to 9 p.m. Wednesdays, and participants young and old can enjoy weekly art and creativity sessions. Classes will be taught by Crealde School of Art and will take place at the Jessie Brock Community Center, 310 N. Dillard St.
April 22 through May 23, theatergoers can catch a production of “Godspell” at the Garden Theatre, 180 W. Plant St. The show includes an eclectic rock score and features Jesus and his followers gathering to share parables from the Book of Matthew. Matinee and evening performances are available.
“It’s about celebrating the local arts, and we tried to do it in a different way,” Gerhartz said. “If you think about art festivals, you think about a bunch of tents … and we tried to think of a way to help everyone. So we put the art in the businesses, and people will see the art when they’re shopping and eating.”
The Arts in April campaign is supported by the SoBo Art Gallery, Winter Garden Art Association, city of Winter Garden, downtown Winter Garden and the city’s Love Local campaign.
Volunteers are needed to serve as exhibit docents, gallery/business guides, art ambassadors, photographers, and registration assistants for day and evening shifts at the community celebration on April 17. If interested, email [email protected].
Community Editor Amy Quesinberry was born at the old West Orange Memorial Hospital and raised in Winter Garden. Aside from earning her journalism degree from the University of Georgia, she hasn’t strayed too far from her hometown and her three-mile bubble. She grew up reading The Winter Garden Times and knew in the eighth grade she wanted to write for her community newspaper. She has been part of the writing and editing team since 1990.