Scholarship honors local artist

Anne Scharer, leader of Windermere Arts and the Windermere Fine Art Show, is searching for young artists to apply for a new scholarship fund in memory of community member and artist Joseph C. Ware.

Joseph C. Ware, a well-known Windermere artist and community member, died Oct. 6, 2023.
Joseph C. Ware, a well-known Windermere artist and community member, died Oct. 6, 2023.
Courtesy photo
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Anne Scharer, leader of Windermere Arts and the Windermere Fine Art Show, is searching for young artists to apply for a new scholarship fund in memory of community member and artist Joseph C. Ware.

Ware, 67, died Oct. 6, 2023, at AdventHealth Altamonte Springs, after a five-week battle with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

Ware, born Jan. 11, 1956, in Orlando, was the son of the late Joseph C. Ware Jr. and Jeanne R. Ware. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his sister, Susan Jordan.

Survivors include his three sisters, Judy Nero, Linda Collins and Patty (Jim) Coyle; nieces, Lisa Nero, Tammie (Ray) Cornell, Lela Jordan, Rebecca Coyle and Liz (Tim) Thomasson; and nephews, Mike Nero, Ben Collins, Lennon Jordan, David Coyle and Joseph Coyle. 

A memorial service was held Saturday, Nov. 4, at Northwest Church, Orlando.

“We will miss Joe’s stories, his positive attitude and his presence in our lives,” Ware’s family wrote in his obituary.


Ware attended William R. Boone High School, where he was inducted into the school’s Football Hall of Fame. He then attended Tennessee Tech University, where he continued to excel in football. 

Ware was an avid fisherman and, for a few years, owned a fishing business in Belize. 

In Orlando, Ware worked as the manager of various restaurants and, in his later years, owned a business selling solar systems for pools and homes. 

However, Ware’s passion was always his art. He was an accomplished painter who focused mostly on wildlife. 

Joseph C. Ware was an accomplished painter who focused mostly on wildlife.
Courtesy photo

In recent years, Ware had expanded his work and started painting portraits of some of his friends’ pets. He loved painting and also was dedicated to helping new artists to start their own creative journeys.

Scharer met Ware in 2016, when he approached her about being a part of the Windermere Fine Art Show in its second year. He had heard about the show through one of the event’s sponsors.

Scharer refers to Ware as a gentle giant. She said he was caring, loving, an excellent listener, had myriad friends and carried a lot of depth.

“He showed me his work, and I was like, ‘Joe, you’re so talented,’” Scharer said of their first interaction. “I recognized right away, because of my coaching skills, that although he was talented, he had little to no confidence in his abilities. He didn’t know how good he was, and I remember him telling me that he didn’t want to let me down and that he wasn’t sure if he could do the show. I told him he 100% could and he would fit right in.”

Scharer helped Ware financially so he was able to be a part of the show his first year.

At last year’s show, Ware was positioned at the front and was confident in his abilities from his years participating and the connections he had made.

Scharer said Ware’s ability to connect with animals and exhibit their movement in his art made his work incredibly unique.

“I loved the way he captured exactly what was happening,” she said. “His work was so methodical in the respect that he captured the action of the animal.”

Joseph C. Ware was an annual participant in the Windermere Fine Art Show.
File photo


After Ware was diagnosed with ALS, Scharer visited him in the hospital with her therapy dog.

With a background in coaching — Scharer also owns Tranquiliti Wellness Center, which opened in 2008 on Main Street — she was able to bring Ware peace. 

“One of the last times I went to visit him, he told me that I saw things in him that he never was able to see in himself,” she said. “We related to each other. We had similar, tough upbringings, but we were able to turn it into something good. 

“I think he had a lot of hurt, and I encouraged him that he could do anything he set his mind to and that he could get out of that negative place,” Scharer said. “He said I taught him to look within to overcome his obstacles, and that, to me, was just so powerful to hear from him.”

When Ware was unable to work because of his sickness and struggling with his bills, Scharer asked him if she could create a GoFundMe to help relieve financial stress. The fund on Facebook raised more than $8,000 in the five weeks he was in the hospital.

Scharer didn’t want Ware to lose hope, and she wanted him to feel how much the community cared for him. 

“That love that he felt was what he needed,” she said. “One of his love languages was acts of service, and the outpouring of love that he got from everybody that donated was something I knew he felt was special. He never got to spend a dime of it.”

Scharer said Ware’s family reached out to her and thanked her for the GoFundMe she created. They invited her to his home after he passed and told her they wanted her to have one of his paintings. 

They also gave her his art supplies, which she donated to The First Academy’s high school art department. The students are participants in the art show every year. 

Ware spent much of his time at the art show talking to the young artists and encouraging them in their work.

She got the painting she loved the most, which is of a lion. She said the lion represents Ware because of his fierce courage and bravery.

Because of Ware’s close connection to the community and his deep roots, Scharer knew she had to pay tribute for his love of sharing art with younger generations. 

“People would come to the art show just to see Joe,” she said. “I think what inspired me to start the scholarship the most is that people were coming up to me (who) were friends or collectors of his that wanted his art legacy to go on. It popped in my head even though I had no idea how to go about it. I thought it was the perfect way to honor him. Something that would make him proud.”

Scharer has begun to put together a committee to oversee the scholarship. That committee includes Phil Self, executive director at SoBo Art Gallery, and Lisa Mamounas, longtime participant in the Windermere Fine Art Show with her husband.

The team is tasked with searching for local young, passionate artists younger than 18 who aspire to attend art school.

To raise additional money for the scholarship fund, Scharer will keep a small print of the lion painting but raffle off the larger painting at the art show.

The committee is working to put together the application, which will be available before Thanksgiving.



Annabelle Sikes

News Editor Annabelle Sikes was born in Boca Raton and moved to Orlando in 2018 to attend the University of Central Florida. She graduated from UCF in May 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in sociology. Her past journalism experiences include serving as a web producer at the Orlando Sentinel, a reporter at The Community Paper, managing editor for NSM Today, digital manager at Centric Magazine and as an intern for the Orlando Weekly.

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