The city opens a new art gallery – the Orlando Sentinel

Under the shady crowns of large oak trees and overlooking a quiet pond, Casselberry leaders on Monday picked up shovels and threw the first piles of dirt to begin construction on the town’s new art gallery.

When completed by May, the $3.7 million mural-covered building will house exhibits of works by renowned artists and expand the adjacent Casselberry Art House.

It’s the latest step in the past two decades for this Seminole County town — once known as a sleepy bedroom community with blue-collar roots — to bring arts, culture and recreation to the fore as a growing number of young professionals and families move.

“The arts have really helped us revitalize our community,” said City Commissioner Anthony Aramendia, who is also president of the nonprofit Seminole Cultural Arts Council. “And it’s an economic driver for our community.”

In addition to the art house and future gallery, Casselberry also has a sculpture house and garden in nearby Lake Concord Park with 30 works of art on display. The park regularly hosts jazz festivals and other events attended mostly by residents of high-rise apartments recently built in the heart of the city just off US Highway 17-92.

Arts and culture “give everyone a sense of community,” said Mayor David Henson. “Casselbury was once known as just a place on the map. We are slowly changing that. … This will be an exciting time for Casselberry in the coming years.”

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The new 3,000-square-foot art gallery off Quail Pond Circle is designed with high ceilings and large glass sides that will provide visitors with expansive views of the surrounding gardens and green space lined with magnolia trees. A covered walkway will provide access to the adjacent Casselberry Art House, built in 2002.

“Over the past two decades, we have learned that the visual arts are a cultural, social and economic asset to the community,” Linda Moore, Casselberry’s recreation manager, said in a written statement released by the city.

The new structure will be paid for primarily with funds raised by a $24 million bond referendum approved by city voters in 2020 to build additional parks and upgrade recreation facilities. To pay off the bonds, Casselberry property owners receive an annual tax based on the value of their property.

In October, Casselberry purchased the historic home of the city’s late founder, Hibbard Casselberry, for $1.25 million on the eastern shore of the South Lake Triplet. Plans are to turn the 1953 mansion into a venue for weddings and other gatherings.

Last month, Casselberry officials broke ground on the city’s new public safety and police headquarters complex off Wilshire Boulevard, southwest of State Road 436. At 26,000 square feet and costing $12 million, the new facility will replace the current police department when completed in mid-2023

“We’re trying to make Casselberry a place to live, work and invest,” City Manager Randy Newlon said as he stood next to the five commissioners at Monday’s groundbreaking.

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