The city opens on the new art gallery – Orlando Sentinel

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

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

It’s the latest step over the past two decades by this Seminole County town — once known as a sleepy blue-roots community — to bring arts, culture and recreation to the forefront as a growing number of professionals young people 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 engine for our community.”

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

Arts and culture “give everyone a sense of community,” said Mayor David Henson. “Casselberry used to be known as a place on the map. We are slowly changing it. … It will be an exciting time for Casselberry in the coming years.”

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The new 3,000-square-foot art gallery near Quail Pond Circle is designed with high ceilings and large glass sides that will give patrons sweeping views of the surrounding gardens and green space bordered by magnolia trees. A canopied walkway will provide access to the adjacent Casselberry House of Art, built in 2002.

“We’ve learned over the past two decades 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 from a $24 million bond referendum approved by city voters in 2020 to build additional parks and improve recreational facilities. To pay for the bonds, Casselberry property owners are assessed an annual tax based on the value of their property.

In October, Casselberry bought the historic home of late city 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 complex and police headquarters on Wilshire Boulevard, southwest of State Road 436. At 26,000 square feet and costing $12 million, the facility the new one will replace the current police station when it is completed in mid-2023.

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

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