Weekend of the Arts Returning to Winter Park in February

Share This:

The Winter Park Arts & Cultural Alliance is planning to revive an interactive celebration of the organizations that make up the city’s creative community. The Weekend of the Arts, happening Feb. 21-23, will offer free events and special programming for all ages while showcasing the contributions of local arts nonprofits.

“The goal is to raise visibility and awareness of the arts in Winter Park as a whole,” said Alliance Senior Advisor Anda Lucia Ariail. “We’re hoping this event will reach residents and visitors coming into the community over the weekend.”

Currently made up of 20 local organizations, the Alliance was launched in 2017 with the mission of enhancing and promoting the city’s nonprofit arts and culture organizations. The inaugural Weekend of the Arts happened in February of 2018 and returned in 2019 before halting due to pandemic-related constraints. The schedule featured an outdoor arts festival with live music and stage performances, fine art exhibits, and children’s art activities. The 2025 reboot is made possible by a grant from Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation and plans are in progress with the following tentative schedule:

  • Friday, Feb. 21: Kickoff event in Central Park
  • Saturday, Feb. 22: Community event with Central Park Main Stage performances and interactive stations on the North Lawn
  • Sunday, Feb. 23: Programming at citywide arts venues

Event planning became even more important with the announced elimination of $32 million in cultural and museum grants from next year’s state budget. According to a fiscal year 2022 survey of Winter Park Arts & Cultural Alliance members, citywide arts groups offered more than 6,000 creative opportunities, 2,700 learning opportunities for students, and free events for 787,000 patrons. The local arts community also employs approximately 77 full-time and 185 part-time positions, along with the services of 923 contractors. “We need to raise awareness of how valuable our arts organizations are and how much they need our support,” Ariail said.

The Winter Park Arts & Culture Alliance introduced the community to its member organizations during a Dec. 12 event at Winter Park Events Center.
At the event, Edyth Bush Charitable Foundation president and CEO David Odahowski announced a $50,000 commitment to the Alliance that is funding the Weekend of the Arts event.

Every Winter Park arts group will present its own special exhibit and programming during the Saturday event. “The organizations will have some kind of feature that will be a reflection of what they do,” said Winter Park History Museum Director Christy Grieger, who described the Museum’s plan for a “Hands-on History” exhibit of items from its archives. “We’ll have things that kids can touch and learn like old phones and cameras, and we may have people strolling around in period costume telling the story of Central Park and the beginnings of Winter Park.”

Performing arts, exhibits and creative activities will highlight a community event in Central Park on Saturday, Feb. 22.

Winter Park Playhouse is planning its own Saturday afternoon performance and will offer a discount on tickets to a scheduled production. “In the past, we have always had a Mainstage production running at the same time as this event and have offered a discount for participants to see our show at a reduced rate,” said Playhouse Marketing Director Lisa Melillo. The closing performances of Playhouse Mainstage production of The Bikinis will run during the event weekend.

Ariail says the Saturday schedule is also meant to showcase more than the arts community. “Performances will start between noon and 1 p.m. and end at around 4 p.m. with the idea that people will then go dine and shop on the Avenue and make it a whole day in Winter Park.” The Alliance is planning to work with the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce and Park Avenue District for arts-related menu items or drink specials at restaurants, and local artist appearances at retail locations and art galleries.

Ideas are still under discussion for the Friday kickoff event and the public will be encouraged to use the last day of the weekend to visit museums, galleries, and other venues throughout the city. Event-exclusive programming and activities will be presented at several locations.

Alice Moulton, public relations manager for Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival, says the event is a welcome addition to the city’s arts and cultural schedule for its purpose and its timing. “It’s promoting all of our local arts groups, but it really works out great for us because it’s happening just before the festival.”

The Alliance plans to finalize event details by late summer with promotions and marketing beginning soon after. The 2025 schedule will be the template for future Weekend of the Arts events that Ariail hopes will become a mainstay of the city’s annual calendar. “Any weekend in Winter Park can be an arts weekend,” she said, “but this is a weekend to celebrate everything and showcase all of these amazing organizations.

Share This:

Have a story idea? Send us a note at news@the32789.com. Follow our stories on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook.

If you value local journalism, please support our work by joining The Flock for as little as $7 per month.

Our Sponsors

the32789 Weekly

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Want News in Your Inbox?
the32789 Weekly brings all the Winter Park news you missed straight to your inbox. Sign up for updates every Sunday morning.
Want News in Your Inbox?
the32789 Weekly brings all the Winter Park news you missed straight to your inbox. Sign up for updates every Sunday morning.