Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Dunedin Fine Art Center adds new campus, plans renovations

DUNEDIN — The economy may be sputtering along, but for one venue, it's full speed ahead.

The Dunedin Fine Art Center is opening a new "Cottage Campus," at Weaver Park on Broadway Boulevard in Dunedin, where some new fall classes begin Monday.

And Thursday, the center signed a $1.5 million construction contract to remodel and expand the main campus at 1143 Michigan Blvd. in Highlander Park.

By Friday, contractors were already on site installing construction fencing, said Ken Hannon, the center's associate executive director.

While many industries and businesses struggle, the arts continue to have strong appeal — at least at this center.

"Today," Hannon said, "people are looking to get more out of their money. If you're a member, that translates to $108 for 18 hours of instruction for an enjoyable leisure time activity. That's a pretty darn good value."

Others seem to agree.

Class registration has grown 20 percent over the past four years, at the rate of 5 percent per year.

Now the center is moving on ways to accommodate and nurture its growing crop of artisans.

• • •

The 1921 bungalow, situated under a large shade tree, boasts a view of St. Joseph Sound in the front and a large porch in back.

One can almost see the plein air artists gathered there for inspiration.

The pale yellow abode also will house printmaking, stone carving and wood turning classes. It will be the center's second offsite venue, the Stirling Hall Campus on Broadway being the first.

The Fine Art Center has a license agreement with the city to hold classes there rent-free; the center will be responsible for utilities and general maintenance of the building.

To help ready it for its new mission, the Kiwanis Club of Dunedin painted the inside and out in bright cheerful colors.

This week instructors and others were busy installing tables, an etching press, shelves and other equipment for the new fall classes.

Recent improvements — a ramp and retro-fitted bathroom — make the cottage ADA compliant. Parking has also been added.

"We have a wonderful partnership with the Fine Art Center and this will help give the park more usage," said Vince Gizzi, the city's parks and recreation director. "It keeps the building from being vacant."

Expansion, renovation

The main campus in Highlander Park opened in 1974 with about 3,000 square feet. Subsequent expansions took place in 1980, 1988 and 1998; now the facility has grown to 18,813 square feet.

This week the center signed a $1.5 million contract with J. Kokolakis Contracting Inc. of Tarpon Springs to renovate and enlarge the building to 23,286 square feet.

That's a "nice bump of almost 25 percent," Hannon wrote in an e-mail.

The original 3,000-square-feet portion of the building will be torn down and rebuilt; almost 4,500 square feet more will be added.

"It's going to be a green building; we hope it will be LEED certified," Hannon said.

A new youth education wing will include a children's hands-on museum, more studios and a youngsters' art gallery.

The clay studio labs will be expanded to include a new kiln room.

The city owns the building, but all renovations are paid for through private funding, Hannon said. The project is expected to be completed by May 2011.

A second phase is already being planned for 2014.

"That," Hannon said, "will give us considerably more space, which we anticipate needing as we project growth and population demographics into the future."

Dunedin Fine Art Center adds new campus, plans renovations 09/11/10 [Last modified: Saturday, September 11, 2010 1:57pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Pinellas licensing board loses support for staying independent

    Local Government

    CLEARWATER –– The Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board on Monday lost its strongest supporter for staying independent.

    State Sen. Jack Latvala, a Clearwater Republican running for governor, said Monday that he will no longer support any legislation to keep the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board independent. This photo was taken in August. [SCOTT KEELER | Tampa Bay Times]
  2. Rays' Blake Snell erasing memories of his poor start

    The Heater

    NEW YORK — As Blake Snell strides up the mound at Yankee Stadium Tuesday night with an 10-game unbeaten streak, doesn't the miserable start to his sophomore season, when he was winless in eight starts and got demoted to Triple-A, seem like a long time ago?

    To him, too.

    Tampa Bay Rays starting pitcher Blake Snell (4) in the dugout during the fourth inning of the game between the Chicago Cubs and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Wednesday, Sept. 20, 2017. WILL VRAGOVIC   |   Times

  3. St. Petersburg youth baseball concession stand vandalized

    Public Safety

    ST. PETERSBURG — The early-morning phone call warned Charles Castle, president of Burg Baseball, to "expect the worst.'' The organization's concession stand had been vandalized.

     Cliff Williams, Vice President of the Burg Baseball Inc., St. Petersburg, looks at a damaged and trashed concession stand at the Lakewood Baseball Complex, home of the Burg Baseball. According to Williams someone vandalized the concession stand either Saturday or Sunday. SCOTT KEELER   |   Times

  4. Tampa charter school teacher charged with firing handgun at ground


    TAMPA — A Tampa charter school teacher was arrested Sunday after she fired a gun into the ground during a dispute with her boyfriend, police said.

    Melody Patrice Bing, a teacher at the Village of Excellence Academy in Tampa, emerged from her home holding a weapon and dropped it when police confronted her at gunpoint. [Tampa Police Department]
  5. Tuesday's Nothing More concert moved from the State Theatre to Jannus Live in St. Petersburg


    Nothing More was one of the highlights of April's 98 Rockfest, a thoroughly entertaining rock outfit with a larger-than-live stage presence.

    Nothing More performed at 98 Rockfest 2017 in Tampa.