WESLEY CHAPEL — In 2015, the Pasco Fine Arts Council moved out of its modest digs in Holiday and into a new space at the Pasco County Grove Park Community Center in New Port Richey.
The move ignited a feeling of renewal, along with thoughts of future expansion.
Some of that has happened, with outreach arts programs in local schools, at St. Leo University and with the Pasco County Department of Parks and Recreation.
Now, some four years later, the arts council is venturing to the east side of the county to open a new gallery.
“What happened was, I got a phone call,” said Jo Baughman, director of the Pasco Fine Arts Council.
The call, back in February, came from Stephanie Lerret, senior vice president of marketing and community relations for Avalon Park West, a new residential community on State Road 54 in Wesley Chapel. She wanted to bring a gallery to the new development that will feature a town center and downtown business area, along with a charter school and a mix of residential housing.
“I researched online and saw that the Pasco Fine Arts Council was already doing something, but noticed they were strictly on the west side of the county,” Lerret said. “There’s rapid growth in the Wesley Chapel area, and we really felt that we needed to do something with the arts and cultural component of the community.”
Lerret met with council board members and got things rolling.
The Pasco Fine Arts Council will open its 2019-2020 season at Avalon Park West with the exhibit “Moments in Time," featuring the works of Suzanne Natzke. She is an 18-year teacher at the council and signature member of the Florida Watercolor Society. A reception will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. Sept. 27. The show, one of six scheduled for the Wesley Chapel gallery, runs through Oct. 21.
The new gallery is in a temporary space at the community Welcome Center.
“It’s not too bad — enough for 28 paintings,” said Baughman.
Plans are to move the gallery into a larger space at the new charter school in early 2020, then to the community center, which is still in the design stage, Lerret said. She hopes this will bring interest from local artists for future exhibits and provide a place to teach art classes.
“We’re excited to finally be able to serve the east side of the county,” said Bob Langford, chairman of the Pasco Fine Arts Council. “With all that growth over there, this will make it easy for folks that live there to be able to take advantage of our premier classes and shows.”
While the current exhibit “looks great,” it’s just a start, Lerret said.
“The bigger vision is for us to be the downtown Wesley Chapel. We want to be the arts and cultural center of our community, and to do that community partnerships are an essential part of that.”
PASCO ARTS COUNCIL EVENTS AND EXHIBITS
Avalon Park Gallery, 33613 State Road 54, Wesley Chapel. (727) 847-7322
Moments in Time, by Suzanne Natzke, now through Oct. 21. Opening reception, 5 to 7 p.m. Sept. 27.
Energized by Color, by Annie Harris, Oct. 21-Nov. 25. Opening reception, 5 to 7 p.m. Oct. 25.
Thru My Eyes, by Rita Wilson, Nov. 25-Dec. 23. Opening reception, 5 to 7 p.m. Dec. 13.
My World Through Watercolor, by Lionel Sanchez, Dec. 23-Feb. 10. Opening reception, 5 to 7 p.m. Jan. 31.
Grove Gallery, 4145 Fairford Drive, New Port Richey (727) 847-7322
Energized by Color, by Annie Harris, Oct. 10-Oct. 20. Reception, 4 to 7 p.m. Oct. 12.
My World Through Watercolor, by Lionel Sanchez, Nov. 19-Dec. 21. Reception, 5 to 7 p.m. Nov. 22.
Something Different, Cindy Vince, March 31-April 11. Reception, 5 to 7 p.m. April 3.
Competitions/Calls to Artists:
All about Landscapes (member show), Nov. 1-16. Reception, 5-7 p.m. Nov. 8
Paint Out at Starkey Park Plein Air Competition, Dec. 4-8 at Jay B. Starkey Wilderness Park, New Port Richey.
3-D Exhibit Competition, Jan. 10-25. Reception, 5-7 p.m. Jan. 17.
Art Annual Competition, Feb. 8-29. Reception, 5-7 p.m. Feb. 15.
Kids-N-Art Show, March 7-21. Opening reception, 3-5 p.m. March 15.
Focused, middle-school student photography show, April 21-May 3. Reception, 3-5 p.m. April 26 at Pinecrest Middle School, Wesley Chapel.
For information: Go to www.pascoarts.org or call (727) 847-7322.