Amid the vibrant shops and diverse restaurants, Mount Dora's prize gem is its creative subculture.
Sitting atop a short hill, a large contemporary building veils its treasure trove of artists from sight. The three-story Baker Building on 3rd Avenue and Baker Street is the current epicenter of the city's growing colony of artists.
The top two floors of the building feature the working studios and galleries of some of the city's most noted artists with original works ranging from paintings and multi-media to weaving and jewelry.
Award-winning Jane Slivka's coastal and still-life original paintings fill the walls of her studio gallery. Her widely recognizable impressionistic style gains her entry into the state's top juried art shows. Slivka's popular acrylic workshops attract aspiring artists from across the state who wish to expand their talents in a relaxed environment.
Across the walkway is the weaving studio of MM Waite. The bright space boasts an impressive loom as a focal point and features the Mount Dora native's functional textile artistry.
The top floor of the building is home to six working studios with respected artists ranging in styles and media. Professionally trained painter and instructor, Liz Wincup, uses a modern palette of acrylics to create her large canvases of bold abstracts. In an adjoining studio, Emily Lewis provides a contrast of style by painting vivid, tropical landscapes.
Watercolors are represented in the studios of Jackii Molsick and Cathy Caine. Molsick predominantly chooses landscapes and natural subjects, while Caine expresses a different style in her watercolors of tropical florals.
The top floor also features an additional retail gallery and two studios. Sonya Watson's Jewelry Gallery features her inspired original designs of silver and gold jewelry that balance the blending of industrial textures with contemporary and vintage design. The adjoining space is the home of Two B's Studio, the working and teaching space of contemporary jewelry silversmith, Barbara Boyce. Both jewelry designers are regular exhibitors at juried art shows throughout Florida.
The building's studios aren't the only places where creativity flows. The cozy, first floor wine bar, Norm's Palette, exhibits art by various local artists tucked into its nooks and crannies. The bar's owner, artist Norme Rinne, also features his own large canvases throughout the eclectic space.
The creative generosity of the Baker Building artists is, at the very least, impressive. They continually support each other and eagerly share their passion by offering affordable art classes and workshops in their studios. This generosity of spirit is what nourishes the continual the growth of the city's creative community.
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Above: Jewelry designer, Sonya Watson at Mount Dora Art Festival. Below: Jane Slivka's Studio Gallery
Above: MM Waite in her weaving studio. Below: Painter Liz Wincup begins a workshop.
Above: Norm Rinne, the owner and resident artist of Norm's Palette.