Inside the Wellen Park Welcome Center in "Downtown Wellen."

Image: Staff photo

Monday, Oct. 18, provided several opportunities for newcomers and arts lovers in the South County area, when master-planned community Wellen Park hosted a cocktail reception at its Welcome Center in the new “Downtown Wellen” area.

The “For the Love of Our Arts” reception tied together Sarasota Magazine’s latest edition of its annual arts-related publication, which was distributed to guests, and new Wellen Park residents eager to learn more about the arts scene here. Arts & Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County executive director Jim Shirley joined Rick Severance, president of the Wellen Park division of Mattamy Homes, which is building the community, in welcoming representatives from eight prominent arts organizations to tell the guests about what they do.

For some it was also a first-time chance to visit Wellen Park, which will have more than 60,000 residents and 22,000 homes at full buildout, sometime over the next 20 years. The 5,000-square-foot Welcome Center is brand-new and adjacent to Barrel & Bean, which catered the event and purveys coffee, wine, beer and more.

A glimpse of the future at Wellen Park.

Image: Staff photo

Inside the Welcome Center, attendees also could vote on which of the colorful shovels (created for the downtown’s groundbreaking by various community partners) they liked best in the “Wellen Park Digs Art” competition. The top three vote-getters will each receive $1,000 to benefit the nonprofit of their choice.

A quartet from The Venice Symphony performed at the reception.

Image: Staff photo

Musicians from The Venice Symphony played for the evening’s event. Wellen Park plans outdoor concerts and art shows in the future, making use of an amphitheater on the Great Lawn and a Town Hall to present indoor concerts and more.  

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