Unique treasures at every turn on Waldo’s Secret Art Walk

Dr. Deborah Brown, Sean Sexton and Joy Mead PHOTO BY STEPHANIE LABAFF

There are many hidden treasures at Waldo’s Secret Garden, the homestead of Vero pioneer Waldo E. Sexton, where descendants of the family have lived for more than a century.

Recently, works by more than 35 artists temporarily joined his collection during the inaugural Waldo’s Secret Art Walk, a rich cultural experience that continued the tradition of blending art and nature on the grounds of this historic site.

The event was organized by Katherine Larson, founder of Isola Arts, who carefully curated the group of artisans and their selections of sculpture, jewelry, painting, furniture, fabric, glass, textile and metal works.

In addition to perusing an eclectic variety of artworks, the estimated 3,000 art enthusiasts who wandered the gardens during the two-day show were also treated to poetry readings and works by Sean Sexton, Indian River County Poet Laureate, and a live painting demonstration by Highwaymen legacy artist Michael Love.

The property, once also the site of the Tripson Dairy, is a popular wedding and event venue today, run by Sexton’s great-granddaughter, Charlotte Tripson.

Tripson noted that the Art Walk was “a nod to Waldo’s penchant for collecting found art.”

The event, she said, gave visitors an opportunity to explore the grounds of Waldo’s Secret Garden and view the treasure trove of his eclectic collection.

“Katherine appreciated the thoughtful mishmash of objects that were placed for art purposes. I think it really inspired her,” shared Tripson, commenting on the unique setting, history and structures.

“I still walk around and discover objects that I haven’t seen before,” Tripson added.

Considering the premise on which Isola was founded, the location was an ideal place for visitors to truly embrace the art, rather than have them be overwhelmed by the sights and sounds of large-scale street fairs and the like.

“Vero Beach is one of the largest and most thriving art scenes I’ve ever seen. I wanted to create another kind of experience,” said Larson, explaining that her goal is to create an environment where people can discover artworks that speak to them.

Larson’s inaugural show was curated at Tangelo House on Royal Palm, with each artist showcasing their work in a different apartment. Noting that Tangelo House is considered one of the most haunted places in Indian River County, the placement of art – spooky or proactive – fit the venue.

“The historical setting sparked the idea to start doing art in places that were unique,” Larson explained.

In addition to curating other unique art experiences, Larson said they are developing programs to teach art, music and writing to children and emerging artists.

For upcoming shows visit IsolaArts.org. For more information about Waldo’s Secret Garden, visit WaldosSecretGarden.com.

Photos by Stephanie LaBaff

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