Many people started a hobby during the pandemic. Those behind Wekiva Island and Gallery CERO in Central Florida, however, started a movement. Now, they’re publishing a book to memorialize the pandemic’s unique moment in history.
The Great American Paint In® book documents the stories and works of artists across the country during the isolation of COVID-19 in 2020 and beyond. The project was started by Bill Weinaug, the owner of Wekiva Island and Gallery CERO, and his daughter, Ashley.
The effort solicited works from artists across the U.S. for a juried exhibition, with pieces available for viewing and sale online. The pieces were later displayed as part of several traveling exhibitions around the country, and they are now being brought together for the first time in one volume.
The coffee table art book will be on sale Oct. 26, and Wekiva Island and Gallery CERO will celebrate with a book launch event on Nov. 1.
“When we started this project, the goal was always to create a physical book that in 50 years, an art history class could pull off the shelf and feel the time come to life,” Bill Weinaug said. “I’m incredibly proud that we’ll soon be able to see that dream come true and hold this book in our hands.”
The Weinaugs worked with ACC Art Books to share the project in print. Books will be available on Gallery CERO’s website, via the publisher, and online through Walmart and Amazon. The cost is $50.
To celebrate, Wekiva Island and Gallery CERO will host a book launch party onsite, 1014 Miami Springs Dr., from 4 to 7 p.m. Nov. 1. The celebration will bring together the book’s creators, as well as several of the book’s artists who will sign books and share insights on their submissions and stories. The event is free to attend, and RSVPs are requested at https://fb.me/e/3xizx8d1U.
“In the works and stories of these artists, you see loss and hope, survival and creation in the ‘new normal’ we all built,” Ashley Weinaug said. “It’s a true reflection of the American pandemic story.”
Art is a core pillar for Wekiva Island, a natural attraction located on the Wekiva River in Longwood, Florida. The venue hosts a yearly plein air art event, the Wekiva Paint Out, and therefore was inspired to start The Great American Paint In®. Gallery CERO opened as a unique art gallery space on property in 2021.
For more information about The Great American Paint In® and the book, visit https://gallerycero.com/the-great-american-paint-in. For more information about Gallery CERO, visit gallerycero.com.
For more information about Wekiva Island, visit wekivaisland.com.