Downtown Arts District, a City of Orlando agency, makes art accessible throughout the city and perhaps most notably at CityArts Factory at Orange Ave. and Pine St. for the past 12 years. The district’s mission lives on—but starting in January, it will live in its new home: a vintage building two blocks up the street.

The new location is the Rogers Kiene Building, the distinctive green building formerly known as The Gallery at Avalon Island, at the corner of Magnolia Ave. and Pine St. The move will happen later this year

According to Barbara Hartley, Downtown Art District’s executive director, the move is good for the arts, for the city, and for DAD’s vision for revitalizing surrounding areas.

Built in the 1880s, the Rogers Kiene Building—notably the oldest in downtown Orlando—has long been associated with the arts. It was donated to the city earlier this year by Orlando resident and arts supporter Ford Kiene, with the stipulation that it’s to be used for the arts for the next 20 years. With the lease running out on the existing CityArts venue, Downtown Arts District leased the newly donated building from the city, allowing them to relocate CityArts Factory there.

The financial benefits of the move are considerable. It allows Downtown Arts District to save money, allocate more funds to art initiatives, and continue to foster and promote the arts in and around the city while maintaining a spirit of inclusion and focusing on growth.

The first floor of the new CityArts venue has a spacious open gallery, and an open bar/café next to it. The second floor will be renovated for more gallery space, a performance theater, working studios, and two apartments for future resident-artist programs. Plans are in the works to make the building’s adjacent alleyway an immersive-art and community cooperative.

The final art event at the Orange Ave. CityArts location will be the Third Thursday gallery hop on November 20th. The official move to the “new” CityArts on Magnolia, replete with rebranding and a grand opening, is set for early January.

This article is by Crystal Dombrosky, a contemporary expressive artist, contributing writer for ArtScene Press.
Linda Saracino, the editor of ArtScene Press, also contributed to this article.
Photos: Crystal Dombrosky