Wellen Park residents and visitors vote for ‘Wellen Park Digs Art’ contest winners

VENICE, Fla. (Dec. 21, 2021) – By popular vote, winners of the “Wellen Park Digs Art” contest have been chosen. The contest showcased unique, custom-painted shovels from the Downtown Wellen groundbreaking ceremony that were created by nearly 40 Wellen Park partners involved in the development of Downtown Wellen.

Residents and visitors cast ballots for first, second and third place at Wellen Park’s Welcome Center. Contest winners were each awarded a $1,000 donation to the charity of their choice. On behalf of all the residents and visitors who cast ballots, Wellen Park also made a $1,000 donation to the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County in support of local community arts.

First-place winner Visit Sarasota County commissioned a Ringling College art student to paint their shovel, which depicts a view of the World Series champions Atlanta Braves’ spring training stadium against the backdrop of a scenic Sarasota County beach sunset. As thanks to their student artist, Visit Sarasota County’s donation prize will be given to Ringling College of Art and Design to support its art programs.

Wellen Park’s Welcome Center won second place with a whimsical painting of a bicycle with a flower basket and the words, “Meet me at the flower shop! Xoxo,” painted by Welcome Center ambassador Elizabeth Andres. Their donation prize is being given to the North Port Symphony to help inspire and provide music education opportunities for North Port students.
In third place, winner M/I Homes commissioned their shovel to be painted by a Sarasota Christian School student. In honor of her work and effort, M/I Homes is donating their donation prize to Sarasota Christian School in support of its art program.

In addition to the first, second and third-place winners, superlative category winners were chosen by a panel of judges to receive a $500 donation to the charity of their choice.

Willis Smith Construction was awarded Most Representative of Wellen Park for their painted shovel, showing a sunset view of Downtown Wellen from across the Grand Lake. Their donation will go to Awaken Pantry, a North Port food pantry that provides meals to families in need.

Visit Sarasota County won a second time for their shovel as Most Representative of the Region, and will donate to the North Port Art Center to support art programs within the community.

The West Villages Improvement District received the Most Creative award for their 3D shovel of a dog’s face, adorned by sunglasses and complete with a collar and leash. In honor of the shovel artist Emma Crosley, a Venice High School junior, WVID will give their charity donation to local animal rescue Tender Heart Charities.

Most Original went to Gravina, Smith, Matte and Arnold Marketing and Public Relations, whose shovel is a visual representation of the dual meaning of “wellen,” which means both wave and wellness. They have directed their winnings to the Abuse Counseling and Treatment Center (ACT), a Southwest Florida charity that provides services for individuals experiencing domestic violence.

DiVosta received the Most Whimsical award for their shovel of an ice cream cone set against a colorful sunset on the gulf. Their donation goes to the Ronald McDonald House, aiding families who have to travel for access to medical care for their child.

The painted shovel collection, one of several custom art installations planned for Downtown Wellen, is a visual representation of the dedication that Wellen Park has to the arts, cultural experiences, wellness and most of all, community. In addition to art planned for Downtown Wellen, there are several other unique art displays in Wellen Park’s Welcome Center. “Blooms” is a vibrant mural of colorful flowers painted on the building’s exterior walls. Indoors, another custom art piece is on display: “Heartfelt Connections,” created by Sarasota-based artist Alexis Fraser, known as “Lipstick Lex.” The 8-by-10-foot piece is made up of lipstick kisses as an homage to Wellen Park’s heritage tree program. Also inside the Welcome Center, local artists from the North Port Arts Center are featured and celebrated through a mobile pop-up cart and nook that provides rotating short-term exhibit space. Guests can enjoy and view their artwork onsite, as well as purchase pieces to take home.

Wellen Park has been named the No. 5 top-selling master-planned community in the U.S. for 2021 by prominent real estate consulting firms John Burns and RCLCO. Wellen Park offers a vibrant mix of residential, commercial and recreational options amongst three districts: West Villages, Downtown Wellen and Playmore. The community currently has approximately 9,000 residents, and at full build-out will have more than 60,000 residents and 22,000 homes.

Currently under construction, Downtown Wellen will feature a vibrant hub filled with shopping, dining and entertainment options and other amenities. The mixed-use development will be open to residents and visitors alike and feature waterfront experiences, pedestrian-friendly streets and public community spaces.

Expected to open in the fourth quarter of 2022, Phase One of Downtown Wellen will include retail shops; waterfront dining and other restaurants; a town hall; a kids’ playground and splash pad; a food truck kiosk area; an outfitter equipped with e-bikes, paddle boards and kayaks for enjoying the active lake; and a three-mile health and wellness trail.

For more information about living at Wellen Park, call 941-960-7805, go to or visit the Welcome Center at 12275 Mercado Drive in Venice, Fla. The Welcome Center is open Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. and Sunday, 12-5 p.m.



Jennifer Hamilton, Gravina, Smith, Matte & Arnold Marketing and PR, 239-275-5758, [email protected]


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