Wellen Park selects artists for Downtown Wellen murals

VENICE, Fla. (Nov. 9, 2022) – Wellen Park has selected two Florida artists to paint large-scale murals in Downtown Wellen, the region’s new central gathering hub opening early 2023. The murals will capture the vibrant spirit of the community and the high-energy atmosphere of downtown, transforming blank building walls into permanent public art displays along the main Wellen Park Boulevard entrance and facing The Yard food park and entertainment epicenter.

Local artist Laura Pommier and Miami muralist Ivan Roque were chosen from 23 submissions to the Downtown Wellen Mural Project, a regional contest created by Wellen Park and the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County. The two artists have collectively completed over 100 murals throughout Florida, the country and internationally. Their portfolios share a passion for the people, plants and natural environment of their home state as well as vivid attention-getting color palettes and a broad scope of artistic styles influenced by realism, impressionism, trompe l’oeil and street style with a touch of tongue-in-cheek.

“We were deeply impressed by these artists, their signature styles, their use of bright joyful colors, and their ability to express an authentic sense of place,” said Christine Masney, vice president of marketing for Wellen Park. “The murals will reflect the essence of who we are as a community and speak to Downtown Wellen as a space to gather, socialize, connect with others and enjoy being outside and in nature.”

The murals will be painted on-site and completed by mid-January, coinciding with the anticipated completion of Downtown Wellen’s outdoor amenities and soft openings planned by several businesses. The artists will complete finishing touches and talk to spectators during Downtown Wellen’s official grand opening celebration in April.

Fully leased, pedestrian-friendly Downtown Wellen concentrates dining, shopping, entertainment and professional offices into a regionally central location with an ambiance unlike a typical shopping plaza. Its inaugural buildings feature distinct architecture designed by four firms and are woven into an expansive outdoor campus of meandering green spaces, the 80-acre recreational Grand Lake, parks, play areas, a fountain and splashpad, event lawn, and unique gathering spots, including The Yard and an outdoor living room and lounge with a deck.

Located on buildings and structures, the murals will echo the many nuances of Downtown Wellen – from is intentions as a place for heartfelt connections and a vibrant social hotspot to a relaxing nature-focused locale with a fun-loving waterfront whimsy, where retrofitted shipping containers house kayak, paddleboard and bike rentals at Kind Vibes Outfitters and reappear as a trio of restaurants in The Yard. Sidewalks, a 2.8-mile pedestrian and bicycle trail around the lake, and the canopies of transplanted grand oaks add to the character of downtown and its eclectic mix of restaurants, boutiques, beauty companies, professionals and healthcare providers.

As public art and place makers, Downtown Wellen’s interactive murals connect people to art while infusing local color and engaging passersby as the ultimate selfie background.

“Murals are the first impression the public has of a community,” said Roque. “Someone who’s not into art, who won’t walk into a gallery can look at a mural and think about art in a space that’s not intimidating. It’s art for the people.”

Roque, who’s worked with Microsoft, McDonald’s and painted his way across 13 states and four countries, was chosen for the largest mural welcoming visitors to Downtown Wellen at its Wellen Park Boulevard gateway. Spanning the side of a two-story mixed-use building with retail, restaurants and offices, the mural is Roque’s first on Florida’s Gulf coast.

Locals are likely to recognize Pommier’s work from the colorful “Blooms” mural painted on the Wellen Park Welcome Center. The Port Charlotte artist enjoyed interacting with visitors and residents while painting on-site, getting a good sense of the community and Wellen Park’s commitment to the arts.

“Murals really draw in the public. You take a blank concrete wall and create something pleasant and bigger than life, adding an artistic vibe which is really important to how people see their lives,” said Pommier, who has painted murals on the Quality TV Sales building in North Port and at University Town Center in Sarasota. “Any time you bring art into someone’s life, that’s what matters.”

Located off U.S. 41 just west of South River Road, the pedestrian-friendly downtown features an array of restaurants, retail stores and other businesses. Downtown’s playful outdoor environment, The Yard offers a dining area, games and activities, and ultra-casual food and beverage choices served counter style from retrofitted shipping containers.

The 80-acre Grand Lake creates a scenic backdrop throughout Downtown Wellen and offers a floating dock and recreational activities, including fishing, kayaking and paddleboarding with rentals available at Kind Vibes Outfitters. The outfitter will also rent bicycles and e-bikes for exploring the 2.8-mile walking, cycling and jogging trail circling the lake.

Emphasizing connections to nature and community, Downtown Wellen offers unique outdoor experiences in thoughtfully designed spaces – from intimate parks and an al fresco living room shaded by decades-old relocated live oak trees to larger locales like the Great Lawn for community festivals, markets, celebrations and events and the lakefront fountain and splashpad, complete with whirling waterjets. Solis Hall, an elegant rental venue, features an outdoor stage, a lakefront patio and an easy flow from inside spaces to neighboring alfresco destinations.

Consistently ranked among the U.S.’s top-selling communities annually by prominent real estate consulting firm RCLCO, Wellen Park’s expanding residential choices include single-family homes in picturesque neighborhoods, a bundled golf and country club community, paired villas, coach homes and condominiums, one- to three-bedroom apartments and rental homes, a rental apartment community for active adults 55 and older, and world-class independent, assisted living and memory care. The community currently has approximately 9,500 residents, and at full buildout will have more than 50,000 residents and 22,500 homes within its three distinct districts: West Villages, Downtown Wellen and Playmore.

To learn more 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 daily 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.


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

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