JOURNEY TOWARD THE CENTER
It has always been my nature/gift to unite people across racial lines and encourage them to pursue their dreams. As a new Deltonian, I noticed much untapped musical talent. Partnering with community leader Zera Reed, we formed Deltona Performing Arts. We hosted talent contests, dinner theater, and themed dinner dances.
Deltona Mayor, John, Masiarczyk, caught wind of my activities and asked me to accept the volunteer position of president of Deltona Arts & Historical Center.
The center was not appealing. An Orlando Sentinel reporter described it as "a dark depressing place that smelled of smoke." One of my first decisions as president was to paint the dark brown 1970's paneling white and replace the florescent lights with spotlights appropriate for an art gallery. That decision cost me a few board members. Using my TV set design experience, we made many improvements over the years.
For the most part, traffic into the building was zero. I found funding to install a recording studio with a topnotch music producer from Baltimore, Frank Starchak. That decision brought life and people into the building. However, it caused the loss of a few more board members. One that note, I'd like to point out that the legendary Coasters recorded with Frank in our studio.
Over the years, we brought many firsts to Deltona in art and music; two international art exhibits, one from China and the other from Cuba. The national TV show “America's Got Talent” contacted us to host their Central Florida auditions, which we did. I assembled a panel of five local musical experts, an orchestra leader, talent agents and music teachers. The panel judged 175 acts, and we forwarded the cream-of-the-crop to the TV show producers.
I asked one of the producers why did they select our arts center. The producer said they Googled "Central Florida" and we were the most active. I laughed. If only they knew that Deltona Arts and Historical Center is a 3000 square foot converted house...
Deltona Arts and Historical Center has weathered many storms over my 11-year run thus far.
Over five years ago, a master developer with fifty years of experience walked into the arts center, and walked out with a vision. Gary Paduch offered plans, architectural renderings, and a variety of concepts for a new 30 million dollar Arts and Performance Center for Deltona.
Gary and I both agree that it is time for Deltona, as the largest city in Volusia County, to come into our own. A 3000 square foot house, with no parking, inadequate air conditioning and a 49 person legal capacity is no longer an acceptable venue for the community's arts center. Due to Gary's working relationships over the years with top architects, environmental experts, and planners, I have been blessed with a dream team.