How paint can help the Wekiva River

Posted by Lauren Sedam | February 25, 2021

At Wekiva Island, we love a good time—but we’re so much more than that! We strive to share the rare beauty of our home on the Wekiva River with our guests through education, sustainability and art. Those three areas make up the core pillars we and our business stand for.

And there’s no better example of our values than the Wekiva Paint Out.

The Wekiva Paint Out is a week-long celebration of plein air art. During this week, you might see artists painting along trails at the Wekiwa Springs State Park, down the river in a canoe or along the boardwalk at Wekiva Island.

The event was started 15 years ago as part of what was the Wekiva Riverfest. When Bill Weinaug purchased Wekiva Island in 2008, it fit perfectly with his vision for the special property.

Bill and his wife Mary are art aficionados and boast their own superb collection of works. Art was always part of the plan for the Island, as illustrated by our regular Wine & Paint events or the works on display at the Tooting Otter. We also have plans for a one-of-a-kind Florida art gallery upstairs…but more on that soon.

What the average Island-goer might not know is just how well art fits with the pillars of sustainability and education. Bill is also passionate about sustainability, and he and the staff have turned the Island into an environmental haven along the river. The Wekiva Paint Out has always had its roots in sustainability, and Bill saw the potential from the start.

2021 Wekiva Paint Out cover artist Randy Pitts says it best:

“I think landscape artists as a whole are conservationists by heart, so the fact that this Paint Out focuses on preservation of the river, Florida’s natural resources, that’s an opportunity almost any artist can get behind.”

The Wekiva Paint Out, first and foremost, educates about what a special place the Wekiva River is. Through their work, the artists capture that and create unique pieces that mesmerized buyers can take home and display, keeping a little slice of the River preserved.

But it doesn’t stop there. We put our money where our gallery walls are, too. Proceeds from works sold during the Wekiva Paint Out are donated to the Wekiva Wilderness Trust and Keep Seminole Beautiful, two local organizations that are working hard to keep the river pristine.

The artists who capture it appreciate that just as much as those who jump in to cool off from the Florida sun.

“The river’s beautiful, and it’s the type of place that really shows us that this is the type of thing that we need to protect,” Pitts said. “If we don’t have this stuff protected, it’s not going to be here for generations to come.”

We’re honored to be part of this great Orlando art event every year, and we look forward to continuing to share more about how we live out our pillars of education, sustainability and art with you.