SEBRING - Two monumental celebrations were brought together April 5 for the city of Sebring.
First, after 12 years of renovation and planning, Highlands Art League celebrated the grand opening of its Village Where Art Lives.
Second was the retirement of respected public figure, Mayor George Hensley. "Art makes a difference in peoples' lives," said Hensley. "It is wonderful to see the completion of this Art Village in our community."
The evening began with an Art Village Wine Walk to the four village buildings, which currently feature art exhibits, studio artists or housing art classes. Following the wine walk, nearly 200 people filled the Jack Stroup Civic Center for dinner by The Palms of Sebring, an auction fundraiser and the Roast and Toast honoring Mayor Hensley.
Six people spoke about Hensley, including his wife, Nancy, and new Mayor John Shoop. While there were many funny roasting moments, most of the comments were toasting Sebring's beloved mayor who has impacted many lives throughout the community in the past 30 years.
Event sponsors were Heacock Insurance, The Palms of Sebring, MidFlorida Credit Union, B&B Theatres Fairmount Square Cinemas 6, First United Methodist Church, Excavation Point, Annett Bus Lines, Cornerstone Hospice, Lenihan & Associates, South Florida State College and Sun 'N Lake Medical Group.
The Village Where Art Lives is located at the Allen Altvater Cultural Center in downtown Sebring. It consists of four buildings: Yellow House Gallery and Gift Shop, Visual Arts Center, Highlands Museum of the Arts and the Clovelly House. For information, visit www.HighlandsArtLeague.org.