Editor’s Note: We spoke with Dena Kittelson, a local artist and owner of Garden of the Arts with her partner, Matt. The business is located at 272 Cedar Street in the Englewood Arts District. Visit GardenoftheArts.com; call 941-681-0213.
Dena, please introduce Garden of the Arts.
We’re a home-based business featuring a beautiful garden and certified nursery, along with space for art gallery events. Our garden and nursery features edible plants and perennials. We offer regular tours and workshops in our Food Forest Demonstration Garden. Matt is the garden guide who enjoys sharing information about forest ecology, selected plant species and seasonal advice for your own home garden. The questions and conversations that are part of the tour and workshops are insightful and motivating for anyone that loves plants including edibles. We host Art Gallery Events in the garden featuring my artwork and the art of others. Artists can contact me if they’re interested in learning more. Please call or text to book an event.
What’s the backstory of Garden of the Arts?
We purchased our home in the summer of 2021 and we’re delighted to be living in the Englewood Arts District. Its zoned residential / commercial which allows us to operate a home-based business. We’re both passionate about plants and growing food. We knew the gardens would be a part of our business. Our friends who previously owned the property shared this passion, giving us a jump start on native, edible and perennial landscapes. We’ve expanded our food forest with hundreds of new plants.
What can you share about your art?
My current medium is acrylic-based paints. I create art that reveals the depth and beauty of permaculture, botanicals and the vital ecology of all forms of life.
What’s your connection to Englewood?
I was born and raised in Englewood. I graduated from Lemon Bay High School in 2008 and returned a decade later. Matt moved here in 2018. He too values our friendly small town culture and the diversity of Florida plants. We met on a plant walk near Blind Pass Beach guided by our friend Andy Firk. Serendipitously, this was also the day we met the couple we purchased our home from several years later.