Local, retired pediatrician and Valrico resident Dr. Fernando Velasquez has had an amazing medical career. He is originally from Peru but moved to the states to practice medicine, and he had a thriving practice in West Tampa for many years.
“I love being a pediatrician,” Dr. Velasquez said. “I liked working closely with my patients and their families to ensure healthy development and growth.”
Dr. Velasquez took up painting in the ’90s as a way of relaxing.
“I am a self-taught painter,” he said. “I never took a painting class; I was just inspired by my life in Peru, so that’s what I painted, images of my life and the people I knew in Peru.”
Over the years and many trips to Peru, Dr. Velasquez’s office became full of his paintings and artwork he brought back from his country. When he retired, Dr. Velasquez and his wife, Lourdes, realized they didn’t have room for all the paintings and artwork.
A close friend of theirs, Luis Castellanos of Brandon, reached out to the Osprey Observer to see if the paper knew of any art centers that would be willing to take Dr. Velasquez’s art and use it to help raise money for children’s charities or programs.
“The idea was to donate them to some charity organization for selling or auction, so the proceeds will benefit a specific cause, mainly children, migrant or local or any other nonprofit organization,” Castellanos said.
The Osprey Observer reached out to Center Place Fine Arts & Civic Association.
“I was very interested in meeting with Dr. Velazquez and seeing his art,” said Center Place’s executive director, Libby Hopkins. “Once I saw how beautiful Dr. Velazquez’s paintings were and the amazing wooden artwork he had, I wanted it to be a permanent exhibit at Center Place.”
None of Dr. Velazquez’s paintings are framed, and for them to be hung at Center Place, they will need to be framed.
“Dr. Velazquez has over 60 unframed paintings, and since he is a resident of Valrico, I would love for our community to come together and help Center Place get his artwork framed so it will be a permanent exhibit that will be hung in Center Place every July and be Dr. Velasquez’s legacy,” Hopkins said. “Dr. Velasquez and his family asked if his works could be shown every July because July is when Peru gained its independence.”
If you would like to help Center Place get Dr. Velasquez’s artwork framed, so it can be a permanent exhibit at Center Place, please contact Libby Hopkins via email at email@example.com or call her at Center Place at 813-685-8888. Center Place Fine Arts & Civic Association is located at 619 Vonderburg Dr., Ste. B inside the Brandon Regional Library.