Local retired pediatrician and Valrico resident Dr. Fernando Velasquez had his art on display this past July in Center Place Fine Arts & Civic Association’s Mook Gallery.

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.

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,” Dr. Velasquez 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.”

This past July, Center Place Fine Arts & Civic Association hosted Dr. Velasquez’s art in their Mook Gallery.

“We were thrilled and honored to host Dr. Velasquez’s first art show,” said Libby Hopkins, Center Place’s executive director. “Since Dr. Velasquez’s art is inspired by his travels and growing up in Peru. We picked the month of July to showcase his art because July is Peru’s independence month. In honor of Dr. Velasquez, we have made his art a permanent exhibit for the month of July going forward.”

Dr. Velasquez was thrilled that the community will be able to see his art every July.

“I feel great that people from the community have had a chance to see my Peruvian paintings,” Dr. Velasquez said. “I am grateful that they have been displayed very beautifully at Center Place. My family feels happy and proud of my paintings being finally exhibited, especially during the month of July, which is Peru’s independence month. This exhibit represented my determination to support the arts and educate people about Peru.”

Center Place works with local artists to give them a brick-and-mortar place to have their art displayed in its Mook Gallery.

“We love being able to work with local artists and give them a chance to have their art hung in an art gallery for the community to come and enjoy,” Hopkins said. “We encourage local artists to contact us. We are now booking art exhibits for 2024.”

If you would like to learn more about Center Place Fine Arts & Civic Association, you can visit its website at https://centerplacebrandon.com/. Center Place is located at 619 Vonderburg Dr., Ste. B inside the Brandon Regional Library.

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Libby Hopkins has been a part of the Brandon community for more than 30 years. She is a graduate of USF with a degree in journalism. She has been a freelance writer for The Osprey Observer Newspaper since 2008. She also the Executive Director of Center Place Fine Arts and Civic Association. She is a dog mom to her rescue dog, Marshall. She loves being a part of the Brandon Community and she loves sharing positive news about our community.