After four hours of civic intercourse, the Winter Park City Commission voted four-to-one to approve Blue Bamboo Center for the Arts to transform the former Winter Park Library building into a new performing arts incubator.

Blue Bamboo proposed, led by founder Chris Cortez and Board Chairman Jeff Flowers, to transform the long-vacant library building (it was vacated in 2021) into a new home for their non-profit as well as Central Florida Vocal Arts, Performing Arts Matters, and the Winter Park Chamber Music Academy.

The non-profit collaborative surprisingly beat out Winter Park juggernaut Rollins College for the new building, which was pitching to use it as the home of its new art museum, which we told you about HERE.

The team is proposing to use the third floor of the building as a flex space for other charitable groups and events. The bottom floor would house a performance space on the bottom level, and education spaces, recording studios, offices, and art galleries on the upper floors.

Blue Bamboo had been floating around the Orlando area following the loss of its Winter Park warehouse, choosing to program and pop-up at local venues like Casa Feliz and the Woman’s Club of Winter Park. They had announced in January that they were moving into a new space in The Packing District, though negotiations reportedly fell through shortly after the announcement.

The arts groups proposed signing a 40-year lease that starts at $132,000 a year with a 2% increase every five years

Brendan O'Connor

Editor in Chief of

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  1. Fantastic news, the Blue Bamboo has been a big plus in the cultural landscape of Winter Park, to be enjoyed by all of Orlando. Chris and Melody have worked hard to bring music and we all benefit from their diligence!