Man's Passion, A City's Pride
Press Release: DeLand Garden Club, December
Michael E. Arth and daughter Sophia in front of
his art gallery and museum.
Garden Club of DeLand selected Michael E. Arth's "Garden District"
as Garden of the Month for December 2003. Garden Club representative,
Joan Booth, likened this historic, pedestrian-oriented neighborhood
to "an artist's masterpiece." She said, "Using slum
streets as his canvas, Arth transformed this decaying, crime-ridden
area into a harmonious, aesthetically-pleasing neighborhood."
painted in vivid colors are framed with white picket fences that
unify the Garden District, returning it to its original charm. Flowers
and more than one hundred palm trees planted by Arth further enhance
this ongoing project. Originally built in 1903, "The Art of
the Garden Gallery" located at 205 E. Voorhis Avenue features
Arth's creative etchings, prints, paintings and photographs. The
adjacent, still developing Garden District Museum houses artifacts
and historical photos of this turn-of-the-century neighborhood.
Arth's successes have inspired others to buy into the area. The
Garden District is a wonderful gift to DeLand and residents are
encouraged to visit this quaint community located within walking
distance from downtown."
said, "Bounded by Howry Avenue on the north, Euclid Avenue
on the south, Amelia Avenue on the east, and Woodland Blvd. On the
west, the Garden District is a hundred-year-old neighborhood that
from 1970 to 2001 had fallen to vagrants, prostitutes and drug dealers.
Promoting a redevelopment plan for southern DeLand three years ago,
local real estate broker and preservationist, Maggi Hall, brokered
the sale of a number of condemned buildings to Arth, whose impressive
credentials include an art career as well as the designing, building
and rebuilding of houses, gardens, new towns and neighborhoods.
After a move to DeLand from Santa Barbara, California, Arth proceeded
to renovate 28 homes, comprised of 14 single-family houses, five
duplexes and one apartment complex. He resides in the Garden District
with wife Maya and daughter Sophia. Honors bestowed upon him include:
The City of DeLand and Volusia County, proclaiming November 12,
2002 as "Michael Arth Day," The Pilot Club's "Making
a Difference Award," and the "City Commission Enhancement
Award", recently presented by Mayor Robert Apgar.