Disney inspires magic in the Girls Inc. halls


Disney inspires magic in the Girls Inc. halls


Date: June 25, 2009
by: Loren Mayo | Staff Writer


Stephania Feltz hates the color brown. The executive director of Girls Inc. may have dressed from head to toe in the color Monday, June 22, but brown will not see the light of day when it comes to reviving the first floor of the Girls Inc. building.

The once-gray walls are taking on the theme of “Dream Harbor,” which interior designer Jason Champion is modeling after Disney World’s Main Street and the harbors of San Francisco, Boston and Nantucket.

“We’re adding more playful colors,” Feltz said.

The project is a micro-society that Girls Inc. is implementing into its daily routine — something unique to the Sarasota location (Girls Inc. has 96 locations in the U.S. and Canada). The planning process began one year ago, and Champion expects the project will be completed within two months.

“We’re taking the inside of the building and making a three-dimensional façade on each of the doors to represent the Dream Harbor Café, the Natural History Museum of Fun and bike shop,” Champion said.

Still in the works are an ice-cream parlor, warehouse, boutique, retail store, bookstore and offices for what Girls Inc. refers to as “peacekeepers,” such as the mayor, tax collector, attorney and police chief.

Champion is working alongside Florida’s Golden Palette (faux-technique painters), who are painting over a thin sheet of Masonite, in case the artwork needs to be removed in the future.

The centerpiece of the project is the front-desk area, which has been converted into a towering red-and-white striped lighthouse.

The first time the girls laid eyes on the new hallway, several were so excited that they ran over to peer into the pet-store window. They didn’t realize the window wasn’t real.

“It’s so fascinating that the girls want to touch it,” Feltz said. “They’ve never seen art like this.”

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