Andy Wootten Collection

The Andy Wootten Collection Professional artist - his work in Winter Park was ubiquitous.

Andy Wootten was born on August 9, 1912, in Lafayette, Georgia. His parents were Andrew J. and Lucy B. Wootten. In 1920, the family moved to Chattanooga, Tennessee, where Andy attended public schools.

In the late 1920's, when Wootten was about sixteen years old, Paramount Theaters, Inc. hired him to draw and paint "lobby posters." Hand-painted lobby posters were "on-the-cutting-edge" advertising at this time and only found at the finer theaters. Wootten painted for Paramount's three Chattanooga theaters: the Tivoli, Rialto, and State, the Tivoli being the largest and finest.

On their web page, the City of Chattanooga has photographs and a short history of the Tivoli Theater. The following is taken from their web page. "The Tivoli Theater opened on March 19, 1921 following two years of construction. Construction cost was close to $1 million...a lavish sum for its day. The Tivoli's interior reflects the Beaux Arts style popular for movie palaces of the 1920's.
Its high-domed ceiling, grand lobby, crystal chandeliers and elegant foyer were designed to transport patrons to a world of richness and splendor. Designed by the Chicago-based architectural firm of Rapp and Rapp, the Tivoli was built to accommodate both silent movies and live stage productions, making it state-of-the-art for its time. More innovations followed. In 1924 a $30,000 Wurlitzer organ was installed. The Tivoli became one of the first public buildings in the country to be air conditioned. In 1926, Paramount Studios bought the Tivoli, making it part of the Paramount-Publix Theater chain."

Popular films of the period included: "The Jazz Singer" (1927), "Tarzan, the Ape Man" (1932, "Mutiny on the Bounty" (1935), "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" (1937), "Gone With the Wind" (1939), "Pinocchio" (1940), and "Fantasia" (1941).

During World War II, (1942 - 1946), Wootten served in the U.S. Coast Guard, 7th Naval District, Miami, Fl. His artistic and creative talents were used in Coast Guard publications, and in designing and building Coast Guard recruiting exhibits. The January, 1944 and the February, 1945 issues of "U.S. Coast Guard Magazine" featured covers created by Wootten.

After his tour of duty with the U.S. Coast Guard, Wootten came to Central Florida and returned to painting lobby posters for the "Beacham, Vogue, and Roxy" theaters in Orlando, and the "Baby Grand" and "Colony" theaters, in Winter Park. In addition to his "theater art" he began expanding his work to include commercial sign painting and interior design work.

In 1946 Wootten rented ($15.00 per month) the second floor of the building at Park and New England Avenues. From this location he operated the Andy Wootten Studios, later purchasing property and relocating to Clay Street. His clients included: R. C. Baker Men's Clothing, Kummer Lumber, Bumby Hardware, Winter Park Land Company, Barbizon Restaurant, Cottrell's 5 and 10 Cent Store, The Golden Cricket, Taylor's Drug Store, Baldwin Hardware, Greeneda Court, Imperial House, Baggett's, the Rune Stone and other Winter Park businesses.

In the Orlando area his clients included: Crum's Fuel Oil, Heintzelman's Ford, L.A. Johnson Fuel Oil, Holloway Concrete, The Shoe Box, Tupperware, and several area banks.

One of Wootten's fondest memories, and a tradition still enjoyed by Winter Parker's, was the creation of Christmas Card Lane. Wootten remembers visiting Davis Island (Tampa area) where he saw a "Christmas Card lane". He thought the concept would work in Winter Park and approached the Chamber of Commerce. Paint and a few supplies were provided for the project. A number of the local merchants became involved. Wootten remembers cutting sheets of plywood into 4 X 4 foot squares, drawing Christmas scenes onto the plywood Christmas cards. Volunteers would gather at a garage located behind the Barbizon Restaurant and paint the Christmas Cards. The Christmas cards pictured reindeer, Santa Claus, Christmas bells, and other seasonal scenes. Many Winter Park citizens assisted with the project but Edith Tadd Little, Newton Merrill, Jim Holloway, and Tom Ferris, particularly, gave a great deal of time and energy to the project. Brackets for the cards were designed and made by Gene Beeler. City work crews hung the cards.

Andy Wootten passed away July 29, 2012.

Photo of Andy Wootten taken April 2003.

 Andy Wootten's photo was taken April 2003 at the Winter Park Public Library after he met with the archivist, Dean Padgett.  Mr. Wootten presented to the Winter Park Public Library History and Archives Department his collection of photographs, sketches and other memorabilia from the A. Wootten Commercial Studios.  

*Photograph by Diana Zimmerman, former Winter Park Public Library Digital Imaging Specialist.

A sketch for A. Wootten Commercial Studios sign.

 This was the original sketch for A. Wootten Commercial Studios, winter Park sign.  Before computers made lettering so easy, all lettering was drawn by hand as is the case with this and all the examples of Mr. Wootten's drawings on this page!

Photo of Andy Wootten

 Andy Wootten was photographed with a U. S. Coast Guard enlisting officer during WW II.  In this photo, Mr. Wootten and the officer were comparing the original drawing with the magazine cover of the U. S. Coast Guard Magazine. The painting on the wall was painted by Andy Wooten, and was displayed at the recruiting office on Pigeon Key near Key West, Florida's old 7 Mile Bridge.

The cover of the U. S. Coast Guard Magazine dated January 1944

 The cover of the U. S. Coast Guard Magazine, dated January 1944, was designed by Andy Wootten.  Mr. Wooten said that the original drawing of the Coast Guardsman was done in pastel crayons and the other artwork on the cover was done in watercolors.


 This is a Showalter Flying Service advertising brochure.  Mr. Wootten also painted the lettering on the airplanes for Showalter Flying Service.  Howard and Sandy Showalter's aviation business was once where Showalter Field is now. They later moved their business to The Orlando Executive Airport.


 This window of R. C. Baker Men's Clothing store, which resided in Winter Park, is an example of another of Andy Wootten's talents.  He not only designed the window but also built the structures within the display.


 This is a photo of Bill and Margaret Edward's drugstore interior decorated for Christmas.  Their drugstore was on the same block as R. C. Baker Men's Clothing store. Mr. Wootten designed and hand-made all the decorations. He made the angels from rug carpet tubing and wrapping paper! Craft shops and ready-made decorations were not an option! The person with his back to the camera is Andy Wootten.


 This is a pencil sketch for the Barbizon Restaurant sign designed by Andy Wootten.The Barbizon Restaurant opened in 1954 on the corner of North Park and Canton Avenues and closed in the mid sixties(1966/67).


 This is a pencil sketch for The Golden Cricket Gift Shop logo and sign. Andy Wootten not only designed this Winter Park gift shop's logo but he also did the entire interior design for the owners. The Golden Cricket is no longer in business.

 The egret mural, painted by Andy Wootten, was in The Shoe Box shoe store, Orlando, Florida. A similar mural was later commissioned for a mansion in Louisiana (the mansion's owner had 
 seen this one). As with most of Andy Wootten's commercial design projects, he also designed and crafted the window displays for The Shoe Box.

The Rune Stone Toy Store.

 The Rune Stone Toy Store that was located at 326 N. Park Avenue sported the lettering that Andy Wootten.  

*Photograph by Diana Zimmerman, former Winter Park Public Library Digital Imaging Specialist.

Detail of the sign at the Rune Stone Toy Store.

 This is a detail of the Rune Stone Toy Store sign.  Andy Wootten drew each letter, cut the letter out, painted it and hung it on the store front. The next time you stroll by the Rune Stone, stop a minute and admire the lost art of handmade advertising signs!   

*Photograph by Diana Zimmerman, former Winter Park Public Library Digital Imaging Specialist.

A city forestry worker hanging a Christmas card on Morse Boulevard in december 2002.

 The "Christmas Card Lane" tradition continues on Morse Boulevard and other Winter Park streets instead of Park Avenue. This photograph of a city forestry worker hanging a card was taken December 2002. 

*Photograph by Diana Zimmerman, former Winter Park Public Library Digital Imaging Specialist.