Osceola Clerk of the Circuit Court & County Comptroller Kelvin Soto, Esq. recently opened The NEST Gallery, Neighborhood Exhibit for Student Talent—on the second floor of the Judge Jon B. Morgan Courthouse.

The opening, attended by local elected officials, dignitaries, and student artists, was held to celebrate both the gallery’s launch as well as the first installment of 25 pieces of art from Tohopekaliga High School students.

In 2022, Clerk & Comptroller Soto tasked the office’s Communications Specialist, Maggie Rosenbaum, with identifying ways that the administration could update the public-facing interactions our office had with constituents. With hundreds of square feet of available wall space in the Clerk & Comptroller’s second floor Customer Care lobbies, Maggie partnered with colleagues at the Osceola County School District to launch The NEST.

The gallery will brighten the hallways of the Clerk & Comptroller’s Office and spark conversation among customers. Clerk & Comptroller Soto was joined by Osceola County School District Superintendent Dr. Debra Pace for remarks to mark the occasion. Afterwards, certificates and a special commemorative pin commissioned by Clerk & Comptroller Soto were given to student artists. The evening also featured artistic performances by Toho High students including the singing of the National Anthem by members of the choir, music by a jazz quartet, and special performances from the high school’s recent production of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.

“This is the culmination of efforts that began a year ago. For me, I wanted to see what I could do even in my new role [after having served two terms as a School Board member] to advance education in this community, in this county,” said Clerk & Comptroller Kelvin Soto, Esq. “We have the privilege and honor to highlight and display the artwork of the young people in our community through the guidance, mentoring, and education in arts through our schools.

Originally designed to fill the eastern wing of the Clerk & Comptroller’s Customer Care lobbies, the popularity and vision of the gallery grew quickly. It became the Communications Department’s goal to expand the gallery’s footprint ahead of its official launch this week, which now fills the entirety of the second floor’s hallways which were visited by more than 91,000 customers in 2022.

Bi-annually, the Clerk & Comptroller’s team will work with the School District’s Fine & Performing Arts Resource Specialists, Dr. Christopher Burns and Dr. Joseph D’Ambrosi, to curate artwork on a rotating basis from each of the county’s high schools, drawing inspiration from our students’ experiences, their vision, and their artistic expression.