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Located on Collegiate Way, Natura unveiled its renovations on Jan. 12 during its first event of the year. Video by Daniela Marin

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With a recently-renovated interior, hand painted murals and a fresh new vibe, Natura, located minutes from UCF, welcomed back customers on Jan. 12 for a night of creative expression no different than what longtime regulars have come to love and expect from the UCF coffee shop and bar.

“Natura has been around now for 13 years and it needed a little love,” said event manager senior Marissa Brown, who has worked at Natura for two years and said she was a catalyst involved in the shop revamping. “It needed a little refreshing and I felt like the new year was the perfect time to make some change.”

Natura 2016, which marked the first event of the new year, unveiled the renovations and served as an artistic showcase for local musicians including Cat Ridgeway and Johnny Guerriero.

“Normally, I feel like people outside of these kinds of environments don’t tend to be super welcoming, but just to be around really good people, open minded individuals who like what you’re doing and are really receptive of what you’re doing, it’s a really good time, especially as an artist,” said Guerriero, a psychology major at UCF.

The shop not only offers coffee and tea, but also hookah and craft beer, and hosts a variety of events throughout the week including an improv comedy night on Mondays and an open mic night on Thursdays.

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“We want to make it a creative spot for students to come in since we’re so close to the university, and offer a stimulating environment during the day, but also a place to socialize during the evening,” Brown said.

Harry Foreman, a graphic design student at UCF, said that even before the renovations, Natura has been home base for musicians, comedians and any creative artists in the area.

If you want to work with Natura as an artist, you’re going to benefit because you’re going to get yourself out there – they have open walls for you,” said Foreman, who worked on the hand-painted mural that is now the centerpiece at the shop.

Though the revamping was intended to bring new life to the area, Brown said the most unique thing Natura has to offer has always been the people it attracts.

“I hope that students feel at home here, and that it’s not only a great environment in terms of physicality, but also the people here are what really make it,” she said. “And I think the combination of the two will make everyone feel like a part of the community.”

And for Guerriero, who has been performing on Natura’s stage ever since he came in and asked for a gig, “his crowd is never huge, but it’s always just really cool.”

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Daniela Marin is a digital producer for the Central Florida Future. Follow her on Twitter at @dan__marin or email her at DanielaM@CentralFloridaFuture.com.

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