We live in a transient town. Neighbors come from parts unknown and when they leave, who knows where they go. They come pre packaged with their favorite sports teams, local bands and are just a little homesick. To pass the time they experience “Orlando” the way most people do, through our local parks and attractions. What most people never see is the fantastic Arts Community right under their noses.
I have to admit that I was “one of them” for a brief time. In 95 I arrived in Hunter’s Creek with visions of Mickey in my eyes. In my own defense our company had picked up several projects with Disney and I thought they would be paying the bills. Silly me. But I adapted and slowly I came to call Orlando home. For me it just clicked. I’ve always been a die hard “local”. Local food and produce, local music and local art. Once I started calling Orlando home I was hooked.
Something that even our most passionate Orlando Arts fans may not know is that our city is filled with amazing women who are leading the charge. If you consider yourself a fan of the Arts here are a couple names that you absolutely have to know:
Anna McCambridge-Thomas. She is an amazing local artist and graphic designer, and was also the former head of Visual Fringe, the fine arts wing of the Fringe Festival. She is now on the curating committee at the Orlando Museum of Art, she arranges monthly art gatherings and often creates collaborations with other local artists.
“I would say that 10 years ago we started an amazing growth in the arts, with connections between artists of all kinds,’’ she says. “Now it has grown so much it’s hard to even measure. Right now is a really good time to be creative.”
Flora Maria Garcia. President and CEO of United Arts since 2012the arts are her business. “We raise money and give it away,” she says. “We’re the United Way of the arts.” You may not see it but UA works with dozens of great Arts programs around Orlando and they need the financial support. “This is a problem that I see as very specific to Orlando. It’s speculation at this point, but I think it’s because this is a relatively young city, one that is focused on tourism. We have trouble seeing the larger picture involving the arts—to look into the future.” Fortunately she is on the job.
With amazing ambassadors of the arts filling Orlando, theme parks bringing in dancers and artists by the hundreds and fantastic schools like Full Sail and UCF expanding their art programs, I’m confident that I’ll have local arts to entertain me for a long, long time.