Monday, October 11, 2010

Amway Opening Day

The media rushed inside the Amway Center once the ribbon had been cut. I was still putting watercolor washes on the previous sketch. I got a text from Mark Baratelli saying he and Tisse Mallon were inside. I needed to get a media sticker in order to join them. He told me to look for a media tent. When I found the tent, it was deserted. I decided to just "fake" my way to the media section. A security guard told me where the media went. I got to a passage where I was stopped and I explained that I was with the media. I was given a sticker and a lanyard. The media and assorted politicians and building contractors were seated on the floor of the huge arena.
What followed was a series of numbing back patting and self congratulating. When the speeches finally subsided, the Mayor asked everyone to shout out the three words that appeared on the jumbo tron, "I was there!" The crowd shouted and clapped as all the lights in the arena blazed brightly in vibrant blue and white. When the ceremony was over, the media stayed behind for a guided tour of the facility.
The first stop on the tour was the Mercedes Lounge where paintings by local artist Tracy Burke were mounted everywhere. This unexpected abstract work was well integrated with the space. The liquid blue tones perfectly matched the room. Gernagin's Restaurant recovered some of the magnificent stained glass from Church Street Station. This restaurant has three tiered levels where people can eat dinner and have a great view of the game. Reservations are required.
There is a children's play area where kids can shoot hoop at baskets hung at 3 different heights.
The highlight at the end of the tour was the Sky Bar. Located at the top of the iconic tower, Sky bar offers stunning views of all of downtown Orlando. Light plastic seats are located all around the bar. I will be going to the Eagles concert next week and I can't wait to see this brand new arena in action.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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