Tisse Mallon knows how to celebrate her 30th birthday. She had an amazing all night party at Urban ReThink where she brought together friends from all aspects of Orlando's arts and culture scene. She invited myself and six other artists to decorate a used U.S. Census Bureau bag. Tisse worked going door to door during the last census. Each field worker was given one of these Census Bags. When the census was over the bags were thrown out. These re-purposed bags are all now works of art. I was one of the first artists to arrive to drop off the bag. I re-purposed the mural I am working on by painting the people standing in line on the bag. Jessica Earley totally ripped apart her bag and created a charming door knob hanger of an owl. It was absolutely charming.
Inside each bag there were orange inter office envelopes. Genevieve Bernard used those envelopes to create cut out Census Monsters and Jessica used them to create a charming pine tree. She also used the envelopes to create the owl's beak, feet and eyes. It was fun to see, "Name" and "Department" scrawled across the owl's eyes. Scooter Cleveland sat on a table beside a bag that said, "Why Count?" in bold red letters. The bag was filled with food for the homeless. Scooter had been homeless on the streets of downtown Orlando for 18 months. He was in a car accident and a doctor told him he had to stay off his feet for four months. He was fired from his job. He stayed with family and friends but ultimately ended up on the streets. Now that he is off the streets, he is trying to establish a food share program for those who were left behind. A glass jar sat on the table beside him for donations.
Throughout the evening Tisse acknowledged and praised the artistic people that have touched her life. She pointed to Todd Caviness who helps kept spoken word alive in Orlando. He is a writer who is always willing to lend a hand to keep the arts scene vibrant in Orlando. No one expresses what it is like to be a Floridian better than him. Karen Price also read several of her short stories. One, about a mermaid with two tails was a charming morality tale (pun intended). The other was about a high school bully who later in life was served up a bitter justice of hard knocks in her violent deprived life. She didn't recognize the female lawyer on her case as the victim of her childhood bullying. Such is fate.