Friday, January 25, 2013
Individuals from various backgrounds collide to confront a community challenge in this signature bi-monthly event at Urban Rethink (625 E Central Blvd • Orlando, FL). Anna McCambridge Thomas started these creative, think outside the box community awareness sessions. I attended the December 10th session. The ten or so individuals sat in a circle to share ideas. In the past, small teams were set up to consider creative solutions to our community's problems. Unfortunately, there were some clashes of will among participants in one team, so adjustments to the format had to be made moving forward. This session was an open discussion for all that showed up.
Each challenge will address an issue that is mainly social in nature, and will focus on our community, but can be adjusted to a broader (even global) scope in its presentation. The challenge will be announced at the beginning of each corresponding event. These events are not meant to solve issues within one week’s time, but to open an interesting, informed, creative and honest dialogue. It is also meant to promote a more healthy, vibrant and livable community, and to bring together people who might not have otherwise met or collaborated. (This includes both the selected participants and the individuals who join in as audience members.) Perhaps a spark will ignite in the mind of a visitor who will help to continue the project, or create something new based on an idea within it.
One group was assigned the task of considering the homeless problem. They noted that many homeless in Orlando still have cell phones. They came up with the notion of assigning a homeless person a QR code. The homeless person could ask a passer by to scan the QR code and an information page would inform the person on how to donate to a food pantry. Terry Olson talked about an Urban Artist who did a mural under a highway overpass. I didn't see the art, but it apparently livened up an otherwise dreary area. The city deemed the art to be graffiti and they did a sloppy white wash over it. Now the overpass is more dismal than ever. Terry is looking into ways to make it easier for artists to get permits for public art. Utility boxes are being painted by artists. The artists are only given $100 for supplies and that is their sole commission for the job. It is no wonder that many of those decorated boxes look like they were painted by amateurs. One box on Mills Avenue near the Orange Studio does make me laugh, it reads... "The end was here!"