Wednesday, January 23, 2013

League of Women Voters Hot Topics Luncheon


 The date was 12/12/12 and at 12:12PM the Sorisis Club, 501 E. Livingston, a few blocks east of Orange Avenue in downtown Orlando, was filling up. The room seats about 130 guests. Sara Segal had invited me to sketch the League of Women Voters Hot Topics luncheon. The quaint one story building resembles a church meeting hall. When I arrived, Sarah introduced me to Andrea Kobrin, the Hot Topics Chair. I decided to sit behind Terry, the sound man.

The topic of the day was the state of the Arts in Central Florida. As people ate lunch there were random acts of culture. A singer performed with a piano accompanist. Two women read lines from a play. A large canvas was hung as a backdrop on the stage. It was painted by Nancy Jay in 1996 was titled "Tree, Leaf,  Cell" and it showed a macro and micro view of life. Rene Schneider had artwork on display by middle school and High School students. The students were from abusive families and the program helps build self esteem.

Flora Maria Garcia, Terry Olson and Kathy Ramsberger spoke about challenges, innovation and opportunities for the arts and their organizations. Matt Palm from the Orlando Sentinel moderated. Each speaker had opening remarks. Then there was a panel discussion, followed by questions and answers.  Kathy Ramsberger was asked repeated questions about how the Dr. Phillips Center of the Performing Arts will benefit local performing arts groups. She responded that the Center would charge fair rental fees for it's use. There is now an uproar because the Center has decided not to use Florida Theatrical Association to book the Broadway shows. That organization has been bringing Broadway shows to the Bob Carr Performing Arts Center for 24 years. The Dr. Phillips Center wants to book the shows themselves saying they will save an estimated $700,000 annually. $75 million dollars still needs to be raised to complete the third phase of construction. The Florida Theatrical Association vowed that they would continue to bring Broadway shows to Orlando. Do people go to shows to experience new architecture or do they go to experience great art?

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