Wednesday, September 4, 2013

The Urban Art Museum: Kickstarting Party

Jai Gallery, (101 S. Garland Ave, Suite 101, Orlando, Fl), held a Kickstarter party for the Urban Art Museum on August 9th.  The Urban Art Museum is NOT a building, it is a project designed to enhance the cultural and artistic experience in the city of Orlando by providing public art installations  that are meaningful, and beautiful. It is art with a vision and a purpose. Gallery owners Coralie Claeson-Gleyson and Dennis Liddy welcomed everyone warmly to Jai.

Behind the stage, photos of Greek antiquities on aluminum were by local artist Josh Garrick.  His work will soon hang in the National Archaeological Museum in Athens, Greece. The museum is ranked as one of the top ten museums in the world and t his is the first time an American has ever exhibited in this prestigious museum so this is a true benchmark. Mayor Buddy Dyer and Linda Chapin were at the opening for Josh's photos as well as George Kakava the National Archaeological Museum's curator who was flown in from Greece.

The project is spearheaded by architects James Cornetet and Wes Featherston, who have offices in the newly restored Cameo Theater. James took the microphone and briefly explained the project for the patrons in the gallery.  James told me that is important for people to "like" the Urban Art Museum on Facebook since a large number helps him promote the idea to local and national businesses. The first art installation will be by artist Marcos Cruz who specializes in using acid-etched aluminum. Marcos has pieces in the new Amway Center garage at each of the elevator doors. He had school children in Parramore create drawings which he then acid etched into metal. Unfortunately the school children never got to see the finished work that they helped create. It is a shame that the city didn't follow through by funding a reception where the kids could see the art installed. It might have made a huge impact for a child to see their art permanently on display in public. Marcos had some smaller pieces on display in Jai Gallery that had a flower pattern cut out of the raw aluminum. One piece was sold that night.

The Kickstarter raised over $4,000 which is enough to fund the first installation which will appear in the Mills-50 District at 934 N. Mills Avenue. There is a tight gap between buildings that pedestrians would throw bottles, beer cans and other garbage into. The plan is to have a tall vertical aluminum facade that would block the space and beautify the area. The metal sculpture might also incorporate a back lit display. Marcos explained that he might incorporate some of the visual history associated with the site. Hopefully the Urban Art Museum will continue to expand creating a more vibrant city.

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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