Saturday, May 10, 2014


It had rained all day on Saturday March 29th. An e-mail flash from the Maitland Art Center had said the that evenings "pARTicipate" would go on rain or shine. pARTicipate is an annual fundraiser where local artists are assigned a table to host and decorate. The dress code was cocktail attire, with a flair. The email highly recommend wearing comfortable (flat) shoes. This is a traveling party, and there will be walking on bricks and grass. I considered wearing my hiking boots to transverse the mud but they didn't quite go with the suit and tie. Guests could take photos at the photobooth, make pieces of art at a creation station, visit any of the artist demonstrations, and bid in the silent art auction.

Terry and I were assigned to Robert Ross's table. Amazingly he had small 5 by 7 inch paintings matted as a gift for each guest.  One painting was a colorful plein air painting of a lake and the other had neutral greyed down colors depicting a barn and fence. It had a Grant Wood simplicity. Each wall of the architecture was a single brush stroke. Long after the event Robert contacted me to get a high resolution scan of the painting because he wanted to use it as a study for a much larger piece.

A large tent had been set up in preparation for the rain but thankfully the sky cleared up just enough so that there was I gorgeous sunset over the lake behind the Art Center. Glowing balloons lead guests back to the tent which was outside the Art Center's fortifications. I didn't sit for diner. Instead I stood at one of the high top tables to sketch. Three Full Sail students also sat at Roberts table as well as Kelly Canova who was photographing the event.

Voci dance performed a ritualistic dance accompanied by a drum. Terry and I explored the auction items inside the museum. Terry did place several bids but didn't win the items. It was shoulder to shoulder standing room inside the museum. This annual gala is really a highlight every year to see what Orlando visual artists are doing. Dawn Schreiner's table was a playful pop up book style map of Orlando. Another table had art supplies so that guests could create.

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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