Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Orlando Soup Highlights Community Projects

On May 13th, the inaugural Orlando Soup event was held at East End Market. Modeled after the successful Detroit SOUP that started four years ago, is a micro-granting community dinner offering local activists, entrepreneurs and creatives a platform for networking and an opportunity to win funding for projects.

For a donation of $7, attendees received soup (made by Slow Food Orlando using fresh, local ingredients), salad and bread. Before dinner was served, everyone listened to four short community project proposals covering a range of community improvement topics such as art, urban agriculture, social justice, social entrepreneurship, education, technology, and more. During dinner, attendees cast a vote by placing a cube of sugar into cups representing the different projects for their favorite project and, at the end of the night, the project that received the most votes was funded by $5 from each attendees’ donation. The winner will appear at the next SOUP dinner to report their project’s progress.

Brendan O'Connor pitched a wacky, fun idea of starting a Pop-up University offering college level courses in a bounce house. The simple idea is that people learn fast when having fun. The courses taught wasn't yet established but I'd love to teach animation principles in a bounce house.  Ricardo Williams was part of a group called Project Rethink that intends to to place "sustainable graffiti" around Orlando that has environmental awareness messages.  Sustainable graffiti is accomplished by picking a dirty wall and using a stencil to spray wash or clean the message into the grime. Over time the message will disappear was the wall gets dirty again. Another method of creating messages would be moss graffiti. The message would appear where moss was encouraged to grow. I love this idea and hope to get out to sketch artists in action.

I sketched Ashley Erin Pollard as she pitched the idea of creating vending machines that offer art. She is an architect by day and hopes this project will help her become better connected to the Orlando Arts community. The idea isn't entirely new but I'd love to see it brought to Orlando. Ashley was the presenter right after Brendan. I was inspired by how petite she seemed compared to the huge podium. Ultimately my cube of sugar went into the cup for her project. I am all for bringing more art to Orlando.

Jimmy Sherfey presented the Florida Coffee Symposium. This local miniature conference will celebrate the culture of coffee producers at origins across the globe. He is planning the first Florida Coffee Symposium for September 6, 2014.

The winner at the first-ever Orlando SOUP on May 13, 2014 was Project ReThink, presented by Chris Castro and Clayton Ferrara.  They won $500-800 to help fund their project.  My Ivanhoe district, Fringe mural will be in the line up at the next Orlando Soup, TONIGHT 7-9pm at East End Market (3201 Corrine Dr, Orlando, FL)! The tickets were $10 and the event is SOLD OUT. Hope to see you there as you support creativity, social entrepreneurship, sustainability, and community building.

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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