Monday, July 4, 2016

Beautiful Together, An artistic journey toward hope at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.

Through a variety of art forms, over 50 local Orlando arts groups joined together to honor the lives and sacrifices of those involved in the tragic events in Orlando. Proceeds go to OneOrlando Fund. I stopped in early to sketch the rehearsal. Getting so many acts onto the stage in such a short amount of time must have been a monumental undertaking.  Cole Nesmith helped bring together all the arts groups at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. of course it takes a small army to pull together so much talent in one place. 

The most emotionally wrenching moment of the rehearsal came as the orchestra played a mournful symphonic piece I have heard before, but as not name. As the soothing notes fill the large empty theater, someone began to read all the names of the victims of the Pulse terrorist attack tragedy. White flower pedals fell from the rafters into a cool pool of a spotlight. One pedal fell for every name. It was impossible not to become emotionally overwhelmed. Afterwards, a beautiful ballet dancer performed in the pool of light. Her thin form stretched and reached yearningly for answers.

The gay chorus performed an inspired rendition of "True colors". The attention to detail was in itself amazing. A huge chorus was high above the stage on rafters. Every chorus member wore a bold shirt that was one color of the rainbow. Two chorus members in red shirts were asked to separate to create uniformity. It became clear that I was witnessing a historic collaboration that might help bring hope and healing to a grieving community. I had hoped to write up an artist by midnight and post it the next day, but all me nerve endings are fried. I collapsed as soon as I got back home.

All of the flowers and candles from Lake Eola were moved to the memorial outside the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. The History Center is collecting items from the memorial to preserve the history. I was told that all dead flowers would be returned to Lake Eola as compost, but I'm not so sure that is true now. The memorials were removed from Lake Eola to make way for the July 4th fireworks.

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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