Saturday, February 17, 2018

Blue Box 8.

27 Blue Boxes are painted on sidewalks in Downtown Orlando. These boxes are for panhandlers and buskers. Busking is possible only during day light hours. Although set up for panhandlers, police often insist street performers must use the blue boxes. Performing outside the boxes can result in 60 days in jail and a $500 fine. I  set up the Blue Box Initiative to get talented Orlando artists from all creative fields to occupy a blue box while I sketch.

To date, I have completed 16 sketches. I have about 9 more sketches to complete. If you know a talented local performer who might want to share their talents on a street corner for a couple of hours, please let me know. Originally the city ordinance only allowed busking in the blue boxes during day light hours, but now the ordinance was changed to allow their use at night.

Blue Box 8 is located near the Lynx bus station downtown. Local film makers Jen Vargas and Jay De Los Santos occupied the box as a form of protest for how the city discourages film production in Orlando. Most southern films are created up in Georgia since there are tax incentives up that way. It was a blistering hot May day with little to no shade when I  completed this sketch.

A space-themed film titled "Hidden Figures," is about three African-American mathematicians who overcome racial and gender bias to help launch American into space in the early 1960s from Florida's Space Coast. But the irony is that no scenes from the film were shot at Kennedy Space Center, or anywhere else on the Space Coast, for that matter, except for historic stock footage.

Space Coast Film Commissioner Bonnie King said people connected with the film had contacted her to talk about locations for filming on the Space Coast. But, largely because Florida no longer offers incentives for film and television productions, "the higher-ups decided not to film here."

Instead, much of "Hidden Figures" was shot in Atlanta and other locations in Georgia, a state that has "fantastic film incentives" that make it attractive to shoot movies there, King said. Those incentives include transferable tax credits for the film productions. Film Florida estimates that Brevard County's economy lost $10 million because the film was shot in Georgia, rather than the Space Coast. It seems like Florida was on the verge of amazing change in the 1960's but today the state falls back on a lazy status quo as if we are just fine with our heads in the sand.

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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