Saturday, May 5, 2018

Blue Box 12

I established the Blue Box Initiative, so I could sketch talented performers in each of the 27 blue boxes which are painted on the sidewalks downtown Orlando. These boxes are for panhandlers and buskers. Busking was possible only during day light hours, but a recent amendment allows the boxes to be used at night. 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.

Sasha Kendrick volunteered to perform in Blue Box 12 which is right across from the Lake Eola Band Shell. To me, performing on the Band Shell stage would make the most sense, but that is not allowed. Las Vegas has black circles painted on the pavement of Freemont Street which is also used to keep performers contained. The difference about Las Vegas is that every black circle has performers because there are so many tourists walking the streets that it is worth it for the performers to work just about every night. In Orlando the tourists keep to the theme parks never walking the streets of downtown and there is little effort to attract tourists downtown.

Blue Box 12 was in the blazing sun with no chance of shade. The light sidewalk cement acted like a mirrored reflector. Luckily I had thought to bring some sun screen. Sasha played her violin heroically for the hour or so that I sketched. I had established some of the background scene before she arrived. She pointed out that the extreme heat could cause the wood of her violin to warp. The bridge, which hold the strings away from the body of the violin in particular could warp and then literally spring free of the instrument.

I kept my sketch brief, and then we walked across the street where she continued to  play on a Lake Eola bench in the shade. She played in Lake Eola often and the police are happy to allow her to play. Someone bought us both a soda while she played and I did a second sketch. This was the first and only time that I have been given a tip for sketching on location. Were I to put out a tip jar anytime I  sketched, I would be considered a pan handler who was breaking the law and could face 60 days in jail and a $500 fine. The week of the Winter Park Paint out, a similar ordinance is in place, but the Paint out organizers got a permit which allowed for the creation of art on Park Avenue for the five days of the event.

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

No comments: