Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The Orange County Regional History Center Clears the Pulse site to make way for the Temporary Memorial.

In February, just 11 days after the mass shooting in Parkland Florida that killed 17 students and faculty, the staff of the Orange County Regional History Center cleared the Orlando Pulse Nightclub site of the last of the memorial items left there. It was a hot day, and the media was out in force. As the staff placed items in archival boxes the cameras rolled. 49 potted succulents had survived months in the intense Florida heat, one for each victim of the mass shooting here in Orlando. A large three dimensional rainbow included the names of the victims. At either end of the rainbow were two clouds created with spray can foam. Those clouds had soaked up the many Florida rains becoming insanely heavy and attracting a small army of palmetto bugs.

This collection day was relatively easy compared to the 31 days of constant collecting that occurred the weeks following the first vigils here in Orlando in the summer of 2016. Organic matter would be slated for compost and the last of the memorial items would go to the off site storage facility of the Orange County Regional History Center. Rose pedals strewn on the pavement ended up looking like blood spatter when added to my sketch.

The rainbow colored fence covering, with designs by local artists, was rolled up and it was one of the last things loaded up onto the U-Haul truck the History Center had rented for the day. TV News camera men were looking for anything to film and they ended up shooting over my shoulder as I worked on my sketch. I have been told that footage was on the news that night.

Shortly after the final collection, a new construction fence was erected much closer to the street. Dix Hite Partners redesigned the area around the nightclub with input from the onePULSE Special Task Force to include far more landscaping along with new trees for shade. That project would progress over the next two months.

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 analogartistdigitalworld@gmail.com

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