Wednesday, July 17, 2019

First Thursdays at OMA

Noga Grossman arranged for Orlando Urban Sketchers to have a table for First Thursdays at the Orlando Museum of Art (OMA). As part of  our presentation, I agreed to do a sketch on my iPad, which was connected to one of the large screen TVs above our table. With that arrangement people could see my sketch progress in real time. Getting the connections right was a challenge, so we arranged to get things ironed out the week before. My possible sketch opportunities were limited to my view from the table since I was tethered to the screen. Pam helped me with a new wireless connection that worked great, which might mean sketching from anywhere in a venue without worrying about wires. It is a brave new world.

The Orlando Urban Sketcher's table was adorned with a roll of paper, allowing anyone the chance to add to a sketch that developed over the course of the event. It was a popular spot for artists to come and relax with a sketch. Each Orlando Urban Sketcher was asked to bring in a sketchbook. My sketchbook had sketches of the strip in Las Vegas from a recent trip. What is great about having Urban Sketchers exploring an event is that each artist has their unique way of seeing and interpreting  the scene.

The theme for this First Thursday event was Art and Architecture. This show is a discovery into how art informs the built environment. Artists were encouraged to submit all types of media, from photography to 3D models, to showcase the beauty found in the built world. First Thursday is an opportunity for patrons to discover local artists, listen to live music, and mingle with an eclectic mix of people. There are cash bars serving wine, beer, soft drinks, and water, and cafe offerings from area restaurants. 

A giant pink sculpture by Carlos Betancourt dominated the back gallery area, while The Smoking Jackets performed live near the Chihuly sculpture in the atrium. Trevor Fraser was telling me a story of a reporter asking Chihuly what the hardest lesson was that he had learned as an artist. The two were walking through the artist's glass-making workshop and an apprentice was finishing up a gorgeous piece of glass. Chihuly took it from him and threw it violently against the wall. It shattered into thousands of pieces. "Nothing lasts," he said.

The next First Thurday is June 6, 2019. The theme for the evening will be Indigenous Futurism, which will will focus on the indigenous and tribal origins of art. From Africa, Australia, North, South and Central America, and beyond. They will explore the influence and fusion of tribal art from the past and into the future. Admission is $15.

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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