Join us in Downtown Orlando on October 19-20, 2018 for IMMERSE! And brand new podcast “Artrepreneur” in the link.
259 posts 2,099 followers 254 following
This week’s “Arts Innovator of the Week” is Terry Olson. The self proclaimed “Chief Arts Instigator” of Orange County.
Over the last two and a half decades, Olson has worked tirelessly to build the arts community in Orlando. He moved to Orlando as one of the founding members of SAK Comedy Lab, which he managed for more than 20 years. Soon after arriving, he started the Orlando International Fringe Theater Festival. Today, that festival is the longest running Fringe Fest in the county. One of his latest initiatives is FusionFest, a multi-cultural festival to be held for the first time in November of this year.
Olson’s actual title is Director of Orange County Arts & Cultural Affairs. In this role, Olson oversees a community board that distributes millions of dollars to arts organizations and artists annually. He has held the role since the position was created in 2001.
But Olson isn’t a bureaucrat held up in an office. He attends up to 40 arts events a month, supporting the arts by being present.
In addition to starting many of his own initiatives and festivals, Olson is a champion of up and coming artists and organizations, providing support and advice to new initiatives throughout the region.
Olson embodies several of the attributes of the “Arts Innovator of the Week,” but the ones that stand out the most are “transformative advocacy” and “tireless effort.” Terry’s influence on the arts in Central Florida is undisputed. We’re grateful for his ongoing work to make Orange County a more creative place to live and visit.
"The 'Arts Innovator of the Week' is someone who is working to cultivate a thriving arts community in Central Florida through adventurous creativity, transformative advocacy, tireless effort, or bold generosity."
This week’s “Arts Innovator of the Week” is Wanda Raimundi-Ortiz. She is an internationally recognized performance artist and UCF Assistant Professor.
Her work has been widely recognized in the art world. Most recently, she was a Franklin Furnace grantee in 2016 and a 2015 Semi Finalist for The Florida Prize in Contemporary Art. Her work has also appeared at The Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery.
Her latest multi-sensory experience is The Pietá Project, coming to the UCF Student Union on Wednesday, April 4. During the piece – which is focused on grief, comfort, and healing – Raimundi-Ortiz embraces 33 volunteers of color, each for 3 minutes and 33 seconds. "We live in a world where [people of color] are told to 'get over it' and 'move on' while at the same time we constantly see our brothers and sisters lost to injustice," Raimundi-Ortiz says. "I wanted to create a space for us to be able to stop and feel. To start healing. This is a chance for me to hold my community, let them know I see them and I feel them." We’re honored to recognize Wanda Raimundi-Ortiz for her innovative, high-quality work that brings complicated issues to light in meaningful ways. "The 'Arts Innovator of the Week' is someone who is working to cultivate a thriving arts community in Central Florida through adventurous creativity, transformative advocacy, tireless effort, or bold generosity."
"The 'Arts Innovator of the Week' is someone who is working to cultivate a thriving arts community in Central Florida through adventurous creativity, transformative advocacy, tireless effort, or bold generosity." This week, we bring you two innovators, Sarah Elger and Ricky Brigante. Together, they are the backbone of Pseudonym Productions — an immersive theater company based in Orlando.
The company has explored the new forms of theater through their three shows, “When Shadows Fall,” “A Study of Dreams” and “The Republic.” Elger is the CEO and Creative Director. And this week, Brigante sold his company, “Inside the Magic,” to become the full time Producer & Technical Director at Pseudonym. It’s a bold leap, as “Inside the Magic” has a huge following through their social media accounts and podcast. The “Inside the Magic” YouTube page has more than 890,000 subscribers.
In a blog post on “Inside the Magic,” Brigante writes, “I am not leaving behind the themed entertainment industry by any means. Instead, I am eager to finally be pursuing a dream, replacing my unplanned career as a journalist with my lifelong desire to be a creator.” Elger and Brigante both embody adventurous creativity in their work and in life. It’s this kind of creativity that will continue to shape the global perception of Central Florida as a place known for creativity and innovation. We wish them well as they press into innovative theater right here in Orlando and beyond!
"The 'Arts Innovator of the Week' is someone who is working to cultivate a thriving arts community in Central Florida through adventurous creativity, transformative advocacy, tireless effort, or bold generosity." This week’s Arts Innovator is Producer and Director, Jeremy Seghers. We’re recognizing him for his dedication to developing Central Florida’s actors and directors.
A thriving arts community is a place artists can call home. For actors, that means having shows to perform in. And Seghers has shown a prolonged commitment to casting local talent in interesting and meaningful productions.
His first production was “A New Brain” in 2005. After a short stint in New York, Seghers returned to Orlando in 2015. Since then, he has produced seven shows and directed eleven.
And last weekend, he produced two one-acts by playwright, Ashleigh Ann Gardner. The two one-acts were directed by Gardener and Monica Mulder and, once again, platformed local actors. “We have a lot of talent here in Orlando that we have to start valuing more because if we don’t, let’s be honest, they will leave,” Seghers said when asked about his commitment to casting local talent. “They will – and do – take their talent to cities like Chicago and New York where many will make a living doing what they love. So why shouldn’t they be able to do that here? But we have to support local artists beyond just lip service, and we need to do it year round, not just at Fringe.” Thanks for all you do for the arts, Jeremy!
This week's "Arts Innovator of the Week" is Jim Helsinger, Artistic Director of the Orlando Shakespeare Theater. Over the last few weeks, he has worked to coalesce the Orlando theater community toward ensuring theaters are safe places, free from sexual harassment.
In an email to arts leaders this week, he recounted an experience at the Shakespeare Theatre Association Conference this January, “Laura T. Fisher, one of the founders of #NotInOurHouse gave a great plenary seminar on the [Chicago Theatre] Standards. It was a very positive and informative session. Afterwards I spoke to her about possibly coming to Orlando to visit and offer the seminar to our local theatrical community.” In just a few weeks, Helsinger has rallied support from UCF, Mad Cow Theatre, Orlando REP, and others in the Central Florida arts community to host two talks by Ms. Fisher on March 2nd and 3rd in Orlando.
The Friday, March 2 session will be hosted at Orlando Shakes from 3-5 pm.
The Saturday, March 3 session is hosted at UCF from 2-5 pm.
Helsinger’s advocacy and work to make our arts community a more healthy environment for actors, crew, and staff makes him our first “Arts Innovator of the Week.”