News Column

College Park's new home for a diverse group of artists

August 7, 2014

By Michael W. Freeman, Orlando Sentinel



Aug. 07--COLLEGE PARK -- It would be hard to imagine a place home to a more diverse collection of artists, Denise Badger noted, than College Park.

From photographers to musicians, novelists, actors, sculptors and dancers, Badger noted, the neighborhood has been blessed to have so many creative talents living there.

Badger is hoping to provide those artists with a collective place to perform and create -- as well as mentor others interested in pursuing hobbies or careers in artistic fields.

"Art is very much a part of it," she said. "We are talking about all forms of art -- photography, sculpting, painting, mosaics, mixed media."

Badger is the vice president of the College Park Neighborhood Arts & Theatre Center, which wants to build a performing arts center in College Park. Initially, the idea was for a community theater that would produce live stage shows, and the group did stage its first production in May, the 1930s comedy "You Can't Take It With You" at Princeton Elementary School.

But as Badger noted, their concept has evolved.

"It started off as a community theater idea, but in the first month of exploring the concept and vision, we said, 'What other artists do we want there,' " she said. "In each of these areas, we want to showcase people's talents, and spark more ideas, but also mentor, teach, enhance the education of the average lay person who wants to learn more."

The idea, she added, is "having a platform from which they can display and share their work -- having an opening where it is like a gallery show of mixed media, or a gallery show of paintings on canvas, or a gallery show of sculptures. How do we help promote these creative works?"

Badger cited, as an example, dance as an art form.

"Who dances in our community? There are certainly community dancers," she said. "There's a whole link to ballroom dancing or Latin dancing or swing dancing here. What do we have already in College Park that we could incorporate into that? And who do we have that can mentor a class or teach others, to build an awareness and appreciation for that."

Writing -- from creative writing to journalism to poetry -- is another example.

"There is the art of writing, and creative writing -- poets and novelists, short stories, journalists -- the whole gamut," she said. "It's about having a writer's group that encourages and supports and gives tips and strengthens each other, as well as sharing their creative work. At every juncture we have the idea of mentoring and helping kids who have an interest in writing -- how do we encourage them and give them an outlet to write and practice it?"

The CPN Arts & Theatre Center is now raising funds to get the center built, and negotiating with Orange County Public Schools on a possible site near Edgewater High School, on land now owned by the school district. In the meantime, they continue to refine their vision.

"We've also toyed with the idea that there are artists looking for studio space to rent," she said. "Also, we have in our plans the idea of a store -- a gallery shop, if you will, where local artists can sell their own works that are created there, whether they are compact discs they have recorded or art on canvas or photography that has been framed."

It is, Badger added, "all about drawing people together through art."

mwfreeman@sun-sentinel.com or 407-420-5290.

___

(c)2014 The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.)

Visit The Orlando Sentinel (Orlando, Fla.) at www.OrlandoSentinel.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services


For more stories covering arts and entertainment, please see HispanicBusiness' Arts & Entertainment Channel



Source: Orlando Sentinel (FL)


Story Tools






HispanicBusiness.com Facebook Linkedin Twitter RSS Feed Email Alerts & Newsletters