World-Class Arts and Culture? Wow! Do We Have an Amazing Story to Tell 

As a fairly new resident of Central Florida, I’ve seen so much for the first time and — wow! — do we have a story to tell. I want to help elevate the message here and around the world that Central Florida is a world-class cultural destination not just for visitors, but for those of us who live here to enjoy every day.

Not only do we compete globally with our rich and diverse cultural experiences, the artistic and executive leaders in our community are highly regarded and sought-after experts in their field. They bring rich wisdom and passion to their work, and we’re all the direct beneficiaries.

As a disclaimer, I haven’t been everywhere yet so not all world-class experiences are listed below. However, here’s a sampling of what’s available for us to enjoy:

  • World-Class Exhibits that are relevant and share a level of global excellence around so many creative forms and important issues in our own Orlando Museum of Art, Orlando Science Center, Snap! Orlando, Art & History Museums of Maitland, Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art, Holocaust Memorial Resource & Education Center of Central Florida, Central Florida Railroad Museum in Winter Garden, Goldsboro Museum and Orange County Regional History Center.
  • World-Renowned Independent Films at Enzian, Global Peace Film Festival and Orlando Urban Film Festival.
  • World-Class Music presented by the Bach Festival Society of Winter Park, Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, Timucua Arts Foundation, Orlando Gay Chorus, University of Central Florida, Stetson University and Rollins College.
  • World-Class Dance presented in a full season by Orlando Ballet, and Central Florida Ballet’s annual International Dance Competition, which attracts premier dancers from around the world.
  • World-Class Theater at Orlando International Fringe Festival, Orlando Shakes, The Winter Park Playhouse, Garden Theatre and Orlando Repertory Theatre, all of which have leadership, actors and education programs with excellent reputations that span the globe.
  • World-Class Facilities that take your breath away. Both Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts and Harriett’s Orlando Ballet Centre have set new standards for architectural excellence, artistic expression and patron experience. It will take at least a decade for the rest of the world to catch up with these two extraordinary cultural facilities!

Of course, the preceding list isn’t all there is to being a world-class cultural destination. Without our local artists at CityArts/Downtown Arts District, Central Florida Community Arts, Creative City Project and the ongoing education programs at FACTUR Makerspace and Crealdé School of Art lifting up what’s unique and authentic about

Orlando, we couldn’t develop the local talent required to reach our aspirations.

What’s even more important is that none of us need to travel anywhere to experience the world through the diverse cultures that are celebrated in our community through dance, history, music, literature, science, visual arts and media arts.

We frequently have festivals that celebrate people and the richness of their cultures and creativity. In fact, there are more than 50 such events annually in our region, which gives us the opportunity to discover the unique reflection of the world that encompasses our community.

We also work diligently to make sure that our children have access to these diverse cultural experiences in and out of the classroom, as well as the chance to take field trips to visit these exhibits, places and performances. Having such access is critical to broadening the horizons of young people.

Because so many people for generations have cherished and invested in the arts, Central Florida has an awesome story to tell. Thank you for helping to be a part of creating such a vibrant and unique cultural ecology.

My hope is that with this gentle “world-class” reminder, you’ll feel more pride in your community, that you’ll share this issue of Orlando Arts and the story of our cultural community with your friends and family around the globe, and that you’ll seize every opportunity to enjoy what we have in our own community.

This listing only scratches the surface of the amazing cultural community in which we live. If you’d like to explore further, please visit OrlandoatPlay.com to view the diverse offerings from our cultural organizations.

I welcome you to please share your favorite local arts and cultural activities with me at Jennifer@UnitedArts.cc. Or, when you post to social media, tag them on Twitter with @UnitedArts or Instagram @UnitedArts_CF.

JENNIFER EVINS
PRESIDENT & CEO, UNITED ARTS OF CENTRAL FLORIDA