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Event Success Stories - Orange County Arts & Cultural Affairs

“Orlando’s economy felt the push to get live events back up as fast and as safe it could due to its tourism environment," said Terry Olson, Director of Arts and Cultural Affairs of Orange County Government.

Terry continued by saying, "The most unique thing that we did was create virtual watch parties monthly on the 1st Tuesday of the month. The films were 3 to 5 minutes long. Once the film was over, the zoom audience were able to meet the filmmakers and have a 10 min dialogue together." All of the film’s subjects were about diversity as in Central Florida by 2030, predicting Orange County will be the most diverse city in the world. The city is embracing this and showcasing all the stories they have to share. With 75 million visitors that come to Orlando, they can show the world that different ethnicities can work together with love and respect and not with fear and hate. In Orlando, one of the most difficult times was the Pulse massacre, which was demonstrated. People did not embrace the people of that community; it was seen as an attack on the entire city. Hate will never win.

"We wanted to continue love in our community, so we found a way to expand live events outdoors at Dr. Phillips Center. We created audience boxes, which were raised platforms that sat 4 to 5 people, they were able to enjoy the show together and order food from the vendors from a qr code located inside their box. We had temperature checks at entry and everyone stayed contained together in their audience boxes," said Terry.

When asked about what her team learned from the pandemic, Terry said, "We learned that we want to continue some of our virtual programing like the watch programs and extend the movie listing to theatre films around the world. We want to go back to our in-person dining experiences fully as the hybrid ones did not work out as well. We are excited to be able to include more people into our festivals by creating less space and more audience boxes for people to enjoy the outdoor space. In the end, we just want people to feel the love of the city."

As humans, we need human contact. There have been polls taken and approximately 90% of vaccinated people are feeling much more comfortable coming out of their house to enjoy being around others. The demand for live events and interaction is strong. All of Orange county's dining events are sold out. The future is bright. Terry said, "We just need to be wise. We need communal experience. As event planners and organizers, we need to be innovative, create something beautiful even with the restrictions you have."

Featured in this interview:

Orange County Arts & Cultural Affairs
450 E. South St., Suite 345
Orlando, Florida, 32801

Phone: (407) 836-5540

Email: ArtsandCulturalAffairs@ocfl.net

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