The National Arts Program® exhibition in the City of Orlando entitled “City ArtWorks: art by those that serve” is coordinated by Paul Wenzel, the City’s Public Art Coordinator. Paul does a tremendous job of organizing this annual event and always makes certain that the hidden talents of these amazing employees are recognized by all.
Paul is extremely passionate about the arts and is always looking for new ways to get the public involved. One such concept included an art workshop which took place during the Annual NAP Awards Reception. This year’s, reception featured a cup decorating workshop sponsored by the local Pottery Studio. These workshops are just one of the wonderful ways he has attempted to enrich the employees art exhibition experience.
The City of Orlando joined the NAP eight years ago and was one of our very first venues in the state of Florida. Since then, we have expanded to include eight additional venues in Florida, many of whom joined based on the success the program had in the City of Orlando.
Here is what Paul had to say when asked about the arts and the impact the National Arts Program® has had on the City of Orlando …
Q. What makes the National Art Program different from any other exhibit put on by the City of Orlando?
A. Employee participation makes this exhibition unique and different from other exhibits in the Terrace Gallery. Employees are able to take advantage of the professional atmosphere of the Gallery which normally hosts national and international exhibits.
Q. Why do you feel that displaying employee artwork is important?
A. Displaying their work is important because employees and their families are able to express themselves in a professional environment. It also gives them some ownership in the Gallery itself and a deeper appreciation of the other exhibitions staged there.
Q. How have employees and their families responded to the opportunity to display their work in City Hall?
A. Every year the response has been very positive and appreciative. The employees seem to gain a wider appreciation of the work that goes into putting on the exhibition.
Q. Why do you think displaying artwork in City Hall is so important?
A. The main goal of the gallery is to enrich the lives of the citizens of Orlando along with employees working in City Hall. We don’t generate revenue for the City but we hope to improve the quality of life through the exhibitions in the Terrace Gallery.
Q. What is your favorite aspect of the National Arts Program?
A. I would have to say working with the NAP staff. The ease and comfort with which the staff operates make this a very enjoyable experience. The support is always there.
Q. Do visitors respond to the employee exhibit?
A. We put out a visitor sign in book with a response line. The comments are always positive and somewhat surprising that it’s an employee exhibition.
Q. How has utilizing online registration made the process easier for you?
A. We have yet to fully utilize the online registration. We have developed our own website and have the participants register there. It works very effectively, but will try and use NAP online registration next year.
Q. Can you tell us how art has had a positive impact on your personal life?
A. As an artist the ability to express myself through art is a very satisfying and sometimes frustrating endeavor. This dichotomy always keeps things interesting in art as well as other aspects of life.
Q. How did you get started in the art field or have you always been involved in the arts?
A. I’ve always been involved in the arts. Prior to my position with the City, I taught at the University of Central Florida for eight years and still teach as an adjunct.
Q. Is there anything else you want to add? Comments about the program, etc.
A. The only thing I can add is a thank you to the National Arts Program® and its staff for always being there with support. Without you and your financial support this wonderful experience for the City of Orlando employees would not be possible.