Beginning in 2003 Terry Olson was working hard to bring the National Arts Program® to, not only Orange County, but to several venues in Florida. Terry has been an advocate for the arts for many years and is one of the founders of the Orlando Theatre Project, the Dr. Phillips Center for Performing Arts, the Orlando International Fringe Festival, the Creative Gift Foundation and the Central Florida Performing Arts Alliance.
We are greatful to have a Coordinator like Terry and were thrilled with their 2011 return to the Program. The Orange County, Florida show is a wonderful display of both the visual arts and the performing arts talents of the employees and their family members.
After reading what Terry had to say about the NAP in Orange County, be sure to watch a short video showcasing the exhibit and awards ceremony on our YouTube Channel or by clicking the following link 'Orange County Video' .
Q. What makes the National Arts Program® different than any other art exhibit put on by Orange County?
A. This is much bigger and diverse. Since there is no jury process, it is not part of our Art in the Chambers series, but an extra exhibition with lots of heart and family feelings.
Q. Why do you feel that displaying employee artwork is important?
A. Especially in government work, a person’s daily job can become routine and even boring. Providing a chance for the employee’s work family to see their creative side brings their humanity and other dimensions of their personhood to the attention of their fellow workers.
Q. How have employees and their families responded to the opportunity to display their artwork?
A. They love it and look forward to it.
Q. Why do you think displaying artwork in the government setting is so important?
A. If our government is the one point at which all corners of our society connect, it is important that the universal language of the arts be a part of that connection point.
Q. What is your favorite aspect of the National Arts Program®?
A. Getting the support and even finances from NAP is incredible and makes the event even more appealing for our employees and their families to participate.
Q. Do visitors to the administration building respond to the employee exhibit?
A. I don’t work in that building but I believe they do pause when something catches their eye. We hear from the security screeners that the people entering are in awe of the amount and diversity of the artwork.
Q. How has utilizing online registration made the process easier for you?
A. Previously we created our own online registration.
Q. Can you tell us how art has had a positive impact on your personal life?
A. I believe I see the world around me with more of an eye to catching beauty than I might have before I found myself in the art world.
Q. How did you get started in the art field or have you always been involved in the arts? Are you an artist yourself?
A. My training was primarily in the theatre, although that included art and design as well. After being a leader in bringing our theatre community together for years, I took the job of creating the government’s office of Arts & Cultural Affairs. My replacement at the Performing Arts Alliance continued its attention to the performing arts, and there was no similar organization supporting the visual arts, so it was natural that my focus in this job would tend toward creating more support for the visual arts. I have always been a photographer and have recently approached photography more as an art form and have had photos in several exhibitions.
Q. Is there anything else you want to add? Comments about the program, etc.
A. To be inclusive of all the arts, we also add the performing arts to our program with all employees and family members encouraged to audition. It would be wonderful to be able to provide cash prizes for the performers like we do with the vitual arts winners.