Lovin’ our community’s artists

Because February is all about love, and it is also Black History Month, this month’s column is focusing on all of the love that is expressed in our communities’ art forms. First, let’s begin with the notable talents of some of our African American neighbors. Norm Lewis, a graduate of Edgewater High School, has had a successful Broadway and film […]

Orlando Ballet welcomes Puerto Ricans to free Latin-inspired show

Orlando Ballet’s upcoming production, “Bailamos!,” is celebrating the premiere of its Latin-inspired show by inviting Puerto Ricans displaced by Hurricane Maria. Orlando Ballet is partnering with the Puerto Rico Federal Affairs Administration and the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce to offer 1,000 free tickets to its Feb. 16 show, according to a press release from Orlando Ballet. The purpose is to […]

Lake Eola Heights Garden Tour

On Sunday, March 31, the Lake Eola Heights Historic Neighborhood Association will present the ninth-biennial tour of The Private Gardens of Historic Orlando Featuring Lake Eola Heights. This year’s event will build on what has become a very popular feature on Orlando’s calendar of gardening events. Guests will have the chance to experience the charming, hidden places found within the […]

Celebrating street art at Sam Flax

Large-scale murals are ubiquitous now in Orlando, especially around the downtown core neighborhoods. Not surprisingly, an early adopter of this building beautification strategy is an art supply institution in central Florida, but the Sam Flax Wall Project is more than just a way to bedazzle the building or draw in customers. The artwork also creates a sense of community, commemorates […]


What’s Up Downtown Time: 8:30 a.m. Date: February 7 Location: Orlando Public Library, 101 E. Central Blvd, Orlando, FL 32801 Ever wonder how our police department keeps our downtown safe? Now’s your chance to listen firsthand from Chief Orlando Rolón about the initiatives the department has on safety and its collaboration with the Downtown Ambassadors. Make sure to RSVP at […]

O-Town Interview

Florida House Representative
Anna Eskamani

Anna Eskamani was elected in November to represent Florida’s 47th district in the Florida House of Representatives. Eskamani was born and raised in Orlando. She is an alumna of University High School and holds two bachelor’s and two master’s degrees from the University of Central Florida. The 28-year-old Iranian-American is also currently pursuing a doctorate degree in public affairs. The […]

The way we were: Dr. King in Orlando

Dr. King in Orlando

On March 6, 1964, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. made his one and only trip to Orlando to meet with community leaders and give a speech at Tinker Field. With the help of Jim Perry’s handwritten account of the Civil Rights movement in Orlando, it is possible to piece together a narrative surrounding Dr. King’s visit. Jim Perry was the […]

People of O-Town: Kristi Hamby

Her first project for the city was on a unique canvas: storm drains. She also painted a mural in the Thornton Park parking garage. Painting on such unique canvases poses a problem for Kristi Hamby, 27, a freelance artist who has made her mark on downtown Orlando. She said she uses a program that allows her to take a picture […]

Business Spotlight: Almut Belote Jewelry

Thornton Park’s new jeweler shines bright like a diamond

Thornton Park had the pleasure of recently welcoming a luxury jewelry designer to their assortment of shops. Almut Belote is the owner and creative designer of Almut Belote Jewelry. Belote comes from Austria, where she started on a very strict training apprenticeship with a master jeweler. After Belote’s master training in Austria, she headed to the Virgin Islands to accept […]

Susan Lilley, Orlando’s first poet laureate

The title “poet laureate” sounds like it comes with a lot of responsibility and maybe a bit of pressure. The person granted this honor represents a particular area, writes poems for special occasions, and creates a deeper appreciation for the reading and writing of poetry. As the official poet laureate of Orlando, native Floridian and educator Susan Lilley is up […]

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