Orlando hopes a new arts program will lure people downtown & get them to linger

ORLANDO, Fla. — The city of Orlando wants more people to enjoy the downtown atmosphere after work by offering free events throughout the day -- every day -- for a year.


The Downtown Development Board and the United Arts of Central Florida teamed up to host local artists in and around downtown to make people enjoy the area all day instead of just at night.

“I think that also we could find things that are maybe suited for many different age groups,” said Jordan Giles, an Orlando performing artist. “Things like that, I think, can be hard sometimes -- especially with downtown being ‘the party scene.’”

In the next 90 days, people will see live music performances, sculptures, paintings and more across downtown.

“We’ll have activations in the core, in the Central Business District, in the Parramore area, in the North Corridor -- and things on weekends,” said David Barilla, DDB’s executive director.

Read: Historic downtown Orlando sign to be illuminated in public for the 1st time in decades

Through DDB and Community Redevelopment Agency funds, UA secured the $1.89 million contract.

Barilla said 15% of the funds will go to management fees, and the rest will pay for the artists.

“We felt that when you do the math, it’s about $100,000 a month broken up evenly between the activations,” Barilla said. “We felt that that was a great start.”

Over the year, he said the city will evaluate how many people attend the events and how they perceive them.

Read: Learn about the new Culinary Health Institute coming to Orlando

Barilla said there will be 857 events, including live musical performances, sculptures, paintings and art performances.

There will be three events throughout the day.

UA is working actively to schedule the programming, write proposals and hire artists from the community.

Barilla said the city held several meetings seeking the community’s input, which it considered in selecting some of the artists.

Read: Orlando to buy 2 downtown properties to expand Lake Eola Park

As part of the deal for the Activation Arts Program, at least 25% of all performances or installations will need to be created by women or minority artists or businesses.

Barilla said the city seeks to highlight local artists representing different cultural backgrounds to celebrate all of Orlando.

Click here to download our free news, weather and smart TV apps. And click here to stream Channel 9 Eyewitness News live.