Orange County Government, Florida
27 February 2015
Arts Conference Showcases Impact of Dr. Phillips Center
Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs is joined by former Orlando Mayor and Secretary of State of Florida
Glenda Hood; Linda Landman Gonzalez, Vice President of Community Relations and Government Affairs
at the Orlando Magic; Carolyn Fennell, Director of Public Affairs at the Greater Orlando Aviation Authority.

Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs welcomed nationally recognized leaders to a recent statewide cultural conference held in the new, beautiful and awe-inspiring Dr. Phillips Center. The conference, which focused on the powerful role arts and culture plays in the overall health of communities and states, brought together individuals who work in Florida’s cultural community for a day of meaningful professional development, networking and collaboration.

“The Dr. Phillips Center is much more than a breathtaking addition to our skyline and downtown core. This is a place where learning, exploration and creativity will happen,” Mayor Jacobs said. “This is our cultural heartbeat.”

Participants in the day-long conference – Convening Culture 2015: Building a Healthier Florida through Arts and Culture – explored sessions ranging from arts and healthcare initiatives to roundtables on sustaining a healthy funding environment. Presentations were made by nationally recognized leaders in the fields of arts and culture, healthcare, the environment, research and advocacy.

Speakers included Mayor Jacobs, the conference co-chair Sibille Pritchard, Frank Billingsley, Chief of Staff to City of Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, and Florida’s Secretary of State Ken Detzner.

“Through the guidance of professionals like you, and by engaging our entire community with the arts, we are creating healthy, thriving communities, which are bursting with imagination and innovation,” Mayor Jacobs said. “By nurturing arts and culture, we are nurturing our quality of life.”

During her remarks, Mayor Jacobs also emphasized the importance of arts and culture, the impact the Dr. Phillips Center has on future generations, tourism and hospitality and Orange County as a premier destination for performing arts.

“We all know that children benefit from exposure to the arts,” Mayor Jacobs said. “More and more, the research is pointing to solid gains in creative and critical thinking among children who engage in the arts.”

With its opening in November 2014, the performing arts center has fulfilled its vision as a remarkable hub for Broadway performances, spectacular artists, audiences and students. The second phase of the Dr. Phillips Center will begin construction in the first quarter of 2017. The centerpiece of the second phase will be the third theatre, a 1,700-seat acoustical theater that will provide a space for ballet, operas and orchestral performances.

“By investing in first-class facilities like the Dr. Phillips Center, we are showing the world that the arts are important for our future as a healthy, dynamic, creative, evolving community,” Mayor Jacobs said.

The two-block Center features the 2,700-seat Walt Disney Theater, 300-seat Alexis & Jim Pugh Theater, the Seneff Arts Plaza, the School of Arts, the DeVos Family Room, and other spaces to host theater, dance, popular musical artists, and spectacular entertainment performances. Future expansion plans include the 1,700-seat acoustic theater and commercial development spaces. The Dr. Phillips Center is a public-private collaboration with Orange County, the City of Orlando, the State of Florida and generous donors.

The event was presented in conjunction with the Florida Council on the Arts and Culture, the Citizens for Florida Arts, Inc. and the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs. A preconference professional development workshop for individual artists was held the day before the Dr. Phillips Center event, along with an opening reception. A closing reception at the Orlando Science Center followed the event.

A collection of photos from Convening Culture 2015: Building a Healthier Florida through Arts and Culture are available for use by the media and are located on Flickr.