The amusing revelation last week that an associate had nominated Mayor Glenda Hood to head up the federal National Endowment for the Arts -- and Hood's swift withdrawal from consideration -- focuses attention again on the city's track record here. Yet, in another indication of the growing pains plaguing the fledgling Downtown Arts District, one of its principal players is leaving his post as president of the Orlando Visual Arts League (OVAL). Terry Hummel, who has helped lead efforts to create more venues for artists in the central city, says he will exit his unpaid post in October.
Hummel's role has included day-to-day operations of the OVAL gallery and artists' studios at 29 S. Orange Ave., as well as a seat on the city's Downtown Arts District Commission, which leases the space to OVAL. He concedes that, at times, it has been frustrating working with the city. After OVAL's grand opening last November, the gallery immediately had to close for six months "while the city dragged its feet with permits and remodeling requirements."
A mixed-media painter, Hummel says he hasn't "had a chance to work on anything new in ages. In many ways, I've spent the last two years as an unpaid property manager for the city."
He does not regret the time he has spent getting OVAL's gallery up and running, and he hopes the city helps launch "10 more groups like ours." But "for now," he says, "I need to do something else, perhaps even earn a living."