Arts alive and well in Orlando despite economy, officials say



ORLANDO, Fla. - A unique canopy is just one part of the Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center that looks like a piece of art itself.

"There's some architectural features within the building that everyone will get to see once it's open that will be standout features that I have not seen anywhere else in the country, so it's pretty amazing," said arts center project manager Clint Jackson.

The new art center is expected to open in 2015. The $500 million project is halfway completed, officials said.

"The shape is coming along. It will continue to do that through the summer of next year," said Jackson.

The new center is just one of the more visible signs of a newly revitalized art scene in Orlando.

A study presented to nonprofit art organizations on Wednesday morning showed that despite a tough economy, the local art industry is holding on.

"Post-recession, they're very strong. They've done a great job of holding on with less money, fewer people, and less resources than they've ever had before," said Mark Brewer, president of the Community Foundation of Central Florida.

Nonprofit arts and culture are a $264 million industry in central Florida and support nearly 9,000 jobs, officials said.

We found out more art will soon be added throughout downtown Orlando. A committee is in the process of choosing nine sculptures to install by next summer. Five of the new sculptures will be placed around Orlando's iconic Lake Eola.

"Strong arts organizations produce stronger, better and more art," said Brewer.