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Arts & Culture

Live Active Cultures

Theatrical art and design steals the show at Maitland Art Center's January Culture & Cocktails event

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Last but not least, scenic designer Cindy White papered a wall with sketches, blueprints and renderings from a few of the hundreds of local productions she's participated in. I've admired White's diverse designs for years, both for mature shows (Mad Cow's Major Barbara) and fun children's fare (The Rep's Pippi Longstocking), as well as in Disney's theme park parades. When we worked together a couple of Christmases ago on Junie B. Jones, I was fortunate to discover what a warm and witty person she is. Barely six weeks ago, White was struck by a car while crossing a downtown street (the perils of being a pedestrian in Orlando) but even a cracked skull and crutches couldn't keep her from her work, much less last weekend's event.

Examining samples of White's work, I was struck by both the precision of her drafting (her handwriting is precise enough to be a TrueType font) and the energetic freedom in her painting. My particular favorites were the Mary Blair-flavored concepts for Tokyo Disneyland's Dreamlights parade, luminously rendered in glitter and day-glo acrylic on a black background. But despite the delicate detail of White's designs, she says she had a "happy agreement to disagree" with the evening's curators, who insisted on calling her plans and proposals "art."

"This is not my art; these are the tools," White explained. "The art ran for three weeks, and if you missed it, it's gone. … We burn the scenery, we destroy it. It's ephemeral. That's why I love this industry."