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The West Art District makes an eloquent statement on the power of art to build community 

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click to enlarge PHOTO BV JOEY ROULETTE
  • Photo bv Joey Roulette

By developing the West Art District, all those involved are continuing in the revitalization efforts of this community that was once viewed as a loss. Palmer sees the change in the neighborhood and is eager to embrace the positive change he sees on the horizon.

"I've seen it in other neighborhoods that have done revitalizations," Palmer says. "Look at Thornton Park. Years and years ago, it was not a very great place. Now it's a wonderful place. I think in time, over here on the west side, eventually we'll follow."

Palmer and others in the community are excited about the change that Rai and his team are bringing to Parramore, and are especially keen on their emphasis on the local. In creating a space for the artists of Orlando (and Miami, and New York, and well beyond) to come and create freely, they have managed to also gather the collective spirit of a small group of individuals who live and work near the growing business district, and remind them that they are integral to the success of the place they call home. Placing the art district in the middle of the western neighborhoods is a reminder to those individuals that Orlando has not forgotten about them.

In turn, by allowing the West Art District to flourish in their community, these citizens are giving way to the city itself to take on new and exciting projects. Their community is embracing and encouraging change, at the hands of a few very talented individuals who have decided that the best way to encourage the beauty in Orlando is not to whitewash the people and neighborhoods who were here first, but to give them the recognition and respect they deserve.

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