Chart charity art

magazine for charities & creative people

Orlando Sentinel, Aug. 2005

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Orlando Sentinel, Section C, Monday, August 22, 2005
Chart program maps out new framework for arts community
Some might call it a stroke of genius: Everybody wins when art, business and charity meet.

The View From Here is a slice of local life by Sentinel reporters.
Today, feature write Aline Mendelsohn contributes.
Kevin Rambo doesn’t consider himself an “artsy” person. Yet he has collected more than a dozen paintings in only a few months.
It all started one night when he was dining at the Maitland restaurant Za-Bistro. Rambo liked the colorful paintings on the wall, so he bought one.
In the next few weeks, he bought another painting. And then another. “I got kind of hooked,” says Rambo, who owns architectural woodworking business Woodology.
The impetus behind Rambo’s new hobby is the chart Charity Art Collection, a program that displays artwork in about two-dozen businesses throughout downtown Orlando, Winter Park and Maitland. Once a piece is sold, 20 percent of proceeds go to the charity of the buyer’s choice.
Casey Swann, chart director, also hosts art parties and publishes NOW: The Source for Good Taste, a quarterly magazine that features a catalog of local artists.
For more than 20 years, Swann has been president of Cutting Edge Communications Inc., a Winter Park advertising agency.
Though a businesswoman at heart, Swann says she has a creative soul. So she brought her business sensibility to the arts community and started a program that introduces new audiences to art while helping local artists find space for their work.
Why display art in a place of commerce? Because doing so gives locals the chance to view paintings outside of a gallery or museum setting, Swann says.
Local galleries struggle to survive financially because many Central Floridians working in the service industry – and don’t have the affluence of traditional art buyers, she says. “We have to customize the arts community to not just survive but thrive.”
Linda Muniz-Staggs is glad to be a part of Swann’s vision. Her business, NFX Apothecary & Shoppe in Winter Park, showcases several chart paintings.
“They’re just alive with color, trendy and chic and sexy and fun,” Muniz-Staggs says. “…It’s more than just something on the wall. There’s feeling, there’s conversation about it.”
The Urban Body Men’s Clothing Studio in Thornton Park also is involved with chart, exhibiting 11 paintings.
“They add a lot of character and color to the store,” says manager Tim Endicott. Several Urban Body customers have bought the artwork. “It’s a great opportunity for us to be part of the art community,” Endicott says.
Buyers such as Linda Barnby appreciate the philanthropy aspect of chart. “I was enamored of the whole concept, because everybody wins,” says Barney, a Winter Park attorney who has bought three paintings for her sun room.
The artists welcome the exposure. “It opens up the door for more contact [with the community],” says Janet Maloney, a Longwood painter.
Artists such as Maloney can meet those who buy their work at the chart parties that take place every few months at the Lofts of Winter Park Village.
Rambo, the Maitland man, enjoys learning what inspired particular pieces. He says chart has deepened his appreciation of the arts, and he expects to add to his collection.
“I’m going to have to add a wing onto my house,” he says “The art wing.”

Aline Mendelsohn can be reached at amendelsohn@orlandosentinel.com or 407-420-5352