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We took advantage of a couple free tickets to visit Epcot in Disney World. By chance, we were there for the “Epcot International Festival of the Arts.”
Some decades ago when we still lived “up north,” we often chose to visit Alie’s parents on the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday in mid-January. Disney World was not as crowded as it is the rest of the year. I suppose the people at Disney observed that and created this “arts festival” to draw in more people. In any case, there were more people this time.
It seems there is an art festival in some Florida town on almost any winter weekend. But the only similarity between those arts festivals and this one was the art is displayed on sidewalks in canvas booths. It appeared to me this art was the same as is normally sold in Disney souvenir shops. Nonetheless, we can’t help having a good time.
In addition to the art for sale, they had daily workshops [for a charge] on subjects such as drawing, animation, cartoon portraits, calligraphy, etc.
There were also two free seminars each day. We caught a question and answer session at the end of one called “From Concept to Creation” and wished we had heard more. Lon Smart, a “creative concept artist” discussed his work. He said when someone came up with an idea, whether for a ride or just the theme of a restaurant, he would illustrate the concepts for any portion of that idea including decorations. He said he did not have to worry if his concepts would work; that was the job of the engineers. He defied the audience to discover how Disney made his dragon fly. But only about one out of
10 of his illustrations every becomes a final product. Most of his work is now done on a computer. Not only is it faster, it is easier to change. He said one downside for him was now his deadlines to produce an illustration keep getting shorter.
In response to one question, he replied, yes he hides an image of Mickey Mouse in everything, but he tells his bosses where it is.
The same Odyssey Festival Showplace where Smart spoke had an interesting display of Disney posters showing both their evolution over time and how they varied in parks in other parts of the world.
It may not be “fine art,” but the people at Disney through creativity and skill have certainly made their craft an art.