By: Michelle Saldivar
Hello Patrons! I have a special surprise for you. Osceola Arts has a fantastic line-up of hard-working staff members. Yet, because of our artistic focus, you don’t always get to hear about them. As the Osceola Arts Marketing Assistant, I have had the pleasure of spending the last three months working diligently alongside them and I want you, our patrons, to get to know them as much as I have. Starting this week, you will have the pleasure to read a collection of staff interviews that I have conducted myself that detail our Osceola Arts staff members and their duties here. Today, you will learn more about our Program Coordinator, Garrett Sanders. He is an energetic, up-beat young man, who joined the Osceola Arts staff last year. Read below to get to know him a little better!
MS: Hello Garrett! How did you become involved with Osceola Arts?
GS: “Well I did my first show here when I was seven years old. It was a small part. I walked on stage and said my lines and walked right off. As they say in the business, I was bit by the bug and I really was. I feel silly saying that. I really didn’t stop doing things here. I did summer camps when I was seven, all the way until I was in middle school. I was doing shows in middle school and high school. And then I went off to college to Florida State University and decided to get my degree in theatre. While I was in college, during the summers I would come back and I would be the Site Supervisor for the summer camps. So I worked organizing things and helping the teachers, making sure the campers were present and having a good time, but also in a safe environment. Then when Brandon Arrington came on board as the new Executive Director, he hired me full time after my last year at summer camp to be the Program Coordinator. And I have been doing that since August and it’s really been awesome. I have been able to work sort of all of the facets of Osceola Arts. I have been doing a lot of outreach programs, going to middle schools twice a week to bring arts after school to programs that don’t have drama clubs or theatre classes. So I’m enjoying that. I have also worked on the production side. I’ve helped get art shows ready, especially with the Art Festival. So, I’ve been doing all sorts of things. It’s really been awesome. I’ve been doing stuff here since I was little, so it’s been a long time.”
MS: You’ve told us about being a student here, so how was that transition from being a student to an employee?
GS: “It’s kind of weird. But I really think I bring a unique perspective. Both Stephanie Day, the Youth Manager, and I went through programs and summer camps here. So we were both students and now we are kind of here running it. It’s so funny to me to see how much work goes into putting on one program, one class, one summer camp, one children’s theatre show. So, I really enjoy it. It is different though. You still get to be creative, but you have to bring everyone to that point. For example, when you are an actor in a show, you have to worry about your part and your lines. But when you are the director or you are in charge of this program, you really have to focus on all the elements. And I really, really, enjoy doing that and I am glad I have the opportunity to do it here where I started.”
MS: What is your favorite aspect of your job?
GS: “I really enjoy the people that I work with. We are a big, loving, dysfunctional family and it’s hilarious. I love coming to work every day and seeing them and getting stuff done to foster the arts in our community. But I also love the production side, such as building a show and stage management. For example, in my after school programs, [I enjoy coordinating] the logistic things we need to figure out. [Such as] how do I give the students the tools to succeed in creating a one-of-a-kind production? I really enjoy that. Being creative with the production end of it.”
MS: So in your job, you create partnerships, coordinate shows and exhibits, what else do you do?
GS: “My primary focus are the after school outreach programs. I pick up any other programming needs, so I do an assortment of things. When someone comes in and wants to rent the space to do a performance arts piece, I show them what dates we have available, ask them what needs they may have for the event and I tell them if we can do it or not. I like interacting with people who want to use this space as a sort of curator of art in the community.”
MS: What after school programs have you created in our community?
GS: “We have two programs currently running simultaneously. One at Narcoossee Middle School and another Kissimmee Middle school. Both of those programs take place twice a week at these middle schools and we go out and we bring the arts to them. Part of our new mission here at Osceola Arts is to bring the energy of this building and take it out into the community. We are taking the Sunshine State Reading List and we are creating a show based off of it the book. So the students are reading the books, developing it, adapting it for the stage, writing their own scenes, making the costumes, sets, and props, and the preform it once for their friends at their middle school and then once here at Osceola Arts. It is a really neat opportunity that I am excited that we are able to bring to these schools that don’t have drama programs.”
MS: What book(s) are you working on?
GS: “Currently, both schools are working on Half Upon a Time by James Riley. It’s like a fractured fairy tale type of story. They have been hard at work reading through their assigned chapters and story boarding and writing with the rest of the class to make sure everyone is up to speed on what’s happening with the characters in the book. Since the students were on Spring Break last week, they will come back and have two more weeks to write the show and then audition, rehearse, and perform it! It’s a big undertaking, but I’m excited to challenge them and work with them to achieve their goal of a full production.”
MS: What is the most rewarding part of your job?
GS: “Being able to make a difference in the arts here in Osceola County. We work so hard at this and nobody really sees that and they shouldn’t. We try our best to bring a lot of programs and that’s really exciting. I remember one day, I was three or four months into working here and I had been so swamp with work and I was stressed out. Then, one day I had to stay late for something and I walked through the parking lot and there were kids going in to children’s theatre. There were adults going in for their choir rehearsal. There were artists coming in for an art opening. Dancers coming in for a rehearsal for the show. The building just came to light. There were so many people here enjoying themselves and that’s what I love. And it was the best. From that moment on, I was like ‘from anything that I get stressed from, I just have to think about this’ because it is so worth it.”
Our Chief Operating Officer, Jeremiah Krivinchuk, (left) and Program Coordinator, Garrett Sanders, (right) in A Tuna Christmas.
MS: Yeah, I completely understand. Sometime being cooped up in the office, you don’t realize everything you do has a big impact and that one night you go to see that it was much more than paper work or phone calls. It is beneficial to other people. Finally, what is your favorite memory since starting at Osceola Arts?
GS: “Oh bother! Preforming in A Tuna Christmas. I was really lucky to be able to perform with my boss, Jeremiah, in a two-man show with Stephanie Day as our costume designer and Brandon Arrington as our director. It was so much fun. The night of the Patron Gala we performed for our patrons and they really enjoyed it and we had a great time too. That has probably been my favorite memory.”
Check out the rest of our staff interviews here!