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TheDailyCity.coms Cardboard Art Festival pops up this weekend

By Samantha Rosenthal
On January 23, 2013

Orlando is a city where the culture and community come together to make it a hot spot for the arts and outlets of expression. It is home to many museums and galleries that house artists who specialize in all mediums. But Mark Baratelli, 37, always seems to go above and beyond the expected when it comes to creating new events for local artists.

This Friday will be the first of three days that begin TheDailyCity.com Cardboard Art Festival. It is an event that features seven artists, a pop-up dinner on Saturday evening and a variety of events on Sunday for the whole family. It will be held at Say It Loud in downtown Orlando, and Baratelli hopes it will be a fun opportunity for the artists and people of Orlando alike.

Its very creative and very elaborate artwork, but its also humble because its not much more than cardboard, Baratelli said of the festival theme.

Baratelli is also the creator of The Daily City, The Food Truck Bazaar, Orlando Improv Festival and the Mobile Art Show, and he hopes to add this festival to his list of annual events in Orlando. He said he loves the idea behind the use of an everyday object as cardboard that a lot of artists use as a medium but people tend to overlook.

The first thing was I chose something that people havent done before in town; number two: I already made relationships with people working in this medium; and number three: the synergy between the event, my website TheDailyCity.com, and ClandesDine all of these things came together and one supported the other to create this event, Baratelli said.

The warehouse downtown will be filled with cardboard art, where visitors will find art hanging from the ceiling, stuck to the walls and free-standing.

Doug Rhodehamel, 44, is one of the curators and artists for the festival. He helped Baratelli bring his vision to life. Rhodehamel gathered different artists and contributed to the event himself as an installation artist who works with repurposed and surplus materials. He has been working with cardboard for the last five years.

We thought the best way to display it [the artwork] was to hang it from the ceiling so people could walk around and underneath to give the whole area that much more impact, Rhodehamel said.

Brendan OConnor, 30, is the other curator who assisted Rhodehamel with bringing the Cardboard Art Festival to life. OConnor has worked with Baratelli in the past and said he loves the quirkiness behind Baratellis ideas. With a degree from Rollins College that focused on environmental and growth management studies, OConnor said he loves the concept behind the reclaimed art, hoping the idea of using a medium people usually throw away will inspire some.

It all makes for this really exciting and unparalleled event," OConnor said. "With all the different people coming together, it is great to really be a part of something like this.

Evan Miga, 31, and Christie Miga, 29, are a husband-and-wife team of artists whose work will be featured at the event.

They are known for their company Dog Powered Robot, also the name of their theatrical production. The couple will bring with them a range of the robots that are featured on their show to entertain guests this weekend.

The duo has a secret project they have been working on for just the show, and they are very excited to reveal it to the public. The Migas also look forward to the Sunday matinee and meet and greet, where the robots will interact with the children and also play with Andy Matchett and the Minks on Sunday night.

On Saturday evening, the exhibit will be closed off for the five-course pop-up dinner experience ClandesDine Orlando. Festival organizers offered $75 pre-order tickets to the now sold-out event so that Chef Bryce Balluff would be able to prepare the food in advance for guests. Music will be provided by the Orlando Symphony Youth Orchestra, and there is a 50-seat limit for the event. Baratelli said this was unfamiliar for him to charge a ticket amount such as this for the event yet he sold 36 seats before the event even had a press release.

This is a first year event and there is going to be some stumbles, some lessons to be learned, but the best thing we can do is stumble and learn from it and Orlando is a great town for that, Baratelli said.

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