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This Art Installation by Event Pros Spreads the Message "Don't Forget About Us"

Encore Event Company partnered with local vendors and the Orlando Museum of Art to curate an installation with a message from the entire event industry.

The table's centerpiece, a chrome “face vase,' was used to reflect the message that the pandemic has affected people and their way of life as a whole.
The table's centerpiece, a chrome “face vase," was used to reflect the message that the pandemic has affected people and their way of life as a whole.
Photo: Daylin Lavoy Photography / Artwork: Installation of view of JEFRË: Points of Connection at the Orlando Museum of Art, 2020/Courtesy of the Artist

Since the hit of the COVID-19 pandemic, many find themselves at a standstill. And when a remarkably fast-spreading virus shut down the country, all had to face adversity. The media was inundated with stories of hardships endured by restaurants, bars, and hotels—but something seemed to be missing. The impact on the event industry felt absent from the news, which is exactly what led Orlando-based Encore Event Company to partner with local vendors to make an artful statement—one that said, "Don't forget about us."

The result? A pop-up art installation held at the Orlando Museum of Art on Oct. 26 consisting of 90 square feet of tablescapes, with each seat representing 500,000 event professionals affected by COVID-19, adding up to the 12 million event professionals that make up the industry.

In lieu of entrees and appetizers, the “menus” on each place setting featured a short list of how COVID-19 impacted the event industry.In lieu of entrees and appetizers, the “menus” on each place setting featured a short list of how COVID-19 impacted the event industry.Photo: Daylin Lavoy Photography

"Each table was designed with the elements of art, people, and connection in mind," explained Brittany Dowda, director of sales and marketing at Petals by Design, who was tapped to help bring the installation to life. "We created one of the tablescapes to reflect the connection aspect where we took three black metal geometric structures and attached them to each other to create an asymmetrical structure where multiple points met. Another tablescape was created with our chrome 'face vase' to reflect the message that this has affected people and their way of life. And the final table represented hope for us—a tall centerpiece to show that on the contrary, together, we will rise above this."

A menu was placed on each place setting, but when museum-goers looked closer, they wouldn't see entrees or appetizers; instead, the papers featured lists of ways the pandemic has negatively affected the industry, such as "one of the last industries to reopen." Additionally, the name cards at each setting included the various roles that make up the industry (think caterers, florists, hotels, convention centers—the list goes on). An important aspect: The message extended to those in the industry working behind the scenes. During setup, for example, a security guard at the museum noted he too had been put out of work due to the pandemic. The curators were happy to show him a place card that read 'security' already on the table. The appreciative worker was a real-life example of the installation's goal—he was acknowledged. 

Instead of names, place cards were used to reflect the roles of professionals in the industry who were affected. They named every profession in the event industry from florists to caterers to security.Instead of names, place cards were used to reflect the roles of professionals in the industry who were affected. They named every profession in the event industry from florists to caterers to security.Photo: Daylin Lavoy Photography

"When most people think of those greatly impacted by the pandemic, we are sure the first people that come to mind are not event professionals, and I think this install and the photos truly share our message," said Lauren Zohler lead designer and planner at Encore Event Company. "Knowing we were able to share a message to those unaware of the hard work, coordinating of logistics, blood, sweat, and tears that go into a special event a customer might just see as another day or 'our job' was extremely impactful to our team." 

Vendors: Encore Event Company (coordinator/designer), Daylin Lavoy Photography (photography), Petals by Design (florist/designer), Go To Event Rentals (rentals), Katie & Co (stationary) 

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