Episode 114 – Tory Freeman

Join us in discovering the story of Tory Freeman, a magnificent tattoo and visual artist.


Discovering the Artist within during JJ Art and Design Productions Studio Opening

The dream of local visual artist JJ Gonzalez Acosta became a reality with the opening of his studio on a colorful opening night on Friday, October 1st, during FAVO’s first Friday of every month Art Show. Studio 253 at FAVO – Faith Arts Village Orlando will now be the home to art classes and workshops for students of all ages.

‘JJ Art and Design Productions’ was founded by Gonzalez Acosta in 2018. “I am a visual artist. I was born in Valencia, Venezuela. Since the age of five, I have been playing with colors and paintbrushes. One of my goals coming to the U.S. five years ago was to teach art techniques and help others discover their artist within. I am very happy to have a space where people can come and enjoy the beauty of art,” said JJ.

It was a night of color, music, and dance. The opening of the Studio was full of happiness. Ilia Torres, assistant to Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings was among the special guests that were present in the event, “I am honored to be here tonight. JJ is a wonderful visual artist. We are honored to have him as part of our community. It is a pleasure to be here tonight and support him during this important milestone for his career and his small business.”

JJ Gonzalez Acosta during his opening speech on Friday, October 1st.

Before the ribbon cutting ceremony took place, Ilia Torres, gave JJ Art and Design Productions a ‘Congratulations Certificate’ signed by Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings.

Since the beginning, ‘JJ Art and Design Productions’ has hosted art classes and workshops for kids and adults.

The goal of the company is to help others discover their artist within. “We are all artists. In my career as a visual artist, I have seen people heal through art. I have seen students who never painted come out with beautiful masterpieces that tell their life stories. Art heals. Since the 19th century, art has helped people heal. I want this space to help others heal. I want my studio to make others feel they are real artists and that their stories can be told,” said Gonzalez Acosta.

Ilia Torres, JJ Gonzalez Acosta, Jose Rodriguez Marmol and Will Benton during the ribbon cutting ceremony.

Will Benton, Executive Director of FAVO, is happy to have JJ Art and Design Productions as part of this creative village. “We are proud to have JJ with us. He is very talented. We are blessed to have him as part of our creative community,” said Benton.

“I am so happy for the opening of my studio at FAVO. I am inviting you to come, and discover this amazing creative village,” said JJ.

The opening ceremony ended with a beautiful Venezuelan dance called ‘Merengue de Antaño’ by Antonieta Armas from ‘IslaDanza – Venezuela, Arte y Cultura’.

The Studio is officially open. Information on upcoming classes and workshops will be announced soon. For updated information on upcoming art classes that will help you heal and discover the artist within, follow JJ Art and Design Productions on Instagram, visit the company’s website, and sign up for the weekly newsletter.


Hispanic Heritage Month Events in Orange County, Florida as a Platform for Local Visual Artists

“Esperanza – A Celebration of Hispanic Heritage and Hope.” Terminal A at The Orlando International Airport

The Hispanic Heritage Committee of Greater Orange County, Florida celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month with different art exhibitions in the County.

The art exhibitions around the City of Orlando feature 42 local visual artists representing nine different countries that call Central Florida their home. The artists have a platform that showcases their artwork in permanent exhibitions at the Orange County Administration BuildingThe Orlando International Airport, and Univision Orlando during the local morning show “Despierta Orlando.”

In 2020, the celebration was virtual. Artists submitted their artwork in a call to artists, after being selected, they sent virtual videos explaining their artwork, and how they celebrated their heritage. Each week, a different artist was featured on social media. They received a signed certificate from Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings.

This year, the art exhibition has been named “Esperanza – A Celebration of Hispanic Heritage and Hope,” artists representing ArgentinaColombiaCubaEl SalvadorMexicoPuerto RicoUnited States, and Venezuela have their paintings on the third floor of the Terminal A of the Orlando International Airport since September 01st. The exhibit will run until October 28th.

Featured artwork at The Orlando International Airport

After almost two years of overcoming the COVID-19 pandemic, this represents an opportunity for the artists that were selected to showcase their artwork.

Having their art pieces in public areas and exhibitions allow them the opportunity to have audiences fall in love with their art and receive offers, or maybe purchase one of their art pieces.  

Artists tell stories through paintings and colors, and although art is subjective, it is their way of telling stories and sharing them with their audience. Selling is their goal.

Although selling is a hard task, artists in Central Florida must rely on other full-time jobs to make a living. Having these platforms help them to have other sources of income and get paid for what they feel passionate about.

Assistant to Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings and Vice-Chair for the Hispanic Heritage Committee of Greater Orange County, Florida, Ilia Torres, Esq is very happy with the event outcome this year and feels proud of the talented artists that call Central Florida their home.

Ilia Torres, Esq during her visit to “Esperanza: A Celebration of Hispanic Heritage and Hope” at the Orlando International Airport

“Hispanic Heritage Month runs from September 15 – October 15, is an occasion not only to celebrate the history and contributions Hispanic Americans have made to the U.S., but also the perfect holiday celebration to promote our cultural richness and diversity. The Hispanic Heritage Committee is proud to be able to highlight the Hispanic culture by showcasing local visual artists from around Central Florida,” said Ilia Torres.

For more information on the events taking place to celebrate the Hispanic Heritage Month in Orange County, Florida, visit the Orange County Press Room.


Visual Arts as a Main Source of Income in Orange County Today

Visual Artist JJ Gonzalez Acosta and Assistant to Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings Ilia Torres at Univision Orlando.

The world of Visual Arts has been among the most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Orange County, Florida has felt the backlashes in the arts and entertainment industry. Even though activities and exhibitions have been returning for good. Local artists are still struggling with the economic side effects of the pandemic.

The City of Orlando and Orange County are very supportive of the world of visual arts. However, for local artists is not easy to make a living from selling their art pieces. Most of the artists in town have their talent, and passion for painting as a full-time job that does not pay their bills as they would like, making them have “day-time” jobs to cover their living expenses, which is a must in today’s economy.

This situation is not strange to local artist JJ Gonzalez Acosta. JJ is originally from Valencia, Venezuela.

This local artist has been playing with acrylic paints and brushes since the age of five. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Arts Education and a master’s in educational management. Since the beginning of 2020, he has been part of the teaching staff at Central Florida Community Arts.  His main goal as a professional has been teaching art to students of all ages with only one purpose, make them discover their artist within.

Visual Artist JJ Gonzalez Acosta

Orlando has been his home since the beginning of 2017. This Orange County local artist has been very fortunate to showcase his art and talent to the Central Florida Community and other states around the country.

Selling his art pieces has not been easy these days. JJ has relied on his talent as an art instructor and his experience as a teacher for 16 years to teach art techniques to others. 

Orange County is a great platform for local artists to showcase their talent. Orlando is a great city. It is still very young. Although selling my art piece has been hard these days, I am very lucky to have several exhibitions around the County where I can have my art along with other amazing, and talented artists that make this city unique, and special,” said JJ.

“As individual artists, we may not have access to grants from the local government, but they have wonderful opportunities to showcase what we do and show that to others. Those opportunities are out there,” said Gonzalez Acosta. 

Although selling art seems hard these days, showcasing their artwork is important to them. Art is subjective, and it is in the eye of the beholder. Let’s support local artists.

For more information on JJ Gonzalez Acosta visit:


Episode 100: Reunion

Join us in celebrating Episode 100 with these wonderful special guests that have been part of our story! In Artistic Spot, where you are also the artist!


Orange County Announces new grants for the Arts while celebrating ‘Earth Day’ LIVE from the Atrium Gallery.

by Jose Rodriguez Marmol

Orange County, Florida has been supporting local artists that live, or have lived in the County for years. During the month of April 2021, the County has released some information on grants for upcoming art-related projects through United Arts of Central Florida, a non-profit organization in charge of administering several funding programs on behalf of Orange County.

The County has been in charge of organizing and partially funding a free exhibition called: “The Art in the Chambers”. This particular exhibit showcases fine art pieces of current and former residents of Orange County. 

‘Earth Day’ was the perfect excuse for the County to celebrate the arts and what it seems to be the road back to normal after the COVID-19 backlashes.

It was not until April 21st, 2021, that the Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs of Orange County, Florida, submitted a ‘Call to Artists’ to celebrate ‘Earth Day’ with an art exhibit that will run until May 28th.

The virtual reception will welcome local artists at the Orange County Administration Center, Atrium Gallery located at 201 S. Rosalind Ave. Orlando, FL 32801, for the first time since COVID-19 forced all government offices to shut down and post-pone most of their events scheduled for 2020, a big step towards going back to normal.

This art exhibit will be allowing local artists the opportunity to showcase their art and sell it during the time of the exhibit.

JJ Gonzalez Acosta is a Venezuelan and a local Orlando artist that was selected as one of the talented artists for this art exhibit with two beautiful and colorful art pieces that pay homage to mother earth.

“I am thrilled to be part of this Earth Day celebration. It makes me happy to see the County’s support to all the wonderful local artists around here. It is also exciting to be at the Atrium Gallery, have that face-to-face interaction, and experience that we are finally getting back to normal after a very hard 2020 for all due to COVID-19,” said Gonzalez Acosta.

‘Earth Day’ Art in the Atrium will run until Friday, May 28th. The Virtual Opening was broadcasted live from all Orange County’s social media platforms on Wednesday, May 12th at 1:00 pm with the participation and physical presence of 8 of the 13 local artists that were selected for this art exhibit by the County.

The live broadcast was hosted by Mr. Terry Olson, Director of the Office of Arts and Cultural Affairs of Orange County.