The Influentials 2022 – Winter Park Magazine
Boris Garbe was recognized in Winter Park Magazine’s Most Influential People. The program, in its seventh year, recognizes those who — sometimes quietly — make a difference through their professions, their volunteerism, their philanthropy, their talents or their community engagement. The selectees are presented in the summer issue and celebrated at a big event at the Alfond Inn, which was canceled the past two years because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It is tentatively scheduled for September 23 at the Alfond Inn and will celebrate the Classes of 2020, 2021 and 2022. On the following pages, please meet the Class of 2022 — which is every bit as deep and impressive as previous classes and, as always, includes some people you may not know as well as some longtime community icons. They come from all walks of life but share a love for Winter Park — and a desire to keep it as special as the founding visionaries intended.
Owner, Mills Gallery
THE ARTS AGITATOR
The arts community is, naturally, crowded with creative characters. But among the most intriguing is Boris Garbe, 56, a colorful iconoclast who is neither an artist nor a musician. The native of Berlin, Germany — a Winter Park resident and founder of Mills Gallery in the Mills 50 neighborhood — is instead an innovative advocate whose outside-the-box approach helps attract new audiences for individual artists and arts organizations such as the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, which heartily endorses his irreverent podcast, Tenor and Toneless.
Co-hosted by Garbe and Peruvian-born operatic tenor Rafael Cavero, Tenor and Toneless is hilarious — and at the same time educational — thanks in large part to Garbe’s almost total lack of interest in classical music and his off-the-wall interviews with musicians and executives from OPO. (“What the hell is a viola?” he asked Mauricio Céspedes Rivero, OPO’s principal violist and the show’s first guest.) A new podcast, due out later this summer, is Art AF, which features artists and connects them with civic leaders and decision makers. Garbe had previously co-hosted several arts-related podcasts with Marla E (that’s her legal name), a painter, sculptor and instructor, and had produced a podcast with a young musician named Chris Fioravantti, who interviewed guests ranging from artists to elected officials.
The Experience with Chris Fio had been voted one of the top podcasts in Central Florida by readers of Orlando Weekly before the host was tragically killed in a motorcycling accident last summer. Garbe, a former teacher of Spanish and sign language, has also produced a compelling short autobiographical film, Spit, Glitter and Glue, which was screened locally in 2020 at FusionFest and the Global Peace Film Festival. And he plans to use footage of his many conversations with renowned 98-year-old abstract expressionist painter Harold Garde to create a video series called Harold Garde Unfiltered.
That one is going to go national,” he says. But Garbe’s primary job is as a gallerist. “I don’t particularly like art,” he says. “But I do like artists.” The mission of Mills Gallery is to attract younger visitors and to provide an inclusive showcase where gender equity is among the guiding principles. “I’m an optimist and a realist,” adds Garbe. “I love the art world, but I see the problems that many people do not want to engage with.”
THE BOTTOM LINE:
For the arts to attract new audiences, it will need to speak to young people who haven’t been to a gallery, a play or an orchestral concert. Unconventional thinkers like Garbe, who aren’t tethered to tradition, can get the attention of a generation whose cultural lives have previously involved only their smartphones.
Read This Article on Winter Park Magazine