July 27, 2009

A woman after my own heart

Harriett Lake is a lovely woman who has had a tremendous effect on the arts community in Central Florida through her philanthropic contributions.

Not only is Lake the namesake of the Harriett Lake Festival of Plays, but Harriett's Bar at the Lowndes Shakespeare Center is named for her. I especially enjoyed hearing of her latest contribution to the community.

For her $1 million donation to the Dr. P. Phillips Orlando Performing Arts Center, Lake was offered her choice of naming opportunities. She picked the first floor ladies room, which will henceforth be known as "Harriett’s Ladies Lounge."

Board chairman Jim Pugh would win my quote of the week award, if I had one. He said, "She obviously has a clear sense of the priorities of the patrons who will utilize the facility."

For a mere million, you, too, could get a piece of the center in your name. But these bits are already taken:

  • The Bill and Mary Darden Box Office (Darden Restaurants)

  • The Richard Kessler Hospitality Suite (Richard Kessler, a local hotelier)

  • The Peter Family Stage (Annette Neel, the Peters’ daughter)

  • The Lynn and Chuck Steinmetz Stage (the Steinmetzes)

Although Jesus said we should give without regard for recognition, I must say these people-centered labels are, at least, better than giant corporations slapping their logos on major landmarks. I still staunchly refuse to call the sports arena in downtown Orlando by its proper name. It will always be the O-rena to me. But Harriett’s Ladies Lounge is a naming right I’m glad to honor.

I just hope Avodart doesn’t sponsor the men’s room.

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