ORI Entertainment Is Takin’ Y’all To School

ORI Educates members
ORI Educates membersThe people behind some of Gainesville’s biggest parties have more on their minds than just having a good time.

The 35 20-somethings that make up ORI Entertainment, the event company that brought Gainesville the massive Big and Hearty Music and Art Festival and the A-N-D party series, can’t stop finding new ways to give back to the community.

“It’s so important to us because we truly care,” said director Charlie Bilsker. “We care about what goes on in the future and helping positivity grow in general.”

ORI Entertainment was created about four years ago by coordinating director Ian Arnold, who said he started the company because he wanted to be in a business he enjoyed. The company started with just himself and has continued to grow through the years. Bilsker came on board about two years ago, and now ORI is expanding its brand toward the betterment of Gainesville as a whole.

The next A-N-D party is this Friday and, after a confusing week or so, is being held at a secret, private location. It adds an air of old-schoolness and mystery and a sense of ooh-what’s-gonna-happen which we at Wet Paint just love.

To top off the good time, they’re using the party send out posi vibes, and 10 percent of the proceeds from ticket sales are going toward the Save the Ta-tas Foundation, which funds breast cancer research.

But ORI isn’t content just contributing to already existing organizations. Its next big project is ORI Educates, a program that will fund and create music and art programs at schools around the county.

“We realized, in general, music and art programs are not really well-funded,” Bilsker said. “They leave it out like it’s not important, but music is essential to everyone.”

Funding for the programs will come from corporate sponsors and profits from ORI events, such as A-N-D parties. In fact, 20 percent of ticket sales for Friday go towards the organization.

The mission is to buy instruments and art supplies as well as take an active part in creating the programs and making sure they create positive learning environments for the students involved.

“We’re doing as much as possible to give kids options,” Bilsker said, “because we know science, English and math aren’t for everyone.”

In the future, ORI plans to partner its education program with local companies so it can set older students up with internships, which will allow them the opportunity to apply their skills, such as accounting or law degrees, to work in the entertainment business.

“My hope is to make a measurable difference,” he said. “There’s nothing more valuable in our community than giving people an opportunity. The more people in the community prosper at large, the more the community prospers.”

Well said dude, well said.

Tickets for the Save the Ta-tas Foundation benefit party are $15 at the gate and $10 online at orientertainment.com.

Originally published in the Independent Florida Alligator, on October 21, 2010.

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