Published on March 26, 2018 under Celebrate The Children


If you’re a teenager who wants to be an artist when you grow up, be prepared to deflect critical questions and comments from ‘helpful’ advisors. “Just because you’re good at drawing doesn’t mean someone’s going to pay you to do it.” “You better have a good backup option—like accounting.”

David Hartmann shows Debora some of his team’s concept boards

Debora Cordero, a 17-year-old member of our Tupperware Brands Branch and an aspiring artist, received no such “advice” on the recent day she spent shadowing a team of artists at Walt Disney World Live Entertainment.  To the contrary, she received only encouragement from Principal Art Director David Hartmann and his team of 18 artists, who make their living creating the artistic magic that defines Disney Parks Live Entertainment.

The day began with a wide-ranging discussion between Debora and 10 young artists, who shared with her the educational and career choices that led to their working at Disney. They were full of sage advice:  The computer is an incredible tool, but don’t underestimate the importance of good pencil skills.   Always be thinking about the story you’re trying to tell with your art. And make sure you develop every skill you can, from computer animation to sculpting—because they all inter-relate and build upon one another.

Debora, David Hartmann, and Hartmann’s team are joined by Kevin from “Up”

After a brainstorming session over lunch, David led Debora from office to office, to peer over the shoulders of the artists at work.  Hartmann’s staff is responsible for creating the art involved in live Disney events, an incredible panoply ranging from the relatively simple, such as prop design for character meet & greets, to the awe-inspiring “Happily Ever After” fireworks spectacular at Magic Kingdom Park.

Debora lapped it up, asking questions of each artist and sharing with them her own work.  Indeed, for someone who hasn’t even graduated high school, Debora has already accumulated an impressive list of artistic accolades. Most notably, as the winner of the “Best in Show” prize in the 2016 National Fine Arts Competition, Debora was invited by Lowe’s Home Improvement to design the mural that will be installed in a Boys & Girls Club in all 50 states.

The creative spirit of Walt Disney is alive and well at Disney Parks Live Entertainment

Still, to hear from professionals who have “made it”—people working at the pinnacle of the art field—that you have what it takes, that’s heady stuff.

Leaving the studio at the end of the day, Debora reflected, “to see in person people doing what I’ve always envisioned myself doing, and to see just how many different opportunities there are, it was just wonderful. I feel like my dreams are actually within reach.”

Walt Disney World Resort is a Platinum Partner of Celebrate the Children 2018.  This gala dinner and auction is Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Florida’s premiere annual fundraising event, and is scheduled for Friday, May 11 at the Orlando World Center Marriott.  For more information, see


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