2019 WAVE Awards Spotlight: Patty Sheehan

By : Jeremy Williams
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Central Florida’s Favorite Local Activist, Favorite Local Artist, WHO SHOULD BE THE CENTERFOLD OF WATERMARK’S WAVE ISSUE

Patty Sheehan has a couple of things she is particularly passionate about: her community and her art. So it is rather fitting that Watermark readers recognized her for being their Favorite Local Activist and Favorite Local Artist in Central Florida.

There is one other recognition the Central Florida readers of Watermark bestowed upon Orlando’s first openly gay city commissioner: The person who should be the centerfold of Watermark’s WAVE issue.“I couldn’t believe it when I heard that,” Sheehan says with a laugh. “I mean I love David Bromstad. I just think he is so hot and figured he would get centerfold.”

But it was Sheehan that came out on top, besting Bromstad—host of HGTV’s “My Lottery Dream Home”—and Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer to be Central Florida’s Centerfold.

Just as impressive as her modeling skills, Sheehan’s passion as an LGBTQ activist is well documented. Even before being elected as the first openly gay city commissioner in 2000, she was out on the front lines trying to make her city and state more LGBTQ inclusive and accepting. It is that kind of love for community that has led her district to re-elect her four more times. Sheehan announced last month that she is running for a sixth term.

“I’m so proud of the work we have been able to do in this city. I do not take anything for granted and if the people of my district re-elect me than I would love to continue to work for them and for this community that I love,” she says.

Besides all the first place love Sheehan received, she also came in second place for Favorite Local Politician, an award she has no shame in receiving considering who came in first.
“[Buddy Dyer] so deserves it,” Sheehan says.

While Sheehan is grateful for all of her WAVE Awards this year, she has a special place in her heart for Favorite Local Artist. Sheehan, who has a B.A. in art, has painted many things throughout the years, but there is one particular subject that has become as iconic as Sheehan herself — Bad Kitty.

“Bad Kitty actually came about by me trying to make lemonade out of some lemons,” she says. Sheehan’s Bad Kitty is based on her black cat Louie who went with Sheehan’s ex after they divorced.

“I was feeling low and all I had left was some canvases and paints, so I started painting,” Sheehan says. “A friend of mine encouraged me to do an art exhibit with all my Bad Kitty paintings.”Sheehan held her first Bad Kitty Art Show, selling every painting, and the rest is art history. Sheehan’s Bad Kitty has since become a cultural icon—appearing on canvas sporting a variety of holiday costumes, showing off the peace and equal signs and even wearing a bright pink head piece made popular by the Women’s March.

“I love seeing Bad Kitty wearing the pink pussy hat,” Sheehan says, laughing. “It’s just so perfect.”

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