Palette Magazine

Building Blocks: Letter from our creative director, Ethan Duran

Hanging out in Wilton Manors.
Hanging out in Wilton Manors. Photo: Carina Mask

I often find myself talking about community. In fact, about a year ago when I first started my adventure with Palette, that’s what I had set out to find. Many of us buy decent homes and live in pleasant neighborhoods, but a true sense of community is somewhat more elusive than that. Now I think I know why.

Tapping into that sense of belonging is just part of the story. The other part — often the more fulfilling part — is what you’re willing to give to improve that community, to make it not just a better place for you to live, but more reflective of your values and ideals. When we speak of community, we refer to that feeling of togetherness that comes from having a common cause or common interests. It’s not the kind of prize you get by just tagging along.

There are great places to call home throughout South Florida, wonderful neighborhoods with spectacular views, stunning architecture, expansive parks and trendy restaurants. Some of us work to preserve those special places. Others establish businesses that promote our neighborhoods and help them grow. Many of us try to participate as often as possible in walks, festivals, gatherings and other activities to help support the causes we feel need our attention most. And there are plenty of opportunities for that.

If you have a soft spot for the kids, Ark of Freedom invites you to spend a Night on the Streets on April 9th. While nothing like the brutal experiences many of the youngest members of our community face being treated like a disposable commodity, that one night you spend in Wynwood will help raise funds for a number of organizations that combat the trafficking and exploitation of homeless and abandoned youth.

At the end of the month — April 28th to be exact — Broward House will hold its Dine Out for Life event. Those who want to take part just need to be ready to eat breakfast, lunch or dinner. The Broward county restaurants involved will do their part by donating a percentage of their profits to Broward House — an organization that has earned its place as a pillar of the community.

I realize now that it’s not just about our ability to give, but to do it together. In December, the City of Wilton Manors held a community-wide survey in search of a new tagline. More than 350 people participated, and then the final tagline was selected by groups of residents, business owners and city volunteers — people invested in their community. “Life’s just better here,” will now appear next to Wilton Manors wherever the city is marketed. With the thought, effort and love that went into the process, I think there’s plenty of truth to that.

I hope to see you out there. Whether hanging out or dining out, I’d like to keep building this community.

Don’t forget to send your tweets to @palettelgbt or drop me a line at We look forward to hearing from you. Be sure to follow us on Instragram and Facebook as well. We’d love to see your holiday photos!

Stay Gold,

Ethan Duran

Creative Director