Sure, almost everyone who comes to Orlando wants to go to the amusement parks. But what is there to do on a rainy day? What if you want some time away from the hustle, bustle, and crowds of Disney and Universal? Well Orlando has some other really good options.
The Orlando Museum of Art (OMA) was founded in 1924, as the Orlando Art Association, a collective of artists who met regularly for group critique and to organize exhibitions. In 1960 they opened a gallery of their own. Their museum began to collect art for a permanent collection, and expanded several times, culminating with a $13.6 million renovation of their space in 1997.
The permanent collection at OMA includes American art from the 18th century through 1945, African art, and art from Ancient America. But its main focus is on modern and contemporary art.
|Triptych by Clarice Smith and Albert Paley|
|Scratch by Alison Elizabeth Taylor|
|Modern Head 1 by Roy Lichtenstein|
|Sound Suit by Nick Cave|
|Glass Structure by Dale Chihuly|
The museum also uses a lot of its gallery space for major temporary exhibitions. On my visit, about half of the museum was dedicated to the Florida Prize in Contemporary Art. Ten Florida artists are chosen every year to participate. This year’s show included artists in several genres including NFT art.
|I won't let love destroy me (l)/ Maybe I'm not alone anymore (c)/ I wish I could erase the memories we made together (r) by Yosnier |
|Test of Faith by Cara Despain|
|Untitled Photos (all 3 above) by Peggy Levison Nolan|
|Blue Chapel by Elliot and Erick Jiménez|
The other large show was The Outwin: American Portraiture Today. This triennial competition is organized by the National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C. After being on exhibit there for a year, the show has been sent to tour the east coast. After leaving Orlando, it travels to the Ackland Art Museum on the campus of UNC - Chapel Hill, and then to the Michelle and Donald D’Amour Museum of Fine Art in Springfield MA.
|Customer Service Representative by Marianna T. Olague|
|Refuges Crossing the Border Wall into South Texas by Rigoberto A. Gonzalez|
|Portrait of Jael by Melissa Ann Pinney|
|Minty, Kayla, Leyah, and Layla by Rania Matar|
|Anthony Cuts Under the Williamsburg Bridge, Morning by Alison Elizabeth Taylor|
|People of the Sun by Vincent Valdez|
If art isn’t your thing, but you like roadside attractions, head to Clermont, Florida to visit the Florida Citrus Tower. Built in 1956, this 228 foot tower (70m) towers over Orange and Lake counties. Its location on Route 27, the main north-south road through central Florida, brought up to 500,000 visitors a year, to ride up to its observation floor. But the extension of the Florida Turnpike, an expressway that bypasses Clermont, pulled tourists away from the area. The tower has been sold several times during the past decades, but its new owners are trying to revive it along with the stores that surround it.
|Florida Citrus Tower|
You may have come to Orlando for the amusement parks, but there are plenty of other things to do in the area. So leave the Mouse and Universal behind for a day and explore central Florida.