Art Comes Alive In Orlando - Museum Of Art

The city of Orlando is more than the major theme parks and the hundreds of attractions that you’ll find here. It is also home to a very robust art and cultural scene, with numerous museums and galleries, housing stunning collections of artworks that are carefully curated and displayed for Orlando’s many guests to enjoy. You’ll find several excellent museums in the city, with one of the more popular being the  Orlando Museum of Art. 

The History of Orlando Museum of Art

Orlando Museum of Art (OMA) was established in 1924 as the Orlando Art Association. This organization started as a small art center composed of artists who met on an informal setting in the 1920s where they displayed and critiqued their work. During the late 1950s, the group raised funds to build a facility which was designed by James Gamble Rogers III and was completed by the year 1960. 

In the same year, they began to collect various artworks when they accepted donations of famous paintings by Charles Sheeler and Georgia O’Keeffe. As the years progressed, they expanded their facility with the help of noted architects Duane Stark and Nils Schweizer, who were both students of Frank Lloyd Wright. Their facility is complete with new galleries, three studio classrooms, 250-seat auditorium, vault, library, as well as offices. Orlando Museum of Art received a major collection of Art of the Ancient Americas as well as other African artworks which started their Contemporary American Graphics Collection. 

The state of Florida designated Orlando Museum of Art as a major cultural institution in 1985.

Orlando Museum of Art

The mission of Orlando Museum of Art is to be able to interpret as well as present the most compelling works of art to the public, and to create a positive effect on people’s lives through the inspiring and innovative education programs that they provide. Their mission is to inspire creativity, intellectual curiosity, as well as passion in the arts not only by local artists but international talents as well. Connecting people through new ideas and art works are what OMA is all about. 

Every year, OMA presents up to 12 on-site exhibits and 13 exhibits off-site, endless gallery tours, award-winning art enrichment programs, video programs, studio classes, teacher in-service training programs, outreach services not only in their facility but also throughout the community.

What to See in Orlando Museum of Art?

There is much to see in Orlando city for sure, but if you want to immerse yourself in fine arts, a trip to OMA is well worth it. Aside from their special events like galleries and exhibits, there are a few pieces here that art lovers will want to take  a closer look at. 

Citron and Cobalt Tower

Upon entering the museum, you’ll immediately be struck by the Chihuly Glass which was made by the well-known glass artist Dale Chihuly, that features those dark lemon and blue glass tentacles reaching for the sky. The intricacy of the work is simply stunning. 


Wire-frame Sculptures

Barbara Sorensen’s “Dwellings” are wire-frame sculptures that were inspired by the woven fish traps that the Aborigine used to catch fish. Sorenson is based in Colorado, but she has already exhibited in OMA as well as in Cornell Fine Arts Museum and Mennello Museum of American Art. 

Post-impressionist landscapes

Aside from the Chihuly Glass, there are several post-impressionist landscapes showcased here which were done by Louis Dewis. His paintings consisted of scenes of villages, cities, as well as the countryside in France and Belgium. His artwork will be displayed in OMA until the 9th of September.

Art Abounds in Downtown Orlando

Aside from the amazing collection of artworks in OMA’s gallery, there are other museums in Orlando that are well worth visiting. Downtown Orlando is home to several art spaces that are also well worth adding to your list of things to do while you are in Orlando. Here are a few that are worth mentioning in the Orlando Art district.

City Arts Factory

City Arts Factory is Downtown Orlando’s largest collection of art galleries showing work done by both local and international artists. The artwork displayed here is rotated every month with free admission from Tuesday to Saturday from 11 in the morning to 6 in the evening. 

Mad Cow Theatre

Mad Cow Theatre is a local theatre that provides several shows from comedy performances all the way to musicals. 

Dr. Phillips Center of the Performing Arts

If you’re looking for a show, you can check out Dr. Phillips Center of the Performing Arts where you can watch Broadway musicals, Jazz concerts, ballet and more.

Grand Bohemian Gallery

Another art gallery that you should check out while you are downtown is the Grand Bohemian Gallery located within the Grand Bohemian Hotel Orlando where you can view works of art done by local, international, and regional artists .

Art Schools in Orlando

For budding artists, Orlando has several colleges and universities that offer  art programs to local and international students as well. Here are a few that are worth checking out if you’re thinking about  enrolling in the city. 

University of Central Florida

University of Central Florida has 14 Art and Design Degree programs where a large percentage of their students graduate in the Art and Design field, getting Masters and Doctoral degrees in the same university.

Rollins College

Rollins College is a small private university that offers 3 Art and Design Degree programs. It also has an art gallery which is one of the most visited in downtown Orlando. 

Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts

This private college offers 2 Art and Design Degree programs with 264 students graduating in this field in 2015.

Best Art Store Orlando

Budding artists will need their art supplies and Orlando is packed to the brim with art stores where you can easily get a variety of art materials and tools. Here are a few that you should take note of: 

Sam Flax

Sam Flax stands out in terms of an art store Orlando because of the mural design that changes from time to time. It is also home to dozens of art materials and it has become the ‘go to’ spot for artists because they have everything that they could need. They also offer art classes, which is a plus for young artists who want to learn how to wield paint brushes like a pro. 

Reynolds Advanced Materials

Another art supply store that you’ll find in Orlando is Reynolds Advanced Materials where you will find materials for sculpting, making molds, or even pouring resin castings. They also have video tutorials which are useful for beginners. 

Art Systems of Florida

This is another great spot if you are looking for art supplies like easels, spray paint, paint brushes, canvas, and paint just to name a few. The prices are reasonable here especially for students who are on a budget.

Top Museums to Visit in Orlando

If you are looking for museums that have free admission, there are several choices because Orlando has numerous museums that are sure to be worth a visit. Here are a few that you should add to your itinerary. 

Cornell Fine Arts Museum

Cornell Fine Arts Museum offers free admission to its guests with more than 6,000 art pieces that range from Renaissance all the way to the Baroque period. If you are an art lover, this is a good place to start because it houses some of the oldest collections that you will find in Florida. 


Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art

Another option to consider in terms of free museums in Orlando is Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art. Here you will find an impressive selection of Louis Comfort Tiffany which includes the chapel interior that was designed by Charles Hosmer Morse. It also houses an extensive collection of American Pottery including 19th and 20th century paintings as well. Admission is free from 4pm to 8pm every Friday from November to April.

Zora Neale Hurston National Museum of Fine Arts

Make your way to Zora Neale Hurston National Museum of Fine Arts where they celebrate this famous artist who is known for her story Their Eyes Were Watching God. 

Fort Christmas Historical Museum & Park

Don’t forget to include Fort Christmas in your list of things to do in Orlando, especially if you’re a history buff. Here you’ll find a full-size replica of Fort Christmas which was first built for the Second Seminole Indian War. It includes 7 restored pioneer homes as well as exhibits that show pioneer life back in the days. Among the key themes include homesteading, citrus, cattle, fishing, hunting, and trapping.

Orlando Museum of Art is always a good place to start your adventure when it comes to art and with downtown Orlando being home to several artworks and galleries, you will always find new things to enjoy in the city. And the lineup of other museums and galleries can easily fill  your entire vacation. 

Orlando Museum Of Art Resources:

[1] Wikipedia; Orlando Museum of Art; 2019.
[2] Orlando Museum of Art; About The Orlando Museum Of Art, 2014.
[3] Orlando Sentinel.com; 5 things to see at Orlando Museum of Art, Anne Dunlap, July 25, 2018.
[4] Downtown Orlando.com; Guide To The Arts In Downtown Orlando, August 11,2016.
[5] Yelp.com; The Best 10 Art Supplies in Orlando, Fl, United States,2014-2019.
[6] Tripster Travel Guide; 17 Totally Free Things To Do In Orlando, Asley, Travel Expert, April 26, 2018.



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