Monday, August 15, 2011

Maitland Art Center

We went to Orlando yesterday and on the way back I noticed an art center sign. So we took a detour and discovered the Maitland Art Center.

What looked like a private residence in a walled garden is actually a long standing artist colony which was founded in 1937 by visionary American artist and architect, Andre Smith, (1880-1959).

After seeing the current exhibit of illustrations by Henry Patrick Raleigh in the gallery space (come back tomorrow for photos), we were fortunate to meet with Kent Arblaster, a teacher of bronze casting at the center.

Kent gave us quite a description of the various bronze casting techniques used at the school which is one of the few foundries left in the State of Florida. He also told us about the history of the making of the gardens, walls and buildings and told us about current and future plans for the center.

I love this quote above the fireplace in the gallery space. Gary said it fits me perfectly; I think he's right.

The Maitland Art Center was designed and built by J Andre Smith. The carvings on the walls were made by carving in wet concrete and then attaching them to the walls. The Art Center style is "Mayan Revival" or fantasy architecture and is on of very few left in the Southeast. The Center is also entered on the National Register of Historic Places.

The center has quite a number of separate buildings eight or so for artist studios and at one time the artists lived and worked there. For over thirty years artists have only worked there during the day. We learned of recent plans to renovate J Andre Smith's residence to once again use it for an artist in residence. I could just imagine myself staying there for a year immersed in such an artistic and historical atmosphere.

J Andre Smith
Oil on Masonite c 1950

We arrived in the middle of the day and as expected it was unbearably hot which prevented full appreciation of all the gardens had to offer.

Needless to say I was completely awestruck and inspired by the art, architecture, and gardens.

Unfortunately we had to cut our visit short because we were due at the drum circle (info upcoming) last evening so we left too soon.

We plan to go again on a cooler day when we can spend all day there.

Come back tomorrow to see works by Henry Patrick Raleigh. Thanks for reading and for all your comments.


  1. Looks like a great place to visit.

  2. What fun. I really like the quote about artists. Gary is right.

  3. What an inspiring place! Looking forward to your future post about it. Be interesting to see the artists' studios. Thanks for sharing.

  4. I agree on the quote. You are a fearless explorer.
    Don't ya love accidental finds?

  5. How fun! What wonderful photos Linda! Ahhhh, heat :o)

  6. Great photos. I hope they get the residency going so you can immerse yourself in the atmosphere if only for a few weeks or months.
    I am getting to know more about Florida and finding out there is more to it than the Miami we see on TV :^) so thank you.

  7. Hi Dennis, thanks, yes it was great fun.

    Hi Teresa, thanks, I like that quote.

    Hi Patricia, thanks, unfortunately all of the artist studios were closed, it being Sunday, except the one and it was just a square box of a room, nothing like a potter's studio would be. It just had tables in it, perhaps it was just a classroom and not a studio. The rooms has high windows near the roofline, I am so glad my windows are sitting level, but I guess the heat comes in more that way if facing West.

    Hi Patti, thanks, yes I was truly surprised we found this gem.

    Hi Cindy, thanks, I'd gladly give you a little heat from here, it's brutal this month.

    Hi Anna, thanks, Florida has so much I am amazed, so many beaches you wouldn't believe it, cattle ranches and orange groves, so many historic towns, each with their own draw. Florida is the most visited place in the world for tourists I think I read and I see why.

  8. What a treasure! It looks very peaceful, too.

  9. Hi Charlene, thanks, yes I am always amazed at the places right in our own back yard we can visit, this was a great find.


I love suggestions, questions, critiques, thanks for your comment