Sheer art attack: Orlando's can’t-miss gallery spaces

Alfredo Jaar, 'Be Afraid of the Enormity of the Possible,' 2015 | Alfond Collection of Contemporary Art
Alfredo Jaar, 'Be Afraid of the Enormity of the Possible,' 2015 | Alfond Collection of Contemporary Art Photo by Jessica Bryce Young, courtesy Alfond Inn

Orlando is not rich in famed art pieces like New York City, Chicago or Washington, D.C. – though a Kara Walker lives in the permanent collection of the Cornell Fine Arts Museum. And while the Orlando Museum of Art may hold the attention of most Orlandoans as perhaps the most important museum space we have to offer, there are smaller and more accessible galleries in town that put on engaging and innovative shows. Further, the more interaction with and focus on local artists, the better for you as you get to know Orlando and the people who make it vibrant and viable.

Cornell Fine Arts Museum
Everyone who runs this museum are the coolest of cats, and I am particularly fond of the Education Department's programming for children (head out to a CFAMily Day, if you can). Former curator Amy Galpin's approach to including more installation and video works was awe-inspiring, and this is something I hope will continue during Gisela Carbonel's curatorial tenure.

Henao Contemporary Center
The five senses do not stand alone, and the Henao Center hints at the possible relationships and bridging gaps between the fairly traditional visual world of wall-hung art and live music.

Mills Gallery
The unusual composite of apartment complex lobby, gallery, and gym are a fascinating complement to the overall eccentric vibe of the Mills Gallery. The Anna Cruz and Adam Lavine exhibition Heaven Is a Place on Earth was a definite highlight of the year. And there is something very special about viewing Cruz's "Leaving Eden" to the soundtrack of someone running on a treadmill.

Orlando Museum of Art
OMA is the go-to local spot for larger touring exhibits and also their popular 1st Thursday soirees. The museum has hosted Nick Cave and Purvis Young, and once a year they really shine with their always-unique Florida Prize group exhibition and contest.

Snap! Orlando
Snap! is a swanky space (or two) for photographic and other contemporary works, and the Colonial Drive location is conveniently next to one of the best coffee joints in town, the lovely Lineage. The star-studded Chuck Stewart photography exhibition – which included iconic snaps of Aretha Franklin and John Coltrane – was absolutely jaw-dropping.


Art and History Museums – Maitland
231 W. Packwood Ave., Maitland,

Alfond Inn 3
00 E. New England Ave., Winter Park,

39 S. Magnolia Ave.,

Cornell Fine Arts Museum
1000 Holt Ave., Winter Park,

Henao Contemporary Center
5601 Edgewater Drive,

Loud Gallery
1907 N. Orange Ave.,

Mennello Museum of American Art
900 E. Princeton St.,

Mills Gallery
1650 N. Mills Ave.,

Morse Museum of American Art
445 N. Park Ave., Winter Park,

Orlando Museum of Art
2416 N. Mills Ave.,

Polasek Museum and Sculpture Gardens
633 Osceola Ave., Winter Park,

Snap! Orlando
1013 E. Colonial Drive; also 420 E. Church St.,

Jacoub Reyes, 'Two Figures,' from his show 'Beyond Good and Evil' at the Mills Gallery - ART BY JACOUB REYES, COURTESY MILLS GALLERY
Art by Jacoub Reyes, courtesy Mills Gallery
Jacoub Reyes, 'Two Figures,' from his show 'Beyond Good and Evil' at the Mills Gallery

This story is from the Aug. 8, 2019, print issue of Orlando Weekly's Newcomers Guide 2019. Stay on top of Central Florida news and views with our weekly Headlines newsletter.
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