If you are visiting Orlando with the kids and are looking to take a break from sweltering in the lines at the Magic Kingdom, the cool air and culture of the Orlando Museum of Art await you. OMA will pique the curiosity and stir the creative side of children as young as six or seven. If you are overwhelmed by places like the Lourve or the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, this art museum is small and compact. You can breeze through it in under two hours.
Founded in 1924, OMA strives to inspire and educate the visitors of all ages and abilities on the importance of art, how it impacts and changes lives, and, in turn, how the world around us inspires artistic creation. Its collections span painting, sculpture, photography, works on paper and ethnographic artifacts—and are acquired to expand upon its collections of American Ancient American, Latin American, and African American artists.
With its annual Florida Prize in Contemporary Art exhibit, the museum offers the visitor tastes of the most exciting contemporary artists coming onto the Floridian art scene. The show runs in the spring and summer months.
Understanding that Orlando is visited by thousands of children each year, there are kid-friendly activities and explanations of the art throughout the gallery. In addition to a room filled with picture books of the classic masters of art easily reachable on child-sized tables, OMA offers classes for both children and adults as well as special events such as Symphony Storytime, where local and visiting musicians meld the beauty of words and melodies for a relaxing and inspiring experience. There are even classes for children and adults with special needs.
Keep in mind - the OMA is a living, ever-changing gallery. Its curators collaborate with museums globally to continually bring in the best of traveling exhibitions. Thus, the show that a friend raved about months ago most likely will be replaced by others that are equally interesting. If the museum is sparsely populated with exhibitions, you may find the admission price is lower than usual. And, if you are trying to contemplate the geometric dimensions and angles of a Mel Kendrick sculpture and are disrupted by the sounds of hammers and drills, that’s part of the experience too.
If you want to create a museum day for yourself, the OMA is walking distance from the Orlando Science Center. Closed on Mondays, the Orlando Museum of Art opens Tuesday-Friday at 10 and noon on weekends, so spend a few hours in the morning and then treat yourself to lunch outside of the museum. Some nearby eateries such as Firebirds Wood Fired Grill or the White Wolf Café are both a half-mile away. The museum closes at 4 p.m. daily.
Cover Image: Orlando Museum of Art by Photography by Wikipedia User:MrX, under license CC BY-SA 3.0