231 West Packwood Avenue, Maitland 32751
Admission:For the gallery, adults $3; seniors (65+), Maitland residents, and students (12 to 22) $2
Hours: Monday to Friday 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday noon to 4:30 p.m.
Location: From I-4 take Exit 90. Go east on Maitland Boulevard, then turn right onto Maitland Avenue and right onto Packwood
The Maitland Art Center is both a gallery and a working art school. It was founded in the late 1930s by the artist and architect André Smith as a “laboratory” for the study of modern art. Smith built a charmingly eccentric complex of tiny cottage/studios for visiting artists. He decorated the modest buildings with cast concrete ornaments and detailing heavily influenced by the art of the ancient Aztecs and Maya.
Today the gallery plays host to a regular succession of exhibits by local and national artists, exhibits of private collections, and arts and crafts workshops that are open to the public.
After visiting the gallery, take some time to stroll the grounds. The place must have been idyllic in its heyday, before Maitland became quite so built up. Across the street from the gallery and studios is a roofless outdoor concrete chapel with a latticework cross. Shaded by oaks dripping in Spanish moss and surrounded by lush vegetation, the chapel offers a peaceful corner for contemplation. It is also the setting for some spectacular weddings. Right next to it is an open courtyard whose exuberant decoration owes a debt to the boisterous paganism of pre-Columbian Mexico; it makes for quite a contrast.
Nearby: Maitland Historical Museum, Waterhouse Residence, Birds of Prey Center.
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