Sleeping Amid Art: New Winter Park Hotel is Extension of Museum

By: Jodi Mailander Farrell

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With contemporary photos, sculptures and paintings rotating through its lobby and other spaces, The Alfond Inn, Winter Park’s new boutique hotel owned by Rollins College, infuses art into every visitor’s stay.

On display in the hotel's public spaces is the Alfond Collection of Contemporary Art for Rollins College, a 100-plus piece collection of contemporary art that was assembled and donated to the Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College by alumni Barbara and Ted Alfond.

The Alfonds are avid and knowledgeable art collectors, and Barbara Alfond serves on the board of trustees at the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. The couple amassed the artwork with the assistance of independent Boston-based curator Abigail Ross Goodman.

In an interview with Art in America, Barbara Alfond noted that "when we began to develop this collection, what resonated with me was the notion of literacy – the idea of understanding other cultures, past and present, and being conversant beyond your subject area."

Works by contemporary artists and photographers, such as Tracey Emin, Joseph Kosuth, Steve McCurry and Maya Lin are part of The Alfond Collection, which includes paintings, photographs, sculptures and alternative visual forms. It is a museum collection of 21st century contemporary artworks by both established and emerging artists, works that are eye-opening, challenging and sometimes provocative.

A number of pieces in the collection are text-based, paying homage to the importance of language, literacy and global diversity.

"The Alfond family has a passionate sense of ownership and responsibility," says Deanne Gabel, General Manager of the hotel. "They have given Rollins College a world-class collection of important 21st-century works that we are delighted to have on display for our guests.  It's exciting when a boutique hotel like ours can serve as an extension of a fine arts museum.

The 112-room hotel, at 300 E. New England Ave., just 15 minutes from downtown Orlando, opened in August 2013 and was built with a $12.5-million grant from the Harold Alfond Foundation. Net operating income from the Inn is directed to scholarships for students.

Guided tours of the collection, never before on view publically, are offered daily at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. by a concierge trained by Barbara Alfond and Ena Heller, the Bruce A. Beal director of the Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College. The tour is free but reservations are requested.

The collection will change every few months, with a hands-on rotation by Barbara Alfond and curator Abigail Ross Goodman.

In addition to The Alfond Inn, guests can visit the Cornell Fine Arts Museum on the campus of Rollins College, as well as discover other Winter Park treasures, such as the Polasek Museum and the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art, which has the most extensive collection of works by Louis Comfort Tiffany in the world.

For reservations and information call 407-998-8090, or visit the website at www.thealfondinn.com  


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