Maitland Art Center: Orlando’s First National Historic Landmark

    By Gary McKechnie

    During the Great Depression of the 1930s, struggling artists got a helping hand from Jules André Smith.

    Smith envisioned “an oasis for creativity” that would become a colony for artists, and he chose tranquil Maitland as its home.

    Smith, along with his patron, Mary Louise Curtis Bok, would be pleased to note that what they created, now known as the Art & History Museums – Maitland Art Center, is making history itself -- becoming the first National Historic Landmark in greater Orlando, and the 44th in the state of Florida.

    The honor, bestowed by Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, applies to places that “exceptionally illustrate or interpret the heritage of the United States.”

    If you haven’t visited yet (and you should) you’ll discover the structures were created in a rare Mayan Revival style, ornate with copious sculptural reliefs drawing on Mesoamerican, Asian, and African iconographies.

    In addition to the visual beauty of the campus, there are peaceful gardens, diverse collections, ongoing exhibitions, educational programming, and a pair of sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places -- the Maitland Art Center and the Victorian-era Waterhouse Residence Museum.

    Are you an artist? Consider applying for their annual residency and studio programs, yet another part of Smith’s legacy.

    Congratulations to the Maitland Art Center. Well deserved!

    If you go...
    Maitland Art Center
    231 W. Packwood Ave., Maitland

    MAC 1.jpg

    The Maitland Art & History Center began as an artists' colony in the 1930s.

    - Maitland Art & History Center

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    Visiting the Maitland Art & History Center is as soothing as it is educational.

    - Maitland Art & History Center