Are you ready for some word association? I say “Orlando”, and you say…….
How many of you said “Disney”? I’d also accept “Mickey” or “theme parks” or “happiest place on earth”. I have a hunch the the overwhelming majority of responses would fall along those lines. In fact, when my husband first began discussing the possibility of moving to Orlando, my words were “what? Orlando? It’s just Disney and old people.” To say that I was not excited would be an understatement.
However, as I began to do a little research on why living in Orlando was fabulous, I discovered that Orlando is a city that has much to offer beyond Disney. This past weekend, my family and I headed out to the Orlando Museum of Art to participate in their Family Day. Once a year, the museum sets aside a day specifically for families. There is free admission, children’s activities, live music, and a general welcoming spirit to families. I have written in the past that my children are no strangers to art museums, but for many families, art museums are not part of their usual weekend faire, and events such as this one present a fantastic opportunity to expose their children to real beauty in the form of visual art.
As this was our first visit to the Orlando Museum of Art, we really didn’t know what to expect. I was thrilled to see that there is a feature piece Citron and Cobalt Tower by Dale Chihuly. We first encountered Chihuly’s stunning glass art when we were living in Richmond, VA, and we have been fans ever since.
Like most art museums, the Orlando Museum of Art has both permanent and visiting collections. In the permanent collections, my children were particularly fascinated with many of the modern works. They have a fantastic collection of multi-dimensional art that encouraged our children to both think, and discuss.
I was particularly captured by the visitng exhibit Babylonian Odyssey featuring works by artist Oded Halahmy. Halahmy is an Iraqi of jewish descent who creates sculptures from metal (in this exhibit, primarily bronze) that reflect middle eastern landscapes and themes. The collection was displayed in such a creative way that truly captured the flavor of his culture. You can still enjoy this marvelous exhibit through the end of 2017.
My children’s favorite exhibit was easily Bravo! by Chris Raschka. Raschka is an author and illustrator of children’s books. Not only did the museum have his illustrations on display, they also provided a table with many of his books.
It was delightful to read to my girls and then walk around and enjoy looking at his artwork.
We were fortunate enough to visit on the final weekend of this exhibit, and I’m so glad we didn’t miss it! we even went to our local library later and checked out of few of his books to enjoy at home.
Of course, since it was family day, the “craft room” was not to be missed. My own budding artists enjoyed the opportunity to create their own masterpieces as a fitting end to an afternoon of art exploration.
I was grateful to experience this delightful museum in my own backyard. For our family, it was just the right size. We were able to wander through the entire museum without overloading our kids or our own senses. There is a wide variety of art to peruse. The exhibits were well designed and engaging. We are already planning our return visit!
Have you visited your local art museum? If not, why not plan to go this weekend? And when you do, leave me a note about your favorite exhibit. There is so much beauty to enjoy – get out there and see it!