In 2010, I visited TheCharles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art in Winter Park to find a 10-gallery, 12,000 square-foot wing under construction, planned to house The Morse’s immense collection of architectural elements, archival materials, and artworks salvaged from Louis Comfort Tiffany’s Laurelton Hall estate.
With Laurelton’s loggia installed at The Met, a gift in 1978 by the founders of the Winter Park museum, where better during these unsettled troubling times to sense the spirit of one artist’s lifelong quest than standing in the rebuilt Daffodil Terrace, the focal point for the world’s most comprehensive collection of Tiffany works.
At the nearby Alfond Inn, the hotel’s art collection, according to Ted Alfond, “has driven the accolades, ratings, and enthusiasm of visitors. The overall success of the enterprise is beyond what anyone had expected.” The Alfonds, along with curator Abigail Ross Goodman, have assembled an outstanding collection in association with Rollins College’s Cornell Fine Arts Museum. The art-of-the-moment acquisitions are intended “… to stimulate … new perspectives, new ways of seeing, and new ways to process what we are seeing,” according to Barbara Alfond, Rollins ’68. While the five-story, pet-friendly, 112-room boutique hotel has reduced its capacity, the hotel’s standards and staff have not slackened, attentive to guests’ every safety and health concerns. Barely a 2½ hour drive from Palm Beach, The Alfond Inn and Winter Park’s Park Avenue are an idyllic getaway from the South Florida swarm.
Amid the simulated illusions of Magic Kingdom and Jurassic Park, where for some inhaling pixie dust and water slide thrills are essential Florida souvenirs, the Orlando Museum of Art’s collections and exhibitions at Loch Haven Park are too often bypassed on the way to EPCOT. Open at 50% capacity, OMA’s Contemporary Art Collection is the largest section of the venue’s permanent collection, having established an Acquisition Trust in 1985. I was especially fascinated by Kerry James Marshall’sUntitled, 1999, a 50-foot long, 12-panel woodcut on paper.