BLUE BAMBOO GOES TO THE LIBRARY

Eclectic music series showcases genres from bossa nova to Americana.

Blue Bamboo Center for the Arts will stage Blue Bamboo Presents — a monthly concert series — at the Winter Park Library in the facility’s intimate Edyth Bush Theater. Although “The Boo” is reluctantly moving out of Winter Park, founder Chris Cortez (below) says he wants to maintain a presence in the city with this series and other events yet to be announced. Photos courtesy of the City of Winter Park (library) and The Blue Bamboo Center for the Arts (Cortez)

Blue Bamboo Center for the Arts is going to the Winter Park Library! No, not to check out a book (anyway, checking out books isn’t all that libraries do anymore) but to stage Blue Bamboo Presents, an eclectic series of monthly concerts in the facility’s intimate Edyth Bush Theater beginning in January.

By now you likely know that “The Boo,” a cherished local concert venue that has presented several hundred live events each year since it was founded in 2015, is moving out of Winter Park. 

Not by choice — co-founder Chris Cortez exhausted every potential option to stay — but because its funky warehouse-cum-concert-hall venue on Minnesota Avenue had been bought by investors who were looking for a massive rent increase.

But it isn’t going far. At press time, The Boo was slated to move into new (and, truth be told, much nicer) digs in the Packing District at the Edge of College Park. Although further details may be publicly known by now, at press time a lease hadn’t been finalized so that’s about all that can be said.

Cortez, however, says he’s determined to retain a footprint in Winter Park, where fans nurtured the venture — a nonprofit — and packed the hall for concerts that tended toward jazz but spanned genres. 

The Boo’s stage showcased established performers with national followings as well as talented newcomers who developed local fan bases through their Boo bookings, and count Cortez — himself a veteran performer and prolific recording artist — as a mentor.

“Even though we won’t be in the city, we want to continue to be a presence here,” says Cortez. “I’m sure our fans will want to check out the new hall. But Winter Park has supported us over the years, and we want to continue giving back right here.”

The six-show series at the library should be a strong start, with a mixture of jazz, flamenco, folk, bossa nova and international music played by some of the most popular performers to play The Boo. See page 82 to find out what’s in store for music lovers during Blue Bamboo Presents.

All shows are ticketed individually, with prices ranging from $20 to $25. Capacity is just 100, so purchase your tickets right away by visiting
bluebambooartcenter.com.

—Randy Noles

‘BLUE BAMBOO PRESENTS:’ HERE’S THE LINEUP

VISUAL ARTS

Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens. This lakeside museum, open since 1961, is dedicated to preserving works of the famed Czech sculptor for whom it was both home and studio for more than a decade. The museum offers tours of Polasek’s home Tuesdays to Saturdays. And it offers tours of the adjacent Capen-Showalter House three times weekly: Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11:30 a.m., and Saturdays at 10:15 a.m. Built in 1885, the Capen-Showalter House was saved from demolition several years ago and floated across Lake Osceola to its current location on the Polasek’s grounds. Opening January 16 is Yaat Ya Oke: Welcome Travelers, an exhibition of works by contemporary Seminole artists that reflect life’s beauty and the unity of the human spirit. (See page 88.) Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors, $3 for students and free for children. 633 Osceola Avenue, Winter Park. 407-647-6294. polasek.org.

The Art & History Museums – Maitland. The Maitland Art Center, one of five museums that anchor the city’s Cultural Corridor, was founded as an art colony in 1937 by visionary artist and architect J. André Smith. The center, located at 231 West Packwood Avenue, Maitland, is Central Florida’s only National Historic Landmark and one of the few surviving examples of Mayan Revival architecture in the Southeast. (See page 92.) Admission to the art center’s galleries is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors and students (ages 5 to 17) and free for children ages 4 and under. Maitland residents receive a $1 discount. The Cultural Corridor also includes the Maitland Historical Museum and Telephone Museum at 221 West Packwood Avenue, and the Waterhouse Residence Museum and Carpentry Shop Museum, both built in the 1880s and located at 820 Lake Lily Drive. 407-539-2181. artandhistory.org.

Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art. With more than 19,000 square feet of gallery and public space, the Morse houses the world’s most important collection of Louis Comfort Tiffany creations, including jewelry, pottery, paintings, art glass and an entire chapel interior originally designed and built for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. The museum’s latest exhibitions are The American Arts & Crafts Movement, which focuses on the variety of materials used to create the uniform and warm environments favored at the turn of the last century; and Fascinating Clutter: American Taste During the Reign of Victoria, which explores the rich, romantic aesthetic landscape of the 19th century and how industry, expansion and war influenced personal and artistic expression. Also currently on view are Lamps & Lighting — Tiffany and His Contemporaries, a showcase of Tiffany’s most innovative and iconic designs; and Vignette, a collection of decor items from the Ayer Mansion in Chicago, one of Tiffany’s most complete residential design commissions. Also ongoing is Revival & Reform: Eclecticism in the 19th-Century Environment, which provides a rare look at the diversity of decorative arts in the late 19th and early 20th centuries with pieces by Tiffany, William Morris, Frank Lloyd Wright and others. Additional displays include Watercolors from Louis Comfort Tiffany’s “Little Arcadia,” which invites visitors to look beyond Tiffany’s legendary legacy to discover the gifts of other talented artists — especially women — who worked in his studios. Regular admission to the museum is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors, $1 for students and free for children younger than age 12. Hours are 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays to Saturdays and 1 to 4 p.m. on Sundays. 445 North Park Avenue, Winter Park. 407-645-5311. morsemuseum.org. 

Crealdé School of Art. Established in 1975, this nonprofit arts organization on Winter Park’s east side offers year-round visual-arts classes for all ages taught by more than 40 working artists. Visitors may take a self-guided tour through the campus’s lakeside sculpture garden, which includes more than 60 three-dimensional pieces of contemporary outdoor art and related educational panels. Continuing through January 20 are Patrick Noze: Renaissance Artist of the Americas, which features new and never-before-seen works by the Haitian-born sculptor and painter, and Elemental Landscapes: Womyn’s Alternative Photography Society International, which offers a new perspective on alternative photography with analogue and experimental methods. Opening February 9 is Spirits in the Silver: Discovering Lost Film by Laurie Hasan, an exhibition of recovered photographs rescued from exposed vintage film left behind in discarded antique cameras. And starting February 16 is The Creative Concept of Vincent Sansone, opening February 16, an exploration of the lifelong master ceramicist’s personal vault. Admission to the school’s galleries is free, although there are fees for art classes. 600 Saint Andrews Boulevard, Winter Park. 407-671-1886. crealde.org.

Hannibal Square Heritage Center. Established in 2007 by the Crealdé School of Art in partnership with residents of Hannibal Square and the City of Winter Park, the center celebrates the city’s historically African American west side with hundreds of archival photographs, original artwork and oral histories from longtime residents that are collectively known as the Heritage Collection. The center also offers a walking tour of Hannibal Square, Now and Then, with Fairolyn Livingston, chief historian. The tour, offered on the third Saturday of each month from 10 to 11:30 a.m., requires reservations; the cost is $10, or $5 for those with student IDs. 642 West New England Avenue, Winter Park. 407-539-2680. hannibalsquareheritagecenter.org.

Rollins Museum of Art. The Rollins College campus is home to one of the most eclectic collections of fine art in Florida, including ancient artifacts, contemporary collections and Central Florida’s only European Old Master paintings. Two new exhibitions debut January 20: Transformations: Spirituality, Ritual and Society, which explores how visual representations of spiritual concepts reflect and sometimes transform their social and historical contexts (see page 94); and Silent Protest: Perspectives on War and Disability, which examines the impact of violence, displacement and trauma on vulnerable populations. Guided tours take place at 1 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays at the nearby Alfond Inn, where a selection of more than 400 works in the museum’s Alfond Collection of Contemporary Art are on view. Happy Hour tours of the Alfond Collection are also conducted on the first Wednesday of most months at 5:30 p.m. If you prefer historic works, Throwback Thursday tours are offered at the museum from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. on the third Thursday of most months. Admission is free, courtesy of PNC Financial Services Group. 1000 Holt Avenue, Winter Park. 407-646-2526. rollins.edu/rma.

PERFORMING ARTS

Annie Russell Theatre. “The Annie,” on the campus of Rollins College and in continuous operation since 1932, continues its 91st season with Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun (February 16 to 24), a landmark drama about racism and assimilation. That’s followed by contemporary Broadway favorite The Prom (April 19 to 27), with music by Matthew Sklar and lyrics by Chad Beguelin. Curtain times are 7:30 p.m., 4 p.m. or 2 p.m., depending upon the day of the week. Individual tickets are $25. 1000 Holt Avenue, Winter Park. 407-646-2145. rollins.edu/annie-russell-theatre. 

Winter Park Playhouse. Winter Park’s only professional, nonprofit theater continues its 2023-24 season with Breaking Up is Hard to Do (January 19 to February 17), Five Guys Named Moe (March 15 to April 20) and George M. Cohan Tonight! (May 10 to June 9). Performances are Thursdays to Sundays, with evening performances at 7:30 p.m. and matinees at 2 p.m. Tickets range in price from $20 for students to $46 for evening shows. 711 Orange Avenue, Winter Park. 407-645-0145. winterparkplayhouse.org. 

FILM

Enzian. This cozy, nonprofit alternative cinema offers a plethora of film series. Tickets are usually $12 for regular admission; $10 for matinees, students, seniors and service members (with ID); and $9.50 for Enzian Film Society members. Children under age 12 are admitted free to Peanut Butter Matinee Family Films, shown on the fourth Sunday of each month at noon. Other series include Saturday Matinee Classics (the second Saturday of each month at noon), Cult Classics (the second and last Tuesday of each month at 9:30 p.m.) and Midnight Movies (every Saturday night). FilmSlam, which spotlights Florida-made short films, takes place most months on the second or third Sunday at 1 p.m. 300 South Orlando Avenue, Maitland. 407-629-0054 (information line), 407-629-1088 (theater offices). enzian.org.

Friday Brown Bag Matinees. The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art presents three film series each year on topics related to the museum’s collection as well as art in general. Admission is free to these lunchtime screenings, which span the noon hour on select Fridays in the Jeannette G. and Hugh F. McKean Pavilion on Canton Avenue, just behind the Morse. Attendees are invited to bring their own lunches; the museum provides soft drinks and themed refreshments. The four-part Winter Series, The (Other) History of Britain (February 2 to 23), reveals how the working class lived across the pond by exploring British history through the lives of its everyday people. 161 West Canton Avenue. 407-645-5311. morsemuseum.org.

Popcorn Flicks in the Park. The City of Winter Park and Enzian collaborate to offer classic, family-friendly films free in Central Park on Park Avenue. These outdoor screenings are typically held the second Thursday of each month and start at 7 or 8 p.m. Don’t forget to pack a picnic and bring blankets or chairs. 407-629-1088. enzian.org.

HISTORY

Casa Feliz Historic Home & Venue. This stunningly restored Spanish farmhouse-style home, designed by acclaimed architect James Gamble Rogers II, is now a community center and museum. Free open houses are hosted by docents on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to noon. 656 North Park Avenue (adjacent to the Winter Park Golf Course), Winter Park. 407-628-8200. casafeliz.us.

Holocaust Memorial Resource & Education Center of Florida. The center is dedicated to combating antisemitism, racism and prejudice, with the goal of developing a moral and just community through educational and cultural programs. It houses permanent and temporary exhibitions, archives and a research library. The museum’s ongoing exhibition, Tribute to the Holocaust, is a presentation of artifacts, videos, text, photographs and other works of art. Admission is free. 851 North Maitland Avenue, Maitland. 407-628-0555. holocaustedu.org.

Winter Park History Museum. Travel back in time with ongoing displays that include artifacts dating from the city’s beginnings as a New England-style resort in the 1880s. The efficiently designed 800-square-foot museum features Retailing Our Story: 100 Years of Bistros, Boutiques and Businesses. Visitors can walk down memory lane — rather, a re-creation of Park Avenue, complete with vintage signage and storefronts — and explore the Colony Theater, where old films of downtown Winter Park will be projected; a general store offering the necessities for life in the 1880s Florida frontier; and a children’s emporium featuring popular games and toys of the past century. Admission is free. 200 West New England Avenue, Winter Park. 407-644-2330. wphistory.org.

Zora Neale Hurston National Museum of Fine Arts. Eatonville is strongly associated with Harlem Renaissance writer and folklorist Zora Neale Hurston, who lived there as a girl and recorded her childhood memories in her classic autobiography, Dust Tracks on a Road. The museum that bears her name provides information about the historic city and sponsors exhibitions that feature the works of African American artists. Admission is free, although group tours require a reservation and are charged a fee. 344 East Kennedy Boulevard, Eatonville. 407-647-3188. zoranealehurstonmuseum.com.

LECTURES

Central Florida Anthropological Society. Do you want to preserve Florida’s historic heritage? Are you curious about prehistoric Florida? Join the CFAS for this new lecture series at the Winter Park Library that will highlight current anthropological and archaeological investigations with a special focus on Central Florida. Upcoming meetings will be February 19 and March 18. Enjoy light refreshments and socializing when the doors open at 6:30 p.m., followed by a presentation at 7 p.m. Admission is free. 1050 West Morse Boulevard, Winter Park. cfasorlando.com.

Life Explorers Speakers Series. Hosted by Mead Botanical Garden, this new speaker series will feature programs for adults interested in expanding their knowledge on a variety of environmental and cultural topics. Meetings are usually held on the third Thursday of the month; upcoming dates are January 18, February 15 and March 21. Admission is free. 1300 South Denning Drive, Winter Park. 407-622-6323. meadgarden.org.

Morse Museum Wednesday Lecture Series. The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art regularly invites recognized scholars in the field of late 19th- and early 20th-century art to speak on topics related to the museum’s collection and exhibitions. Upcoming subjects include Marcus & Co.: A New York Jeweler in the Victorian Era (January 24), Politics and Pageantry: Hiram Powers’ Greek Slave, Frederick Douglass and the Capital City (February 21) and Collecting Inspiration: Tiffany & Co.’s Edward C. Moore (March 27). Programs take place at 2:30 p.m. Admission is free. 161 West Canton Avenue, Winter Park. 407-645-5311. morsemuseum.org.

University Club of Winter Park. Nestled among the oaks and palms at the north end of Park Avenue’s downtown shopping district — a block beyond Casa Feliz — is another historic James Gamble Rogers II building, this one home to the University Club of Winter Park. Members are dedicated to the enjoyment of intellectual activities and socializing with one another. The club’s various activities, including lectures, are open to the public, although nonmembers are asked to make a $5 donation each time they attend. (Some events include a buffet lunch for an added fee.) For the most up-to-date information and a full schedule of events and speakers, check the website. 841 North Park Avenue, Winter Park. 407-644-6149. uclubwp.org.

MUSIC

Bach Festival Society of Winter Park. The 89th annual Bach Festival, which runs from February 2 to March 3, will feature a monthlong assortment of concerts (See page 86). For locations and ticket information, call 407-646-2182 or visit bachfestivalflorida.org.

Blue Bamboo Center for the Arts. This eclectic venue is part concert hall, part recording studio and part art gallery. It offers live performances most evenings, with an emphasis on jazz, classical and world music — although theater, dance and spoken-word presentations are sometimes on the roster. It is also launching a Blue Bamboo Presents series at the Winter Park Library’s Edyth Bush Theater. (See page 80). For a full schedule of performances, check the website. Admission generally ranges from free to $25. 1905 Kentucky Avenue, Winter Park. 407-636-9951. bluebambooartcenter.com.

Candlelight Concerts at Mead Garden. Enjoy live music by candlelight in Mead Botanical Garden’s Azalea Lodge. String quartets will perform a selection of works by a particular artist or dedicated to a special theme. For a full schedule of events, check the website. Ticket prices start at $35. 1300 South Denning Drive, Winter Park. 407-622-6323. meadgarden.org.

Central Florida Folk. This Winter Park-based nonprofit is dedicated to promoting and preserving live folk music, primarily through concerts usually held on the last Saturday of each month (unless a holiday intervenes) at 2 p.m. Upcoming dates are set for January 27, February 17 and March 30. The group’s primary venue is the Winter Park Library, 1052 West Morse Boulevard, Winter Park. A donation of $15 for nonmembers is suggested. 407-679-6426. cffolk.org.

Music at the Casa. The Casa Feliz Historic Home and Venue presents acoustic performances on most Sunday afternoons from noon to 3 p.m. in the museum’s cozy main parlor. Past performers include opera singers, jazz guitarists and flamenco dancers. A $5 donation is suggested. For a full schedule of performances, check the website. 656 North Park Avenue (adjacent to the Winter Park Golf Course), Winter Park. 407-628-8200. casafeliz.us.

Performing Arts of Maitland. This nonprofit organization works with the City of Maitland and other organizations to promote performances for and by local musicians. It supports various groups, including the Maitland Symphony Orchestra, Maitland Market Music, the Maitland Stage Band and the Baroque Chamber Orchestra. For a full schedule of events, check the website. 407-339-5984, ext. 219. pamaitland.org.

MARKETS

Maitland Farmers’ Market. This year-round, open-air market — held each Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. — features fresh produce, seafood, breads and cheeses as well as plants, all-natural skin-care products and live music by Performing Arts of Maitland. The setting on Lake Lily boasts a boardwalk, jogging trails, a playground and picnic areas. 701 Lake Lily Drive, Maitland. itsmymaitland.com.

Winter Park Farmers’ Market. The region’s busiest and arguably most popular farmers’ market is held every Saturday from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. The market is held in the Central Park West Meadow, located at the corner of New York Avenue and Morse Boulevard, and offers baked goods, produce, plants, honey, cheese, meat, flowers, crafts and other specialty items. After shopping, make a morning of it with a stroll along nearby Park Avenue. Dogs are welcome to bring their people. 200 West New England Avenue, Winter Park. cityofwinterpark.org.

WRITING

Florida Writers Association. Join fellow scribes for lectures by guest speakers and discussions led by local authors. The Orlando/Winter Park-Area chapter meets on the third Tuesday of each month from 6:45 to 8:45 p.m. at the Winter Park Library, 1052 West Morse Boulevard, Winter Park. Upcoming meetings are set for January 16, February 20 and March 19. Another chapter, the Maitland Writers Group, meets on the second Thursday of each month from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Upcoming meetings are set for January 11, February 8 and March 14 at the Maitland Public Library, 501 South Maitland Avenue, Maitland. floridawriters.org.

Storytellers of Central Florida. Experienced and fledgling storytellers gather to share stories and practice their craft on the first Tuesday of each month from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Winter Park Library. Upcoming meetings are set for January 2, February 6 and March 5. 1052 West Morse Boulevard, Winter Park. 321-439-6020. storytellersofcentralflorida.com.

Wednesday Open Words. One of the area’s longest-running open-mic poetry nights is held every Wednesday, 9 p.m. at Austin’s Coffee, 929 West Fairbanks Avenue, Winter Park. 407-975-3364. austins-
coffee.com.

Writers of Central Florida or Thereabouts. This group offers various free programs that attract writers of all stripes. Short Attention Span Storytelling Hour, a literary open-mic night, meets at 7 p.m. on the second Wednesday of most months at Stardust Video & Coffee (1842 Winter Park Road, Winter Park). It’s for authors, poets, filmmakers, comedians, musicians, bloggers and others who enjoy creative pursuits. Upcoming meetings are set for January 10, February 14 and March 13. Orlando WordLab, a workshop that challenges writers to experiment with new techniques or methods, meets at 7 p.m. on the fourth Wednesday of each month at the Winter Park Library, 1052 West Morse Boulevard, Winter Park. Upcoming meetings are set for January 24, February 28 and March 27. meetup.com/writers-of-central-florida-or-thereabouts.

BUSINESS

Good Morning, Winter Park. Hosted by the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce, these monthly gatherings feature coffee and conversation about community issues. Held the first Friday of most months, upcoming events are set for January 5, February 2 and March 1. Networking begins at 8:45 a.m. followed at 9:15 a.m. by a 45-minute program. Admission, which includes coffee, is free. Winter Park Welcome Center, 151 West Lyman Avenue, Winter Park. 407-599-3580. winterpark.org/good-morning-winter-park.

Winter Park Professional Women. Hosted by the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce, these gatherings — held the first Monday of most months from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. — feature guest speakers and provide networking opportunities for women business owners. Topics revolve around leadership development, business growth and local initiatives of special interest to women. Upcoming events are set for January 8, February 5 and March 4. Tickets, which include lunch, are $25 for chamber members and $35 for nonmembers. Reservations are required. Winter Park Welcome Center, 151 West Lyman Avenue, Winter Park. 407-599-3580. winterpark.org/winter-park-professional-women.

NATURE

Keep Winter Park Beautiful. Volunteer to help the city keep local watersheds beautiful all season long with cleanups held throughout the year. Call or check the website for dates and locations. Litter grabbers, safety vests, gloves and garbage bags are provided at City Hall, 151 West Lyman Avenue, Winter Park. Volunteers must contact
kwpb@cityofwinterpark.org for more details and to complete a waiver. 407-599-3364. cityofwinterpark.org.

Owl Prowl: Hooo’s Here for Love? Come to the Audubon Center for Birds of Prey on Friday, February 16 for an adults-only evening with the owls. Couples and singles alike are encouraged at this Valentine’s themed event. Tickets, which are $15, go on sale January 27. Space is limited. 1101 Audubon Way, Maitland. cbop.audubon.org.

Winter Park Garden Club. The club’s general membership meetings, which always offer something intriguing for lovers of gardening and the great outdoors, are usually held on the second Wednesday of each month from September to May at 10 a.m. Field trips and other community events are also held throughout the year. All meetings are at the club’s headquarters at 1300 South Denning Drive. For more information about the club, which was founded in 1922, and upcoming programs, call 407-644-5770, visit winterparkgardenclub.com or email winterparkgc100@gmail.com. 

CAUSES

CoffeeTalk. These free gatherings, sponsored by the City of Winter Park, are held on the first Thursday of most months and offer residents an opportunity to discuss issues of concern with local officials. Coffee is supplied by Barnie’s Coffee Kitchen. Upcoming dates are January 11, February 8 and March 7. The hourlong sessions begin at 8:30 a.m. at City Hall, 401 South Park Avenue, Winter Park. 407-644-8281. cityofwinterpark.org. 

Love, Your Library Gala. Treat your friends and family to an extraordinary night at the Winter Park Library and Events Center on February 10. This semiformal VIP event will feature top-shelf libations, silent auction packages, a delicious feast by Arthur’s Catering and live music by the Leonard Brothers Band. Individual tickets are $250. 1052 West Morse Boulevard, Winter Park. 407-623-3277. jlazar@winterparklibrary.org.

CELEBRATIONS & EVENTS

St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Central Florida’s only St. Patrick’s Day parade is always held the first Sunday in March. This year’s annual parade is slated for March 3 at 2 p.m., when more than 75 marching units will gather at the Winter Park Country Club and march south along Park Avenue through the city’s signature shopping district to Lyman Avenue. 407-599-3334. cityofwinterpark.org.

Cheers to You! The Winter Park Chamber of Commerce hosts an evening of cocktails, dinner and awards as it recognizes important contributions to the community. The event is held January 25 from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Winter Park Events Center (1050 West Morse Boulevard). Tickets are $65 for chamber members, $75 for nonmembers and $520 for a table of eight. For more information, email kgiere@winterpark.org or visit winterpark.org/cheers-to-you.

Unity Heritage Festival. This year’s 22nd annual celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day promotes family history while raising funds for programs that assist economically disadvantaged youth. The event, slated for January 14 and 15 in Hannibal Square’s Shady Park, features live music, concessions, speakers and various activities. Admission is free. 721 West New England Avenue, Winter Park. 407-599-3334. cityofwinterpark.org.

Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival. Among the oldest, largest and most prestigious juried outdoor art festivals in the U.S., the Winter Park Sidewalk Art Festival celebrates its 65th year from March 15 to 17. The festival, which features more than 200 artists selected from more than 1,000 applicants, draws more than 350,000 visitors to Central Park along Park Avenue. In addition to works in a variety of media — painting, sculpture, photography, graphics, fiber, leather, wood, glass and jewelry — there are kid-friendly activities in the Children’s Workshop Village and an exhibition of student art from Orange County public and private schools. There are also dozens of food and drink concessions and live entertainment. A pre-festival concert will be held on Friday, March 15, in Central Park. Festival hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free. wpsaf.org.

RACES

Park Avenue 5K. The fourth race in the Track Shack Running Series, slated for January 20, starts and finishes on Park Avenue. In between, it wends its way for 3.1 miles through beautiful neighborhoods surrounding downtown Winter Park. The 5K race starts at 7:30 a.m. Registration is $39 through January 7, $44 to $49 after that. Central Park, 251 South Park Avenue, Winter Park. 407-896-1160. trackshack.com.

Run 4 Love 4 Mile. This February 10 run is for those in love with running or walking — perhaps with one another. The 4-mile run or walk starts at 7:30 a.m., followed by a Kids’ Run at 9 a.m., a costume contest and awards presentations. Registration for this, the fifth race in the Track Shack Running Series, is $36 through January 28, $41 to $46 after that. Showalter East Field, 250 Perth Lane, Winter Park. trackshack.com.

47th Winter Park Road Race. This March 23 event, the final race of the annual Track Shack Running Series, courses through tree-canopied roads and historic neighborhoods. Activities include a 10K (6.2-mile) race at 7:30 a.m., as well as a 2-mile race at 7 a.m. and a Kids’ Run at 9 a.m. Registration for the 10K is $44 through March 10, $49 to $54 after that. Central Park, 251 South Park Avenue, Winter Park. trackshack.com.

BACH FEST TRAVELS DOWN ‘SANCTUARY ROAD’

When the entire Bach Festival Choir and Orchestra is gathered, it provides a feast for the eye and the ear in a magnificent setting at Knowles Memorial Chapel or Steinmetz Hall at Dr. Phillips Center. The annual Bach Festival lasts throughout the month of February. Photo courtesy of The Bach Festival Society of Winter Park

The Bach Festival, an annual monthlong celebration of classical music, will embark on its 89th season in 2024. One might be forgiven for assuming that Artistic Director and Conductor John V. Sinclair has helmed each one.

That is, until cursory math (and simple logic) dictates that Sinclair — dubbed “Central Florida’s resident conductor,” by the Orlando Sentinel — would have to be the oldest human being who ever lived for that to be true. This year is, in fact, only his 34th.

But it’s easy to see, looking at this year’s lineup, why the Iron Man of the Arts — whose street clothes might as well be a bowtie and a black tailcoat — remains as energized as ever.

The Bach Festival — a program of the Bach Festival Society of Winter Park — will open with organist Adam Brakel (Friday, February 2, 7:30 p.m., Knowles Memorial Chapel), who has been lauded by the Chicago Tribune as “one of the most talented organists in the world, who will play — appropriately — an all-Bach program.

Brakel will be followed by Fuoco Obbligato (Sunday, February 3, 3 p.m., Knowles Memorial Chapel), making their local debut. The chamber ensemble, founded by violinist Katharina Wolff in 2020, is a chamber ensemble combining young singers and instrumental soloists from Opera Fuoco. 

Opera Fuoco, the parent troupe based in Paris, was founded in 2003 by David Stern — the son of legendary violinist Isaac Stern — who conducts the ensemble and offers audiences lively history lessons about what they’re going to hear. The repertoire ranges from the mid-18th century to the present and the musicians play only period instruments.

Wrote one critic: “Members [of Fuoco Obbligato] are equally well versed in period playing as they are in modern playing, adapting their instruments and style according to the repertoire. Its growing world-wide reputation as a launchpad for young singers has made it one of the most sought-after young artist programs in France.”

Next will be The Bach Vocal Artists with The Splendor of Baroque Magnificats: Vivaldi, Telemann, Zelenka, Caldara, Heinecken (Friday, February 9, 7:30 p.m., Knowles Memorial Chapel). The Vocal Artists — the region’s first national-level professional classical ensemble — will present the five composers’ versions of the Magificat, an ancient canticle in praise of Mary.

Then comesSpiritual Spaces,” described as “music to soothe the troubled soul.” (Saturday, February 10, 5 p.m., Knowles Memorial Chapel.) The program, which will feature the orchestra and a chamber choir, was yet to be announced at press time. 

Following “Spiritual Spaces” will be Sanctuary Road, a Grammy-nominated oratorio by Paul Moravec and Mark Campbell, and Symphony No. 1 in E Minor by Florence Price (Saturday and Sunday, February 17 and 18, 7:30 and 3 p.m., respectively, Knowles Memorial Chapel). 

For Sanctuary Road, librettist Campbell interpreted slave narratives published in The Underground Railroad, an 1872 book by William Still, an African American abolitionist. Both Campbell and Moravec are past winners of the Pulitzer Prize for Music. 

Bass-baritone Dashon Burton, who performed on the oratorio’s Grammy-nominated recording, will be among the soloists. Burton earned a Bachelor of Music degree from Oberlin College and Conservatory, and a Master of Music degree from Yale University’s Institute of Sacred Music before embarking on a professional career.

Burton has won two Grammys in a career that has spanned classical music and spirituals. In addition to performing, he’s an assistant professor of voice at Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music.

Price’s Symphony No. 1 in E Minor became the first piece of music by a Black American woman played by a major orchestra when the Chicago Symphony Orchestra performed it in 1933. 

A native of Arkansas who was educated at the New England Conservatory of Music, she enjoyed a brief period of critical acclaim before her music fell into obscurity, only to undergo a renaissance after previously unknown compositions were discovered following her death.

Up next is “Concertos by Candlelight,” which will feature Alon Goldstein playing Piano Concerto No. 1 in D Minor, Opus 15, by Johannes Brahms, and violinists Routa Kroumovitch and Alvaro Gomez playing Louis Spohr’s Sinfonia Concertante in A Major for Two Violins (Saturday, February 24, 7:30 p.m., Knowles Memorial Chapel). 

The festival will then present Bach’s Magnificat in D Major and Handel’s Countertenor Arias (Sunday, February 25, 3 p.m., Knowles Memorial Chapel). Bach wrote his Magnificat, which has been called “Bach at his most joyous,” for five voices. 

Handel’s arias will be sung by guest artist Brennan Hall, a graduate of Dr. Phillips High School and Rollins College who has been praised by San Francisco Classical Voice for his “remarkably rich voice throughout his range and admirable musical intelligence.” 

Hall was a solo semifinalist at the Oratorio Society of New York and won first prize in the international countertenor vocal competition of Havana’s festival Les Voix Humaines.

“Literary Folk and Fairy Tales” will be explored during David Lang’s The Little Match Girl Passion, which will be presented by just four singers who also play percussion instruments (Thursday, February 29, 7:30 p.m., Tiedtke Concert Hall).

The choral work, which was based on the 1845 Hans Christian Andersen story, “The Little Match Girl,” won the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 2008. The Guardian called the work “often comfortingly tonal and hauntingly affecting” and “a 21st century classic.”

The festival was to have concluded with “Rossini and Rickets” (Sunday, March 3, 3 p.m., Knowles Memorial Chapel). The Rossini portion of the program will feature Stabat Mater – about the suffering of Mary during the crucifixion of Jesusthe final large composition by Gioachino Rossini. 

But the Ricketts portion, which was to have been the world premiere of Five Songs of War and Peace by Ted Ricketts — a former music director and producer for Walt Disney Entertainment — has been postponed. So the full program for the festival finale hadn’t been set at press time.

Bach Festival tickets may be purchased for individual events, but the best value is to choose from among a variety of season subscriptions, including a “build your own” package. For more information, call 407-646-2182 or visit bachfestivalflorida.org.

—Randy Noles

The Bach Festival will present numerous highlights, including: 1. Adam Brakel, organist, 2. Fuoco Obbligato, a chamber ensemble; 3. The Bach Vocal Artists, the region’s first national-level professional classical ensemble; 4. Sanctuary Road, a Grammy-nominated oratorio based on fugitive slaves and their white pursuers by Paul Moravec and Mark Campbell; 5. Symphony No. 1 in E Minor by Florence Price, the first symphonic work by an African American woman to be played by a major orchestra; 6. Dashon Burton, bass baritone in The Underground Railroad; and 7. Brennan Hall, countertenor in Bach’s Magnificat in D Major. Photos courtesy of The Bach Festival Society of Winter Park

FLORIDA THROUGH THE LENS OF ITS INDIGENOUS ARTISTS

More than 25 works by Indigenous artists of the Seminole Tribe in Florida will be exhibited at the Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens in Yaat Ya Oke: Welcome Travelers. Photos courtesy of The Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens

More than 25 works by Indigenous artists of the Seminole Tribe in Florida will be exhibited at the Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens in Yaat Ya Oke: Welcome Travelers, an exhibition that Tamie Diener-Lafferty, the museum’s curator, calls “a necessary and important step towards recognizing and celebrating the contributions of Seminole artists in the art and culture of Florida.”

Yaat Ya Oke — which is being co-curated by Diener-Lafferty and Tara Chadwick — an educator, writer, artist and independent curator — will run from January 16 to April 14. 

Chadwick, a Belizean-Canadian woman of Mayan, English and African descent, also curated Chehantamo: How Are You?, an exhibition of Seminole fine art that opened in October at History Fort Lauderdale.

The curators developed the exhibition in collaboration with an advisory council composed of Seminole artists, scholars, historians and Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum, the official museum of the Seminole Tribe of Florida located on the Big Cypress Reservation.

Welcome Travelers will provide visitors with “unique perspectives and insights into the artists’ worldviews,” Diener-Lafferty says.

Indigenous art has always been part of the cultural and tourism heritage of Florida, and many of our favorite pastimes are rooted in Indigenous art practices. The exhibition invites visitors to experience the vibrance of Florida from the vantage point of contemporary Seminole artists.

Yaat Ya Oke: Welcome Travelers will include watercolor, acrylic, mixed media, natural fiber and digital art by more than a dozen creators spanning four generations, Chadwick says, “reflecting life’s beauty and reminding us how much we each have in common no matter how close or far we are from home.” 

Featured artists include Durante Blais-Billie, Tia Blais-Billie, Wilson Bowers, Hali Garcia, Jacqueline Osceola, Jessie Osceola, Jimmy Osceola, Leroy Osceola, Samuel Tommie, Gordon O. Wareham and  Brian Zepeda.

The Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens is located at 633 Osceola Avenue in Winter Park. For more information, call 407-636-9232 or visit polasek.org.

—Catherine Hinman

‘REUNION’ IS THE THEME OF 35TH ZORA! FESTIVAL

The 2024 ZORA! Festival celebrates the life and work of author and folklorist Zora Neale Hurston (above left), who lived in Eatonville and described her girlhood in such autobiographical works as Dust Tracks on a Road. N.Y. Nathiri (above right), an Eatonville native, is executive director of the Association to Preserve the Eatonville Community (P.E.C.), the sponsoring organization. The main attraction is always the big Outdoor Festival of the Arts (below), held in downtown Eatonville along Kennedy Boulevard. Photos courtesy of the Association to Preserve the Eatonville Community

Historic Eatonville’s annual Zora Neale Hurston Festival of Arts & Humanities — better known as the ZORA! Festival — will return for its 35th year in January themed as “The Reunion.”  

Organizers will welcome thousands of new and returning visitors to the nation’s oldest incorporated all-Black town just as controversy is raging over potential development of the 100-acre property that once housed the Robert Hungerford Normal and Industrial School. 

The Association to Preserve the Eatonville Community Inc. (P.E.C.), which runs the festival, is embroiled in a legal fight with Orange County Public Schools over who should control the property and determine its future use.

Launched by P.E.C. as a preservation marketing tool in 1990, the ZORA! Festival has grown from a three-day cultural event into a year-round program of activities that model effective heritage tourism and economic revitalization for marginalized and undeserved communities.

The main attraction, of course, is the big Outdoor Festival of the Arts in Eatonville, which takes place from Friday, January 26, to Sunday, January 28, along East Kennedy Boulevard. Visitors will enjoy food, music, dozens of vendor booths and a wide range of activities for all ages.

But there’s much more to the ZORA! Festival than one jam-packed weekend celebrating the Harlem Renaissance-era writer, whose memories of growing up in Eatonville — which she called her “native village” — infuse her critically acclaimed works of folklore (Mules and Men, 1935), fiction (Their Eyes Were Watching God, 1937) and autobiography (Dust Tracks on a Road, 1942). 

The 2024 festival will open at the Orlando Public Library with a “Happy Birthday, Zora!” celebration on Sunday, January 12, at 2 p.m. The event will include jazz, poetry and a lecture by Dr. Rhonda Mathis, an assistant professor of English at Bethune-Cookman University, who’ll discuss “Zora Neale Hurston and Black Women’s Self-Definition.”

ZORA! Festival activities will move back to Eatonville with an exhibition opening, Voices: The Art of Louise Deininger, and a gallery talk from Deininger, a conceptual artist, author and leadership coach, at the Zora Neale Hurston National Museum of Fine Arts on Saturday, January 20, at 1 p.m.

Up next will be a virtual-only Afrofuturism Conference with a keynote talk by Dr. Andrea Roberts, whose topic will be “Creating Counternarratives: Foundations for Just Planning & Preservation. Roberts is a planning historian and place preservationist at the University of Virginia’s School of Architecture. 

The event, which is scheduled for Wednesday, January 24, at 7:30 p.m., will be presented in partnership with a speaker series sponsored by Seminole State College. Registration is required.

Then the final year of the festival’s five-year Afrofuturism conference cycle will begin on Thursday, January 25, at 9 a.m., when Eatonville’s Macedonia Missionary Baptist Church will host welcoming remarks and keynote addresses on the theme of “Afrofuturism in the Spatial Realm.” 

The conference has already explored Afrofuturism through “Sound” (2021), “Vision” (2022) and “Spirit” (2023). The 2024 conclave will turn its attention to “Space” — virtual, real and imagined — which is particularly relevant given the unresolved status of the Hungerford property. 

Conference organizer and cycle curator Dr. Julian Chambliss, a Michigan State University historian who formerly taught at Rollins College, will speak on “The Hungerford Legacy and the History of Black Futures.” 

Sharing the podium will be UCF digital humanities specialist and philosophy professor Dr. Bruce Janz, who’ll pose the question, “Where is the African Future in Afrofuturism?” 

The two-day conference, which will feature several other Afrofuturism-themed presentations and panel discussions, will conclude with a lecture by Dr. Lonny J. Avi Brooks, professor of communications at California State University East Bay, who’ll discuss the creation of virtual reality worlds that support communities of color.

Other than the welcoming event, Afrofuturism activities will take place at Eatonville’s Denton Johnson Community Center. The conference is sponsored by UCF’s College of Arts & Humanities and its Center for Humanities and Digital Research. Registration is required.

The ZORA! Festival will also include a Progressive Reception on Thursday, January 25, beginning at 5 p.m. The reception will begin at the Hurston Museum and conclude at the Maitland Art Center, where participants will see the Eatonville-related paintings and drawings by art center founder J.
André Smith, a friend and mentor of Hurston’s.

Other ZORA! Festival events include two presented in partnership with the Florida Historical Society at Eatonville’s Life Center Church.The Complete History of Florida (In Less Than an Hour!)” is set for Friday, January 26, at 10 a.m., while “Female Florida: Historic Women in Their Own Words” will follow at noon. 

The Eatonville Branch Library will host a meet-and-greet event with children’s author Alicia D. Williams on Friday, January 26, at 10:30 a.m. In addition, Hurston scholar and storyteller Rae Chesny (Zora’s Garden) will lead a “Walking Tour of Zora’s Eatonville” on Saturday, January 27, beginning at 10 a.m. Participants will meet at the Hurston Museum. 

A ticketed event, “An Evening Inspired by Zora,” will be held on Saturday, January 27, beginning at 7:30 p.m. Harlem Renaissance attire is encouraged at the gathering, the venue for which had not been finalized at press time.

The January calendar culminates with the ever popular (and previously mentioned) ZORA! Outdoor Festival of the Arts. Some events require registration and may be subject to change, so visit zorafestival.org for the most up-to-date schedules and additional program details.

—Scot French

‘TABLE RUNNER’ EMBODIES AN IMMIGRANT’S JOURNEY

An unassuming table runner inspired A Constant Goodbye: The Table Runner Stories of Gisela Romero. The exhibition, slated for the Maitland Art Center, combines text, textiles, drawings and installations to examine the human drama of immigration. Photos courtesy of the Maitland Art Center

Five years ago, 57-year-old mixed-media artist Gisela Romero and her husband said goodbye to the couple’s lifelong home of Caracas, Venezuela, to forge a new and better life in Orlando — from where they hoped they could support relatives left behind in the strife-torn country.

To connect loving memories of her former life to her new life, Romero chose to bring with her one item: a table runner from her former house. “It was easy to fold and fit inside the suitcase,” recalls Romero, now a citizen of the United States. 

She continues: “The table runner was also always present on the family table. It was a simple object that I felt had absorbed all the conversations and love that took place around the table. It became a special symbol of my family’s unity.”

The unassuming object later inspired Romero’s upcoming solo exhibition at the Maitland Art Center, A Constant Goodbye: The Table Runner Stories of Gisela Romero. The display combines text, textiles, drawings and installations to examine the human drama of immigration.

The Table Runner Stories, on view from January 27 to April 7, is described by Curator Dan L. Hess as “a multilayered work of raw emotion and intense personal commitment — an immersive type of work that comes along very infrequently and one that’s sure to leave its mark on all fortunate enough to experience it.”

To create the exhibition, Romero was selected for the art center’s artists-in-residence program, which provides nonresidential studio space to an established or emerging artist for a year. 

Romero’s compelling story progresses through four “chapters” across four galleries, beginning with Fragmentation in Gallery One. Here, attendees see two mixed-media installations and six drawings that show body parts to represent the fragmentation of her family.

In Gallery Two, The Procession illustrates Romero’s spiritual journey through 16 table runners and a large drawing that features symbols such as an eagle to represent freedom. 

In Gallery Three, The Blank Page illustrates coming to a new place and having to deal with a blank page to start again. Acceptance in Gallery Four is a celebration of 17 post-immigration drawings. 

Romero will conduct several exhibition-related events, including a two-day Experimental Drawing Workshop (Wednesday, January 17 and 24). There’ll also be two Conversations with the Artist (Wednesday, January 31 and February 28). And, as with all artists-in-residence, her studio (No. 6) will be open to visitors during her residency. 

The Maitland Art Center is located at 231 West Packwood Avenue, Maitland. For more information, call 407-539-2181 or visit artandhistory.org.

—Connie Sue White

CREALDÉ FACULTY SHINES AT CELEBRATORY EXHIBIT

Approaching 50, an exhibition of almost 150 recent works by faculty at the Crealdé School of Art, will be one of the largest in the history of the school. Works on view will include ceramics, such as Fish House, (left) by D. Bringle; oil paintings, such as Paris Mood (center) by Patricia Byron; and photography, such as Bridge Over the Gallinas River, Las Vegas, New Mexico (right) by Peter Schreyer. Photos courtesy of the Crealdé School of Art

Prepping for its golden anniversary in two years, Crealdé School of Art in Winter Park is collaborating with the Downtown Arts District of Orlando for a celebration of the multifaceted facility’s greatest asset: its instructors.

Approaching 50, an exhibition of almost 150 recent works by Crealdé faculty members — which runs January 18 to February 11 — will appropriately be the largest in the venerable school’s history. 

Even the exhibition’s subtitle is suitably sized for such a major undertaking: “The Diverse Faculty of Crealdé School of Art Shares Their Newest Work.”

Crealdé, founded in 1975, has 47 instructors and keeps on growing, so “approaching 50” actually has two meanings. When Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer Peter Schreyer took the helm in 1995, the faculty was half that size. 

The multimedia exhibition will include three recent works by each instructor, many of whom boast impressive longevity at Crealdé. The works will include painting and drawing, sculpture and ceramics and more. Says Patrick Noze, the senior curator producing the exhibition: “The quality of the work, it takes your breath away,”

Because Crealdé’s campus doesn’t have the gallery space for such a large project, Barbara Hartley, executive director of the Downtown Arts District, says she was thrilled to offer the galleries at City Arts. “There’s an ecosystem that makes up the art community, and they [Crealdé] are a critical part of it,” Hartley says. “It is a big milestone. We’re honored to be part of it as well.”

Most of the 150 courses in Crealdé’s curriculum are conducted on the school’s main campus on Aloma Avenue, but some are also at the Hannibal Square Heritage Center in downtown Winter Park and the Jessie Brock Community Center in Winter Garden.

Approaching 50 opens at a pivotal time. With a list of 900 people on its waiting list for classes, the school this winter will open two new studios and three renovated studios to bring the total to nine. 

In addition, Schreyer has announced that he will hire an associate director this year to be trained as his replacement. He plans to stay in his current role at least until the end of 2024 and to remain with the school as a teacher and a consultant. 

CityArts is located at 39 South Magnolia Avenue in Orlando. For more information, call 407-671-1886 or visit either crealde.org or downtownartsdistrict.com/cityarts.

—Catherine Hinman

ROLLINS MUSEUM EXHIBIT IS TRULY TRANSFORMATIVE

Art on view in Transformations: Spirituality, Ritual, and Society includes Freedom of Worship by Hank Willis Thomas (left) and The Dark Madonna by Jean Charlot (right). Photos courtesy of the Rollins Museum of Art

From a 16th-century painting of the crucified Christ to a 21st-century photographic print of a famous Romanian synagogue, an exhibition soon to open at the Rollins Museum of Art will illustrate the enduring influence of faith and spirituality on art through the centuries.

For Transformations: Spirituality, Ritual, and Society — which runs from January 20 to May 14 — the museum has assembled almost 30 works from its collection that together tell a story of religion’s continuing relevance in society and as a source of inspiration to artists, whose creations have both venerated and questioned faith traditions. 

“As soon as people started believing in something greater than themselves, they started making art,” says Museum Director Ena Heller. It’s an impulse that has never stopped, she adds. 

The exhibition is coproduced by Curator Gisela Carbonell and Heller, who is returning to familiar artistic territory. Prior to her arrival at Rollins 12 years ago, she was founding director of New York’s Museum of Biblical Art—which closed in 2015. 

Transformations developed, she says, out of the museum’s ongoing examination of the collection in preparation for an installation in the museum’s planned move to a new (and much larger) off-campus facility. Fundraising for the project is currently underway.

Subjects of the works on view in Transformations will include madonnas, rituals, altarpieces, places of worship and even animals by artists from all over the world. “It’s a conversation among all the works chosen,” says Heller. 

Significantly, the exhibition will showcase 10 relatively recent acquisitions — a third of the objects to be displayed — alongside such treasures as Cosimo Rosselli’s Madonna Enthroned Nursing the Christ Child (about 1430) and Lavinia Fontana’s The Dead Christ with Symbols of the Passion (about 1581).

Newer objects include six prints from the Works Progress Administration’s 1937 art project in New Mexico that documented utilitarian objects and religious artifacts. Another is the haunting Dark Madonna, a 1954 lithograph by artist Jean Charlot, who was born in France but worked primarily in Mexico and the United States.

Today, Heller notes, the church isn’t the dominant art patron and cultural touchstone that it once was. According to a recent Gallup poll, almost 50 percent of Americans describe themselves as religious, but fully a third say they are “spiritual but not religious.”

Still, artists remain seekers of meaning and explorers of spirituality. And in the continuum of art history, says Heller, formal religious artwork from an early era can impact the work of the next. 

For example, a 1991 abstract work in the exhibition by Canadian artist Christian Eckart — Sacra Conversazione #1309, which depicts columns of contrasting colors — was inspired by a traditional altarpiece. 

Adds Heller: “There are unexpected surprises in this wide world of art that take inspiration from some sort of religious or spiritual belief.”

The Rollins Museum of Arts is located at 1000 Holt Avenue, Winter Park, on the campus of Rollins College. For more information, call 407-646-2526 or visit rollins.edu/rma.

—Catherine Hinman