Hugh McKean’s Whimsical Spirit
Founding director Hugh McKean’s abiding presence at the Morse Museum of American Art is being more keenly felt than ever of late, thanks to a retrospective exhibit that reflects the whimsical spirit of the iconic artist-educator, who died in 1995 but whose legacy lives on in a variety of ways.
Celebrating 75 Years — Pathways of American Art at the Morse Museum, which runs through January 21, 2018, is designed to illustrate the breadth and depth of the Morse collection as well as the quirky sensibilities of McKean himself, an erstwhile art professor who was the 10th president of Rollins College.
The exhibit features more than 60 examples of pottery, prints, portraits and landscape paintings connected by no particular theme other than the attraction they held for McKean, who also wrote the lyrical didactics for each piece on display.
The Morse was founded in 1942 at an airy lakeside bunker on the campus of Rollins College by McKean’s wife, Jeannette Genius McKean, granddaughter of Chicago industrialist Charles Hosmer Morse. The omnipresent philanthropist, a part-time resident until he retired here in 1915, was recently named the city’s “Citizen of the Century” by Winter Park Magazine.
Jeannette entrusted Hugh, whom she would wed in 1945, to oversee the museum, which was then located on the Rollins campus, and help her assemble a modest collection — funded by the family fortune — which would include Tiffany’s works, among others.
In 1974, retired from Rollins and concentrating full time on the museum, McKean rescued a trove of elaborate Tiffany windows from a soon-to-be-demolished, 19th-century chapel owned by an organization with an equally elaborate name: The Association for the Relief of Respectable, Aged Indigent Females.
That Christmas, McKean illuminated and displayed the windows in Central Park, and in subsequent years enhanced the otherworldly setting by providing a rented camel. Christmas in the Park would become a signature event that now attracts thousands and includes a performance by the Bach Festival Choir and Orchestra.
When McKean wasn’t celebrating established holidays — or masterminding one of his own — he was taking examples of the museum’s art collection out on unconventional field trips.
He set up a display of priceless Tiffany windows in a vacant storefront on Orange Blossom Trail to see how passersby would react to a luminous pop-up amid the washed-out urban clutter.
He bought a decrepit van and transformed it into a mobile art gallery, filling it with sculptures, paintings and assorted curiosities, including a baseball signed by Babe Ruth. A driver piloted the vehicle to local schools, sometimes accompanied by McKean, who personally explained the on-board wonders to his pre-teen patrons.
Then there was the Art Machine, which has been faithfully reassembled for the 75th anniversary exhibit.
It consisted of a chair and a portrait of a very young Queen Victoria, which McKean hung on the wall of a janitor’s closet in the museum’s headquarters on Welbourne Avenue, where it had moved in 1978. (It moved again, to its expanded North Park Avenue headquarters, shortly before McKean’s death.)
Visitors were invited, via copies of an “Instruction Manual,” to sit in a chair and spend three quiet, contemplative minutes regarding the portrait, painted by Thomas Sully in 1838, after reading a typically informal but subtly informative McKean essay about it:
The archbishop of Canterbury and the Lord Chamberlain galloped through the night to tell little Victoria Uncle William had died and she was Queen. … The United Kingdom was fascinated with the headstrong teenager, who had ascended its throne. So was much of the English-speaking world.
Today we would know all about her, especially her love affairs, whether or not there had been any. In 1837, only a few had even a vague idea of what she looked like.
Sully, following the English portrait tradition, turns the best side of his subject toward the viewer. Victoria, wearing a becoming crown and sitting alone in soft brown space, a device which throws all attention on her, looks over her shoulder with considerable charm.
The gown is a few skilled swishes of the brush. Her large eyes have the doe-like quality of a silent screen star and the suggestion of a twinkle. The colors, mixed with oil and turpentine, flow with gentle elegance. Soft edges make it all seem a little dreamlike. The jewels in the crown are loaded with pigment to catch the light.
Queen Victoria lived so long she walks out of history a dumpy dowager dressed in black. Sully’s Victoria is a little beauty, fond of people and parties, and an ideal queen for storybook islands complete with shining rivers, great estates, drafty castles and loyal subjects.
It’s vintage McKean — more story than lecture, with lessons about painting techniques tucked into a drama that begins with thundering hooves and ends in pathos and fairy-tale imagery.
Meanwhile, his use of the descriptor “machine” was pure irony, given that he was operating at the opposite end of the technological spectrum. In fact, he was beckoning viewers to leave the factory-whistle world behind for an audience with a queen — and to experience a work of art in a still space, through their own eyes, rather than those of so-called experts.
“What Hugh was all about was creating the opportunity for people of all walks of life to experience art,” says Larry Ruggiero, who succeeded McKean as director and curated the exhibit. “That’s the main reason we’re here at this museum — to make art of whatever kind available to people, so that it can perform its magical function.”
— Michael McLeod
What: Celebrating 75 Years — Pathways of American Art at the Morse Museum
Where: The Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art, 445 North Park Avenue
Notes: The Morse celebrates its 75th anniversary with a season of special events, including an exhibit of pottery, prints, portraits and landscape paintings that were particular favorites of founding director Hugh McKean. Highlights include the reconstructed (and ironically named) Art Machine as well as McKean’s own whimsical descriptions of the various works on display.
Hours: Through April, 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and Saturday; 9:30 a.m.-8 p.m. on Friday; and 1-4 p.m. on Sunday. Regular admission is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors, $1 for students and free for children younger than age 12.
Information: Call 407-645-5311, or visit morsemuseum.org.
Albin Polasek Museum & Sculpture Gardens. This 54-year-old lakeside museum is dedicated to preserving the works of Polasek, the famed Czech sculptor for whom it was both home and studio for more than a decade. While focused on Polasek’s sculptures, the museum also features the work of internationally renowned artists in all mediums. An exhibit of paintings by Frantz Zephirin, one of Haiti’s leading contemporary artists, runs through April 16. Following that, from April 22-29, is the museum’s annual Winter Park Paint Out, during which a group of 25 professional artists paint outdoors, or “en plein air,” at locations throughout the city; their finished works are immediately displayed and available for purchase at the museum, which is open free to the public the entire week. Special Paint Out events at the museum include: an April 24 open house, with artists painting the picturesque sculpture gardens and opportunities for visitors to get some hands-on experience; an April 27 “Sunset Paint-In” (at the Winter Park Racquet Club on Lake Maitland); an April 29 Happy Hour Portrait Demo; and an April 30 Paint Out Garden Party to wrap things up. Plus, there will be free painting demonstrations throughout the week. The museum also offers tours of the adjacent Capen-Showalter House on Wednesdays and Sundays. Admission is $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, $3 for students and free for children. 633 Osceola Avenue. 407-647-6294. polasek.org.
Art & History Museums – Maitland. The Maitland Art Center, one of five museums anchoring the city’s Cultural Corridor, was founded as an art colony in 1937 by visionary American sculptor, painter and architect André Smith. The center offers exhibits and classes at its Maitland campus, located at 231 West Packwood Avenue. The complex is the Orlando area’s only National Historic Landmark, and is one of the few surviving examples of Mayan Revival architecture in the Southeast. On display through April 16 is the work of contemporary artists from across the U.S. who converged on the center in March to create new works and engage the public in the creative process through a series of exhibits and art happenings known as Art31: Borrowed Light — Stephen Knapp, Deanna Morse & Ryan Buyssens. Meanwhile, four of the center’s artists-in-residence are back through May 8 to showcase their work in three exhibits under the umbrella title Meditations, Mapping and Memories: Sharon Lee Hart, Marie Yoho Dorsey, Masha Ryskin and Serge Marchetta. The newest exhibit, Architect as Artist, is a juried exhibition focused on artwork by Florida architects that falls outside the realm of traditional, functional design. Architect as Artist is on display through June 2. The Cultural Corridor also includes the Maitland Historical Museum and the Telephone Museum, both at 221 West Packwood Avenue, as well as the Waterhouse Residence Museum and the Carpentry Shop Museum, both built in the 1880s and located at 820 Lake Lily Drive. Through May 15, you can experience Springtime at the Waterhouse, exploring the fully decorated residence, built in 1884 by William Waterhouse as his family’s home; the Victorian-era home is decked out for Easter and the new season. 407-539-2181. artandhistory.org.
Baterbys Art Gallery. The current exhibit at this large, private gallery is Pablo Picasso: The Diary of a Master, which it bills as the largest exhibition of Picasso’s art in Florida history. A portion of all proceeds from the sale of Picasso works during the show, which continues through May 5, will be donated to Florida Hospital for Children in Orlando. 6848 Stapoint Court. 888-682-9995. baterbys.com.
Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art. With more than 19,000 square feet of gallery and public space, the museum 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. In marking its 75th anniversary this year, the Morse celebrates the breadth and depth of its collection (assembled by founders Hugh and Jeannette McKean) in Celebrating 75 Years — Pathways of American Art at the Morse Museum. The exhibit, which continues through January 21, 2018, includes portraits, landscape paintings, works on paper and pottery. Also on display this year: Louis Comfort Tiffany’s Life and Art, which examines through art objects, archival documents and various artifacts representing Tiffany’s astonishingly diverse work in the decorative arts — what he called his “quest for beauty” — over the course of his lifetime. Continuing through September 24 is The Bride Elect: Gifts from the 1905 Wedding of Elizabeth Owens Morse, which features the original registry and some of the 250 gifts presented to the daughter of Charles Hosmer Morse and Martha Owens Morse by her family’s wealthy friends. Other ongoing exhibits include Revival and Reform: Eclecticism in the 19th-Century Environment, which encompasses two galleries and has as its centerpiece The Arts, a neoclassical window created by the J&R Lamb Studios, a prominent American glasshouse of the late 19th century. Admission is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors, $1 for students and free for children younger than 12. However, in celebration of the museum’s 75th anniversary, admission is free for everyone on Fridays from 4-8 p.m. during the month of April. 445 North Park Avenue. 407-645-5311. morsemuseum.org.
Cornell Fine Arts Museum. Located on the campus of Rollins College, the museum houses one of the oldest and most eclectic collections of fine art in Florida. Free weekend tours take place at 1 p.m. each Saturday at the campus facility and 1 p.m. each Sunday at the nearby Alfond Inn, which displays dozens of works from the museum’s Alfond Collection of Contemporary Art. Happy Hour art tours of the Alfond Collection are also conducted the first Wednesday of each month at 5:30 p.m. The museum’s current exhibit, The Black Figure in the European Imaginary, runs through May 14 and considers the manner in which the visual arts of Europe imagined black people during the “long” 19th century (1750-1914). Two related exhibits are Reframing the Picture, Reclaiming the Past, in which contemporary art depicting the black body “talks back,” so to speak, to the historic works presented in the first exhibition; and AfroFantastic: Black Imagination and Agency in the American Experience, which explores sociopolitical forces linked to the black imagination in the American experience from the 19th century to the present. Both exhibits run through April 2. Two new shows open May 25: Sea and Sky, Watercolors and Drawings by Paul Signac from the Arkansas Arts Center Collection, features various works by the late 19th- and early 20-century French artist; and Patrick Martinez, American Memorial, features paintings by this hip hop-influenced painter from Los Angeles. Meanwhile, the museum’s ongoing Conversations installation features works from the permanent collection, recent gifts and select loans. It’s currently organized in four, broad thematic categories: History and Myth, Religion Redefined, Gesture and Pose, and A Sense of Place. Admission is free, courtesy of Dale Montgomery, Rollins class of 1960. 1000 Holt Avenue. 407-646-2526. rollins.edu/cfam.
Crealdé School of Art. Established in 1975, this not-for-profit arts organization offers year-round visual-arts classes for all ages taught by more than 40 working artists. Continuing through April 29 is Jack King: Searching for Truth; this professional sculptor and University of Tampa art professor, initially inspired by Cuban rafters seeking sanctuary in the U.S., uses various materials in his work to explore both physical and spiritual quests. (This show is divided between Crealdé and the related Hannibal Square Heritage Center.) Also on display through April 15 is Director’s Choice VI, an exhibit of recent works by Crealdé’s diverse faculty. Admission to Crealdé’s galleries is free, although there are fees for art classes. 600 St. Andrews Boulevard. 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 archival photographs, original artwork and oral histories from longtime residents. Through April 29 the center is co-hosting Jack King: Searching for Truth, which features sculptures by the Tampa artist, in partnership with the Crealdé School of Art. Ongoing is the Hannibal Square Timeline, which documents significant local and national events in African-American history since the Emancipation Proclamation. Admission is free. 642 West New England Avenue. 407-539-2680. hannibalsquareheritagecenter.org.
Annie Russell Theatre. The final show of the 2016-17 season at “The Annie,” the historic jewel box of a theater on the campus of Rollins College, is Urinetown, The Musical, which runs from April 21-29. This irreverent winner of three Tonys is set in a futuristic but not-so-unrecognizable society in which water is scarce and public and commercial restroom facilities are banned; as a result, residents must pay a fee to a price-gouging megacorporation each time they use the bathroom. There are six performances at 8 p.m., plus matinees at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Tickets are $20. The Second Stage Series, in the nearby Fred Stone Theater, features student-produced and student-directed plays. The season-ending production is Silent Sky, a play set at the Harvard Observatory in the early 1900s, which examines how women continued to pursue their dreams then even though their voices and discoveries were dismissed. It runs April 5-8 at 8 p.m., with a 2 p.m. matinee on April 8. Admission is free to Second Stage shows, with seating on a first-come, first-served basis. 1000 Holt Avenue. 407-646-2145. rollins.edu/annie-russell-theatre.
Center for Contemporary Dance. A not-for-profit organization focused on dance education, incubation and production, the center’s programs and performances are designed to provide students of all ages, from novice to professional, with experience in classical, post-classical and world dance forms. During the past 14 years, the center, located at 3580 Aloma Avenue, has supported artists in the creation and presentation of more than 250 new works. This year’s summer concert, Primordia: The Watchkeeper, is an original ballet about a voyager princess and the ancient kingdom she left behind. Tickets for the June 11 production are $12 to $25 each. The performance, which begins at 7 p.m., is in the auditorium at Trinity Preparatory School, 5700 Trinity Prep Lane. 407-695-8366. thecenterfordance.org.
Winter Park Playhouse. Winter Park’s only professional, not-for-profit theater wraps up its 2016-17 mainstage season with two spring musicals: Mid-Life! The Crisis Musical, a musical romp through the tribulations of middle age that continues through April 8. Shows are Wednesday through Sunday at 2 p.m., and Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are from $15 to $40 each. The other is Murder for Two, a blend of musical comedy and murder mystery in which one actor plays the investigator while the other plays 13 suspects — and they both play the piano throughout. It runs from May 12-21 and June 1-11. With a few exceptions, shows are Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Wednesday through Sunday at 2 p.m. Coming April 19-20 at 7:30 p.m. is the Spotlight Cabaret Series featuring Shawn Kilgore, 711 Orange Avenue. 407-645-0145. winterparkplayhouse.org.
Titanic (The Musical). This winner of Broadway’s 1997 Tony Award for Best Musical was chosen as the 2017 Night on Broadway production at Winter Park High School. The April 20-22 performances benefit the school’s Tyler Rush Memorial Scholarship Fund for graduating chorus students. 2100 Summerfield Road. 407-628-3028.
Florida Film Festival. Now in its 26th year, this Oscar-qualifying festival premieres some of the best in current, independent and international cinema. It’s an international affair, drawing an array of roughly 170 independent feature films, documentaries, shorts and animated movies from the U.S. and worldwide. This year the 10-day extravaganza — which includes a host of film seminars, parties, celebrity appearances and other events — will take place April 21-30, mostly on the grounds of the Enzian, a single-screen art-movie house in the middle of a three-acre, oak-shaded Maitland enclave with an outdoor restaurant and bar. Some of the films will be shown at Regal Cinema in Winter Park. Enzian, a not-for-profit that hosts several other, smaller film festivals as well as numerous educational and social-service events, is in the midst of a fundraising campaign to add a pair of smaller theaters to the complex and broaden its programming. But while most of the $6 million fundraising goal has been reached, the Enzian doesn’t expect the expansion to be ready before the 2019 Florida Film Festival at the earliest. Both single tickets and packages for festival events are available. 1300 South Orlando Avenue, Maitland. 407-629-1088. floridafilmfestival.com.
Hannibal Square Heritage Center Folk & Urban Art Festival. This annual festival, now in its eighth year, celebrates culture and diversity through art and music. More than 25 Florida artists will offer their works for sale from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on April 22; participants include members of the original Florida Highwaymen, a loosely organized but now famous group of African-American landscape artists. The event includes live music, food trucks and a “Kid-folk” workshop that culminates with a public parade. Admission is free. 642 West New England Avenue. hannibalsquareheritagecenter.org.
Enzian. This cozy, not-for-profit alternative cinema offers a plethora of film series. Peanut Butter Matinee Family Films are shown on the fourth Sunday of each month at noon. Upcoming flicks include The Indian in the Cupboard (May 28) and Harry and the Hendersons (June 25). Tickets are free for children under 12; otherwise they’re $8 (or $7.50, if you’re an Enzian Film Society member). Saturday Matinee Classics are shown on the second Saturday of each month at 11 a.m. or noon. Upcoming are The Deer Hunter (May 13) and Black Orpheus (June 10). Tickets are $8. Cult Classics are shown on the second and last Tuesday of each month at 9:30 p.m. Upcoming are Bonnie and Clyde (April 11), Superbad (May 9) and Dirty Dancing (May 30). Tickets are $8. FilmSlam, a showcase for Florida-made short films, is held most months on Sundays at 1 p.m.; the next scheduled dates are May 7 and June 11. Tickets are $8. Other special showings include: 1984 (April 4), Stuart Little (Easter Brunch & Egg Hunt, April 16), Saint Joan (National Theatre Live, May 21), Forrest Gump (Book to Big Screen, May 27), Funny Face (Mother’s Day, May 14), and Die Hard (Father’s Day, June 18). 1300 South Orlando Avenue. 407-629-0054 (information line), 407-629-1088 (theater offices). enzian.org.
Popcorn Flicks in the Park. The City of Winter Park and Enzian collaborate to offer classic, family friendly films free in Central Park. These outdoor screenings are usually on the second Thursday of each month, and begin at about 7 p.m. (or whenever it gets dark). Upcoming are North by Northwest (May 11) and Close Encounters of the Third Kind (June 8). Bring a blanket or chairs, and a snack. 407-629-1088. enzian.org.
Screen on the Green. The City of Maitland offers free outdoor movies each spring and fall on the field at Maitland Middle School. Bring a blanket or chairs. The next shows are Storks (April 1 at 8 p.m.) and The Secret Life of Pets (May 13 at 8:15 p.m.). 1901 Choctaw Trail, Maitland. 407-539-0042. itsmymaitland.com.
Casa Feliz Historic Home Museum. This stunningly restored Spanish farmhouse-style home was designed by acclaimed architect James Gamble Rogers II, and is now a community center and museum. Free open houses are hosted by trained docents every Tuesday and Thursday from 10 a.m.to noon. Also, live music is featured in the large downstairs parlor on Sundays from noon to 3 p.m. (see Music). 656 North Park Avenue (adjacent to the Winter Park Golf Course). 407-628-8200. casafeliz.us.
Holocaust Memorial Resource & Education Center of Florida. The center is dedicated to combating anti-Semitism, racism and prejudice, with the goal of developing a moral and just community through educational and cultural programs. It houses permanent and temporary exhibits, archives and a research library. Its ongoing exhibit, Tribute to the Holocaust, presents an overview of the Holocaust through artifacts, videos, photographs and artwork. On display through June 16 is Fighting on the Home Front: Propaganda Posters Of WWII. The exhibit features a series of 28 original war posters from World War II, drawn from collections at the Detroit Historical Society. Admission is free. 851 North Maitland Avenue, Maitland. 407-628-0555. holocaustedu.org.
Winter Park History Museum. Ongoing displays include artifacts dating from the city’s beginnings as a New England-style resort in the 1880s. Its current exhibit, Winter Park: The War Years, 1941-1945 — Home Front Life in an American Small Town, looks at how World War II affected Winter Parkers. 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 city and sponsors exhibits featuring the works of African-American artists. The museum’s current exhibit is Back in the Day: Reflections of Historic Eatonville, which features artifacts and memorabilia related to Eatonville’s history. Admission is free, though group tours require a reservation and must pay a fee. 227 East Kennedy Boulevard, Eatonville. 407-647-3188. zorafestival.org.
63rd Annual Winter Park Easter Egg Hunt. A Winter Park tradition dating back to President Eisenhower’s first term in office, the hunt is held the day before Easter — this year, that’s Saturday, April 15. Roughly 10,000 Easter eggs are hidden in Central Park’s West Meadow, and several hundred kids show up to try and find them. (Children are asked to bring a basket with them.) The fun begins at 10 a.m., with kids 10 and under allowed to line up a half hour earlier. Extra treats will be on hand afterward for those left eggless. 407-599-3334. cityofwinterpark.org.
Memorial Day Service. The ceremony in Winter Park’s Glen Haven Memorial Park cemetery usually includes an honor guard, music and guest speaker. May 29 at 11 a.m. Admission is free. 2300 Temple Drive. 407-647-1100.
Winter Park Institute at Rollins College. The institute, affiliated with Rollins College, presents lectures, readings and seminars by thought leaders in an array of disciplines. Its ninth season concludes April 4 with former U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle “Gabby” Giffords and her husband, retired NASA astronaut Mark Kelly. The couple became advocates for stricter gun laws after a near-fatal 2011 attempt on Giffords’ life. Giffords and Kelly will speak at 7:30 p.m. in Warden Arena at the Alfond Sports Center. Tickets are $15, $30 and $50. 1000 Holt Avenue. 407-646-2145. rollins.edu/wpitickets.
University Club of Winter Park. Upcoming lectures include The Fixer, a look at the Pulitzer Prize-winning book by Bernard Malamud that tells the true story of a blood libel murder in the early 20th century. The April 13 program, which starts at 10 a.m., is free for members; guests are asked to make a $5 donation. 841 North Park Avenue. 407-644-6149. uclubwp.org.
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 each Saturday from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the old railroad depot, which also houses the Winter Park History Museum. The open-air market offers baked goods, produce, plants, honey, cheese, meat, flowers, crafts and other specialty items for sale. 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. cityofwinterpark.org.
Bach Festival Society of Winter Park. The society’s 2016-17 season wraps up April 22-23 with the final installment of its Choral Masterworks Series, Vive la France, an all-French program consisting of Gabriel Fauré’s Requiem, Op. 48; Francis Poulenc’s Gloria; Claude Debussy’s Nocturnes, No. 3 “Sirènes”; and Camille Saint-Saëns’ Morceau de Concert, Op. 94. Performances are 7:30 p.m. Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday in the Knowles Memorial Chapel on the Rollins College campus, 1000 Holt Avenue. Tickets range from $25 to $65. 407-646-2182. bachfestivalflorida.org.
Blue Bamboo Center for the Arts. This eclectic venue is part performance hall, part recording studio and part art gallery. It offers live performances most evenings, with an emphasis on jazz, classical and world music, though theater, dance and spoken-word presentations are also on the schedule. Upcoming musical events include: pianist Makia Matsumura, April 1 at 8 p.m. ($15); Kneebody, April 3 at 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. ($25-$60); jazz singer Nancy Kelly, April 4 at 7:30 p.m. ($20); guitarist Christopher Belt, April 5 at 8 p.m. ($10); Bamboo Philharmonic, April 7 at 8 p.m. ($15); Stan Kenton Legacy Orchestra, April 8 at 8 p.m. ($25); Baroque Chamber Orchestra of Maitland, April 12 at 8 p.m. ($16-$25); pianist/vocalist Carol Stein with Andrea Canny, April 19 at 8 p.m. ($15); AMP Trio, April 20 at 8 p.m. ($20); jazz vocalist/songwriter Dara Tucker, April 22 at 8 p.m. ($20); Central Florida Vocal Arts, April 27 at 8 p.m. ($10); pianist/vocalist Laila Biali, May 1 at 8 p.m. ($20); jazz singer Jaimie Roberts, May 13 at 8 p.m. ($20); Carol Stein with Mark Miller, May 24 at 8 p.m. ($15); Central Florida Vocal Arts, May 25 at 8 p.m. ($10); Carol Stein with Michelle Mailhot, June 24 at 8 p.m. ($15); Central Florida Vocal Arts, June 29 at 8 p.m. ($10). Non-musical programs include: Living Room Screenings, short, independent films with discussion, April 1, May 6 and June 3 ($10); Parcels: MFAs in Progress, readings of stories and poems by UCF graduate students, April 2 (free); String Tea, a vignette-based improv/performance group, April 18, May 6 and June 20 ($10); Florida Tribal Dance, a unique form of belly dance, April 29 ($15); and Living Room Theater, another improv/performance group, April 30, May 19 and June 23 ($10). 1905 Kentucky Avenue. 407-636-9951. bluebambooartcenter.com.
Breakthrough Theatre of Winter Park. This volunteer-based organization bills itself as “Winter Park’s only community theater,” a non-Equity group that encourages self-expression through dance, music and theater. Its next production is an evening of cabaret, Music for Melons: When You Believe, featuring songs from popular animated movies including The Little Mermaid, An American Tail, The Jungle Book, Beauty and the Beast, Shrek, Frozen and more. All proceeds benefit Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Orlando. March 31 at 8 p.m., April 1 at 3 and 8 p.m. Tickets are $15. 419-A West Fairbanks Avenue. 407-920-4034. breakthroughtheatre.com.
Central Florida Folk. This Winter Park-based not-for-profit is dedicated to promoting and preserving live folk music, primarily through concerts on the last Sunday of each month (except May, when the Florida Folk Festival takes center stage). The group is currently trying out several venues, including the Winter Park Public Library, 460 East New England Avenue. The next two concerts scheduled at that location are Friction Farm, plus Elaine Mahon, on April 30 at 2:30 p.m.; and Rod MacDonald, plus Dianne Martin-Karelovich, on June 25 at 2 p.m. A donation of $12 for non-members is suggested. 407-679-6426. cffolk.org.
Get Your Jazz On. The Alfond Inn continues its concert series on April 28, with live jazz under the stars that includes not only music but roasted chicken, smoked pig, a vegetarian alternative, wine, beer, cocktails and cigars. The outdoor event (which moves indoors if it rains) runs from 6:30-9:30 p.m. Tickets are $50 in advance, valet parking included. Alfond Inn, 300 East New England Avenue. 407-998-8090. thealfondinn.com.
Music at the Casa. The Casa Feliz Historic Home Museum regularly presents Sunday afternoon acoustic performances, from noon to 3 p.m., in the home’s main parlor. Upcoming performers include: flamenco guitarist Omar Miguel, April 2; violinist Lisa Ferrigno and Friends, April 9; Classern String Quartet, April 23; harpist Catherine Way, April 30; Beautiful Music String Quartet, May 7; Alborea Dances Flamenco, May 14; guitarist Jeff Scott, May 21; violinist Amy X & Friends, May 28; guitarist and singer Rev. Shawn Garvey, June 11; harpist Christine MacPhail, June 18. Performers on June 4 and 25 are to be announced. Admission is free. 656 North Park Avenue (adjacent to the Winter Park Country Club golf course). 407-628-8200. casafeliz.us.
University Club of Winter Park. The club’s various activities are open to the public, though nonmembers are asked to donate a $5 activity fee each time they attend. Upcoming musical performances include: opera baritone Chevalier Lovett, with a mix of operatic arias and easy-listening songs, at 1 p.m. on April 19; and My Harp to Your Heart, a program of classical favorites and Broadway hits by Walt Disney World Orchestra harpist Elizabeth Louise at 1 p.m. on May 17. 841 North Park Avenue. There is no charge for members; a $5 donation is recommended for non-members. 407-644-6149. uclubwp.org.
Florida Writers Association: Orlando/Winter Park-Area Chapter. This group meets the first Wednesday of each month from 6:30-8:30 p.m. for a guest speaker and discussion organized by Rik Feeney. Upcoming dates are April 5, May 3 and June 7. University Club of Winter Park, 841 North Park Avenue. floridawriters.net.
Fun with Flowers. Emily Bader and Cathey Bowers demonstrate how to create an Easter/springtime arrangement on April 6 at 10 a.m. at the Winter Park Garden Club. Participants should bring clippers; everything else will be provided. The session, which starts at 10 a.m., is limited to 20 people; tickets are $25, due by April 3. 1300 South Denning Drive. 407-644-5770. winterparkgardenclub.com.
16th Annual Dinner on the Avenue. The city supplies the tables, chairs, white linen tablecloths and, of course, the outdoor setting while you and your friends, family or co-workers supply the fellowship and clever conversation as you dine in the middle of closed-off Park Avenue opposite Central Park. The annual event is also a friendly competition, with awards for table decorations in such categories as “Most Colorful,” “Most Elegant” and “Most Original.” This year’s April 8 event, already sold out at $125 a table, is from 6-10 p.m. 407-599-3334. cityofwinterpark.org.
Earth Day in the Park. This free, fun-filled April 9 event in Central Park includes an electric-car show and human-powered snow cones. Presented by the city’s Sustainability Program and Keep Winter Park Beautiful, activities at this 11 a.m.-3 p.m. celebration, held two weeks before Earth Day, also include a kid’s zone, tie-dyeing T-shirts, do-it-yourself art with Crealdé School of Art, a “quick draw” art competition with the Polasek Museum, plus yoga (bring a mat), live music, food and drink, environmental demonstrations, a bike rodeo and free composters to the first 100 arrivals. cityofwinterpark.org/earthday.
Exploring Nature’s Elegant Patterns. After hearing Redenta Soprano, you’ll never again look at plants in quite the same way. The botanical artist and local resident is the featured speaker at the Winter Park Garden Club’s annual meeting on April 12 at 10 a.m. Her topic: the hidden order in nature, from the spiral curves and Fibonacci sequence in plants’ growth patterns to the branching design in trees. Soprano has taught at New York Botanical Gardens, Harry P. Leu Gardens in Orlando, and Winter Park’s Albin Polasek Museum. 1300 South Denning Drive. 407-644-5770.
32nd Annual Taste of Winter Park. Sample all the best food that Winter Park has to offer on April 19 starting at 5 p.m. Dozens of restaurants and caterers bring their best noshes and drinks to “Winter Park’s ultimate foodie festival.” Entertainment by saxophonist Johnny Mag Sax, plus a silent auction and raffle. Tickets range from $35 to $50. Winter Park Farmers’ Market, 200 West New England Avenue. 407-644-8281. winterpark.org.
Maitland Public Library 5K. This annual 3.1-mile run is mainly a community-building effort. This year’s foot race is on May 20 at 7:30 a.m., starting and ending in Quinn Strong Park, 347 South Maitland Avenue, Maitland. 407-647-7700. maitlandpubliclibrary.org.
Summertime Sip, Shop & Stroll. On June 8, the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce and the Park Avenue Merchants Association invite you to sip, stroll and experience the charm of the region’s premier shopping district. Discover new merchants while checking out the latest fashions, gift ideas and seasonal menus — all while enjoying wine and hors d’oeuvres offered at participating locations from 5-8 p.m. Tickets are $25; check in at the corner of Park Avenue and Morse Boulevard between 5-7 p.m. to receive your wine glass and “passport.” 407-644-8281. winterpark.org.
Wednesday Open Words. Free, open-mic poetry readings hosted by Curtis Meyer take place every Wednesday at 8 p.m. at Austin’s Coffee, 929 West Fairbanks Avenue. 407-975-3364.
Winter Park Executive Women. Hosted by the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce, these monthly lunchtime gatherings 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. It’s typically scheduled for 11:30 a.m. the first Monday of most months. Upcoming dates include: April 3, “What is Your Personal Brand?” with Betsy Gardner Eckbert, president and CEO of the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce; May 1, with Heather Alexander and Roy Allen, founders of Winter Park Playhouse; and June 5 (check website for scheduled topic and speaker). Tickets, which include lunch, are $20 for members, $25 for nonmembers; reservations are required. Winter Park Welcome Center, 151 West Lyman Avenue. 407-644-8281. winterpark.org.
Good Morning Winter Park. Hosted by the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce, these monthly gatherings attract civic-minded locals who enjoy coffee and conversation about community issues. Typically scheduled for the second Friday of each month, upcoming dates include April 14, May 12 and June 9. Networking begins at 8 a.m.; each month’s program begins at 8:30 a.m. Admission, which includes a complimentary continental breakfast, is free. Winter Park Welcome Center, 151 West Lyman Avenue. 407-644-8281. winterpark.org.
The Hot Seat. Hosted by the Winter Park Chamber of Commerce, this business-oriented series puts local executives in the spotlight as they offer advice and discuss entrepreneurism, leadership and sales-and-marketing techniques. These hour-long, lunchtime events take place quarterly at the Winter Park Welcome Center; the next scheduled gathering is May 24 at noon. Tickets are $10 for members, $15 for non-members. Reservations are required. Winter Park Welcome Center, 151 West Lyman Avenue. 407-644.8281. winterpark.org.
Relay For Life. This signature fundraiser for the American Cancer Society takes place each year in more than 5,200 communities and 20 countries. Participants form teams whose members take turns walking around a track or designated path. A relay usually starts at noon and lasts six to 24 hours, and each team is asked to have a member on the track at all times to signify that cancer never sleeps. Local events include: Relay For Life of Winter Park High School, April 1 at 3 p.m. at Showalter Field; Relay For Life of Maitland/Casselberry, May 6 at noon at Lake Lily Park; and Relay For Life of Eatonville, May 13 (check website for time and location). 407-581-2501. relay.acsevents.org.
Art of the Vine. Those with a sense of style and culture will want to eat, drink and be colorful at the 16th annual Art of the Vine, which pairs amazing food and fine wine with great art and radiant colors. The April 21 event, which starts at 6 p.m., benefits New Hope for Kids, which helps Central Florida children coping with life-threatening illnesses or grieving the death of loved ones. Tickets are $85 in advance, $100 at the door. Fields BMW, 963 Wymore Road. 407-331-3059, Ext. 12. newhopeforkids.org.
The Great Duck Derby. A day of fun family activities at Mead Botanical Garden featuring rubber-duck races. Adopt a race duck for just $5, or get a “Five-Duck Quack Pack” for $20. Admission, parking and other activities are free for the April 22 event, which starts at 10 a.m.. Other activities include “duckoration,” a bounce house, face painting, hay rides, a silly singalong, Central Florida Zoo animal encounters, a climb-aboard fire truck and hikes along the creek and throughout the garden. 1300 South Denning Drive. 407-599-3397. meadgarden.org.
Orlando Take Steps Walk. This April 22 fundraising and public-awareness walk around Lake Lily benefits the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation’s Central Florida Chapter. Check-in and the festival start at 9:30 a.m., the walk starts at 11 a.m. Lake Lily Park, Maitland. 646-203-1214. ccfa.org.
Ice Cream Social. Enjoy an assortment of ice cream from 1-5 p.m. at the Rachel D. Murrah Civic Center on April 23 during an event that benefits Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Florida. In addition to ice cream, there’ll be live entertainment, face painting, a cake walk, games, door prizes, a silent auction and more. Tickets are $7 in advance or $10 at the door ($7 for seniors at the door). Children under 3 are admitted free. Tickets are on sale at all three Ronald McDonald houses in Orlando. 1050 West Morse Boulevard. ronaldmcdonaldhouseorlando.org.
Run for the Trees: Jeannette Genius McKean Memorial 5K. This popular foot race, held this year on April 29 at 7:30 a.m., begins at Showalter Field, 2525 Cady Way. But the last mile and the finish are along a privately owned portion of Genius Drive that’s open to the public only once a year, for this event. Shuttle buses return runners to the starting line and parking lot; all finishers receive a young tree to plant. Registration, which ranges from $20 to $30 per person, is limited to 1,800 people. Proceeds support the Winter Park Tree Replacement Fund. 407-896-1160. trackshack.com.
Baby Owl Shower. The Audubon Center for Birds of Prey, an urban environmental center in Maitland, focuses on the rescue, rehabilitation and release of Florida’s raptors, such as bald eagles, ospreys, owls and falcons. Each spring, the center throws a Baby Owl Shower as a fundraiser to help cover the facility’s increased costs during baby-bird season. Non-releasable baby raptors are usually available to view, and other organizations present various educational activities and programs. This year’s shower starts at 10 a.m. on May 13; admission is free if you bring an item from the center’s online wish list of items needed to care for young raptors. 1101 Audubon Way, Maitland. 407-644-0190. fl.audubon.org.