Those visiting Orlando, Florida, with an interest in art may want to check out the Zora Neale Hurston National Museum of Fine Arts. Located in nearby Eatonville, the museum pays homage to Florida writer and anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston and showcases rotating exhibits on artists of African ancestry, Zora Neale Hurston herself and sometimes the community of Eatonville when working in conjunction with the adjacent Town Hall.
Each year, the museum puts on two exhibits — usually January through July and September through December — by artists of African ancestary using all types of fine arts mediums, from paintings to photography to mixed media. They also have a partnership with The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, which has been giving the museum’s recent and upcoming artists grants to complete their creative works.
Along with the interesting exhibitions, people enjoy the museum’s intimate and inviting space as well as the ability to interact with the work. For the most part, visitors will find catelogues with the exhibitions featuring scholarly essays and artist reflections. This allows for a more personal experience in the space. Additionally, although the museum is only about 700 square feet, they use it wisely. While a photography exhibition may hold about 50 different works, larger scale programs often transform the space into an immersive creative experience. Moreover, you will always find materials and memorablia focusing on Zora Neale Hurston herself.
Those in the Orlando area at the end of January can attend the annual Zora Neale Hurston Festival. This year, the event will start on January 26, 2013. It begins with five days of onsite and offsite musical programs, educational workshops and engaging speakers, followed by a four-day street festival showcasing over 100 multicultural vendors and music. The festival coincides with a new cutting edge exhibition called “Question Bridge: Black Males,” opening February 1, which looks at the role of black men in society.
The Zora Neale Hurston National Museum of Fine Arts is free to enter, although donations are appreciated. Their hours are Monday through Friday, 9am to 4pm and Saturdays 11am to 1pm except holiday weekends. They are closed on Sundays. Tours are available by appointment and can be scheduled by calling 407-647-3307.