Walk paints a picture of downtown Orlando art galleries
Downtown Orlando is full of art: soaring (and not-so soaring) sculptures, feathered bow ties, crochet donuts, paintings with wow factor, eye-popping photography.
A self-guided tour started with Gallery at Avalon Island and ended almost 3 miles and 5 hours later with a lap around Lake Eola, home to a variety of sculptures (and very protective swans). Looking for something a little less time-consuming? The Downtown Orlando Partnership offers a gallery tour on the first Saturday of each month. Details and cost: https://www.doporlando.com/gallerytour/
Remember to slather on sunscreen, bring water and healthy snacks, and wear comfortable walking shoes.
Gallery at Avalon Island
Housed on the first floor of the historic Rogers Building, the contemporary art venue is a welcoming place with wood floors and an industrial vibe. There’s plenty of room between the artwork for one to browse comfortably. On its Facebook page, Avalon Island bills itself as a “cultural hub for art, music, literary, and film events and exhibitions.” Hours: 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. Free admission.
Go: 39 S. Magnolia Ave., Orlando; 407-317-8367; facebook
Seven galleries (including the hallway) call this place home. Thought-provoking exhibits are mixed in with fun pieces, mosaics, travel photography and the works of emerging artists of diverse backgrounds, and folks 21 and under. Most everything is for sale and the pieces change monthly. Hours: 11-a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. Free admission.
Go: 29 S. Orange Ave., Orlando; 407-648-7060; www.orlandoslice.com/group/cityartsfactory; facebook
Grand Bohemian Gallery
An eclectic spot featuring local and no-so local artists, the gallery is on the first floor of the Grand Bohemian hotel. On this visit bow ties, necklaces and mixed media works of dancers caught the eye. Art changes monthly. A bonus: The hotel has another collection on the fifth floor, where art lines the walls. Private tours are available but must be booked in advanced. Gallery hours: 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday; 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday; 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday; 10 a.m.- 8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday. Free admission. (I wanted to check out the Terrace Gallery across the street in Orlando City Hall but the public exhibition space was closed.)
Go: 325 S. Orange Ave., Orlando; 407-581-4801; www.grandbohemiangallery.com
This gallery just blocks from Lake Eola says it’s contemporary, creative and spontaneous. It’s a nice place, with good lighting and room enough to roam … or sit. “Nostalgia” runs through July 14, 2018, and features photographs of celebs such as Audrey Hepburn, Tony Bennett, John Lennon and Brigitte Bardot. Hours: 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Friday; 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday. Free admission.
Go: 420 E. Church St., Orlando; 407-286-2185; http://snaporlando.com; facebook
Lake Eola Park
Sculptures ring Lake Eola Park from “The Muse of Discovery,” a giant woman covered in grass, to a piece honoring veterans of the Battle of the Bulge. Plus, the area is a snapshot of Central Florida living, with walkers and joggers juggling for space, birds begging for food or protecting their babies, and spectacular foliage and views.
Go: 512 E. Washington St., Orlando; http://www.cityoforlando.net/parks/lake-eola-park/