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Phantom of the Opera, Art for $100 or Less, Snake Farming: Culture Worth the Miles

| April 21, 2011

A portion of the expanded Morse Museum in Winter Park.

A portion of the expanded Morse Museum in Winter Park features objects from the dining room at Louis Comfort Tiffany’s Long Island estate, Laurelton Hall, including a 13.5-foot-high, mosaic-decorated marble mantelpiece, a 25-foot-long wool rug, and leaded-glass chandelier.

Morse Museum for Free

More than 30,000 people have visited the Morse Museum in Winter Park since the much-anticipated opening of their magnificent new wing on February 19. The $5 million addition expanded the Museum’s exhibition space by 50 percent. Ten new galleries now provide access to the recently restored Daffodil Terrace from Louis Comfort Tiffany’s celebrated Long Island estate, Laurelton Hall. In addition, 250 art and architectural objects from Laurelton Hall’s dining room, living room and reception area now have a permanent home in the Museum.


With coverage from the New York Times, Newsday, the Washington Post, and Architectural Digest, the Opening has been the high-point of the year for Central Florida Art-lovers. In a gesture to the community, the Museum is offering – on April 22, 23, and 24 – three days of free admission to the Museum and its new Tiffany wing. The collection includes objects from virtually every medium the Artist explored – from leaded-glass windows and lamps to art jewelry and pottery – as well as the chapel designed for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. For hours and information, call 407 645-5311 or visit

1934 ART Comes to Life

Beth Marshall is not only the “Head PooBah” of the renowned Orlando ‘Fringe Festival,’ she is an innovative theater producer throughout Central Florida. One year ago, she began a collaboration with the Mennello Museum that brought Jackson Pollock to life as created by the always-inventive John Didonna. That collaboration is about to happen once again in a production called the 1934 Project, a new work created by Beth Marshall, John Didonna, and company. The new work promises to bring together fine art, theatre and history based on the Works Progress Fine Art movement of 1934. The performance will take place inside the Museum with actual works of Art (created in 1934) hanging on the walls. The Mennello Museum of American Art is at 900 E. Princeton Street at Loch Haven Park with the performance set for April 23 at 2:30 pm. Call 407-246-4278 or visit

The Phantom of the High School

When Andrew Lloyd Webber decided to release the performance rights to Phantom of the Opera to all educational theaters in 2010, it was a natural for University HS – in East Orlando – to take up the challenge. But what a project for a HIGH SCHOOL – a falling chandelier, floating boat, giant moving staircase, and ALL that spectacle! University High has over 200 talented students in the cast, crew and pit who are dedicated to bringing this phenomenal musical to Florida in a HIGH SCHOOL THEATER. At this tough time for schools and teachers, University High will present Phantom of the Opera from April 27 to May 1 – one of the first high schools in the country to do so. The entire performing arts faculty – 3 theatre teachers, 2 chorus directors and 2 band directors, along with Principal Dr. Michael Armbruster, are ready with a gigantic cast and full orchestra. They reached out to the community for help – from the Bay Street Theatre in Eutis to a student’s grandmother, who happens to be a professional costumer. The School Principal will even make a cameo appearance as the Auctioneer. ‘Phantom’ is one of the biggest, most successful musicals of all time. Congratulations – in advance – to this High School for taking on this remarkable project.  University HS is at 11501 Eastwood Drive in Orlando. Call (407) 482 8700 x 2251 for ticket info with tickets sold at the door.

Original ART at $100

Gallery on First. Click on the image for larger view.

It takes an innovative spirit to sell original ART in this crazy economy, and Gallery on First – in historic downtown Sanford – has come up with a way to help support their Artists, while the Artists ‘share’ with the community. They will open an exhibit called Extreme Art Show: 100 4 100, in which 100 pieces of original Art will hang on the walls, and each one is priced at $100 (or less). Eight studio Artists at Gallery on First will bring together their collective talent – from emerging artists to established veterans, they are putting out the word that owning original art doesn’t need to be expensive. The Opening, set for Friday April 22 from 6 to 9 pm, will offer the best selection and many of the Artists will be on-hand to discuss their works and techniques. The exhibit runs through April 30. Gallery on First is at 211 E 1st St in Sanford. Call 407-323-2774 or visit

Four Decades of Snake Farming

For 38 years, George VanHorn has owned and operated Reptile World Serpentarium, east of St. Cloud, all the while supplying venom for antivenin and medical research. The Serpentarium houses over 50 species of snakes from around the world, ranging from the familiar and ‘friendly’ to the exotic and deadly. There are also turtles, a large alligator, and other reptiles on display. As part of a visit, guests have the chance to watch George “milk” several highly dangerous snake species for venom. On April 21 at 7 pm, the Orange Audubon Society invites us to meet George while he tells us about the fascinating snakes he has loved since childhood … and the experiences he has had with his ‘friends.’ And George promises to bring some of his ‘friends’ with him for this Free program. Children are welcome. George’s talk will take place at Leu Gardens at 1920 N. Forest Avenue, just east of Mills Avenue in Orlando. Call 407-637-2525 or visit or

Artists Paint Winter Park

If you see more than the usual number of fine Artists painting around Winter Park in the last week of April, it’s because the Third Annual Winter Park Paint Out is happening courtesy of the good folks at the Polasek Museum. The Paint Out invites 28 Florida Artists to paint their favorite Winter Park scene capturing landscapes and landmarks with oils, watercolors and pastels. The painting will take place from April 23rd to April 30th after which the canvases will be on exhibit from May 1st to the 8th at the Polasek Museum. Artwork produced during the Paint Out will be for sale with a portion of the proceeds going to support the preservation of the Museum and its beautiful gardens. The Paint Out includes a special fundraising event from 6 pm to 9 pm on Saturday, April 30.  All of the Artists will be present, and patrons are able to discuss and purchase their works. Tickets for The Paint Out Party are available through the Polasek Museum ($35 in advance, $50 at the door). Call 407.647.6294 or visit

Winter Park Paint-Out.

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