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Art31 offers a different art event every day in March

Art & History Museums – Maitland makes the public part of the art

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Photo: Painting by Trent Tomengo, License: N/A

ART31: THIRTY-ONE DAYS OF EXPERIMENTATION AND COLLABORATION

through March 31 | Art and History Museums – Maitland, 231 W. Packwood Ave., Maitland | 407-539-2181 | artandhistory.org

As of today, the Art and History Museums – Maitland is halfway through a grand experiment. The arts complex is devoting the entire month of March to an all-out campaign to educate and delight, premiering experimental artistic events, exhibitions, films and hands-on workshops every single day. Dubbed Art31: Thirty-One Days of Experimentation and Collaboration, this marathon of visual expression features unprecedented opportunities for the public to engage with notable local and regional artists creating innovative work while participating in their artistic process.

Made possible by a $40,000 grant from Orange County Arts and Cultural Affairs, Art31 evolved from A&H’s annual on-site fundraising party, Participation. The goal of Participation is not simply to raise money and show guests a good time, but also to open up the creative process by featuring tables and booths hosted, built and decorated by visual and performing artists, including muralists, poets, cellists, sculptors, belly-dancers and fire-breathers.

“It’s an opportunity for the public to take part in the creative process with professional artists and gain a better understanding of it,” says Andrea Bailey Cox, executive director and CEO of the Art and History Museums – Maitland. “It’s such a great event, but at $100 a seat, it’s unaffordable for a lot of Orlandoans. We wanted to make it more accessible, and from that simple idea, Art31 was born.”

According to Cox, the staff was the driving force behind the inspiration and execution of the concept right from the start: “All the staff just had a million ideas, really coming up with innovative ways to engage every type of audience so that there’s something for
everyone.”

The colossal undertaking began March 1 with Artist’s Colony day, when guests had the opportunity to wrap the Maitland Art Center in blue cellophane (à la Christo) and participate in workshops with artists including Trent Tomengo and Elysia Mann. The next day featured the beginning stages of the transformation of a donated Toyota RAV4, which will serve as a community outreach vehicle for A&H. Anyone who showed up could contribute to the decoration of the interior, while Central Florida artist Andrew Spear painted the exterior. (The finished version was revealed a week later at the Art Car Party.)

“The car will have a life well after Art31,” says curator and director of education Rebecca Sexton-Larson. “We’ll use it to take our art educators to area schools for workshops.”

A&H’s monthly Culture Pop event was all about screens and printing this month. On March 14, at Culture Pop: Roll, Repeat, Enzian Theater screened Florida Film Festival shorts in the courtyard, local letterpress company Mama’s Sauce led guests through screen-printing the exclusive event posters, and the A&H Artists-in-Action created a steamroller print. Yes, that’s right: They used a construction-grade steamroller to do the pressing. (The Mama’s Sauce poster was designed by Simone Guillaume, who altered her Roll, Repeat illustration slightly for this week’s Orlando Weekly cover.)

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