While in Orlando visiting Disney recently, I was hungering for something off the beaten path. Searching through our guide book I came across The Maitland Art Center, and made the twenty minute trip north of theme-park Orlando. Founded as an art colony by architect and artist, J. André Smith in 1937 and known as The Research Studio, The Maitland Art Center thrives today with gallery exhibitions, artist studios on campus and a strong curriculum of art instruction for adults and children. The Art Center including the house, gardens and chapel are recognized by the State of Florida as a historic site and is on the National Register of Historic Places and would be an interesting venue for weddings and parties. The unique gardens, sculptures, and “Mayan Revival” architecture were certainly a welcome treat after three days at Orlando Theme Parks.Milton Avery’s rendition of The Research Studio, 1949.Etching by J. André Smith.Etching by J. André Smith.