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Central Florida art shows worth a drive in January

It’s a trip



Rather than having one concentrated gallery neighborhood, the Orlando area is home to scattered pockets and one-offs. True, Downtown's Third Thursday gallery hops are becoming more and more popular, and thus attracting more and more new exhibition spaces radiating out from the 3rdThu home base, CityArts Factory. And "art strolls" – which, to be truthful, are more often drink-wine-and-shop strolls – proliferate throughout the city.

But some of the region's true gems for seeing contemporary art lie further afield, requiring the commitment of a longer drive. For instance, DeLand's Museum of Art has shown work by seminal masters like Richard Anuszkiewicz, Sandro Chia and Duane Hanson in recent years. The Southeastern Museum of Photography, at Daytona State College in Daytona Beach, is one of only 13 museums in the country dedicated solely to photography, and regularly shows some of the finest photographers working today. And New Smyrna Beach is home to the Atlantic Center for the Arts, a visionary multidisciplinary artist-in-residence facility, often the first (and sometimes the only) glimpse of Florida for its internationally renowned master artists.

Here we suggest a couple of shows opening this week in farther-flung towns. Maybe make a day trip out of it? Friday night in Mount Dora could include a visit to the Mount Dora Center for the Arts for the opening of Printmaking: Processes and Concepts as part of the 2nd Friday Art Stroll, as well as an amble along the Palm Island Boardwalk and a glass of wine at Pisces Rising. Or a Saturday in New Smyrna Beach might find you looking at Arts on Douglas' Cheers to 20 Great Years group show in that loose, exalted yet sandy state brought on by a day beside the ocean. Energize for the longish ride home with an excellent cup of coffee from Third Wave Café on Flagler Avenue.

PRINTMAKING: PROCESSES AND CONCEPTS opening reception 6-8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 8 | exhibition through Feb. 19 | Mount Dora Center for the Arts, 138 E. Fifth Ave., Mount Dora | 352-383-0880 | | free

The MDCA makes its home in a charming brick building just around the corner from Mount Dora's main drag, on leafy Fifth Avenue. Processes and Concepts brings together a dozen artists from Florida and beyond who work in the medium of printmaking – a discipline which contains a multitude of sub-disciplines, including monotype, screenprinting, lithography, woodcut and block printing, etching and digital imaging. Orlando artist Donne Bitner works in one-of-a-kind monotypes, made with oil inks and plexiglass, while Winter Park's David Hunter creates classic etchings by rubbing ink into drawings etched onto metal plates. Some of the works here are pure examples of the form while others are more layered, textured or experimental, illustrating the complex range of printmaking techniques. The opening reception is part of Mount Dora's 2nd Friday Art Stroll.

CHEERS TO 20 GREAT YEARS opening reception 4-7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 9 | exhibition through Feb. 20 | Arts on Douglas, 123 Douglas St., New Smyrna Beach | 386-428-1133 | | free

Arts on Douglas was founded in 1996 by Doris Leeper, the same woman who founded the Atlantic Center for the Arts, and in 2014 the gallery cemented its connection to the ACA as a partner. Housed in what was originally a 1930s-era Ford showroom, Arts on Douglas maintains a strong focus on Florida artists; the newer, rawer room (Alt_Space) is an exciting place to see contemporary work and experimental shows, while the main gallery exhibits a stable of established professionals. Cheers to 20 Great Years collects work by eight artists who have been represented by Arts on Douglas since its founding, a strong and varied crew fundamental to the gallery's success: Heidi Edwards, Ed Harris, Rodney Lints, Tim Ludwig, Mary Schimpff Webb, Trish Thompson, Anna Tomczak and Enzo Torcoletti. The reception will include a three-piece jazz trio, light hors d'oeuvres, and cocktails and champagne to celebrate not just these eight but also the hundreds of artists who've hung here over the years.

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