places to visit in Lakeland, FL

Polk Museum of Art

In Lakeland, Florida, the Polk Museum of Art at Florida Southern College is a private, non-profit, and nationally recognized art museum. It is a Smithsonian Affiliate and a member of the Florida Association of Museums. It is also considered among the finest art museums in the state of Florida. The museum is open to the public and admission is free. The Polk Museum of Art, a private community museum, joined forces with Florida Southern College on June 1, 2017, to further both institutions’ missions and better serve the community. The Polk Museum of Art originally opened its doors in 1966 and has long served as a source of inspiration for Polk’s art community. There are approximately 2,500 pieces in the museum that range from the Pre-Columbian era to the present, so there is still much to see for those who love modern art. Aside from viewing the artwork, visitors may take a stroll around the museum’s rich gardens and admire the sculptures that adorn the outdoor spaces. Rotating exhibits featuring works by artists from Lakeland and the surrounding area are also held here. The Imperial Youth Museum was founded in 1966 by the Junior Welfare League and was previously known as the Imperial Youth Museum. As part of its expanding concentration on art, history, and science, it was renamed Polk Public Museum in 1969. The current name of the museum, Polk Museum of Art, was chosen during its first building campaign in the 1980s. Architect Ernie Straughn designed the structure, which was finished in 1988. The Polk Museum of Art (PMoA) now showcases art from pre-Columbian times to the present, with hundreds of works on display each year in a variety of exhibits centered around a major topic. It has a permanent collection of about 2,500 pieces, which includes student work, Pre-Columbian art, Modern and Contemporary art, Asian art, African art, European and American Decorative Arts, and sculptures in the gardens. PMoA also devotes a significant portion of its physical space to temporary exhibitions, which include both local and traveling exhibits, and feature a wide range of exhibits such as American folk art, modern masters, Japanese prints and textiles, African art, African American art, a Moon Museum exhibit, and much more. The Polk Museum of Art has built its first virtual exhibit, which may be seen on its website. “Hindsight 2020” is the title of this exhibition, which will run from March to August 2020. The museum educates over 35,000 students each year, has several outreach initiatives that benefit low-income neighborhoods, and welcomes over 130,000 visitors each year. Art crawls, galas and receptions are all held at the museum.

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