Looking for a place to enjoy art in Orlando? One of the loveliest, most intriguing, and most intimate art museums is the Mennello Museum of American Art, in Loch Haven Cultural Park, a short trip from downtown.
Although it is currently owned and operated by the City of Orlando, the Mennello Museum is the former private home of Howard Phillips, son of a local philanthropic family. It’s the home of exhibitions on American art from every genre and period. It hosts exhibitions of its original collections and of traveling art. One of the permanent exhibits, for example, is a rotating selection from the world’s largest collection of paintings by self-taught artist Earl Cunningham, (1893-1977), which the Mennello owns.
In addition, due to its ownership by the City, it draws from the City of Orlando’s Permanent Collection, which is the most extensive collection of public art in Florida. The Museum is also a Smithsonian Affiliate, meaning that it has access to education resources from the Smithsonian Museums in Washington, D.C.
The grounds of the Mennello are beautiful as well—in fact, they are very much part of the art experience. It is by Lake Formosa, and also home to a beautiful sculpture garden. Various sculptures are intertwined with the park’s Old Florida section. Its walking paths wend their way to the larger Orlando Urban Trail bicycle and pedestrian path. The sculpture garden is always open to the public. It is home to an iconic live oak tree draped with Spanish moss that is affectionately dubbed “The Mayor.” The live oak is thought to be more than 350 years old.
The Mennello Museum is open Tuesday-Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 4:30 p.m.