Historic art league attracts solid crowds for its annual Winter Show.

The Mount Dora Art League held its annual Winter Show last weekend at the Congregational Church. (Photo by Micael Freeman).

MOUNT DORA – Unlike a lot of other Central Florida cities that grew rapidly in the past decade, Mount Dora’s population has remained fairly stable, Maxine Wall noted.
“Mount Dora doesn’t grow that much,” she said. “Mount Dora in the last 10 years has gone from 11,000 to 12,000 people.”
But if there’s one thing this Lake County city does have quite a lot of, she insisted, it’s talented artists.
“There is a tremendous diversity among our artists,” she said.
Wall is the show chair for the Mount Dora Art League’s Winter Show, an annual event that dates back decades, just as the league itself does.
The league, which has an active membership that ranges between 50 and 68 members, has two annual shows, one in the winter and the second one in the spring, designed to put that artistic talent on display. The Winter Show was held on the weekend of Nov. 30 and Dec. 1-2 at the Congregational Church in downtown Mount Dora, attracting a steady flow of patrons to see what the league’s members are capable of.
The response this year from the people attending the show has been very positive, said Esther Dirlam, the raffle chairman of the show.
“They really enjoy it,” she said. “People are usually impressed, and they’re glad to see it.”
The crowds were also larger this year than in past years, Wall said.
“It is never this much,” she said. “This one is huge. We can’t even get everyone to sign in. There’s too many people.”

The Mount Dora Art League has been in existence for more than 80 years, and hosts two annual art shows. (Photo by Michael Freeman).


The league itself has been around for a long time, Wall noted, as a forum for the many artists who have been relocating here for so many decades.
“The club has been in existence for 85 years,” she said. “It’s the oldest art club in the state. It just began somewhere, and along the way it grew and grew and grew.”
The league meets on the third Wednesday of every month from October through April, at the W.T. Bland Library, from 10:30 a.m. to noon.
“We’ve had as many as 68 members, and we now have 50-plus active members,” Dirlam said.
It’s more than just a social group.
“We have an art demonstration every month,” Dirlam said. “We have rotating art displays so the community can be exposed to the art of our members.”
They also sponsor the two art shows, with the second one arriving in late March – also held at the Congregational Church.
The artwork at the Winter Show included paintings on canvas, photography and sculptures.
Dirlam said a lot of their members are active travelers, and like to capture images from their journeys.
“A number of people travel, so they bring back ideas from where they’ve been,” she said.
Wall added that they hope this show encourages more Mount Dora residents to join the league if they are artistically inclined.
“We have 50 members,” she said, “and we’d like 50 more.”

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