Appleton Museum of Art brings back programs

Ocala’s renowned museum is again offering summer camps and other popular activities.

In this file photo, Maritza Jauregui teaches students how to sketch and visualize shapes as she teaches the Art Explorations class at the Appleton Museum of Art on East Silver Springs Boulevard in Ocala, Fla. on Wednesday, Jan. 5, 2022. [Bruce Ackerman/Ocala Gazette] 2022.

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Posted July 1, 2022 | By Kenneth Witkowich

The Appleton Museum of Art is back to offering summer activities and programs at full capacity after two years of limited operations due to the pandemic.

“This summer we are actually opening up our art camps again, so we are able to allow the community in,” said James Dickins, coordinator of finance services.

The museum is offering in-person, one- to two-week camps through July 29. The camps are recommended for ages 4 and up and the remaining themes include artists inspired by food, clay and pottery, pop art, meet the artist, fashion and more.

Dickins said the museum also has new exhibits and partnerships, notably “Finding Beauty: A Collaborative Exhibition with Ocala Civic Theatre” and a recently acquired collection from the now-closed Foosaner Art Museum of the Florida Institute of Technology.

As well as including new exhibits, “We are focusing a lot on preserving our current collection,” Dickins said.

The Appleton’s current collection includes a European section with artworks from the Romantic, Post-Romantic and Orientalism movements as well as a section where Florida artists’ works are on display. The museum has permanent collections of equine, Asian, African, maritime, modern and Pre-Colombian artworks.

Dickins said the Appleton’s collections are valued at more than $25 million and include over 10,000 individual pieces of art.

Dickins said there is a strong sense of community at the Appleton, especially over the last two years when it was shut down or operating at limited capacity. To help maintain that connection, museum officials filmed educational videos about art and the museum for Marion County instructors and students who were forced to study at home because of COVID-19. Educational and instructional videos and online resources are available on the museum’s website and the Appleton also has a mobile app that is free to download. Dickins said this was a key way to keep the community engaged.

Collen Harper, manager of membership and events at the Appleton, said the museum was completely closed for eight months. It partially reopened in October 2020 with public health measures like mask requirements and limitations on the number of guests, social distancing markers on the floors and hand sanitizers throughout the museum, which remained in place for the next year.

While the venue was closed, Harper said, people would still renew their memberships and support the museum, even though they could not enjoy the benefits. But when the museum got back to pre-pandemic operating hours, membership numbers came back in full force, she noted.

Hand sanitizer stations are still located throughout the museum and masks are available for those who want to wear them. Harper said it is easy to maintain social distancing while enjoying the museum.

The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday noon to 5 p.m. To learn more, visit