The Appleton Museum of Art in Ocala, Florida is one of the South's premier art repositories and education centers. Originally built to display and preserve the collection of Arthur I. Appleton, the museum has expanded to include traveling exhibitions, educational programs, and cultural events.
The Appleton Museum of Art is the focal point of the Appleton Cultural Center, a 44-acre complex which also includes the Ocala Civic Theatre and the Pioneer Garden Club. The museum building is a contemporary interpretation of classical architecture clad in travertine marble. Sitting on 11.3 wooded and landscaped acres, it commands a small rise preceded by a cascading marble reflecting pool and fountain.
The original museum building is a two-story edifice of 45,000 square feet with 30,000 square feet devoted to gallery space. Galleries are arranged in a quadrangle which surrounds an interior courtyard and fountain. Five large galleries are divided into several smaller bays which enable more intimate viewing of smaller objects. Remaining space is allotted to a 250-seat auditorium, administrative offices, and storage. The 20,000 square foot Edith-Marie Appleton Wing opened in July 1996. It houses a 4,000 square foot two-story exhibition gallery, three conference rooms, an interactive video classroom, an art library, a workshop, and additional office and storage space.
The Appleton Museum is the realization of a dream of Arthur I. Appleton, retired president of Appleton Electric Company of Chicago, avid art collector, and owner of Bridlewood Farm, a Marion County thoroughbred operation. Appleton, together with a group of community leaders, persuaded the City of Ocala to donate land for the museum. Arthur, his wife, Martha and his sister, Edith-Marie Appleton donated funds to build the museum structure. The museum opened to the public in December 1987. Jointly owned by Florida State University and Central Florida Community College since July 1, 1990, The Appleton Museum of Art is now wholly owned and operated by Central Florida Community College and the Central Florida Community College Foundation.
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