Going on the Road in Search of Art Museums, Galleries Make Out-of-Town Drive Worthwhile

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Byline: Ivette M. Yee, Times-Union staff writer

Road trip!

So you've already checked out the Toulouse-Lautrec exhibit at the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens and strolled past the sculpture at the Jacksonville Museum of Modern Art, but you still haven't killed that culture craving. Well, we've got more goodies for you.

This summer, museums in North and Central Florida are serving up a wide range of art. Here's what's going on just a highway or two away:

-- Speak Softly and Carry a Beagle: The Art of Charles Schulz --The Appleton Museum of Art, Ocala.

"The Beagle has landed!" states the press materials from the Appleton Museum. Those clever dogs. The museum is the only Florida stop for the national tour of the famed cartoonist's works. The exhibition includes over 40 original drawings and cartoon strips by the creator of the Peanuts gang. Take Lucy's advice and go see Charlie Brown, Snoopy and all the rest of your favorite characters. Through Sept. 15.

-- The Highwaymen --The Appleton Museum of Art, Ocala.

More than 30 years ago, a group of self-taught black artists known as The Highwaymen captured the beauty of Florida's natural environment and sold their paintings out of the trunks of their cars. The Appleton is displaying over 120 works by these roadside artists, including Harold Newton, Alfred Hair, Curtis Arnett and others. They once traveled the highways from city to city to make a sale. This time, you make the trip. Through Sept. 1.

-- An American Collection: Paintings from the National Academy of Design -- The Harn Museum of Art, Gainesville.

New York's National Academy of Design was established in 1826, and the works represented in this exhibit go back that far. It features 25 paintings, landscapes, portraits, genre scenes and allegories, and includes works by Frederic Church, Winslow Homer, William Merritt Chase and others. Through Aug. 1.

-- Sergio Vega: Modernismo Tropical -- The Harn Museum of Art, Gainesville.

Artist Sergio Vega traveled to South America to create this collection of works inspired by the 17th-century theory that the Garden of Eden was located on that continent. Vega also investigates how modern urbanization has bumped heads with colonialism in Cuiaba, a small city in Brazil. The exhibit combines taxidermied animals, architecture, plants, photography and sound. Through July 14.

-- Worldviews: Maya Ceramics from the Palmer Collection -- The Harn Museum of Art, Gainesville.

See how Maya scribes and artists used ceramic, stone and jade to make useful objects. Collected from locations throughout Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras, these objects date as far back as 250. Tuesday through Oct. 13.

-- Frank Moore: Green Thumb in a Dark Eden -- The Orlando Museum of Art.

Painter Frank Moore's highly realistic works combine the style of the old masters with the power of social message. "Moore explores the garden as a metaphor for the environment and the role of humanity as caretaker," press materials state. In other words, put your thinking caps on. Through July 28.

-- Holocaust Project: From Darkness Into Light -- The Orlando Museum of Art.

Artist Judy Chicago and photographer Donald Woodman bring you "The Holocaust Project," a journey into one of the darkest periods of modern history. Combining stained-glass art, tapestry, photographs and multimedia installations, this exhibit chronicles the Holocaust and raises a series of questions about the relationship between that tragedy and current events. …