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Polk Museum of Art

800 E Palmetto Street
Lakeland, FL

Phone: 863-688-7743

Statement of Purpose:

The Polk Museum of Art shall function as a cultural art center for the general public, essentially educational and aesthetic in purpose, whose primary goal is to stimulate awareness and appreciation of the arts through the acquisition and care of a permanent collection as well as through exhibitions, workshops, lectures, classes, tours and performing events.


The Polk Museum of Art was accredited in 1983 and is one of only 26 art institutions in the state of Florida to achieve this distinction. It is also the only accredited art museum serving the 450,000-plus residents of Polk County, plus the central Florida counties of Highlands, Hardee, Osceola, Okeechobee, Pasco, Lake and Sumter.

The Museum annually hosts the Mayfaire by-the-Lake art festival on the shores of Lake Morton in historic downtown Lakeland. Begun in 1974 as a small crafts fair, Mayfaire has grown into one of Florida's premier outdoor art festivals, showcasing the work of approximately 185 fine artists, food vendors from throughout Polk County and Central Florida, a 5-K race and an evening street party. Held on Mother's Day weekend each year, the event annually attracts more than 60,000 people.

The Permanent Collections of the Polk Museum of Art are wide-ranging, with a special focus on:


The Polk Museum of Art facility features 37,000 square feet of total space with nine galleries on two floors.

There is 12,500 square feet of exhibition space used for up to six major exhibitions a year, as well as approximately 12 smaller shows.

Sculpture, painting, artist prints, photography, ceramics and crafts from a variety of time periods and cultures are shown, as are alternative mediums that are outside of the standard visual art categories.

Effort is made to include a wide array of both historic and contemporary exhibitions.

With art education as a primary aspect of the Museum's mission, it is fitting that one of the main floor galleries is permanently devoted to student work presented in a professional manner equivalent to the other exhibitions.

The Precolumbian art is on permanent display in a specially designed gallery. Smaller galleries on the second floor are typically used to highlight aspects of the permanent collection or specially loaned exhibitions.

Additionally, a second student gallery displays student work from the education department collection.

A sculpture courtyard, in which a water wall serves as the backdrop for art works in three dimensions, can be accessed through a dramatic double-door entry adjacent to the main lobby and is visible from the main hall through a curtain wall.



Admission to the Polk Museum of Art is FREE and the Museum has maintained that policy since its founding in 1966. The Museum also is fully accessible. A wheelchair is available at the information desk in the front lobby for guests needing assistance. The permanent installation of Precolumbian artifacts includes a tactile exhibition with Braille text and study-collection objects that can be touched and examined closely. Wall text is installed to be read at wheelchair height.


Key Personnel:

Executive Director: Daniel Stetson

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