History and haunting seem to go hand in hand. The older a place grows, the more stories it collects within its walls, and whether negative or positive, all seem to leave a lasting impression.
The Maitland Art Center is Greater Orlando’s only National Historic Landmark. It served as an artist’s colony in the late 20th century and is now considered to be the most haunted place in Central Florida. Why, you may ask? Because the ghost of the founder, Andre Smith, supposedly still wanders its halls.
Andre Smith began his journey in art as a war artist for the United States during World War II. He eventually retired in Florida where he founded his Research Studio, now the Maitland Art Center, where he gave classes and held exhibits.
Smith died in his studio in 1959, and 60 years later, his presence can still be felt. Both staff and guests alike have reported seeing his apparition walking the grounds, hearing disembodied voices, and even having furniture rearranged.
[rebelmouse-image 25947042 photo_credit="Maitland Art Center | Karina Jimenez" expand=1 original_size="989x707"]
Andrea Bailey Cox, who is the CEO and Executive Director of the Art Center, has worked on the grounds for 12 years and even had her own siting of Smith’s ghost sketching in his study through a window. When she walked around into the building, the revenant had vanished.
Cox also mentioned in an interview that Smith’s ghost is usually sighted in three different ways. Some guests and staff have spotted him walking through the halls, while artists tend to feel a very heavy presence while working. Smith was an avid cigar smoker, and heavy cigar fumes can be smelled where no other source is present.
Founded in 1937, the Art Center is one of the few examples of “Mayan Revival” or fantasy architecture in the Southeast. This particular guided haunted tour will give guests specific history and ghost stories from the center’s staff and students.
Maitland Art Center
When: October 18th 6:30pm - 9:30pm
Where: 31 W. Packwood Avenue Maitland, FL 3275
Why You Need To Go: Not everyday are you given a chance to explore one of Florida's most notoriously haunted locations.