Art & History Museums – Maitland Artist-In-Residence Josette Urso to Begin Residency April 28; Conversation with Urso and Plein Air Paint Day Upcoming

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Art & History Museums - Maitland (A&H) Artist-In-Residence Josette Urso begins her residency on April 28, 2013. This is the first formal, nationally competitive residency program at the A&H since Smith's fellowship program, which was funded by Mary Curtis Bok from 1938 through 1957.

Artist Josette Urso

"I am honored to be the first Artist in Residence of the A&H’s new Residency program,” says Urso.

The Art & History Museums – Maitland (A&H) implements its new Artist-In-Residence program with the arrival of artist Josette Urso on April 28, 2013. Urso’s residency continues through June 2. The program honors the legacy of founder J. André Smith, and the 75th anniversary of the Research Studio’s (now the Art & History Museums – Maitland) first Bok Fellow. This is the first formal, nationally competitive residency program at the A&H since Smith's fellowship program, which was funded by Mary Curtis Bok from 1938 through 1957.

“We are proud to bring this program back to the A&H campus, and the 75th anniversary of the first Bok Fellow is the perfect time to implement this program,” says Andrea Bailey Cox, A&H Executive Director/CEO. “This program provides the chosen Artist-In-Residence a place to concentrate fully on their work within unique and beautiful surroundings. Artists-In-Action, students, instructors, and community members will have opportunities to meet, engage with, and learn from these prominent, nationally acclaimed artists.”    

The Research Studio, founded in 1937 by visionary artist and architect J. André Smith (1880-1959), benefited from the generous financial support of philanthropist Mary Curtis Bok. The Research Studio was a lively colony that hosted artists of national prominence, including Milton Avery, Ralston Crawford, Doris Lee, Boris Margo and Teng Chiu.

Urso creates paintings, drawings and collages working directly and urgently in response to her environment. For Urso, space is a malleable substance that she delights in manipulating acrobatically in a kind of gymnasium of mark making and image collision all governed by intuitive leaps of scale, color, and a wayward geometry. Her approach involves “moment-to-moment” extrapolation where the contrasts and cross-fertilizations are cumulative, non-linear, free flowing and interpretive. She strives to discover and engage the known as well as the unknown in unforeseen ways.

"I am honored to be the first Artist in Residence of the A&H’s new residency program,” says Urso. “While in Maitland, I will work primarily outdoors while making oil paintings, watercolors and drawings in direct response to my immediate surroundings. I look forward to interacting with the Central Florida community and am grateful for the opportunity to spend time working in such a historic location. The unique environment of the Art & History Museums – Maitland will no doubt have a lasting, positive impact on my work."

During her tenure at the A&H, Urso will work in her studio and paint plein air, affording visitors an opportunity to see her create throughout campus. Two additional opportunities to meet and create with Urso are as follows:

  • On Wednesday, May 8, the A&H presents a “Conversation with Josette Urso,” from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m. in the A&H’s Germaine Marvel Building, 210 W. Packwood Avenue, Maitland. Urso will address her current residency work in progress, and her broader art practice. This event is free and the public is invited to attend.
  • On Saturday, May 11, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., the A&H holds an official Plein Air Paint Day with Josette Urso. Painters from around Central Florida are encouraged to come and create alongside Urso. Guests will discover the tools and techniques Urso uses to create her widely collected paintings, as they enjoy the beauty of the A&H’s Maitland Art Center campus. This program is free and the public is encouraged to attend.

Urso has shown widely in the United States and abroad in galleries, public institutions, and museums including the New York Public Library, the Drawing Center, and the Bronx Museum for the Arts. She has had numerous grants including those from the NEA, Basil H. Alkazzi and the Pollock-Krasner Foundation as well as the Camargo Foundation, Ucross and Yaddo. Recently, she was awarded a grant from the Adolph and Esther Gottlieb Foundation, Inc., New York, NY. She has vast experience with residencies in both the United States and Europe, including Loft Nota Bene/ Spain (2014, 2010,1996 and 1995), Oberpfãlzer K¨nstlerhaus/Germany (2008 and 1993), Stock 20/ Taiwan (2006), American Artists Abroad: AIBP/ Cambodia (2004), Weir Farm Trust/ CT (2003), The Ballinglen Arts Foundation/ Ireland (2002 and 2000), Ucross Foundation/ Wyoming (1995), The Camargo Foundation/France (1991), Millay Colony/ NY (1990), and VCCA/VA (1990).

A&H Curator of Art and Art School Director Rebecca Sexton Larson says, “Urso’s proposal of a dynamic project, centering on her interaction with her surroundings and environment, as well as her national reputation for quality work and collaborations, earned her the honor of becoming our first Resident Artist in the new program.”

The A&H’s Artist-In-Residence program continues in December, 2013 with a three-week residence with Rhone Island artist Leigh Tarentino. An assistant professor at Brown University, Tarentino creates paintings and works on paper and digital prints constructed from photographs of the built landscape.

For additional information on the A&H’s Artist-In-Residence program, visit or phone 407-539-2181.

About the Art & History Museums - Maitland:
The Art & History Museums – Maitland (A&H) is a premier Central Florida cultural institution and community gathering place, combining the best of both art and history. Its unique architecture, beautiful gardens, quality exhibits and programming, and two sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places make it a must visit cultural destination. Our museums offer unparalleled opportunities for enrichment and inspiration. Programming includes art classes and workshops, hands-on history programs, interactive exhibits, professional artists working in their studios, and much more. Our two campuses include a 1937 artists’ colony with Aztec and Mayan architectural influences, a Victorian house museum, a working antique tool museum, an interactive telephone museum, and a local history museum. There is something for everyone and each experience is well worth the trip.

The A&H’s Maitland Art Center hours are Tuesday – Sunday, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. The A&H’s Maitland Historical Museum, Telephone Museum, Waterhouse Residence Museum and Carpentry Shop Museum hours are Thursday – Sunday, 12 – 4 p.m. Visit us online at

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Gretchen Basso

Gretchen Miller Basso
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