Highlands Museum of the Arts

Highlands Museum of the Arts

The mission of Highlands Museum of the Arts (MoTA) is to enrich lives in our diverse community by fostering essential conversations and encouraging creativity through exhibitions and educational activities that explore various types of art in order to connect people to creativity, knowledge and ideas.

MoTA is open Monday through Fridays from 10 am – 4 pm and Saturdays 10 am – 2pm and also by appointments during other times.  Please call 863-385-5312 for more information.  Admission is free. Donations are gratefully accepted. 


YOU ARE INVITED… to apply for the exhibit, All Things Dance, at the Highlands Museum of the Arts (MoTA) located in Downtown Sebring, Florida.

Whether it’s leaves dancing in the breeze, a cat dancing across the grass or a ballerina leaping in the air, this exhibit is for ALL THINGS DANCE! We want to see your creativity, your interpretation, your inventiveness. MoTA invites artists residing anywhere in the U.S. to participate.

ENTRY FEE (non-refundable)

Highlands Art League Members:  $35.00                  Non-Members:          $45.00

Please click on the below link for more detailed information on the Artist Application: 

All Things Dance Application – Highlands MoTA

To Pay your Entry Fee, please click on the below link: 



Now Showing at MoTA:  

“Faces, Emotions & the Human Experience”

Artist Beverly Marshall

Visit “Faces, Emotions & the Human Experience” featuring artist Beverly Marshall.  Marshall paints, sculpts and does sidewalk art, in addition to creating international award winning drawings, as well as teaching art students for the Highlands Art League and the Heartland Cultural Alliance. Marshall does mostly commissioned work, marketing her work online and at art shows and festivals where she has won local, regional and international awards. Unlike her drawings, which will be the subject of this exhibit, Marshall also paints landscapes, sunsets and water and ocean views, as well as sculpts clay, and creates multimedia projects. “FACES” concentrates on Marshall’s best known work – her drawings of individuals. Anxious to see more of Marshall’s work that will appear in the exhibit? Visit it here, then come visit it up close and personal! 

Digital Slide Show: “Faces, Emotions, & the Human Experience” 




An Exhibit featuring Seasonal Artists

& Photographers

February 21 – March 28, 2020

Join the Highlands Museum of Arts as we welcome seasonal visitors to Highlands County in this uniquely wonderful exhibit  to  MoTA for this month-long celebration of our favorite winter birds – Snowbirds.  MoTA, located on the shores of Lake Jackson, features a beautiful gallery space open to visitors, free of charge, year ’round. The museum celebrates the visual arts through representation of arts of all kinds – water colors, acrylics, oil, pastels, pen and ink, charcoal, pencil, photography, sculpture, and more – with original arts on display from local and regional artists, as well as sponsoring national shows. Featured ‘Snowbirds’ in this exhibit are Marlene Baldassarre, Carolyn Currie, Brenda Fishbaugh, Arlene Glendenning, Doug Harman, Scott & Jacqueline Kimel, Laura Maze, Dennis Stuart, Sandra Wenig, Gary Wyatt, Dave Zeller, Marion Zellers, and Coral Zook. They are joined by the first people many artists meet at HAL, artists Alice Hansen and Mary Lou Herald. 

The exhibit is free and open to the public and school groups, Thursday – Saturday, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. and by appointment. Please email us at manager@highlandsartleague.org, or call 863-385-5312 to make arrangements. 

Looking Back, Leaning Forward: Highlands Photography Exhibit and Competition

Exhibit Opening Reception: Friday, January 3, 4:30 – 6:30 p.m.

Join Highlands artists at “Looking Back, Leaning Forward,” an exhibit co-sponsored by and featuring members of the Highlands Photo Club (MoTA) with exhibit entries in six categories. Original work capturing the past year’s favorite shots of Highlands and beyond from races to wildlife, flora and fauna to historic architecture. Featured photographers include Theresa Biedler, Kevin Collier, Cindy Rose Eaton, Brenda Fishbaugh, Pam Jessiman, Marty Layne, Aurora Lipps, and Donald J. Lipps, Jr. Audience members will vote for “Viewer’s Choice” in this January only exhibit.

The Spirit of Beads: from religious banners to art

Generations of Haitian flag makers have combined their religious beliefs, symbols of Europe and the Americas, and African histories to create beautifully hand-beaded and sequined designs in flags used  for rituals and celebration. Artist and collector Betty Ford-Smith has lent her expertise in African and Haitian art to Highlands natives and visitors in the past, showing in museums, presenting in schools, and sharing knowledge that is rare. The Spirit of Beads: from religious banners to art represents an amazing collection of more than fifty flags, collected over a span of more than three decades.

Today, Ford-Smith is most known for her Pine-Cone quilts, which have hung in the National Quilt Museum and have taken her as close as the Steven Foster State Park in White Springs, Florida and as far away as a village in France where she teaches others the art of Pine-Cone quilt-making, which she learned from Miss Sue, a Sebring native. While Ford-Smith has been a gifted fashion designer, educator, and administrator, it is her collections and sharing her knowledge of their cultural significance and artistry that are her passion. She and her husband reside in Sebring.

Before Haitian flags were art, they were sacred objects.  Saint-Domingue, a French colony in the 1600s and 1700s now known as Haiti, is one of many places where Africans were brought as slaves. Like African slaves in the Americas, diversity of language and belief was common. Made of satin, velvet, or rayon, and adorned with sequins, beads, or appliqué, the flags began as religious symbols. A common symbol of Haitian flags is the Catholic Saint Jacques Majeur, recognized as a leader in the Haitian Revolution. Majeur is shown on these highly elaborate flags riding horseback, carrying a sword and banners. It was revolution that brought the enslaved together, religious belief and shared culture that has since bridged generations and distance.

Ford-Smith’s collection is an impressive exhibit that allows visitors to experience the beauty, intricate design and skill represented in each of the 52 flags on display. The flags, for the most part, measure 3’ x 3’, feature a geometric-designed border, and are fringed.

The museum is open Thursdays – Saturdays, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. for this exhibit (and 1 ½ hours before performances at the Highlands Lakeside Theatre, November 8 – 24), through December 28.  The museum is free and open to the public.

Please join us for the November 8, 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. Exhibit Opening Reception and for Gallery Walks with the Collector, 11 a.m. – 12 noon, November 16 and 30, December 14 and 28.

Note: The museum will be closed November 28 and December 23 – 26 for holiday time with family.

“Into the Wild” with Tom Sadler and Dave Kelly

Out of the heat and humidity of early autumn and “Into The Wild” oil painter Tom Sadler and folk artist Dave Kelly take us into nature through different approaches to the same subject. Whether your preference is for fine arts or craftsmanship, you’ll find something to love in this exhibit on display through November 2, 2019.  Sadler’s talent for capturing the light, color, and mood of the Central Florida Landscape has taken his talents to a new level. Previously showing in Luxembourg, the State Capitol in Tallahassee, and galleries throughout the South, Sadler’s stunning realism brings his audience into the scene – appreciating the serene beauty that is Florida.

Folk Artist Dave Kelly reminds us that art and craft sometimes come together to not only make ordinary individuals artists, but teachers as well as raw talent inspires and teaching takes place naturally. Kelly, originally from Georgia, brought his folk art to Florida a few years ago, transplanting his family and talents to the Central part of the Sunshine State. His work has appeared in museums, galleries, festivals, and at the Georgia State Capitol. Viewing himself not as an artist, but as a folk artist, Kelly’s self-taught discipline goes beyond the wood and canvas to showing children how to make their own mark on wood and on the art world.

Tom’s Bio

Dave Kelly’s Bio

“Common Connections”

Friday, August 2 – Saturday, September 15

What connects us as people, often connects artists as well. People. Places. Memories. Honoring the past. Recreating ourselves in the present. Viewing the future through new eyes. Join several of Highlands County’s talented artists in this rare juried MoTA show where those connections are revealed, on painting, one sketch, one photograph and sculpture at a time. The Highlands Art League artist-member exhibit brings to one gallery the talents of current local year ’round artists and photographers Kayla Chaput, Kevin Collier, Jean Cormier, Ellen Dixon, Cindy Rose Eaton, Norma Evans, Alice Hansen, Mary Lou Herald, Karisa Jessiman, Pam Jessiman, Marty Layne, Donald Lipps Jr., Ingrid Strope, and Michelle Weidner.  Also in the exhibit, posthumously, is Sebring artist Selene Spence, a life-long supporter and artist with the Highlands Art League. Spence is well-known for her watercolors and graphite drawings, just as she is for the kindness shown to others in and outside of the Arts community in Highlands County.

“Art From the Eyes of Love”: SHARYN LIGHTFOOT EXHIBIT

Wednesday, June 5th – Monday, July, 1st.   Artist Reception: Friday, June 7th 6-8pm.

Back Water Delight

Born in Scranton Pennsylvania, Sharyn Lightfoot had a love for art and nature. She moved to Florida after graduating from high school. She is a self-taught artist, with a passion for pastel. Her first show, “Rambling: The Art of Sharyn Lightfoot,” was held in April 2014 at the Deltona Arts Center in Deltona, Florida.  She has received five Best In Show awards, a number of first, second, and third places, and numerous Merit awards. “I can’t stop looking!” To me, that is the most flattering compliment to hear from my artistic audience said, Sharyn.” We are honored to have Sharyn show her work this summer.


Click here to view other Past Exhibitions

Highlands Museum of the Arts is located at the Allen C. Altvater Cultural Center, 351 W. Center Ave., in Sebring, and is operated by the Highlands Art

Our Curator position from July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018 was paid for by a generous grant from the Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and National Endowment for the Arts.

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