The Highlands Museum of the Arts (MoTA)

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 Wednesday through Saturday from 10 am – 2 pm.  For appointments during other times Please call 863-385-5312 for more information.  Admission is free.

Donations are gratefully accepted.



Artist Opportunities  


Highlands Museum of the Arts



Fred Leavitt Exposed – Photography and        Beyond




Highlands Museum of the Arts

1st Annual All Florida Exhibition

15 Artists from all around Florida have emerged on the Highlands Museum of the Arts. “All Florida” juried exhibition .  Featured Artists:, Jean Cormier, Loretta Dewitt, Ellen Dixon, Mary Lou Herald, Cliff Klein, Jim Leary, Sabrina Metzger, Sam Rosario, Suzanne Nicholson, Ingrid Strope, Angelina Faith, Ana Treanor, Gary L. Wyatt, Satya Bhama Narra, Alice Hansen.

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 “Hidden Secrets of the Mind”

By Cesar Garcia


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****To see Cesar Garcia’s Artist Interview click on the above artwork***

The Highlands Art League and the Highlands Museum of the Arts (MOTA) are proud to present the fine art of Cesar Garcia. The exhibit is entitled “Hidden Secrets of the Mind” This impressive exhibit will be on display at the prestigious Highlands Museum of the Arts located at 351 W Center Ave, Sebring, FL 33870. The show will open on January 8th, 2021 with an artist reception from 5:00 pm -7:00 pm  and runs through February 2, 2021.

Cesar Garcia is a Cuban born artist whose first exposure to the arts was through his uncle’s art studio in Cuba. Those creative 

moments, he experienced as a child in his uncle’s art studio, will always be a part of him. Young Cesar moved to the United States with his family in 1969.  

Garcia has always had a fascination with the great masters.  It has helped him better understand the need to express himself in a totally different manner. His unique creations are of a figurative nature and in the style of a surrealist. Garcia creates with his soul and imagination and tells a story through his works.  Garcia’s art is well known for its creative, complex, panoramic yet, simple presentations and compositions. With all its broad influences, the work touches the inner soul of various cultures.  

Garcia stated “Being an artist is an endless soul-searching quest. I create out of need and joy which reflects in my work. I lose myself from all mundane feelings and then I find myself in a whole new inner world of symbols, figures, forms, color and expression of my ultimate intimacy.” 

Garcia’s work can be found in various public collections including National Museum of Catholic Art and History, Housatonic Museum of Art in Bridgeport, Connecticut, John Favalora Museum, St Thomas University, Miami FL. State of 

Florida Art Collection, Division of Cultural Affairs, Tallahassee, Florida, University of Miami (Casa Bacardi) Institute for Cuban and Cuban-America Studies, Coral Gables, Florida, University of Florida College of Fine Arts, Gainesville, Florida, Art in Public Places Program of the Village of Wellington, Florida and many other institutions, foundations and recognized collections.  

Cesar Garcia is regarded as a Cuban American artist whose work is noteworthy of his generation.

The Highlands Art League was created 1967 by a visionary group that identified the need for art and culture in Highlands County. Their goal was to bring about awareness of the visual arts, and bring support for local and regional artists, a goal they still envision till this day.   

The Highlands Museum of the Arts invites the public to come and partake in the art of Cesar Garcia. It’s an exhibit you won’t want to miss. The Highlands Museum of the Arts (MoTA) is located at 351 W Center Ave, Sebring, FL 33870,  Phone (863) 385-5312, located next to the Highlands Little Theatre. Hours for the Museum are Wednesday–Saturday: 10:00 am–2:00 pm






“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, 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.


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