While Sebring and Highlands County offer boundless opportunities for outdoor recreation, they also offer a robust and ever-increasing art and culture scene.
From coffeehouse readings, museums, art exhibits, craft shows and performing art productions artists of all kinds are alive and well here.
One of Sebring’s premier sites is the Allen Alvater Cultural Center. It includes the city’s civic center, the public library, the Museum of the Arts, the Sebring Historical Society and the Highlands Little Theatre. The theater is home to a dedicated community group that produces five high quality productions and several smaller pieces every year.
The Museum of the Arts has contemporary exhibitions all year long. In December 2012, it is planning a special exhibition entitled “Journeys,” made possible with the collaboration of the Florida Humanities Council and the Smithsonian.
Right next door to the cultural center is the Highlands Art League, which offers classes in painting, sculpture and crafts for all ages and holds summer camps for children. The art league holds an Artist of the Month reception during the Downtown Gallery Walk at Circle Park taking place the second Friday of each month.
An autumn highlight is the league’s annual Arts Festival every November. Held outdoors, it attracts both participants and viewers from all over the state and nation.
Sebring is home to the Children’s Museum of Highlands. It is a local nonprofit creation and has been entrancing children for more than 20 years. Its 30 different exhibit areas are hands-on, interactive and encourage imagination. The museum is at 219 North Ridgewood Drive and open Tuesday through Saturday, there is a small entrance fee.
Both Avon Park, to the north and Lake Placid, to the south, have active historical societies and museums housed in picturesque railroad stations. Sebring’s railroad station is still very much in use. Renovated to accentuate its original design, it is a perfect spot to watch trains come and go.
South Florida Community College contributes significantly to the area’s arts and culture scene. Its Theater for the Performing Arts – a recently renovated, cutting-edge venue seating 1,460 – offers a variety of concert series throughout the year. Performances by individual musicians, singers, small jazz groups, full symphony orchestras, comedians and impressionists occur all year long. Talents like Judy Collins and Lily Tomlin have performed there. In addition to the larger theater, there is the intimate 245-seat University Center Auditorium.
The college’s Museum of Florida and Culture presents several exhibitions every year, all with a focus on Florida history and art. The museum has an extensive collection of Highway Men paintings and a permanent exhibit explaining the area’s native peoples and culture.