Diverse, inclusive and accessible for all, Timucua Arts Foundation is a one-of-kind fixture in Orlando’s vibrant music, arts and culture scene.
Tucked away in Orlando’s SoDo District, Timucua Arts Foundation is unlike any other concert hall in the city. Just ask Benoit Glazer, who founded Timucua out of his own home nearly 25 years ago. “Our venue is in our living room,” he says. “[My wife] Élaine and I designed and built this house to benefit our community. There is a special feeling when you come in, because you are walking into somebody's home.”
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To the performers and music lovers who frequent the unique venue, it means even more. Timucua has become an essential part of Orlando’s music, arts and culture scene, offering some of the most diverse, accessible and intimate performances in Orlando. It’s a place where the music comes first. Throw in an intimate 90-seat concert hall and an advanced acoustic control system and you have a recipe for success.
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Timucua Arts Foundation: A History
It all started in the late ‘90s when Glazer, then the conductor and musical director for Cirque du Soleil: La Nouba, saw a gap in Orlando’s burgeoning music, arts and culture scene. “Orlando has been a hotbed for the arts for decades,” says Glazer. “Many people don't realize that many art forms were actually created here in Orlando.” He lists acid jazz, folk art, boy bands, and film and television as a few examples of industries that thrived or were born right here in Orlando.
Still, when Timucua was established in the year 2000, “there was a drought in spaces where art and music could take center stage in Orlando.” Glazer and his wife began to host concerts in their home; events where the music came first rather than as an accompaniment to other forms of entertainment. It wasn’t long before the family expanded their operation to a custom-designed, 3-story home in Orlando’s SoDo district, with the concert hall serving as a community living room.
“Nowadays, there are many venues that offer the culturally curious a variety of options,” says Glazer. “Orlando is coming into its own as a cultural destination, and Timucua is a part of that. Musicians from around the world know about Timucua, they want to play here because of the space, and because of the audience.”
Inside Timucua Arts Foundation
A true hidden gem, Timucua Arts Foundation looks relatively unassuming from the outside. The ivy-draped home is tucked away in a residential area of Orlando’s SoDo District, a walkable enclave known for its historic homes, locally owned boutiques, and beautiful lakes and parks.
Enter through the side door and you’ll find one of the most intimate concert venues in Orlando. “We have a small room that seats 90 people, but over three floors,” says Glazer. “The design offers a special feeling when one crosses the curtains that lead to the main room, not to mention acoustics that offer a neutral, quiet experience void of undesirable acoustic artifacts.”
In fact, Glazer says, the venue’s active control system by ACS is “the only system like it in Florida,” capable of creating ideal acoustics for 65 diverse setups. “We can create the perfect acoustic setting for any musical situation. Whether a string quartet, a jazz quintet, a choir or a play, the acoustics are always perfect at Timucua.”
Diversity in the Arts at Timucua
The acoustic control system is put to the test on a regular basis, thanks to Timucua’s diverse entertainment lineup of chamber music, plays, opera, guitar festivals, wellness sessions and much more. “We offer a more integrated and inclusive approach to the arts,” says Glazer, listing the Chamber Music Festival in January, Amplify Black Voices Festival in February, Wordplay Festival in March, Jazz Month in April, and World Music Festival in May as some of the exciting features on offer throughout the year.
The foundation’s core belief is that the arts belong to everyone. “We work very hard to make the arts accessible to all. Free parking, BYOB, 'Pay What You Want' events — about half our events have no fixed ticket price — and a 75-minute average showtime. Everything to make it easy and affordable to take in some of the best musicians and artists that come to Orlando.”
They also showcase a different visual artist every month. “They work live on stage three times during their Timucua residency, often creating a magical experience that is hard to find anywhere else.”
Timucua Fosters Artistic Talent
Beyond diversifying Orlando’s music arts and culture scene, Timucua is a valuable resource for local and visiting artists. Timucua is “much more than just a venue,” says Glazer. “Our aim is to help the musicians and artists who come to Timucua develop and further their careers. We offer marketing support, networking, and we make a series of video recordings available to everyone for free. We have a full recording and broadcast studio, and we put all of it to work for the benefit of our performers.”
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