Hot town, summer in the city …

Today is the First Day of Summer and we’d love it if you would join us THIS Saturday evening, June 24th, at 7 PM when we will unveil our latest exhibition of art, showcasing the works of  five very talented local artists: Darlene Fenster, Carol Finlayson, Barbara Pardon, Heidi Reiter and Henry Rhommerdahl.

Our art socials are legendary for the friendships and refreshments we offer and these neighborhood gatherings provide an opportunity for visitors to meet the artists and talk about art. We are especially excited because one of our artists is über talented and has promised to perform just for us!!! You don’t want to miss this!

If you are unable to join us this week, we hope you will visit any Saturday through July 15th to see this lovely art exhibition. We would love to see you again or meet you for the first time!

EDITOR’S NOTE: Last weekend’s 18th Annual Gay Pride Festival in Wilton Manors was a huge success! Well over 10,000 people came out to see the parade and share in the celebration of #peace, #love and #equalrightsforall! Thank you to our fans and followers for understanding why we couldn’t hold our art opening as originally scheduled.

Art: “Tree Tops Hammock” watercolor painting by Heidi Reiter
Gallery Summer Hours: Saturdays, 7 to 9 PM

The Smithsonian is here!

It is with great pleasure that we write those words! “The Smithsonian is here!”

If you remember from our earlier blog entries, we’ve been “under construction” as the City installed a new ceiling in the former Woman’s Club of Wilton Manors, our home. As is the rule in this life, it took longer than everyone thought it would, so, we were biting our nails and praying it would be done before the opening of our photo exhibit, “WILTON MANORS WORKS” and the Story Slam on March 18th. While it wasn’t completely finished, it was close enough that we were able to host a lovely evening at Art Gallery 21 with the unveiling of 26 charming photographs of people working in Wilton Manors, and our neighboring cities, Oakland Park and Fort Lauderdale.

Story Slam
A storyteller and her attentive audience.

And, the Story Slam … what an incredibly interesting experience for all of us! What courage it takes to stand in front of a group of people and talk about yourself. Yet, the idea of “working for a living” is something each of us can relate to, and, it was in that shared experience that we found common ground. The entire Story Slam was recorded by The Humanity Project, one of our grant partners, and as soon as we have access to the podcast (coming soon!), we will post it here and share it on our Facebook page.

On Wednesday, March 22nd an 18-wheel tractor trailer pulled up at Art Gallery 21 and unloaded 12 very large crates marked “SMITHSONIAN.” Imagine our excitement that it was finally here! We inventoried everything and used “the sticks” to determine where the exhibit would be placed. “The sticks” are, in fact, officially known as Exhibit Patterns. They’re similar to one of those folding rulers, but these sticks we could lay on the floor to determine the footprint of the physical exhibit which helped us to figure out the placement of each of the five sections. It may not sound very exciting, but, what a very clever tool! Indeed!

Smithsonian crates containing the exhibit.

Art Gallery 21 officially opened the Smithsonian Traveling Exhibit to the public at noon on Friday, March 24th and the response from visitors has been delightfully enthusiastic! We saw a busy weekend for our docents and we are all looking forward to seeing old friends and making new ones as we explore “The Way We Worked” together throughout the month of April! The exhibit is free to the public thanks to a grant from the Florida Humanities Council and the Smithsonian Institution. And, thanks to all our partners, especially the City of Wilton Manors! This is the kind of thing that makes life better here!

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EXHIBIT HOURS: Friday & Saturday 12 Noon to 8 PM | Sunday 12 Noon to 4 PM

 

How do you make a living?

PLEASE NOTE: The gallery is currently closed and undergoing a renovation to the ceiling. While it cut our most recent exhibit short, we’re truly thrilled to see this added improvement being done to make our little gallery even more welcoming to visitors! The City of Wilton Manors has a history of working with the arts community in meaningful ways and this project is another example of the City’s support for art and artists!

SEEKING STORYTELLERS!
Saturday, March 18th at 7 PM

Art Gallery 21 will unveil a photo exhibit of folks who live and work in and around Wilton Manors as they toil at their jobs. We’ve been collecting photos of people working since the beginning of the year as a way to celebrate the arrival of the Smithsonian Traveling Exhibit, “The Way We Worked!” In addition to showing photos of local folks, we’re hosting a Story Slam that will begin around 7:30 PM.

What’s a story slam?  A Story Slam is more than a storytelling competition. It’s an invitation to share five minutes of your life in a room full of people who appreciate a well-told tale. Audience storytellers take to the stage with real life stories on the theme of the night. The stories are true, as remembered by the storyteller and always told live, no notes, no script. We have created a downloadable/printable PDF here that provides storytelling tips. The theme of our Story Slam is “Diversity, Equity and A Paycheck.” The entire story slam will be recorded by The Humanity Project and produced as a podcast to be posted to the web, including The Stonewall National Museum & Archive‘s website.

We are honored to have Carbonell award winning playwright and actor Michael McKeever serving as our Story Slam Host! With wit, insight and a healthy dose of his quirky sense of humor, we are sure he will lead us through an evening of entertainment and enlightenment as we discover what “Diversity, Equity and A Paycheck” means!

Join us at Art Gallery 21 at the former Woman’s Club of Wilton Manors to see and hear what “The Way We Worked” means to us. AG21 is located at 600 NE 21 Court, just east of Wilton Drive, next to the Hagen Park tennis and volleyball courts and has easy access to public parking. This event is free to the public. Limited seating available.

Inquiries may be directed to artgallery21wcwm@gmail.com.

Art Gallery 21 is presenting a traveling exhibition brought to you by the Smithsonian Institution and the Florida Humanities Council, based on photographs from the National Archives. Exhibit hours are 12 Noon to 8 PM, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from March 24 to May 6, 2017. FREE TO THE PUBLIC.

 

#loveart

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Airscape Moon Reflection No. 2 by Robert Gross

It’s the month of love and we’re loving the art in our newest exhibit which opens Saturday, February 4th at 7 PM when you can meet the artists  … Robert Gross, Celia Diaz, Dirk Eberle, Errol Gross, Natalee Jones and Louise Meredith! They will all be on hand to meet you and talk about their work or anything else you’d like to discuss. Our artists are among the most sociable folks you’ll ever meet!

This exhibit is a showcase of some of the finest local artists there are here in Broward County and their work will be on display through March 4, 2017.

Art Gallery 21 is located in the former Woman’s Club of Wilton Manors, 600 NE 21 Court, in the heart of the Arts & Entertainment District. Gallery open Saturdays through February.

 

Happy New Year!

They say, “time flies when you’re having fun,” and it’s true for us at Art Gallery 21, too! In 2016 we presented eight art exhibits, showcasing the work of  57 local artists! We obtained 501(c)(3) tax status with the IRS making us a bonafide nonprofit organization and we secured our first grant from the Florida Humanities Council to serve as a host site for the Smithsonian Traveling Exhibit, “The Way We Worked!” All in all, we think it’s been a very good year!

We are super excited about  what’s coming in 2017! Beginning with our January exhibit featuring the winners of the fifth annual Island City Juried Art Competition, we will be hosting our art openings on Saturdays! We did an informal survey and it turns out that more folks would come to the gallery openings if they were held on Saturdays, so, ask and you shall receive! Add the return of the art walks on the thirds Saturdays of the month in January, February and March and we’ve got a recipe for art mania! LOL! Artists interested in participating in the Wilton Manors Art Expo can sign up here!

We will see the addition of the Wilton Manors Welcome Center come to life in January! It took a while to identify volunteers to serve as our Good Neighbor Ambassadors, but, we finally have enough wonderful folks signed up to greet visitors and newcomers to the island city, and we know we’ll be adding more in the new year! The art gallery is the perfect place for people to come and find out what we’re all about here in Wilton Manors … a diverse community of cultural aficionados eager to share our joy with others!

If you’re in the neighborhood, please come by and meet “The Winners” when their show opens on Saturday, January 7, 2017! Angie Riserbato, Tedd Davis, Rodger Helt, with Susan Marie David and Jyotsnaben Patel will be on hand to talk about their creative process and their work. We will open the doors at 7 PM and you’re welcome to come join in the celebration of art and community! We serve refreshments along with our fellowship and we’d love to see you again or meet you for the first time!

Featured image: watercolor painting of the First Place Winner, Angie Riserbato, titled “Ladies Lunch.”

 

Thanksgiving is only a week away and leaves me breathless and wondering where September and October went! It has been a truly busy autumn for Art Gallery 21 and I feel the need to pause and express my gratitude to the multitudes of people who have helped us to be the best little neighborhood art gallery in town!

I owe an immense amount of thanks to Bob Gross, our curator, and his assistant, Dr. Celia Diaz. When you visit the gallery and walk along looking at the art, you may not realize how much care and thought goes into creating an exhibition that flows for the viewer. As you move from one work of art to the next, you will notice that each piece is carefully placed so it stands on its own, not influenced by nor influencing the surrounding artwork. The level at which they are hung is done with consideration and the information provided on the 3″ x 1″ wall tags is carefully crafted so as not to detract from the art. These are some of the many details that Bob and Celia have attended to, month after month, year after year, and I am truly grateful for their creative influence.

I extend my heartfelt thanks to Patrick Cann, Director of the Leisure Services Department, and his entire staff. They include capital improvements to the Woman’s Club building in the annual budget each year and have been the ones who get stuff done, whether it’s fixing a burned out light bulb or waxing the floor before an opening. They respond quickly to email requests and phone messages and bend over backwards to fulfill our requests, whatever they might be. It is a fantastic partnership for which I am extremely grateful.

There are a few individuals who have gone above and beyond the call of artistic duty since we opened the doors in 2012. Mary Panzella, Angie Riserbato and Monika Hurter were among those who scrubbed, painted, cooked and cheered us on in the first year. Thank you. Carol Finlayson, Dirk Eberle, Carl Phillips and Patti Maceri have served the gallery in more ways than I have room to mention, each lending their talents (and, sometimes the talents of their family and friends) to making the gallery what it is becoming. Thank you.

And, to the artists … ALL OF THEM. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing your work in Art Gallery 21. Whether you showed one painting or 20 paintings, we could not be what we are today without you. THANK YOU.

To our visitors and our patrons, thank you for stopping in and seeing what fabulous talent we have all around us. Art reflects the times we live in and the values we share and can often speak to the heart and soul in a way that no other medium can. It’s our reason for being and we look forward to all that is yet to come.

Happy Thanksgiving!
Constance Ruppender, Founder