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

 

Diversity, Equity & A Paycheck

There are 26 photos, framed and hanging on the walls of the gallery.

Chairs are gathered ’round a microphone, awaiting the stories that will be told. A pith helmet stands ready to gather the names of the storytellers, written on little slips of paper. A straw hat awaits the names of the judges. A few refreshments, a prize for the winner and wonderful weather, all upon a Saturday night.

Will they come? And, if they do, how many will they be? Will they like what they see? And, will they stay and share their stories?

So many questions, but, alas, the answers must wait. Until Saturday night. The doors open at 7 PM and we look forward to seeing you again or meeting you for the first time! Meanwhile, enjoy this music video of “Workin’ For A Livin'” from 1982. It’s just so apropo!

Featured photo: August 9, 2016 | Wilton Manors City Hall Selfie Day | From Wilton Manors Works, on exhibit at Art Gallery 21 through May 6, 2017 | This project is sponsored by The Florida Humanities Council and The Smithsonian Institution through Museums On Main Street.

 

“The Way We Worked”

Art Gallery 21 is thrilled to announce that we have been selected by the Florida Humanities Council as a 2017 host site for “The Way We Worked,” a traveling Smithsonian Institution exhibition that uses historical photographs, archival accounts and interactive components to trace the nation’s changing workforce and work environments over the last 150 years. The exhibit, which explores how work has become a central element in American culture, will include local cultural events focusing on the LGBT work experience. Follow us on Facebook and here for details and dates!

2_GirlsDeliverIce_1918
2 girls delivering ice, circa 1918 | photo from the National Archives