There’s something about the Smithsonian.

Maybe it’s because it’s the world’s largest museum and research complex, with 19 museums, 9 research centers, and affiliates around the world.

Maybe it’s because it was established in 1846 “for the increase and diffusion of knowledge,” and is administered by the Government of the United States.

Or, it could very well be that we love the idea of the Smithsonian being “the nation’s attic” for its eclectic holdings of 154 million items that chronicle the history of these United States of America.

Art Gallery 21 continues to be amazed at the depth and breadth of the Smithsonian Traveling Exhibit, “The Way We Worked,” available for viewing through May 6th. The gallery has seen a steady flow of visitors, each with their own stories to share, because this exhibit connects to everyone as only the Smithsonian can do.

Women taking place of men on Great Northern Railway at Great Falls 1919There are hundreds of photographs depicting everything from the uniforms we’ve worn to the rate of change across the nation as we moved from being an industrial to a technological economy. The exhibit delves into immigration, the history of gender in the workplace,  and child labor, and illustrates the story of the American workplace through videos, audio recordings and an eclectic collection of artifacts as only the Smithsonian can.

Don’t miss it! Exhibit hours are 12 Noon to 8 PM on Friday and Saturday and 12 Noon to 4 PM on Sunday at Art Gallery 21, 600 NE 21 Court in Wilton Manors, Florida.

The exhibit is sponsored by the Florida Humanities Council and the Smithsonian Institute. Paid for by the U.S. Congress. #NEHmatters

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

 

#thewayweworked

Last fall we announced that Art Gallery 21 had been selected by the Florida Humanities Council to serve as a host site for the Smithsonian Traveling Exhibit, “The Way We Worked,” through the Museum on Main Street program. We were so excited at the prospects and have since been working with our partners to coordinate and plan and reach out to the community to welcome this amazing opportunity to connect with each other about something as important as what we do for a living.

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Tomorrow and Friday, Todd deJesus (Wilton Manors’ Capital Projects & Grants Manager) and I will drive to Dade City, Florida to participate in the Exhibit Installation Workshop for “The Way We Worked” at its first site, the Pioneer Florida Museum. The exhibit panels come in containers that are hauled on a tractor trailer from location to location. The photo shows a bit of what it looks like. As the second host site, we will see the arrival of the exhibit on or near March 21st.

There is an unintended consequence to traveling to a workshop to learn a task such as this, and that’s what I’d like to share here, if you don’t mind … that ‘unintended consequence’ is the camaraderie that exists when a project is shared by a group of people. It’s that thing that Margaret Mead references in her work and is often quoted, about the power of a small group of people. Anyway, we will have the opportunity to work elbow to elbow with other small nonprofit business managers who are trying to make their little part of the world a better place by bringing a Smithsonian exhibit to each of their communities, including Lake Wales, Tarpon Springs and Bartow. THAT is the best part of all this … making the connections to others who share the philosophy that art and culture really do matter and we’re willing to work to make it happen. Somehow, you make new friends, learn new things and make discoveries of delight that make the “work” memorable. And, the best is yet to come!

Stay tuned!

“The Way We Worked” is a traveling exhibition brought to you by the Smithsonian Institution and the Florida Humanities Council, based on photographs from the National Archives. The exhibit will be at Art Gallery 21 from March 24 to May 6, 2017, and will be available for viewing Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 12 Noon to 8 PM. It is free to the public.

 

 

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.”

 

“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!

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