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

Summertime and the living is easy …

UPDATE: Wilton Drive will be closed as will all City buildings for the annual Gay Pride Festival. We are postponing the gallery opening to Saturday, June 24 at 7 PM. We apologize for the inconvenience.

It sounds trite, but, where did the time go? It seems as though it is slipping away, into the future. All the more reason to welcome summertime. The snow birds are gone, school is out and the pace is laid back and easy. Let’s enjoy it, shall we?

This Saturday evening at 7 PM we will open our newest exhibition of art, showcasing the works of Darlene Fenster, Carol Finlayson, Barbara Pardon, Heidi Reiter and Henry Rhommerdahl. As is our practice, there will be an art social, an opportunity for visitors to meet the artists, to talk about art, and, to make new friends or meet up with old ones. There is art worthy of our attention and, once again, there are surprises in this show. But, you have to come see for yourself!

Please join us on Saturday, June 17th, or, visit any Saturday through July 15th. We would love to see you again or meet you for the first time!

Art: “Beauty of Spring” by Henry Rhommerdahl
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

 

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