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!

twww-logo

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.

 

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.

 

#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.

way_we_worked_st-_louis_mo_2011

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.

 

 

where is Art Gallery 21?

Art Gallery 21 at the Woman’s Club of Wilton Manors
600 NE 21 Court
Wilton Manors, FL 33305

wilton park
Gables Wilton Park | Wilton Drive at NE 21 Court

Urban Planners seek to create “livable communities,” places where people can live and shop and work without depending on their cars so much. Their ideal community would include higher density residential construction with ground floor retail, increased green spaces for public use, adequate public transportation and pedestrian safety, Like most municipalities in south Florida, the City of Wilton Manors has been wrestling for the past decade with the transition from being a sleepy suburban community of Fort Lauderdale to becoming a destination for visitors from around the world. And, it’s not easy.

Wilton Manors is considered an “island city” because it is surrounded by the South Fork of the Middle River. The waterways are governed by South Florida Water Management District and the City has done a good job creating recreational opportunities through the City parks located along these waterways. There’s a boat ramp at Colohatchee Park and kayak rentals at Richardson Historic Park & Nature Preserve. Oh! And, let’s not forget the wonderful waterfront experience of Island City Park Preserve!

A more recent segue in urban design is the inclusion of historic buildings as a part of the area’s redevelopment. Here in South Florida, it was pretty much tear everything down and build new. Until the year 2000, when leaders across Florida began to place more value on Florida’s history and the sense of place that drew people to visit and live here.

Photo courtesy of Wilton Manors Historical Society
Photo courtesy of WMHS

It was really a lucky accident for Art Gallery 21 that the Woman’s Club of Wilton Manors was built adjacent to Hagen Park and City Hall during the mid century era. The area around the Woman’s Club, Hagen Park, has changed over the years from a little neighborhood park with a playground and a couple of tennis courts to the state of the art site we have today. The “new” City Hall was built facing Wilton Drive and there’s ample parking for the public (except on Saturday nights). Over the years that these changes to public land were taking place, Wilton Drive, the designated Arts & Entertainment District, was beginning to change, too. Gone was the Junior League Thrift Store, the office supply and hair salon, and the Wings ‘n Things, and in their places, restaurants, bars and specialty shops, bringing a new vibe and new people. It’s not uncommon to hear about someone who came here to visit and loved the “small town” feel so much that they came back to live here.

That “small town” feel is one of the things that makes Art Gallery 21 so special. The Woman’s Club was built in 1956 on land donated by Alvar Hagen, a local community activist. It’s not a large building, with maximum occupancy set at 75. (And, that’s pushing it!) Hagen’s wife, Virginia, was one of the first club presidents, and the couple were known for their community spirit. Over the years, the Woman’s Club used their social capital to raise money for the support of  local charities and they were a part of the fabric of community life. They were, in essence, what gave us that “small town” feel.

Girl Play 2014

All good things must come to an end, they say, and, so, the Woman’s Club retired their chapter in January of 2011.The property was deeded over to the City because they knew the City could take care of the building. Older buildings come with their own set of problems, and preserving the historic integrity of the Woman’s Club presents challenges that City staff have addressed quite well.

wcwm2015

It was the empty, unused building, in need of a little paint and a lot of TLC, that we discovered early one Saturday morning in November 2011 that lead us to see what it could be … Art Gallery 21.

Art Gallery 21, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization registered with the State of Florida and is working in partnership with the Wilton Manors Leisure Services Department to bring more art to the Arts & Entertainment District.

Contact us at artgallery21wcwm@gmail.com.

Island City Art Market: Dirk Eberle, Artist

“Haystack After Sunset” by Dirk Eberle | Watercolor | 10″x8″ Framed | $250

The Island City Art Market is a showcase of 40 original works of art, all produced by 21 local fine artists.  All art offered is framed and ready to be hung.

DIRK EBERLE

Dirk lives in Dania Beach, Florida these days, but, he grew up in an artist’s community on the Oregon Coast. For those who believe environment influences who we become, it’s pretty clear that Dirk was in the right place to develop an appreciation of art and nature.

Mr. Eberle’s art reflects his love of the outdoors and Florida’s environmental beauty is often apparent in his work. He has been an artist and a student of art for most of his life.

“Miravet” by Dirk Eberle | Watercolor | 12″x9″ Framed | $300

Dirk recently worked on a permanent display at Memorial Hospital South in Hollywood, Florida, and has shown his work at Art Gallery 21. As a matter of fact, he was a Winner in the 2015 Island City Annual Juried Art Show!

Dirk’s use of color and his attention to detail are what sets his watercolor paintings apart from the rest. He is among the finest of fine artists!

Call or text 954-661-4740 to visit the gallery and see Dirk Eberle’s art.

Art Gallery 21 is pleased to present a buyer’s market of fine Florida art at affordable prices. Because we are a neighborhood gallery, we can offer the work of local artists without the overhead of a for profit gallery thanks to the support of the City of Wilton Manors. 15% of each sale goes to support the gallery, a Florida nonprofit organization.