Art Gallery 21 has been closed since early June for capital improvements to the Woman’s Club building, the home of Art Gallery 21. The City has remodeled the kitchen and now it is truly the perfect catering kitchen! A new fridge and microwave, food warmers and our own ice machine make it a great small space for cultural events. And, it’s beautiful, with new cabinetry and granite counters. With the reconfiguration of the kitchen, we now have more storage space, too, something every good cultural center needs!
With these interior improvements comes a new addition which you may have heard about. In the front corner of the building, we are establishing the “official” Wilton Manors Welcome Center. And, we’re very excited about it!
Earlier this year, we reached out to local business leader, Nick Berry. We were wrestling with how to sustain the art gallery and help the Woman’s Club evolve into the cultural center we envisioned. Nick’s answer was simple. “Open a visitor’s center.”
We thought about it. For about 20 minutes. Then, a phone call to City Manager Leigh Ann Henderson revealed that she thought it was a good idea, too.
We made a plan. We met with the Board of Directors of the Wilton Manors Business Association and, after explaining our idea, we asked for their support. They enthusiastically responded with “Yes!”
Our graphic design team created a mock up of the Visitor & Newcomer Guide that will be published in October. The volunteer staff of Good Neighbor Ambassadors will hand the guide out to visitors and newcomers to help them find the fabulous things about Wilton Manors that makes life better here. (“Beach Day,” a watercolor painting by Angie Riserbato, resident artist of Art Gallery 21, graces the first cover.)
By now, you’re probably asking how a Welcome Center can sustain the art gallery, and, it’s a good question to ask.
The answer is accessibility. Since we opened in 2012, our hours of operation have been limited to Friday nights and occasional Saturdays. The Welcome Center’s hours of operation will be Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 12 Noon to 8 PM and Thursday from 12 Noon to 6 PM, a total of 30 hours per week.
Since the Welcome Center occupies space with the gallery, it creates an inviting space for newcomers and visitors, a charming place where they can find out about our island city and all that is offered here. It’s a win for the businesses in the City and a win for Art Gallery 21.
Oh. And, original art is the second most purchased souvenir of travelers after tee shirts.
NOTE: Interested in serving as a Good Neighbor Ambassador? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or complete the Volunteer Application on the City’s web site here. Interested in advertising your business in the Visitor & Newcomer Guide? Email us at email@example.com. We usually respond within the hour. Thanks!