Art Works!

As we say goodbye to the Smithsonian exhibit, we’re also saying “Hello!” to a new art show! There’s no grass growing under these feet! Our curator, Robert Gross, and his assistant, Celia Diaz, have created another special showcase of artists and we hope you will join us to celebrate the way Art Works … the way individuals add beauty to the world with canvas and paint … the way that beauty brings us together to share in the joy of creativity … and, the way that joy spills over into our daily life, often enriching our lives in ways we hadn’t previously considered. THAT, my friends, is how Art Works!

Join us at 7 PM this Saturday, May 13th as we unveil the art of Mark Baker, Martha DeMarco, Joan Glassman, Doris Goldberg, Mollie Lesnick and Angie Riserbato! As usual, we will serve refreshments and the artists will be present to chat with visitors and answer questions about their work. Come connect with us! Let us show you how Art Works! We’d love to see you again or meet you for the first time!

EXHIBIT HOURS: Saturdays from 7 to 9 PM and by appointment, through June 12th.

Art Gallery 21 is located in the former Woman’s Club of Wilton Manors at 600 NE 21 Court, one block east of Wilton Drive at the northeast corner of Hagen Park.

IMAGE: “Waiting with Grace” by Angie Riserbato

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.”

 

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.