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

 

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.

 

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.”