Friday, January 18, 2013

Hail to the Art Council of Southwest Florida

(A folk scene with a vintage frame)
 For fifty years, the Art Council has been “the voice of Southwest Florida’s non-profit visual arts community, providing opportunities for education, exhibitions, demonstrations, and most recently an interactive website to all affiliated organizations’ artists.”

The Art Council is a Cooperative venture encompassing 18 affiliated organizations comprised of members from Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades Counties with a combined membership of over 6,750 artists of which I am one.

Yesterday was my day for working at the gallery, located at Coconut Point in Estero, between Panera Bread and The World Market. Each displaying artist volunteers at least one day every other month to support the gallery in customer relations and retail sales.

When I walked into the gallery after having been away for several weeks, I was blown away. “What a classy looking gallery,” I said to myself. With over 125 artists represented, the wide variety of items, styles and types of art creates an amazingly eclectic and sophisticated display.

(bird made entirely of glazed ceramic)

The remarkable leadership is supported by board members from the various leagues represented, including qualified judges who jury in each new piece of artwork. The gallery represents top-notch artists and a magnificent array of choices for the buyer.

One couple who visited the gallery yesterday remarked: “Oh, how we wish we’d found you before we decorated our house.” Enthused and excited about what the gallery had to offer, they assured us they would be back!

One young woman, pulling a piece of luggage on wheels, was flying back to Canada in a few short hours. She rushed in to buy a polka-dotted fish made from a palm frond that she'd seen before and couldn’t get out of her mind. We helped her bubble-wrap the fish which she intended to take on the plane as “carry-on.”

Many gallery artists bring their following of clients with them which boosts sales and attendance. New artists are continually being discovered, and an awareness of art is reverberating through the surrounding communities.

If you haven’t visited the gallery, you should. If you winter in Florida or vacation here, make Coconut Point Southwest Florida Art gallery a “must see” on your agenda.

See additional paintings below. Here are links for questions or information: or /

(A beautiful scene by Carol McCardle) Too high for a straight on photo.