I wrote previously about finding a blossoming, creative energy field in Gulfport, Florida when I decided to make it my home and base for my creative career. Traveling the country from art show to art show for over 20 years, I’d often hear artists using similar words about places they’d found – places that emit an undeniable and refreshing air of imagination and possibility. I remember feeling like Gulfport was calling me to create here and I was happy to accept the invitation, so I opened up my ceramic art studio!
Our town is filled with art – from the wonderful and innovative sculptures at the entrance to town at Clymer Park, to the dozens of artists’ studios sprinkled throughout our streets and alleyways, to the small business community that not only welcomes local artists to hang or sell their art in their storefronts, but that actively and wholeheartedly participate and sponsor our local arts events.
From my first days in town, to the opening of the Gallery in 2019 and through today, I’ve felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude to belong to such a creative community. Since opening, I and my team have worked to make this art in Gallery a destination for artists and arts lovers, visitors to town just passing through and above all to our wonderful local community.
Through artist openings each First Friday of the Month to coincide with Gulfport’s First Friday Art Walk and music each third Saturday to accompany our local artisan market, IndieFaire, we’ve created a fun, safe space for our local community and are refreshed again each month to see faces new and familiar coming to support the nearly 20 rotating artists we represent, the musicians we host and, I hope, to feel that sense of imagination and creativity that drew so many of us here to begin with!
Our monthly Taste of Art Workshops have been a remarkable hit with community members attempting their hand at art for the first time, or those looking to rekindle some artistic skill they may have set aside. I find such professional satisfaction each month from the ceramics workshop I teach, seeing the handcrafted tiles our workshop participants create and take home and a great personal joy in knowing these pieces of art become works they proudly share with friends and family. I'm equally thrilled to see the works coming out of painter Jila Davoodi's painting workshops, which are also offered monthly. Educating others through and about art is one of the most rewarding parts of the my career.
At its best, art brings people together, and being a part of this community, with the role the Gallery has assumed as one of its gathering places, is a true blessing. We’re proud to represent, host and showcase our town and the Tampa Bay region’s diversity of talent on our walls and in our customer base, in the musicians we invite to join us and in the special events we host here in Gulfport, Florida.
As we approach next Friday’s 4-year anniversary, we’re looking forward to seeing new friends and old, to continuing to contribute to Gulfport’s artistic resurgence and to welcoming even more people into our local arts scene. Our anniversary party runs from 6-9pm on Friday, May 5th, and we invite you to join us to celebrate, to let us say thank you in person for the unyielding support we’ve been shown since opening, and to join along in the dancing and breathing in of that special air of imagination that Gulfport provides us all!