Pineapple Gallery to showcases local art of all kinds
It was a packed house at 208 South Central Ave. in Flagler Beach on Thursday, Oct. 24, for a night of art, drinks and grilled fruit —pineapple, fittingly, as the event celebrated the opening of the Pineapple Gallery, a place to showcase the work of a co-op composed of eleven local artists: Don Davis, Georgia Johnson, Gary Fisher, Berdella Gibbs, Gail Artin, Mary Unson, Audrey Scherr, Marianne Verna, Allison RIchter, Kathleen Pruett and Trish Vevera.
They hail from Flagler Beach, Palm Coast and Ormond Beach, and create in mediums from photography to ceramics, from glassblowing to silversmithing, from painting of all kinds to woodburning.
Gary Fisher, who contributed works in pen and ink and photorealistic painting to the gallery, called the opening “fantastic.”
Fisher said the genesis of the Pineapple Gallery went back to suggestions made in April. Once the co-op agreed to the idea, they got the lease for the property in June and built the gallery into July.
It was co-op member Audrey Scherr who came up with the name and location for the gallery. She knew Marge Barnhill, owner of the Gallery of Local Art next door, from whom they purchased the property. The name’s origin was more abstract.
“I thought the pineapple was very welcoming and memorable,” Scherr said. She had always wanted a fine art gallery, and many members of the co-op had exhibited their works in galleries before, but they emphasized Pineapple’s difference from those.
A different kind of gallery
The art is organized not by artist, but by theme — works inspired by the ocean are grouped together, for instance, and the entire gallery was color-coordinated to have a warm side and a cool side.
“A lot of people in other galleries are hobbyists,” said artist Trish Vevera, “but all the folks here are professionals. Everything here is original.”
The art will be changed out for fresh material every three months, and it’s all for sale. More than a few sales were made during the grand opening, as dozens of invited and random guests milled about, snacks or drinks in hand, to admire the fruits of local creativity.
“More than we expected,” said Marianne Verna, a painter specializing in beach scenes. But more exposure, and therefore commissions and sales, is one of the benefits of being in an artist co-op, she said.
“There’s something in there for everybody,” said Flagler Beach Mayor Linda Provencher, who arrived with other city officials for a ceremonial ribbon cutting. Showcasing local art, she said, “is essential to a community.”
“It’s rare that we have anything like this, so I’m glad,” said Flagler Beach resident Nicky Speglevin. “We have so many nice local artists.”
Pursuing the passion
There is a rich sense of fulfillment to be found, too, in showcasing one’s work to widespread public admiration. Mary Unson, who specializes in creating art via burning designs into wooden objects with electrical implements, committed herself to pursuing her passion after her late daughter said she was seeing a “bad example” for her other, younger children: Unson was always telling them to follow their hearts’ desires, yet didn’t do so herself.
“I’d been doing it for 35 years,” Unson said, “mostly just for family and friends and my own enjoyment.” But now she has pared down her lifestyle, she said, to live off an artist’s wages, and discovers happiness in the smoking surfaces of wooden bowls, bracelets and beads.
“At is important in a community,” said co-op member Don Davis after the ribbon was cut. “It helps define a space and a place.”
The space within the Pineapple Gallery is watched by one of the artists each day; they sign up for gallery duties every month.
“I like when they meet one of us and kinda get to know us,” Audrey Scherr said. “I hope people come in here and have a great time.”