by Max Marbut
Southlight Gallery is developing a reputation for hosting events as part of its First Wednesday Art Walk participation. Last month, an experimental dance group presented two nights of performances on the floor above the gallery. This month, the gallery will be the venue for the 10th anniversary party for Jacksonville Community Council Inc.’s “Forward” leadership development group.
The gallery, part of the “Off the Grid” partnership among the Cultural Council of Greater Jacksonville, Downtown Vision Inc. and property owners, exhibits 25 artists at any given time. It’s a mix of work by the core group who started the gallery and guest artists. All disciplines are represented, including oil painting, watercolor, drawing, photography and sculpture.
The gallery wants to expand its influence by inviting performance artists and organizations to host events there during Art Walk.
“We’re trying to reach out to as many diverse groups as we can and introduce the gallery to as many people as we can,” said architect and artist Michael Dunlap, one of the founding core members.
The featured artist for July is photographer Garry McElwee. He’s showing some of his diminutive objects depicted on a large scale.
“I like making small things big,” he said Tuesday morning when he delivered his works of a chocolate-covered cherry, a kernel of popcorn and the eye of a threaded needle.
Southlight Gallery Marketing Director Pam Zambetti is an artist who works in a studio space at the gallery and coordinates the volunteer effort. She said artists who exhibit at Southlight don’t pay a commission to the gallery when their work sells.
“It’s an ongoing exhibition by artists who are all self-represented,” she said. “When someone buys a piece, they write the check to the artist.”
Zambetti said she expects a crowd to attend Art Walk Wednesday based on the large membership and following of JCCI Forward.
“They have more than 300 members and several thousand website visitors. They’re providing the refreshments and live music by Little Green Men,” she said.
Open less than a year, Southlight is growing in terms of work exhibited and reputation.
“The gallery’s getting more walk-in traffic all the time and we’re selling some art,” said Dunlap. “If the work was sitting in a closet, there’s no way it would sell.”
Southlight Gallery is on West Forsyth Street between Laura and Hogan streets. It’s open 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and by appointment. Call Zambetti at 553-6361 or Dunlap at 358-1002 for details or an appointment.
First Wednesday Art Walk is 5-9 p.m. rain or shine and each month showcases Downtown’s arts community and entertainment destinations.
One of artist Tony Woods’ series of dancers in mixed media on paper.
Alie Trice hangs John J. Allen’s paintings, which will debut at Southlight Gallery Wednesday during Art Walk.
Artist and Southlight Gallery Marketing Director Pam Zambetti maintains a studio space at the gallery.