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Arts studio to host a grand reveal

By Staff | Oct 3, 2019

After nearly two years of renovations, hard work and even a hurricane, the Cape Coral Arts Studio has transformed into an alluring and charming facility in which to view works from some of the area’s most talented artists.

On Friday, Oct. 11, residents can get an up close and personal look at the revamped gallery from 5-7 p.m. The reveal will feature artist demonstrations by studio instructors and professional galleries full of paintings and mixed media to discover.

Renovations were made possible thanks to $100,000 in grant money from the Florida Department of State Division of Cultural Affairs, which the city matched and doubled.

“I am so grateful for the support of the city of Cape Coral and the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs,” said Julie Gerhard, Cape Coral Arts Studio supervisor. “I am truly filled with joy when I walk into work. I see a beautiful facility that presents art and stokes a sense of artistic prosperity and inspiration in our community.”

The nearly 14,000-square-foot space that includes galleries, studios/classrooms and a specialty art supply store received grant money to freshen the look of the gallery and other areas encompassing the two-building layout.

“In our Fine Art Gallery, everything is new and beautiful,” Gerhard said. “We wanted to find the best way to display our work — for the ‘walls to disappear.’ It really presents the artwork well. It pops.”

The main gallery, shaped in an octagonal layout, is currently home to “Pictorial Conversations Opus 1,” a series of works by a group called “Artsemble Underground,” four artists from around Southwest Florida coming together to display their unique styles.

In the side gallery, attendees will find an exhibit titled “Abstracted Reality,” another collection from area artists. An awards ceremony for the “Abstracted Reality” exhibition will be held at 6 p.m. as part of the renovation reveal. First, second and third prizes will be announced, as well as the Rubicond Award for honorable mention.

Inside of the Cape Coral Arts Studio there are all new floors, ceilings and lighting — which Gerhard said is so crucial to students perfecting their craft.

“We also created more secondary exhibition spaces,” Gerhard said. “Both buildings now have galleries and classrooms. It’s fun getting to put a new face to the studio, and the highlight has been the community support.”

The studio has been working through these renovations on the fly, but now that they’re complete, Gerhard said she can already see the impact via a higher number of residents looking to get involved.

Her goal?

“My job is to create collaborative creative culture in the Cape,” Gerhard said.

The new upgrades will certainly assist her in accomplishing those feats, and those who are already involved with the studio are blown away by what they’ve seen.

“A couple of our students cried when they saw it,” Gerhard said. “Some of them call the art studio home. They’re over the moon about it. It means a lot to them.”

This project has finally come to fruition, but not without a few bumps in the road.

Hurricane Irma set renovations back quite a bit when the storm roared through Southwest Florida in late 2018.

“Irma really put a delay on the project,” Gerhard said.

Once they got back on track assessing the damages, work resumed, and now, is complete.

Another special treat will be revealed on Oct. 11.

The “Artsemble Underground” crew has created an alter ego of sorts for utility boxes outside of the studio as part of the Public Art Utility Box Project, sponsored by the South Cape Hospitality and Entertainment Association. Those boxes will be unveiled as part of the event.

All studios will be open that evening for the public to view free of charge.

“You can see what we do and what we offer,” Gerhard said.

A string trio will serenade patrons while Eight-Foot Brewing will be on site with unique sample brews.

For more information on the Cape Coral Arts Studio and a full list of classes and hours, visit www.capecoral.net, select the Parks & Recreation Department and find the studio under “Recreation Facilities.”

Cape Coral Arts Studio is at 4533 Coronado Parkway.

-Connect with this reporter on Twitter: @haddad_cj