FLORIDA KEYS — It’s officially spring, and this time of year in the Florida Keys means fresh, new experiences for the senses including visiting peaceful working studios and galleries filled with colorful Keys art — and perhaps finding another kind of piece.
In Islamorada, the new Studio Sesh Arts is a contemporary studio and gallery with art instruction and exhibitions. Owner Sandra Attales has dedicated the space to cultivating creativity and promoting emerging and established artists with disciplines that include painting, drawing, mixed media and sculpture. Studio Sesh Arts, open Wednesday through Saturday, is located at 151 Morada Way in Islamorada’s arts district. Visit studiosesharts.com or call 305-240-5484.
Old Road Gallery, tucked between the Overseas Highway and the Old Highway at mile marker 88.8 in Tavernier, is a working studio and gallery for artists that is overflowing with handcrafted works of pottery, bronze and copper, but also an outdoor sculpture garden. According to owners Dwayne and Cindy King, future plans include converting an on-property Red Cross House, built in 1936 as one of 29 such homes throughout the Keys, into an educational facility of sorts for visiting artists to host workshops. Old Road Gallery also is an occasional venue for meetings, wedding receptions and birthday parties.
“In this age of ‘imports,’ we feel it is important to show people what goes into creating a piece of art hands-on, from conception to completion,” Cindy King said. “This way they can truly appreciate what they have purchased and also know that they are supporting American-made crafts.” Visit oldroadgallery.com or call 305-852-8935.
Nearly next door along the Old Highway at mile marker 88.7 in Tavernier, Our Place in Paradise is a relaxed, inviting art gallery that offers a variety of workshops and classes. Gallery visitors can view original works by nationally recognized ceramic studio artists and painters — several with a particular emphasis on the plein air tradition. Barely a year old, the self-proclaimed “unique place for art in the Florida Keys” is supported by Share All Our Blessings, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizational conduit for contributions to provide art education, spiritual encouragement and charitable needs of the island community. Visit ourplaceinparadise.com or call 305-916-5828.
Portside Studio & Gallery has opened in Islamorada’s Morada Way Arts and Cultural District across from Redbone Gallery and Florida Keys Brewing Co., at 151 Morada Way at mile marker 81.5 oceanside. The gallery has “unique Linocut art with a tropical vibe and is a hub for fresh art in the heart of the Florida Keys,” said owner Valerie Perreault, a poet and block-print artist. The working studio showcases a rotating collection of contemporary works from visiting artists. An outdoor yard and stage are to host literary readings, film festivals, musical performances, exhibitions, installations, art lectures and classes including one on linocut printing. Visit portsidestudioandgallery.com or call 617-756-9919.
Since opening in 2016, Shady Palm Art Gallery and Photography has proudly featured only local artists inside its location at 2888 Overseas Highway bayside in Marathon. Guided by the resident shelter rescues, Marley the dog and Odie the cat, today’s patrons can lose themselves browsing several talent-filled rooms with work by over 50 individuals who reside between Key Largo and Key West — a majority of them from Marathon. Discover artists who paint with oils or pastels; use pen and ink; create on canvas, coconuts and palm fronds; or design pottery, glass, handcrafted jewelry and much more.
The emporium can transform favorite vacation photos into three-dimensional art, and owners Barry and Lori Gaukel can custom matte and frame individual pieces and arrange direct shipping for vacation memory gifts. Visit shadypalmartgallery.com or call 305-988-4165.
Florida Keys visitor information: fla-keys.com or 1-800-FLA-KEYS
Tavernier's Our Place in Paradise is a relaxed, inviting art gallery that offers a variety of workshops and classes, including ceramics and pottery.
At Marathon's Shady Palm Art Gallery, find a gorgeous giclee print of The Diva, by artist Paula Leftwich.