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Tower Gallery debuts new exhibit

October 10, 2018
By TIFFANY REPECKI ( , Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

The Tower Gallery on Sanibel has added a small - but innovative - exhibit to its gallery space.

Beginning this month, the 24-member artists' cooperative opened "La Petit Galerie" in what was the upstairs bathroom. Board member JoAnne Bedient and events chair Marianne Ravenna explained that the exhibit will have a monthly theme and feature one to a few new creations from each of its artists.

"The first of every month, we will have something new," Bedient said.

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Tower Gallery artists Marianne Ravenna, left, and JoAnne Bedient at the entrance to the newest addition, the “La Petit Galerie” exhibit, with some of the artwork lining the wall.

With themes planned through September, the first one for October is "Flight."

"The themes are going to be interpreted by each artist," Ravenna said.

She explained that sometimes artists' creations can get stale if they remain in their comfort zone.

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"This will inspire our artists to do new work," Ravenna said.

For example, working with beech and maple wood salad-shaped bowls, she uses acrylics to paint detailed images on the inside of them. She noted that she usually sticks with fish and seashells.

For the Flight theme, though, Ravenna had to reach elsewhere for inspiration.

"I saw this beautiful picture of a moth," Ravenna said, adding that she eventually ended up tracking down multiple detailed images of various moth species from around the world.

She has since made two for the exhibit, including a 15-inch "Atlas Moth" bowl.

"I'm going to continue to paint some more," Ravenna said, acknowledging that she is a little slower because she is unfamiliar with her new subjects and they are more detailed, but that is the point.

Bedient found herself in a different predicament. Specializing in the medium of raku fired clay, she explained that her creations of late have been birds - which fit perfectly with the first theme.

"But I wanted something different," Bedient said.

So, she began thinking about birds, how they fly long distances and would obviously need a rest. Bedient came up with colorful ceramic birds on wooden posts, titled " Resting After a Long Flight." She also created a piece in line with her shoe collection that entails a purple dragonfly on a shoe.

Like the rest of the gallery, the artwork in "La Petit Galerie" is for sale.

In addition to getting the artists' creative juices flowing, the exhibit is a plus for visitors.

"Because each of us have our own spaces in here, the gallery can look the same, even when we add new pieces," Bedient said, noting that people like to see new things. "This room will change monthly."

She hinted that there still may be more to come.

"We're excited about it," Bedient said of the new exhibit.

Ravenna invited the public to swing by and see.

"If they're local people and they're familiar with our artists, they're familiar with our work," she said. "And this will give them an opportunity to see us step outside of our shoes."

The rest of the monthly themes are: "Sunrise/Sunset" for November; "Green" for December; "Island Style" for January; "Red" for February; "Bare Minimum" for March; "Yellow" for April; "Botanical" for May; "Nautical" for June; "Blue" for July; "Critters" for August; and "Neutrals" for September.

Tower Gallery was originally founded in 1982. The artist members work in two-dimensional and three-dimensional mediums, such as oil, acrylic, watercolor, photography, ceramic, wood, glass and metal.

It is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. June to October and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. November to May.

For more information, call 239-472-4557 or visit online at or "Tower Gallery, Sanibel Island, FL" on Facebook.

The Tower Gallery is at 751 Tarpon Bay Road.



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