Annette Nina of the Art Guild of the Purple Isles said she was surprised by the amount and quality of the submissions to the 2021 Art Guild of the Purple Isles Summer Show, now on display at Tavernier’s Our Place in Paradise art gallery. The exhibit is the first one the guild has shown in the summer, outside of high season.

“The entries dribbled in,” said Nina, who is the show chair. But eventually 30 “impressive” artworks arrived to be displayed at the gallery. 

“Other shows usually have a theme, but this was artist’s choice,” she said. “We hope this is a more relaxed show, with older work and giclées. We want to encourage part-timers to show as well.”

And the Summer Show represents another first — the show had an open house with light refreshments to kick off the exhibition for the first time since the pandemic. 

“We’re easing out into the world again,” said Nina.

Show co-chair Paula Friedman pointed out that this show represents growth for the guild, which was started in 1966 and has over 100 members. 

“We now have five shows a year,” she said. “We used to have one. The perception is that we’re a bunch of northern snowbirds. But 50 percent of the members are residents who live here. Now we want to keep it going.”

So guild members have introduced another post-pandemic change: The normal season in which it used to be active and having workshops and shows was November through March. Now the members want to keep active throughout the year. Thus, the Summer Show.

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As with many organizations throughout the world, the pandemic has encouraged the guild to think outside of the box to provide programming and connect its members. AGPI has made a virtual show of the exhibits, at agpi.us. And it now has its own YouTube channel.

And, Nina said, to encourage members to stay involved with the guild through the pandemic, “We waived the annual fee for 2021.”

Nina and Friedman are both displaying their work at the Summer Show. Nina is a photographer who has lived in the Keys since 1989. Her usual subject is street photography, but since she couldn’t go out during the pandemic, she focused on closeups of flowers. Her work displayed in the show is an intimate look at an Alstroemeria flower titled “Subtle Bliss.”

Friedman, who has lived in the Keys for 10 years, prefers oil and watercolor as her media, and chooses to focus on “intimate moments.” Her oil painting “Approaching Storm” is a distant perspective of a lone fisherman.

Many more member artworks are on display at Our Place in Paradise, using different media and depicting different subjects. 

Our Place In Paradise Gallery co-founders Liza Moore and Joanne Cate Kolb are excited to have the show.

“We are honored,” said Kolb. “We support them any chance we get. We are a nonprofit made to support artists, and we try to be encouraging spiritually to the community and the children. When we can, we highlight both our local artists and children. That’s our greatest joy.”

A portion of the profits from sale of the art will be donated to nonprofits benefiting children, such as the local children’s shelter and Bluewater Surrender, a safehouse for abused children in Guatemala.The exhibit will be showing through June 26, Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., at Our Place in Paradise, 88711 Overseas Hwy, Oceanside, Tavernier, FL, 305-916-5828. More information is at agpi.us or the guild’s Facebook page, Art Guild of the Purple Isles.

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Charlotte Twine fled her New York City corporate publishing life and happily moved to the Keys six years ago. She has written for Travel + Leisure, Allure, and Offshore magazines; Elle.com; and the Florida Keys Free Press. She loves her two elderly Pomeranians, writing stories that uplift and inspire, making children laugh, the color pink, tattoos, Johnny Cash, and her husband. Though not necessarily in that order.