Thursday, October 1, 2009

BIG Arts makes a big move

BIG Arts makes a big move

Gallery and gift shop ready to debut on Periwinkle Way

The folks at BIG Arts, in an effort to gain a more visible presence on Sanibel, have made a dramatic more that will undoubtedly increase awareness of the group from both an artistic and retail-driven perspective.

The organization, whose mission is to provide quality cultural and educational experiences to the residents and visitors of Sanibel, Captiva and neighboring communities, recently announced the opening of its second location - a gift shop and gallery located at 2244 Periwinkle Way, near The Sanibel Bean.

"We're pleased to have more retail and office space," BIG Arts Executive Director Lee Ellen Harder said. "Our new location will also have more workshop classrooms and meeting rooms, which allows us to further our mission to provide cultural and educational experiences to the community."

The BIG Arts on Periwinkle Gallery and Gift Shop will be open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. They will offer customers a variety of art, jewelry and gift items, many created by local artists including Myra Roberts, Muffy Clark Gill, Michael Pohlman, Alicia Schmidt and Helen Ketteman.

One of many local artists represented at the shop is Eve Lynch, who creates glass mosiac calaveras (skulls) to celebrate El Dia de los Muertos (The Day of the Dead).

"The Day of the Dead is a Mexican celebration in which people remember and celebrate their loved ones that have departed." she said. "I have always been envious of cultures that can use color with abandon. It is this that attracted me to this holiday. I have found that stained glass is the perfect medium to express my affinity for the sugar skulls and catrina skeletons of El Dia de los Muertos."

Lynch also creates colorful shoe sculptures, jewelry and mosaics in glass.

Cathy Paus, director of marketing for BIG Arts, explained that the organization had outgrown their office space at their main campus, located at 900 Dunlop Road. The new location provides more than 2,000 square feet of space, which includes two meeting rooms, a classroom, offices as well as the gallery and gift shop.

"This gives us a lot more space and a lot more room to continue our work," she said.

Scheduled to officially open on Thursday, Oct. 1, BIG Arts on Periwinkle Gallery and Gift Shop sells original artwork of all mediums, shapes and sizes. While most of the items offered for sale are priced under $200, hand-painted ornaments can be purchased for around $12 while a Myra Roberts painting is priced at $6,000.

Maureen Tesoro, who also works at the new location, is very pleased with the appearance of their freshly painted and decorated digs.

"I'm happy that we have lots of windows," she said with a laugh. "We were so packed in at the other space that we had to move boxes around to let people in."

Receptionist and resident artist Lisa Gould added, "I enjoy the closeness to the other BIG Arts space, plus the convenience of being on Periwinkle."

To celebrate the opening of the gallery and gift shop, a ribbon cutting has been scheduled in cooperation with the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce on Thursday, Nov. 26.

The phone number for BIG Arts on Periwinkle Gallery and Gift Shop is 472-9700. For further information about exhibits, information about upcoming events at BIG Arts, to purchase tickets, sign up for workshops or become a member, call the main facility at 395-0900, e-mail or log on to

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