Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Sanibel Island - Hirdie-Girdie opens for season Nov. 15

After closing in May for the slow summer months, the Hirdie-Girdie Art Gallery will officially reopen on Monday, Nov. 15.

Hirdie-Girdie is an artist cooperative, which means the talented people who create the works of art on display in the gallery also work the front desk and answer the phones. On Nov. 15, the co-op will celebrate its 16th season of sharing their art with the islands, and one Hirdie-Girdie artist is hoping that this season will be better than the past couple of years.

“Almost every retail operation on the island has seen business slow over the past few years. Last year, season picked up from the prior year, and we’re hoping that the improving economy will allow people to come into the gallery and get involved with the arts,” said Hirdie-Girdie member and photographer Jeff Springer.

Hirdie-Girdie offers a wide range of art, including pottery, fused glass, oil paintings, watercolors, wood sculptures, baskets, photography, jewelry and much more, and Springer said that while many of the co-op artists have a broad range of interests and styles, much of the work found in Hirdie-Girdie is influenced by the Southwest Florida environment.

“People who are coming in to shop in the gallery want something unique. If they live on the island, they probably want something that fits into a home on the beach. If they’re a tourist, they want to bring something back home to remind them of the islands.”

And while Hirdie-Girdie is a business, the artistic kinship that all gallery contributors share is what keeps the creative co-op going.

“To me, each year that we open offers a new level of excitement — I get to see the new projects the artists are trying out, the new media they’re working with, and when we get new artists, it creates a new chemistry,” Springer said.

While there will be no new artists joining Hirdie-Girdie this year, one of the gallery’s founding members will be returning for the 2010-11 season after a one year hiatus.

“Bea Pappas took last year off. Now that she’s returning after her sabbatical, I’m looking forward to seeing what she’s done in her time off,” Springer said. In addition to Gordon Coughlin and Don Daniels, Pappas is one of the three founding co-op members that still exhibits in the gallery.

“Reopening is exciting. We’ll see what people have done in the off season and it’s always fun to have people come in for receptions throughout the year,” Springer said, noting that the first of these receptions, a holiday celebration, will take place on Dec. 20, beginning at 5:30 p.m.

Hirdie-Girdie Gallery, located at 2490 Library Way on Sanibel, is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
For more information about Hirdie-Girdie artists and upcoming gallery events, go to  By JANE BRICKLEY

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