Bur­geon­ing City Also Grows Ar­tis­ti­cally

Var­ied gal­leries help fill de­sire for big­ger arts scene

RSWLiving - - Contents - BY ANN MARIE O’PHEL AN Ann Marie O’Phe­lan is a South­west Florida res­i­dent and a reg­u­lar con­trib­u­tor to TOTI Me­dia.

Cape Coral is one of the fastest-grow­ing cities in the United States and, no doubt, the weather and the wa­ter are a big draw. The city has seen rapid ex­pan­sion in such in­dus­tries as home build­ing, tourism, restau­rants—but also in or­ga­ni­za­tions and in­sti­tu­tions re­lated to arts and cul­ture. Two in­ter­est­ing ex­am­ples—one pri­vate and one pub­lic—are the Bro­ken Shell Gallery & Bou­tique and the art gallery at Cape Coral Lee County Pub­lic Li­brary. Both are a re­flec­tion of the bur­geon­ing area’s de­sire for a big­ger art scene.

Bro­ken Shell Gallery & Bou­tique, lo­cated on the newly re­vi­tal­ized Cape Coral Park­way, opened in Novem­ber of 2017. Cape Coral Lee County Pub­lic Li­brary had an art gallery in its orig­i­nal plans, and first opened the build­ing’s walls, halls and glass cases to lo­cal artists in 2003. Ever since, the li­brary has con­tin­ued to ex­pand its ex­hibits and they are changed nine times a year.


Gina Lynne Turek is the owner of Bro­ken Shell Gallery & Bou­tique, which fea­tures items such as wa­ter­color paint­ings, metal art, sculp­ture, mixed-me­dia pieces, and pho­to­graphic and blow-glass works. Also in­cluded are palm frond art, wood creations, jewelry pieces, hand-painted fur­ni­ture, hand­made soap, body scrubs, can­dles and much more.

“We cur­rently have over 40 tal­ented artists who dis­play their works in the gallery,” ex­plains Turek. She is a self-taught artist who has sold her own work na­tion­ally and in­ter­na­tion­ally. “My dream was al­ways to open a gallery so artists have a place to dis­play their works,” she adds.

The unique gallery of­fers adult classes on top­ics such as paint­ing, palm frond art, karma boxes, dec­o­ra­tive wine glasses, and “paint your pet,” as well as a se­lec­tion of chil­dren’s classes—at least two classes per month that vary in age groups and theme. There are also a va­ri­ety of events, in­clud­ing “meet the artists” and birthday par­ties.

Fundrais­ers are held for ben­e­fi­cia­ries such as lo­cal fos­ter chil­dren and the Cape Coral An­i­mal Shel­ter. Plus, there’s a vin­tage bou­tique with amaz­ing items that in­clude porce­lain and china dolls, and col­lec­tions fo­cus­ing on ev­ery­thing from The Beatles to Star Trek. There’s even a year-round Christ­mas room.

What’s ad­di­tion­ally great about the gallery is that it is close to cof­fee shops, restau­rants and other lo­cal busi­nesses. Thus, a trip to the gallery can be for a few hours or can turn into a full­day ex­pe­ri­ence. Bro­ken Shell Gallery & Bou­tique posts events, classes and more info on its Face­book page at face­book.com/pg/the­bro­ken­shell/events.


On the walls of Cape Coral Lee County Pub­lic Li­brary’s cozy al­coves, along its wide hall­ways and un­der three lighted glass dis­play cases are a large va­ri­ety of art­works by lo­cal artists—both adults and chil­dren. The li­brary’s art gallery is man­aged by vol­un­teers who be­long to the non­profit Friends of the Cape Coral Li­brary.

The vol­un­teers as­sist with all tasks re­lated to run­ning the gallery. “Our goal is to give lo­cal artists and crafts peo­ple the op­por­tu­nity to share their work with the li­brary pa­trons and visi­tors,” ex­plains art gallery chair­woman Mon­ica Rah­man. She holds a bach­e­lor’s de­gree in art and has been or­ga­niz­ing the li­brary ex­hibits as a vol­un­teer for the past seven years. Rah­man ex­plains that she “firmly be­lieves that the vis­ual arts, as well as other cul­tural pur­suits, are valu­able as­sets not only to the cre­ative in­di­vid­u­als them­selves, but also to the com­mu­nity at large.”

Cape Coral res­i­dent Joyce Boyd says she does more than stop by to check out the books at the li­brary: “See­ing the art­work on the walls is an­other great rea­son to stop by the li­brary, and I do stop in and see the ex­hibits nearly ev­ery time they change.”

A re­cent ex­hibit in­cluded win­ning en­tries from chil­dren’s art­work from a “Col­or­ing the Earth” con­test. The theme was “Let’s Pro­tect Our Log­ger­head Sea Tur­tles” and the works were dis­played on al­cove walls. The Friends of the Cape Coral Li­brary or­ga­ni­za­tion posts in­for­ma­tion about gallery shows and other in­for­ma­tion at cape­friends.org.

Each gallery is fas­ci­nat­ing in its own way. And as Cape Coral’s pop­u­la­tion con­tin­ues to grow, the city is bound to see more and more art gal­leries and cul­tural ex­pe­ri­ences pop­ping up.

Bro­ken Shell Gallery & Bou­tique of­fers a full sched­ule of classes for adults and chil­dren. T he gallery dis­plays art­work by lo­cal artists, and the bou­tique fea­tures jewelry, hand­bags, soaps and more.

The art gallery at Cape Coral Lee County Pub­lic Li­brary is op­er­ated by the Friends of the Cape Coral Li­brary. Ex­hibits are changed nine times a year .

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