Bronze Kingdom rules anew at art shop
African gallery grows into Orlando Fashion Square mall space
Orlando fans of African and multicultural art have a new location to explore. Bronze Kingdom, formerly located off McCoy Road, has moved to the Orlando Fashion Square mall. The gallery focused primarily on African sculptures and art has taken over the space formerly occupied by The Limited near the mall’s north entrance.
Owner Rawlvan Bennett noted several benefits to his new digs.
“It’s got all this great lighting; it’s got more space than we have,” he said. “One of the things that we have now is all of this wonderful window space.”
Guenet Gittens-Roberts, CEO of GGR Marketing in the mall, encouraged the move after she visited the more remote original location.
“I live in Orlando and I had trouble explaining to people where it was,” she said.
Her company focuses on multicultural events marketing. She felt Orlando Fashion Square would be a supportive environment for the gallery.
“[The mall owners] are accepting of creative people and they want those people in there,” she said. “Orlando Fashion Square mall is the hub of the communities surrounding it.”
The entryway to Bronze Kingdom is a red-carpet walkway, lined with art and leading to a large statue. The intent, Bennett explained, is to mimic the feeling of entering an African palace.
He has spread out in his new store, though he has used and repurposed many of the original fixtures. Dressing rooms and shelving units house individual statues. Walls of studs that once hung small accessories now hold paintings by contemporary African and African-American painters.
“If you have the opportunity to look at something with a different eye, what I saw was the shelving being transformed into holding the large pieces of African bronze,” Bennett said. “I tried to keep within the layout that was already in the building, but to adapt it to what we needed. We’re really excited with how it turned out.”
One set of dressing rooms has been turned into a sitting room where buyers can spend time examining pieces they are considering. Statues and pieces range in price from a couple ofhundred dollars to tens of thousands.
For customers of more modest means, Bennett has added a gift shop with pieces by some of the same artisans starting around $20. “Many people wanted to find a way to take Africa home with them,” he said.
He also plans to add a theater in the back which will play a short film about the collection and some of the work that’s included.
The store’s grand opening is today. For details, visit bronze kingdom.com.
The works at Bronze Kingdom, such as these statues, range in price from a couple of hundred dollars to tens of thousands. The store’s grand opening at Orlando Fashion Square mall is today.