Five is magic number for new Artists Guild Gallery Exhibition

VERO BEACH — High fives all around should be awarded to the Artist Guild Gallery for their latest exhibition, featuring 5″ x 5″ works of art, each affordably priced at $55, which debuted at its opening reception on Cinco de Mayo (May 5th).

Credit for the clever idea goes to Penny Aliyetti who had seen a similar exhibition at the Tulsa Artists Coalition in Oklahoma.

“It was so successful, they sold out 90% on their first night.  I thought it was cute and different and the timing was great for Cinco de Mayo,” said Aliyetti.

Approximately 80 artists participated in the creative exhibit and on the night of the reception there were 162 colorful works, laid out in multiple rows on the walls and standing displays in the guest artist room at the front of the Gallery.  The artists had such fun with the exhibit that quite of few of them actually ended up creating more than one piece. “It was open to all artists and all media” said Sharon Sandel.  “We furnished them with gallery wrapped canvasses so that they would all be exactly the same size.”

As the name implies, gallery wrapped canvases actually wrap around a one-inch frame, giving the artist the opportunity to incorporate the sides in the design if they choose to.  And many did so, very imaginatively.

Rather than wait until all the pieces had been submitted before arranging the exhibit, Aliyetti explained that they opted to hang the pieces as they came in.  “It gave it a feeling of spontaneity, even though it actually looks like it was planned.  It’s whimsy to sublime; the serendipity of it is such fun.”

The show actually opened on Monday, and by the reception on Wednesday red dots, indicating sold pieces, were plentiful.

A very pleased Judy Burgarella, decked out in a lively sombrero said, “We’ve sold a bunch already; everybody loves it.  We’ve asked people to let us leave them up through the month.  Some can’t because they’re leaving, but we’ll be bringing in new pieces all through the show.”

There was a definite air of excitement as visitors and fellow artists tried to make sure they didn’t miss any of the exquisite little goodies.

I ran into Beatrice Bianchi, a frequent guest at Vero Beach Museum of Art fundraisers, who was taking it all in.  “I paint too, and know how much work went into these pieces; it’s very creative.”

Artist Albert Norton said that two of his three pieces had been sold before they were even hung.  “Friends came to visit, saw me painting and wanted to buy them before I brought them in.”

Norton’s third piece was purchased during the reception by Vivienne Romano who was visiting the Gallery for the first time.

“It’s a great collection; good variety.  I envy anybody who can do this,” said Romano.  “I think Vero Beach is just the most super place for artists.  It’s a wonderful town for people to express themselves.  If they can’t find anything to do here they’re not looking.”

Vicki Bell, whose two watercolor miniatures were sold before the reception, purchased “Jiggy” Green Iguana by Christine Thomas and said, “It drew my eye right to it.  I wanted to get something a little different.”

Thomas had just joined the Artists Guild Gallery that week and will be chairing next year’s 60th Under the Oaks Art Show.  Her realistic looking lizards, tree frog and fish were attracting quite a buzz and she already had an order for more as Christmas presents.

“I like the gallery wrap; you can come at it from different angles,” Thomas explained, as she pointed out a lizard’s tail wrapped around the side.

Although the miniatures were the main draw for the evening, there was no shortage of other wonderful works to peruse throughout the rest of the Gallery.

Tom Peters had two miniatures in the exhibition but also has a whole wall of paintings in one of the other Gallery rooms.  “He’s very talented for a former Marine,” laughed his friend Jim Burden.

Peters also got some good natured ribbing from Penny Aliyetti’s husband John who said, “We were both American Airlines pilots.  His latent painting talents are just now coming out for public viewing.”

The show runs through Saturday, May 29.  {igallery 194}

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