The gallery is full of art, but the windows are full of community good will. That’s becoming a seasonal tradition with Gallery One, 1301 Third St. S., which once again filled its windows with creative displays, this year themed around charitable causes in Naples.
“Supporting one another this holiday season is what we’re all about,” is how owner Mary Lou Chronister explains.
Chronister, a Fort Wayne, Ind., transplant, founded the gallery at the highly visible location on the corner of 13th Avenue and Third Street South about five years back. Specializing in retail, not collectible, art as she puts it, the gallery’s full of eye-catching, colorful signed pieces that range from paintings to glass to porcelain mobiles and whimsical sculptures. Several of the area’s best known artists are represented along with others of statewide, national and even international note.
“I really love art glass,” she exclaims, as she proudly points out examples ranging from fanciful frogs to large chandeliers.
In just the last two years, the eight window displays that wrap around the store take on a new look the last week of November. They were first illuminated at night for the festive seasonal kickoff when Naples Mayor Bill Barnett lighted the Christmas tree in the nearby plaza on 13th Street the Monday before Thanksgiving while artificial “snow” floated down from street lamps. Lighted around the clock from then on, the windows take on approving children’s sticky fingerprints — and a few nose prints — on the windows as they crowd around for close up views. In fact, the staff has to wash the windows every morning until the end of December.
Pam Knauz, a Chronister employee, designs the very special window displays. This year she began brainstorming them in August. Knauz been in constant motion ever since, accumulating design elements and then directing the installation crew that includes not only gallery staff but also Mary Lou’s husband and co-owner, Tom Chronister, who commutes between Naples and Fort Wayne where he continues to manage family real estate and other businesses.
While the windows have always showcased the gallery’s best inventory, this year the Chronisters decided to raise awareness to the needs of charities and nonprofits throughout the community. It wasn’t hard to get ideas.
“When the word got out, you wouldn’t believe how many phone calls we received requesting inclusion,” Knauz says. Gallery One also is donating 10 percent of all purchases from now through Dec. 31, as designated by shoppers, to one of the eight sponsored organizations:
* United Art Council of Collier County, which is paired with the surrealist painter Ferjo and soft sculpture artists Susan and Kelly Nolan’s “Imposters.” A year-round installation, the player piano faux “pianist” entertains with both traditional and contemporary tunes.
* Naples Backyard History. The group is represented in a painting by local artist Paul Arsenault, who depicts Palm Cottage, including the original palm trees downed by Hurricane Wilma. Christmas lights, old photographs and a Naples Pier sculpture complete the display.
* Humane Society Naples. This window features art works by dog artists Jane Troup and Michelle Mardis. Dog sculptures in copper, “breathing” puppies and a DVD of “Hotel For Dogs” provided by the new Wiggle Butt Inn is a sure eye-catcher.
* Naples Zoo. The zoo is represented by works from New Yorker Bob Ransley. His giraffe — yes, giraffes are coming to the zoo — and cougar paintings create a prowling menagerie of wild animal sculptures in copper, a wildlife DVD and stuffed animals. (The stuffed animals are available only at the zoo.)
* American Cancer Society “R.O.C.K” Camp (Reaching Out to Cancer Kids). This caused is paired with artist Chris Roberts Antineau’s works and incorporates an applique fabrication. Kiddies participating in water sports “star” in the Camp Boggy Creek DVD.
* Jewish Federation of Collier County. Artists Don Kobasky, Gary Rosenthal and Murray Eisner are showcased with a display of traditional Judaica, and a DVD of the feature film “Fiddler on the Roof” fills that window’s flat-screen television.
* Children’s Museum of Naples ( known as C’MON). The Museum is depicted by found-object art from Leo Sewell. Blown glass balloons by artist Bryan Rubino and an informational DVD round out the window decor.
* Helps Outreach (Food Bank and More). This window represents a movement conceived in the late ‘90s by Angie and Joe Valentini, now Naples residents, who offer help to applicants in need. Here artist Christopher M portrays chefs creating beautiful meals that remind viewers of the good things in life not available to the needy. Miami sculptor Jim Lewk’s “edible” works add a mouthwatering ambience.
Information/brochures are available at the gallery and cash donations without purchases are welcome.
The gallery’s hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and noon to 5 p.m. Sundays.