Season’s greetings! The galleries at the Shops of Olde Marco celebrated their second grand opening with a season-opening gala on Wednesday.
Amantea Gallery and In the Light Gallery, along with Chef’s Express and the soon-to-open Simply Cupcakes, came together for an open gallery, offering those who visited a chance to see new artists and artwork and listen to the jazz and blues of musician Don Barber.
“This is our grand re-opening for the season,” said Kathleen Amantea, organizer of the event. “The people of Marco are so good to us, so we wanted to give back.”
With a spread of food from Chef’s Express, wine, cheese as well as miniature cupcakes from Simply Cupcakes, people mingled about, checking out the shops and catching up with friends who’ve returned to Marco Island for the season.
“It already seems like the season has stared with a bang,” Amantea said. “People (seem) more anxious to have the recession behind them … they’re spending money.”
Both galleries offer a taste Southwest Florida, with artwork ranging a variety of mediums. In each shop, customers can find works ranging from acrylics to watercolor, sculpture to photography, and jewelry to glass art; each gallery offers every person who steps in the door something that will speak to them.
“We have a lot of local artists, a lot of our art is of Southwest Florida,” Amantea said. “There’s fine art, fun art and functional art.”
Making a debut at the gala was Judy Vitale with Simply Cupcakes. The cupcake specialty shop is set to open in January at the Shops, the store’s second location.
“There’s something for everybody (at the shops),” said artist Yvonne Name, whose work is featured at Amantea Gallery “There’s art, food, and soon the cupcake shop and an ice cream shop, too.”
With many people wandering in and out of the shops, In the Light owner Jean Brennan said she felt motivated and reassured for a successful season.
“It’s nice to start the season with the music, food and great friends,” Brennan said. “I have a feeling it’s going to be a great season.”
Marco Island author Gina Marie Sisbarro was also in attendance, autographing copies of her first novel, “Finally Found,” which she describes as “her greatest fantasy.”
“It’s a total beach book,” she said. “It’s always been a dream of mine to publish a book.”
As the gala winded down, people settled into the chairs located under the canopy along the walkway, caught up with friends and took in the cool breeze.
“It’s a hidden gem,” Brennan said of the Shops. “When people do discover it, they just keep coming back.”