Visitors seeking the work of visual artists can find it literally from one end of the Florida Keys to the other. Galleries abound — whether tropically themed exhibit halls, artist cooperatives or working studios where one can watch the creative process.
Visiting and resident art lovers in the Middle Keys can explore and express their own creativity at The Art Studio, located at 12535 Overseas Highway, mile marker 53.6 oceanside. Workshops to learn painting in oil, watercolor and acrylic, as well as sculpting and painting pottery, are among the most popular at the working studio. Other offerings teach enthusiasts how to throw clay, fuse glass, create jewelry and paint and glaze self-selected ceramics.
The studio features one of the Keys’ most expansive facilities for throwing clay, with classes available for people ages 5 and up. Kids’ clay hand building enables children ages 5 to 11 to create a small sculpture with basic techniques. For ages 12 and up, clay hand building classes offer instruction in making freeform sculptures or plates, a house address plaque, a teapot, pitchers or vases, animals and more.
Visitors to The Art Studio also can learn the basic techniques to center and throw a pot on a wheel during clay wheel-throwing classes that include glazes and kiln firings. Families, couples and even girls get-together participants can create memories by painting and glazing their own designs on already-thrown pieces of pottery.
During July, vacationing families can craft a Florida Keys souvenir by joining an artist-led watercolor workshop themed “Coral Gaze” or one of The Art Studio’s “Workshop of the Day” events, creating a clay address plaque, jellyfish wind chime, glass bow tie platter or night light.
Stick around for a fresh cup of joe from the Coffee Loft where hot teas, gourmet hot chocolate and snacks also are on the menu. The loft is artfully decorated with a soothing, cool atmosphere where visitors are free to use Wi-Fi, meet with friends, read a book or just relax.
And don’t miss enjoying a leisurely exploration of Marathon’s one-stop-shop emporium of over 50 local artists at Shady Palm Art Gallery & Photography, located at 2888 Overseas Highway. Owners Barry and Lori Gaukel feature only Keys artists, artisans and creative minds in the spacious gallery/gift shop.
Each artist creates unique pieces including paintings, prints, jewelry, pottery, woodcarving, coconut art and much more. Shady Palm is the perfect place to purchase a memento to remember a visit to the Keys.
Lori Gaukel will help customize a print with hand-selected matting and framing options including genuine Keys lobster-trap frames. Barry Gaukel, a local photographer, provides wedding photography and family portraits along with photography of original works of art for reproduction and giclee printing.