Define Art Gallery Opening On Palm

Arts & Culture

Pictured: Deena King with her work, Ocean's Edge. Photo courtesy of the artist.

After a tough summer for the Downtown Sarasota visual arts scene, with both Dabbert Gallery and Art Uptown Gallery closing down within months of each other, a new scene seems to be taking root on South Palm, where a whole cluster of new galleries is set to open in the coming months, including Burns on Palm (a relocated 530 Burns Gallery), Mara Art Studio + Gallery (relocated from Rosemary District) and the relative newcomer to the group, Define Art Gallery and Studio, which opens its doors October 3.

“Our vision is to define an art world where each piece of art speaks a story and each artwork creates emotion,” says Define owner Deena King, a mixed-media artist with a penchant for paper craft and collage. The goal is not to showcase interior design or “something that looks good over the couch,” she says, but to unite like-minded artists who are actively looking to say something with their art and speak to the times, even if only in their own weird way. In short, to create, not decorate. A tall order but one answered readily when Define put out a call to artists, and King soon found herself with 23 artistic compatriots aligned with her vision.

Those familiar with the arts scene will recognize several of Define’s member artists, including more than one refugee from the collapse of the Big Red Awning, such as found object sculptor Melanie Carlstein, fused glass artist Esther Jensen, ceramicist Joan Libby Hawk, mosaic artist Donna Grossman and painters Janet Mishner, Evelyn McCorristin Peters, and Marlane Wurzbach—all finding a new home together. Other familiar names include mixed-media sculptor Ellen Kantro and watercolorist Jill Krasner, as well as the celebrated New York City-based artist Ro Daar, whose wooden wall sculptures whorl and weave like music given form. King would love to admit more, “but we just don’t have any more wall space,” she says.

With plans for rotating monthly shows, each member artist will get a chance to shine at Define, showcasing their work in the big glass windows out front. For the gallery’s first show, opening next week and on display for the First Friday ArtWalk on October 6, much of King’s latest work will be featured, including the expressionist’s ventures into three dimensions, using found objects and extra swatches of canvas to add a layer of physicality to her mixed-media operations. Coming shows include a November exhibition highlighting Krasner and Wurzbach and a December show putting Carlstein and Peters in the spotlight.

“I just want Sarasota to know that there are a lot of artists here,” says King. “And they have a lot to offer.”

Define Gallery opens Tuesday, October 3. The First Friday ArtWalk is October 6.

Pictured: Deena King with her work, Ocean's Edge. Photo courtesy of the artist.

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