Mercato, a lifestyle shopping and dining destination managed and leased by Madison Marquette, announced “apARTment,” a unique art exhibit created in cooperation with Live Art Naples, an organization that fosters the development of art and music in the Naples community, and the United Arts Council of Collier County, which enriches lives and strengthens the community through the power of the arts.
The gallery, on display at Mercato in Naples July 23 through Aug. 23, is located outdoors, facing the sidewalk along Strada Place (across from Z Gallerie and Tommy Bahama). Visiting the exhibit is free of charge and open to the public during the shopping center’s regular shopping hours.
“Mercato is thrilled to provide a venue to celebrate and appreciate this incredibly moving series of fresh local art,” says Valerie Cope, senior marketing director at Mercato. “An outdoor exhibit is the perfect way to socially distance in a beautiful outdoor setting while enjoying a treat for the senses.”
The unusual exhibit includes more than 20 works of art curated from local artists by Live Art Naples. Many of the pieces were created while the artists were self-quarantining during Florida’s stay-at-home COVID-19 order. Now, the art itself will undergo a 30-day quarantine behind plate glass windows, effectively creating an “apartment” for each piece of art as a nod to its human creators’ struggle with the coronavirus shutdowns.
Aptly named, the “apARTment” art exhibit is an outdoor experience that encourages visitors to enjoy an outing in the fresh summer air. Each piece of art will feature a unique QR code; guests can scan the codes with their phones to watch short videos from each individual artist describing his or her work.
Among the artists sharing their work during the exhibit are well-known locals from Live Art Naples that include Daniel Papanikolaou, Monika Bokelmann, Cath Branwood, Marie James and Doug Lackey.
In an effort to offer the community an alternative to large events, including festivals and concerts, Mercato also offers live music (weather permitting) every Wednesday and Saturday from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in front of Bravo! Guests are invited to stroll the royal palm-lined sidewalks and grab an iced coffee beverage from Narrative Coffee Roasters or dinner al fresco on one of Mercato’s many restaurant patios while enjoying a few songs from talented local musicians.
Live Art was created in 2005 by Monika Bokelmann, Pete Gottschalk and Marie James.
“Our goal is to bring attention to local art and music,” says Bokelmann. “The way we do it is by creating events in which painters and musicians work together with the public to create an all-inclusive experience.”
She adds, “We have also created a space where we get together on a regular basis and where artists and musicians jam together and exchange ideas.”
Designated by the State of Florida as the official local arts agency for Collier County, the United Arts Council’s mission is to enrich lives and strengthen the community through the power of the arts. The Council provides arts education to at-risk students and outreach services to those who might not otherwise have access to the arts. It also unites and promotes the local arts community by connecting arts organizations, artists, galleries, and arts educators with one another, with local audiences and tourism-related businesses.