South Florida Sunshine

Key West: The Ultimate Art Colony

For such a little far away spot in the great big ocean, Key West is an amazing place for art, culture, music, and history. In particular, it is an artists’ colony like none other. Artists come to visit, fall in love, and eventually stay. The amount and variety of visual arts that can be found here in the Conch Republic is staggering. Come along with me and I will give you a little taste of what can be found in the Key West art scene.

When you arrive, I HIGHLY recommend that you pick up a couple of things right away. Get a Gallery Guide printed by the Florida Keys Council of the Arts and the 2010 Key West Art Guide. Both will give you a map and descriptions of the over 42 art galleries in Key West. They are simply a couple must-haves if you want to be sure and not miss anything.

Like I said, there are over 42 galleries in Key West alone. They cover every form of visual art from paintings, photography, and sculpture to amazing fabric art and jewelery. This blog would be a mile long if I tried to profile them all, so I will give you a little sampling of what you can find just along Duval Street.

My first stop was the Wyland Gallery at 623 Duval Street. Wyland is best known world wide for his life-sized Whale Wall murals. The gallery in Key West features many of his sea creature sculptures and marine paintings. He is not the only artist in the gallery, though. You will also find works by David Wight, Steve Barton, Adam Rote, and Steven Quartly. If you will be visiting the island very soon you can catch Quartly at the Wyland Gallery April 15-18 and Adam Rote with Michael Cheval during Memorial Day Weekend.

Next, I stopped in at the Guild Hall Gallery, 614 Duval Street. Established in 1976, this gallery is a co-op of only local artists, so if you truly want a local piece to take home and treasure, this is the place to find it. There are over 20 artists currently showing at Guild Hall, and you will find a little bit of everything. There are plenty of painters, photographers, as well as crafters of various kinds. With two levels of art to browse, I found it very difficult to tear myself away and move on.

Just a few doors up the street from Guild Hall is 7 Artists. The seven artists featured here were originally part of the co-op at Guild Hall, until their work began to take up more space than the Hall had room for. All of the artists are long term residents of Key West, and highly accomplished in their own right. They each take turns working in the gallery greeting customers and working the register. The day I dropped in, David Scott Meier was there to greet me and answer all my questions.

Then I crossed the street to visit Galerie Rue Royale, where I met Steve. Luckily it was a quiet morning and Steve was able to take his time and show me around. Not only is there a great deal of amazing art to be enjoyed in Key West, but there are lots of lovely people happy to share their art passion with anyone that walks through the door. I can’t begin to tell you how much I enjoyed talking with Steve about the incredible world class artists featured at Galerie Rue Royale. I particularly loved the collection of Todd White’s work available there.

After that I wandered further up to the two Key West Galleries on the corner of Duval and Southard. Both of these galleries feature fine art from all over the world and Gallery II specifically features the work of Bill Mack. Bill Mack is an absolutely amazing figural artist, and he just finished a showing at the New York Art Show. All of those works are now in Key West and he will be joining them April 29, 30, and May 1. His show will be kicking off a month full of weekend showings by major artists at the Key West Galleries.

But my friends and art lovers, I have saved the very best for last. On a whim, I entered the Peter Lik Photography Gallery at 519 Duval Street. The amazing images taken by this outstanding photographer absolutely took my breath away. I can honestly say I have never seen anything like it. The gallery director, William Dammann, very kindly took the time to show me around and explain how Lik captures these amazing living, breathing landscapes. All I can say is, you MUST see it for yourself.

Truthfully, I’ve barely scratched the surface.  There are sculpture gardens to see at the Botanical Gardens, and so much more.  So, hop on a scooter and take a tour of the cultured side of Key West for yourself.


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. Via Key West – Bring Funky and Fabulous Home « South Florida Sunshine pingbacked on 8 years, 3 months ago


  1. * mmwine says:

    Wonderful post! My mom is planning a trip to Key West, her first ever, in the summer. I’ll be sure to pass the blog on to her. She’s an art lover!


    | Reply Posted 8 years, 6 months ago
    • * Sunshine Michelle says:

      It’s my pleasure, Matt. Let me know if I can be of any further help.

      | Reply Posted 8 years, 6 months ago

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