Art in all forms is alive and well at Plymouth Harbor, reflecting Sarasota’s vibrant arts scene. Architecture, ballet, opera, theater, performance art, and the visual arts are all well supported by residents, and monthly programs feature performers, art lunch and learns, discussions, and films about artists and art history. As part of this emphasis on the arts, works from area artists are exhibited on a rotating basis in the Mezzanine Gallery.

Who manages exhibits for the Mezzanine Gallery?
The process for finding artists interested and able to exhibit in Plymouth Harbor’s Mezzanine Gallery has changed hands over the years, but today, residents Esther Jensen and Judy Liersch (pictured above) head the effort. The two inherited the job last year, from what was formerly known as the Plymouth Harbor Art Council. They have been responsible for carrying out the already planned 2017 Mezzanine Gallery calendar of exhibits, in addition to researching, vetting, and recruiting artists for the 2018 calendar year — and beyond.

How does the exhibit process work?
Judy and Esther receive suggestions for shows from fellow residents, Plymouth Harbor staff, and plenty of research on their own. The two visit galleries, area art centers, and artists’ studios/homes in search of exhibit possibilities. They continually strive to find excellent and professional-quality art and to vary the medium of art that is on display — oil, watercolor, pastel, acrylic, mixed media, photography, and more. Another way Judy and Esther try to keep the exhibits fresh is by not showing the same artist at Plymouth Harbor within three years of their last exhibit. In addition, only original (including graphic art, but not giclée) art is permitted, and typically, 20-25 pieces are required to fill the Mezzanine Gallery.

Once Judy and Esther connect with a likely artist, they establish the artist’s interest and availability for showing in a specific timeslot, often for a two-month period. A few months prior to the scheduled exhibit, they invite the artist onsite for a tour of the space, where they review the specifics of Plymouth Harbor’s exhibition process and give the artist a letter with guidelines as well as a detailed layout of the exhibit space.

On the day before the opening of their exhibit, the artist delivers and hangs their work in the gallery, making any last-minute adjustments, as needed. The next day, Plymouth Harbor hosts a reception for residents as well as family, friends, and collectors of the artist. One part of the Mezzanine Gallery, located near the Plymouth Harbor Foundation office, is reserved for exhibits by Plymouth Harbor resident artists — aptly called the Artists in Residence program. Maryanne Shorin, Director of Resident Programming, coordinates exhibits for this program, and its openings coincide with the Mezzanine Gallery artist reception.

Looking Ahead: The 2018 Calendar
-Jan. 2-Feb. 2: Essie Garfinkel, Watercolor
-Feb. 5-March 30: Judy Lyons Schneider, Mixed Media
-April 2-April 27: Marilyn Powell, Acrylic
-April 28-June 22: Judy Kramer, Photography
-June 25-Sept. 7: Jacquie Clark, Watercolor
-Sept. 10-Nov. 2: Nancy Goff, Pastel
-Nov. 5-Dec. 28: Ann Burroughs, Oil, Jewelry, Sculpture, and Graphic Art