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Plenty of Art and More at the Amiro Art Galleries

By S. Mathur

Amiro Art Galleries is actually two galleries - Amiro Art & Found and the newly opened Amiro Art + Design. Co-Owner Ginny Bullard says, "We are excited to offer two very different galleries to the public. Because they are so diverse, we are able to appeal to a wide variety of artistic tastes. We work with many different artists and are pleased to represent them. One of our goals is to help educate the public on the value of handmade art. We make a concerted effort to explain how different works are created, educating on process and backgrounds of individual artists."

The name of both galleries is derived from the language of the Timuciuan Indians, who lived in St. Augustine when the Spanish arrived in 1565. "Amiro" means "much, many, plenty" and this may be reflected in the Galleries' eclectic offerings, which span contemporary and vintage, folk and fine art. The work of local, national and international artists in many different media and formats finds a home here.

The Amiro Art & Found Gallery is located in St. Augustine's Original Art District. Bullard says "We feature our original art and the work of about 30 other artists on consignment as well as some "found" vintage items. This gallery is craft oriented, we offer a combination of pottery, jewelry, sculpture, paintings,collage, photography, textiles, found object art and vintage pieces."

The Amiro Art + Design gallery is more of what Bullard calls a "white space" gallery, with contemporary art, installation and fine jewelry: "Concentrating on the art of a few select artists at a time. We also work with interior design groups to find art for specific clients and large facilities looking for original art. We invite seven artists at a time, rotating the exhibits every three months."

Both galleries are highly popular with residents and visitors alike, Bullard says: "Both locals and visitors come to our highly attended "First Friday Art Walks". This monthly event has become very popular and is a great opportunity to feature particular artists." One of the artists represented at Art + Design is Estella Fransbergen, whose fired-clay raku sculptures depict human torsos adorned with "feathers, branches, leaves, and gemstones", merging nature and the human form. Her work is known and collected internationally.

Gaby Gould is a south Florida artist whose jewelry is inspired by the coastal environment. She says of her work: "My jewelry is an interpretation of the natural feel of coastal Florida, where I live. It is a figurative representation which depicts the environment of the south with feathers, birds, and shells from the beaches or scrubby dune hammock. Inspired partly by the ornamentation of indigenous people, my use of feathers is comparable to today's prevalent use of gemstones....By fabricating in silver and gold, I create an "armature" upon which I add feathers."

The Amiro Galleries are also a favored Christmas gift shopping location for those in the know, offering unique objects imbued with the artists' vision, far removed from the commercialization of the malls.

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