By Dale Madison
It’s hard to believe that Wilton Manors Art Walk is now turning seven years old. What began as an art gallery owner’s vision to entice residents to stroll along “the Drive” for an evening of art, wine, and cheese has become a call to action to explore everything that Wilton Manors has to offer, with a new group of owners having plans to grow Art Walk into a citywide event.
Those new owners will look awfully familiar to many locals, as the event was purchased by the Wilton Manors Development Alliance (WMDA) President and CEO, Krishan Manners, and his right hand, WMDA Vice President, Tony LoGrande.
“We would like the Island City Art Walk to expand to encompass the whole city of Wilton Manors, not just Wilton Drive,” says Manners, the event’s new co-owner. “We want to encourage other businesses across the city to get involved in ‘the Walk,’ particularly along Dixie Highway.’” “Over the past six years, it has grown consistently, and we want to see it grow even more,” adds LoGrande.
Art Walk started as a way to expose people who were walking along the Drive to the street’s many art galleries. But just as the Walk kicked off, so did the economic collapse. That didn’t influence the new owners, whose fervor and “drive” is bound to make a difference.
“We don’t want this to be a craft fair but a chance for local artists to come out and show their talents,” Manners explains. “We want to showcase local talent, and we want to sustain this for the community and show the diversity of art.”
Says LoGrande, “We were concerned that if Island City Art Walk were to end, it would be one of those monthly events during season that so many people look forward to, and it is truly a networking event for so many, and also a social event where neighbors get out at a time when the weather is so nice.”
The first Island City Art Walk is scheduled for November 16, and then on the third Friday of every month through April. Galleries or individual artists can get more information by emailing Info@islandcityartwalk.com, or visit Facebook, Island City Art Walk.
“This is a real call to action,” LoGrande says. “We really want to reenergize those talented people in the area to come on board. We want to see more galleries on the Drive, but we also want to see other businesses get involved and host showings of local artists.”
“Through our work at WMDA, we are in the process of finding sponsors to bring the Full Sails Fort Lauderdale project into Wilton Manors,” says Manners. “These boats are 7’ high and 5’ long, and we will have local artists paint them with their special talents and they will be displayed, similar to the ‘Cow Parade’ in Chicago. It would be great to have these lining Wilton Drive – they would benefit the community with art and the businesses with another attraction for visitors.”