The first Friday of every month is Gables Gallery Night in Coral Gables. This event, organized in part by Virginia Miller, one of the most active advocates of the arts in Coral Gables, continues its efforts this year welcoming the public for a night of art and fulfillment in hopes of reviving a once competitive gallery night. “For the past 30 years, Gables Gallery Night has attracted a number of different audiences” – says Miller, “collectors and art enthusiasts from Palm Beach, Naples, elsewhere in this country or abroad, along with locals who enjoy art and want to socialize with other art lovers.” Miller describes the event as an exchange of sorts, explaining that as art professionals look forward to an evening of “history-making exhibitions” and experiencing the work of artists of their liking, the artists are drawn to see new work from their peers and to make professional contacts.
Just as it is a professional network, Miller adds that the night is an extremely cultural and social event, “we also attract young people new to gallery hopping and more interested in each other than the art itself” – she says, “I know of three women who met their spouses in my gallery, and one now has three children.”
Although Gables Gallery Night has lost some of its attention to the popular Wynwood Art District, the persistence of this event and its organizers is an exceptional example of how a community fights to stay alive within the arts.
At a time in which some may consider art a luxury, Miller disagrees saying, “everyone needs more than the basic necessities – food, clothing, shelter – to enrich our lives and to inspire our imaginations to strive for greater achievements. In this sense, art will always be a necessity, just as it was for cave dwellers – they embellished the walls of their homes.” In fact, in spite of the public’s shift of attention toward Wynwood, a number of new galleries have opened in Coral Gables in the past year and Miller believes this will continue to happen due to the city’s “affluent, stable, and safe environment”.
Gables Gallery Night fights the good fight to stay current and active in the South Florida art scene, developing new ideas and continuing to hold an event that Miller most perfectly describes as “a free event where people can nourish their souls, be surprised by new media, be stimulated to think in different ways, and to perhaps forget for a short time the stresses in their lives.”
Despite its decrease in popularity, professionals like Virginia Miller and the members of the Coral Gables Gallery Association labor toward a promising future; “In my view, that is the role of the arts in general” – Miller says, “to allow us to experience the world through the eyes of others, to stimulate us by broadening our sphere of experiences through our senses and through historical precedents.”