THE WIRTZ GALLERY is named in honor of the Wirtz family patriarch Arthur M. Wirtz of Chicago. Wirtz made his fortune in real estate and liquor distribution; he created the business in 1922. The Wirtz Corp. also owns the Chicago Blackhawks hockey team and co-owns the United Center arena— where the Blackhawks and the Chicago Bulls play. When the gallery opened, it was reportedly the first bank in the United States to have a registered gallery within the institution.
Located in the lobby of UNITED COMMUNITY BANK (formerly First National Bank of South Miami), each month The Wirtz Gallery exhibits local and international artists.
Gallery hours are Monday – Thursday, 9a-4p; Friday, 9a-6p. Artist receptions are generally held on the second Friday of the month from 6-8p and are open to the public.
The bank is located at 5750 Sunset Drive, South Miami.
For the month of December, the gallery hosts an artistic group of apes – literally!
On occasion of the 30th Anniversary of rescuing and rehabilitating orangutans and chimpanzees, The Center for Great Apes presents works exhibited at The Wirtz Gallery being one of the many celebratory events.
The Center for Great Apes is a sanctuary for orangutans and chimpanzees in need, providing a safe and enriching environment for apes who have been rescued from laboratory research, the entertainment industry, and the commercial pet trade. Founder and director of the center Patti Ragan notes: “We are thrilled to be celebrating our 30th anniversary. Over the years, we have witnessed the transformation of so many great apes who have come to our facility in dire need of care and rehabilitation. There’s a story behind every one of these great apes and it’s our hope the portraits and paintings tell the story of the hard work, humanity and hope.”
In January, the gallery hosts the stunning black-and-white photography of Marilyn Brown.
The exhibit “A Celebration of Natural Florida” is captured in her photographs. Brown captures and preserves environmental and historic images of Florida’s most breathtaking places.
Her art has a commitment to the care and protection of the natural environment. “Our Everglades, coastal shorelines, sunrises, and dramatic skies are all unique to Florida. “I want to preserve these sights so that others can enjoy the beauty, awe and inspiration that I see and increase awareness of Florida’s fragile and embattled environment.”
Brown has been in many exhibits and won awards. In 2020 she won First Place in Photography at the Coconut Grove Art Festival.
The amazing art of mixed media artist Max Lazega is showcased in the month of February.
His art is composed of recycled parts that he finds and removes from discarded computers and construction hardware. Some of the pieces light up with battery powered LED lights, with some pieces finished with an epoxy resin. Max also composes some of his work with construction nails. You may have suspected Max’s background is in construction and electronics.
“CAN A FELLOW BE A VILLAIN ALL HIS LIFE?”
South Miami’s Area Stage Company returns to the Adriene Arsht Center for Oliver, February 8 to 25, 2024.
The production of a new epic staging of Lionel Bart’s classic musical based on the Charles Dickens novel, Oliver Twist is presented by the critically acclaimed, award-winning team behind the immersive productions of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast and The Little Mermaid. The Tony and Olivier Award-winning show is one of the few musicals to win an Academy Award for Best Picture and is widely hailed as a true theatrical masterpiece by actors and audience members alike.
The streets of Victorian England come to life as Oliver, a malnourished orphan in a workhouse, becomes the neglected apprentice of an undertaker. Oliver escapes to London and finds acceptance amongst a group of petty thieves and pickpockets led by the elderly Fagin. When Oliver is captured for a theft that he did not commit, the benevolent victim, Mr. Brownlow takes him in. Fearing the safety of his hideout, Fagin employs the sinister Bill Sikes and the sympathetic Nancy to kidnap him back, threatening Oliver’s chances of discovering the true love of a family.
Tickets may be ordered at Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts of Miami-Dade County – Adrienne Arsht Center | Oliver!