Culture Vulture 13 /Lucky Potpourri, Sweet and Spice

By C.S. Gilbert

It’s a new week in paradise and the arts continue to flourish.

There’s a theater frenzy—the closest our little island has ever come to Broadway between 42nd and 50th streets. We do wish the producers would stagger their openings a bit: the current dramatic buffet offers choices between the Waterfront’s “Other Desert Cities” and Red Barn’s “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” (both favorably reviewed by our Diane Johnson), to say nothing of, as a preview, the short but notable run of “Hedwig and the Angry Inch” at the Studios of Key West reviewed in these pages last week. Coming up is Key West Fringe’s “A Delicate Balance,” opening Feb. 20 and running into March at the Custom House.

Lucky Street Gallery at Greene and Simonton streets is now four shows into an extraordinarily strong season, and the current show intertwining Susan Sugar and Michael Haykin — two dominant local talents — is intriguing and surprising in all the right ways. Sugar, best known for delicate watercolor cloudscapes, here works boldly in oils (especially in two stunning, large abstract pieces) and occasionally adds a bit of land between sea and sky. There’s even a night scene or two. Lovely.

The versatile Michael Haykin continues to dazzle; would you believe insects? Lots of insects? Beyond the beasties, his contributions to the show—all new, owner Sandra McMannis tells us—looks like a post-semi-realistic still life retrospective, moving all the way into the pure abstract. Amazing.

In balance of Lucky Street Gallery’s 6:30-8:30 opening reception tomorrow, Feb. 7, for the luminous, exciting show that runs only through Feb. 12 (really, folks, don’t miss this one!), the First Friday Upper Duval Art Stroll across town offers at least two openings of interest.

There’s the whimsical, wonderful David Scott Meier showing new work in tandum with glass artist Sandy Kaster at Frangipani Gallery from Friday, Feb. 7 — the opening reception is 6-9 p.m. — through March 5. Frangipani, at 1102A Duval, is the home venue of its inventive owner Fran Decker and always features, in addition to the spotlighted stars of the moment, a varied and wonderful feast of talented artists, not the least of which is Decker herself.

Right next door, at 1102B, SoDu Gallery has named two of its partners, Janis Childs and Lainie Davia, as February featured artists; the opening reception will also be held in conjunction with the Art Stroll from 6 to 9 p.m. Friday.

Says SoDu, “Janis Childs captures the drama and magnificence of the nature of the Keys on wooden salad bowls, napkins, towels, furniture, ceramics, lamp shades, and glassware. Her one of a kind wooden bowl designs use iridescent colors accented in gold and silver and finally coats them with five coats of food safe varnish. Janis’ work is a popular item for gifts and have been collected by locals and tourists alike.”

Also “Lainie Davia has been creating fine jewelry for many years and is an accomplished, award winning craftswoman.  Don’t forget the 14th is Valentine’s Day!  Find the perfect gift of 14k gold or sterling silver and jewels at the gallery or she will be pleased to create a custom piece for you.  Lainie’s creations are extremely varied, from estate looking pieces to fun and funky.  Her collection also includes coins from several shipwrecks, including the Atocha, Santa Margarita, the 1715 fleet, the El Cazador and the Isla del Muerto.  She mounted her first Atocha coin in 1977 and has mounted countless coins since then.”

Gazing into the future: marking Women’s History Month, Lucky Street is mounting an all- women’s show March 2-14 (the reception is March 7) A reminder to all of the women artists in the Florida Keys, that SoDu Gallery will again sponsor the annual “From A Woman’s Hand” show April 4-14, 2014. The Opening Reception will be Friday, April 4 from 6-9pm. Applications can be either picked up at the gallery, or email us at The deadline for entry is March 1st. This show is a fundraiser for Womankind.

Jim Salem Opening Reception


Cocco & Salem, 1111 Duval St., Key West. 292-0072.  Exhibit thru February 25.

uan Ego, Every Painting Has a Story 

Opening Reception


The Lemonade Stand Gallery, 318 Petronia St., 

Key West. Exhibit thru February 28. 


Alexei Butirskiy Show


Wyland Galleries of Key West, 623 Duval St. 292-4998. Urban landscapes. Artist on hand daily and by appointment. 


Art exhibitions & receptions at galleries & shops along Upper Duval from United to Truman including David Scott Meier & Sandy Kaster, Frangipani Gallery, Lainie Davia & Janis Childs, SoDu Gallery, Shannon Martin Perkins, The Cork & Stogie, Kate Peachey & Karen Moore, Kate’s, The Southernmost Art Studio, Island Arts & De La Gallery. 

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