By COLE AVERY
South Padre Parade
Tucked away by the lighthouse in Port Isabel is a quaint gallery filled with paintings and artwork for every taste. What’s better: it’s all locally created.
The Laguna Madre Art Gallery opened in February, filling the void left by the Purple Parrot’s closure. The co-op consists of five board members and 21 total members.
The gallery is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday through Saturday. On Sunday, it opens at noon and closes at 4 p.m. The gallery closes on Monday. It’s located at 405 E. Maxan St. in Port Isabel.
Inside are paintings ranging in subjects from the Island to the abstract. The art seems to offer as much variety as the artists who painted them.
“We’ve all painted differently the same subject,” said Voncille Zama, chairman of the board.
Zama said the gallery offers local artists the opportunity to display their artwork. In turn, it offers the public an opportunity to go and enjoy art in a local setting where they can actually meet the artists.
Painter Judee Soendker said, “In the Valley, we don’t have a lot of venues to show our work. We work really hard to promote each others’ work.”
There’s a lot to promote. Each month the gallery features different types of work. July is the month to show local scenes. Zama said people on vacation often like a painting to keep as a memento of their trip.
Though the gallery may currently be filled with pelicans and beaches, some ceramics and abstract art are also featured, making the gallery as diverse as its owners, who put a lot of themselves into their artwork.
“It’s what we have to say. We just say it visually,” Soendker said. “People relate to different things, and there’s plenty of room for everything.”
Several of the gallery artists are preparing for the Beachcomber art show this weekend at the South Padre Island Convention Centre. One of them, Marne Law, has a double booth full of her work.
Law said she has 25 paintings in the show, all of them made within the last three to four years. They include seascapes, portraits, birds and flowers that were inspired by local settings.
“My favorite part of Beachcombers is the people who come to my booth year after year who say, ‘I love your work, and I want another painting.’”
Though selling art is necessary to keep the process going, the artists of the gallery will tell you they run the shop not for sales, but for smiles.
The artists said they love to see families and kids come in and get excited about the art they’ve produced. Should a visitor be inclined to buy, the gallery offers prints for as little as $3 to original paints for… a little more.
“Our goal is to get people to come in and experience art,” Law said. “It doesn’t matter if you buy something. We just want people to enjoy the experience.”