2017-05-18 / Arts and Entertainment News


SALT Gallery still shaking on Fleming Street
Florida Weekly Correspondent

SALT is part art gallery, part artisan boutique. Currently, SALT is holding an exhibition called “Hemingway in Cuba,” right, featuring rare photographs taken by Raul Corrales. SALT is part art gallery, part artisan boutique. Currently, SALT is holding an exhibition called “Hemingway in Cuba,” right, featuring rare photographs taken by Raul Corrales. In a charming old building on a quiet, residential stretch of Fleming Street, a gem of an intimate art gallery with island-focused original works continues to thrive. This quaint building has hosted a number of businesses over the years, including Rhoda Baker’s Electric Kitchen in the 1930s and Flaming Maggie’s Fine Gay and Lesbian Bookstore in the 1980s and 1990s, but none were as warm, engaging and locally inspired as its current inhabitant, SALT Gallery and Island Provisions. SALT is a true Key West vintage business site.

SALT Gallery has been owned by local photographer Jeffrey Cardenas for the last couple of years, but has recently been acquired by Maria Sharpe, owner of Mary Ellen’s Bar and The Roost. SALT will continue its eclectic mission of advancing Florida Keys artists and artisans under Mrs. Sharpe, who has admired the gallery for many years.

“Giving a showcase for locally relevant artists, jewelry designers, potters and provisions is part of what makes SALT special,” Mrs. Sharpe articulates. “There is no place like SALT and it will absolutely continue to have a keen local focus into the future.”

SALT is unique in that it is part art gallery, part artisan boutique. In keeping with its focus on island-inspired wares, the shop sells solar-evaporated sea salts and locally produced artisanal raw honey, as well as organic coffee and small-batch chocolates. Currently, SALT is holding an exhibition called “Hemingway in Cuba,” which features rare photographs taken by Raul Corrales, one of Fidel Castro’s official photographers and a friend of Ernest Hemingway. While Hemingway was in Cuba writing “Old Man and the Sea,” Corrales documented the author and the surroundings in which he wrote. The exhibit, which premiered on April 1, has been extended until the end of May and is absolutely worth a viewing. Corrales’ estate has also recently provided new pieces never before seen by the public and exclusive to the SALT Gallery.

COURTESY PHOTOS COURTESY PHOTOS In keeping with its mission to celebrate and promote local art, SALT has also exhibited the work of Key West painter Eric Anfinson and noted muralist Rick Worth. Jewelry handcrafted by Svea Seredin and pottery by Ariella Hogan, both of whom craft their wares in Key West, are currently on display and for sale. Mrs. Sharpe hopes to continue to work with these and other local artists of the same caliber.

“The artists and artisans we’ve had at SALT are the essence of what should be in this space and what I think the community and neighborhood want,” she contends. “We are deeply committed to celebrating all of the creativity here in Key West and in the Florida Keys and we will continue to curate the gallery with the exceptional care Jeffrey [Cardenas] did.”

“I can’t imagine a better owner for the gallery than Maria Sharpe,” says former owner Mr. Cardenas. “She really gets the vision and is totally committed to Key West. I am delighted that SALT will continue as an important venue for authentic and creative work in our town.”

SALT is located at 830 Fleming St. and is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. seven days a week. If you’re looking to take home a true piece of Key West, you can’t do any better than SALT Island Provisions. ¦

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