BY RAQUEL GARCIA – MIAMI HERALD
Arts and culture in South Florida may at times appear elusive to experience if one is not on the mailing list for the next exclusive art gallery opening or if a pass for Art Basel is too pricey. Fortunately, creative minds in Miami are making sure the entire community receives its fair share of exposure to fine art through efforts like those of First National Bank of South Miami. Within the bank’s lobby, The Wirtz Gallery features monthly exhibits by local, national, and international artists.
The First National Bank of South Miami is the first community bank in the United States to have a registered art gallery. The gallery was established in 1983 to honor First National’s past Chairman of the Board, Arthur M. Wirtz. Recognized for its support of artworks as a part of the way it does business, First National Bank of South Miami was awarded the “Shining Star” by the Arts and Business Council of Miami at its recent annual “Serving the Arts” luncheon.
The Arts and Business Council of Miami is a liaison organization created to build alliances between the corporate and cultural communities of Miami. Its mission maximizes presentation of Miami’s cultural art treasures in public settings where as many area residents as possible can experience art.
Gilda Sacasas of GDS Fine Arts Studio in Coral Gables is an artist who presented her work in the Wirtz Gallery at the beginning of her career some 10 years ago. “I benefited from the exhibit when as a new artist I was asked to showcase my work at the bank,” said Sacasas. “I had a very good response and met many clients. “I am very happy that they received this recognition; they are very involved in promoting art in our community, so to see a bank do that is very important to me as an artist,” she explained.
Among Sacasas’ work currently on display at the bank is a colorful impressionistic portrait of three women sitting together, titled Solas, meaning ‘alone’ in Spanish. The image represents her work and that of three friends who collaborated on launching a new art show in November as an annual event.