The Ferrari Gallery adds a contemporary
touch to the Cape Coral arts scene

by Libby Boren McMillan

In yet another testament to the ever-increasing sophistication of Cape Coral, Ferrari Gallery is thriving as a source for original, modern art. Founded in 2007 by artist James Ferrari and partner Barron Dietz, the popular South Cape gallery is now solely owned by Dietz, whose passion for contemporary art fuels its success. But the gallery’s private collection still includes some stunning pieces by the talented Ferrari, including The Horse Promise, a steel and driftwood wall sculpture that begs to be touched.

Curator Veron Ennis, who was appointed nearly a year ago, splits her time between working in her on-site studio—where she paints approximately twenty hours per week—and running the gallery. Ennis edits her selections with a collector’s eye, and the gallery is well suited to its contemporary content. Crisp white walls, plenty of light, and lots of wall space combine to showcase the gallery’s offerings.

Collectors who see value in one-of-a-kinds should take note. “We’re really focused on original artwork,” says Ennis. “We’ll sell limited edition prints [from] the artist whose work we show each month, but we’re focused on originals.”

Owner Dietz lives in the Cape and is German, and many of those who gravitate toward Ferrari Gallery are also from Germany, long a modern art stronghold. “Barron really loves modern art,” says Ennis. “That’s what he wanted the gallery to be. That’s what I was put in charge to do.”

Ennis casts her net far and wide to find contemporary artists; one of her favorites, Andrea Traub, has a studio near Cologne. “I’m constantly online, on artists’ networks,” says Ennis. “It’s really good to engage people in conversation that way.” She also travels to galleries throughout the country to discover new talent. And she has showcased several local artists, when they meet her criteria and she finds the work exciting. “If they’re in driving distance, that’s always good for the artist,” she says. “There’s less expense in getting their works here.”

But she herself may be one of the gallery’s greatest finds. Ennis deftly creates provocative modern works in oil, showing great skill in balancing space, color, and texture. “My whole career I’ve been working with oils; oil is sexier,” says Ennis, whose fine art track at Virginia Tech took her through the paces of painting, drawing, sculpting, and exhibition.

“Right now I’m experimenting with acrylic paint,” she says. “Acrylic paint has changed a lot; I’ve been doing all this research on acrylics. Acrylic paint won’t fade. You can put it outside.”

Ennis explains that acrylics are not yet as respected as oils, but that is about to change. “I just read a book about the modern consumer, the collector, and he cannot grasp the tech advancement that’s happened in the last ten years,” she says of the maligned medium. “Acrylics have come a long way.”

So has Cape Coral. As the southwestern section of the city has continued to become more and more sophisticated, assets like Ferrari give it a flair one wouldn’t have found ten years ago. “We certainly really enjoy that we’re bringing modern art to Cape Coral,” says Ennis with an easy smile. “To have this type of gallery is very cool for a lot of people who live here. Barron’s lived in Cape Coral for ten years now; I’ve been here for five. The ability to have a modern, functioning art gallery is really great for the community.”

And the community thinks the gallery’s pretty great itself. “They love it, because it’s stuff they haven’t seen before,” says Ennis. “That’s the greatest reaction. We don’t have palm trees or decor art. Our exhibitions are packed. People are interested, and every time they come it’s something new.”

Ferrari Gallery is located at 4635 Coronado Parkway in Cape Coral. It’s open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, call 239-699-3949 or visit www.ferrarigalleryart.com.

Freelance writer Libby Boren McMillan is a frequent contributor to Times of the Islands and RSW Living.