Key West Shutter Stories by Elizabeth Devries
Custom House Museum | Bumpus Gallery
October 12, 2023 - January 1, 2024
The Key West Art & Historical Society is pleased to announce the opening of its forthcoming exhibition Key West Shutter Stories: The Artwork of Elizabeth Devries. Known locally as Lizzie the Shutter Lady, this exhibition will showcase her sculptural vignettes assembled from historic window shutters salvaged from Key West homes. More than 40 pieces will be presented offering a compelling view of how the artist recreates everyday scenes from reclaimed material. The Society welcomes the public to a special reception on October 12 from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the Key West Museum of Art & History, 281 Front Street, to mark the exhibit opening.
Devries has been a craftsman in the Florida Keys for over thirty-four years, integrating historic pieces of old Key West into her three-dimensional works. She arrived in Key West in 1980 having no woodworking experience or knowledge of power tools. That quickly changed when she spotted a piece of wood that resembled a book. She set to work acquiring old house shutters – red from Tennessee Williams’ house, olive green from the Hemingway House and purple from the Artist House – in order to fabricate books and shelves to fashion an intricate library scene. Since then, Devries has crafted more than 100 diorama scenes, recreating familiar sights such as Sloppy Joe’s Bar, the Southernmost Point, Blue Heaven, Fuzzy’s Shoe Repair, and the Mariel Boatlift.
Key West Shutter Stories perfectly embodies the vision of the Key West Art & Historical Society, meticulously blending artistic imagination with historic vestiges from homes in Old Town,” says Dr. Cori Convertito, curator and historian for the Key West Museum of Art & History. “Her scenes embody a carefree spirit that is synonymous with the island’s blithe ambiance. Devries’ beautiful and intimate portrayals deliver a unique glimpse of her both as a person and artist.”
“Key West Shutter Stories: The Artwork of Elizabeth Devries” runs until January 1, 2024, in the Bumpus Gallery and is sponsored by the Florida Department of State, Division of Arts & Culture, with additional support provided by The Helmerich Trust.