|In the Circle of 99, by Alexander Solotzew, a featured artist at Gallery on fifth.|
Naples’ newest museum, RAMA: The Russian American Museum of Art, may only be a year old, but it represents a lifelong dream for Olga Arkhangelskaya and her daughter Leeza Arkhangelskaya. The owners of Gallery on Fifth are excited to finally see their dream come to reality, but RAMA is about more than visual art. “Our main motivation in having the gallery and now the museum is to bring cultural experiences to the people of Naples,” Leeza says.
Founded in November 2013, the museum follows the same mission as the gallery to mix classic and contemporary works from both Russian and American artists. Over the course of the year, the mother-daughter team is working to build the permanent collection and raise funds for a permanent space dedicated to RAMA. Two brunches scheduled for February 22 and March 22, featuring the musical performances by local musician Kat Epple, playing a collection of flutes from around the world, and the electric violin and vocals of Paul and Renata Rozmus.
The progression of RAMA is exciting, but Gallery on Fifth has plenty to celebrate. The fifteenth anniversary season begins with the exhibit “We the People: Everyday Life in Soviet Ukraine & Contemporary Southwest Florida,” opening November 29. It highlights everyday life, juxtaposing specially commissioned works by contemporary artists Marcus Jansen, Juan Diaz and Daniel Venditti—all Florida natives—with historic paintings from Soviet masters. The message is simple: “We are people. We have the same struggles. We have the same dreams; be it right here, in Southwest Florida or in the Soviet Union,” Leeza says.