Three years ago, Maureen Kilroy and Larry Enlow were Zydeco musicians in Atlanta when Maureen had an accident and was paralyzed. When they later moved to Gulfport, they decorated the outside of their home with bright, colorful art as a welcoming sight for visitors passing through town. Kya Belcher, who had just opened the Creative Play preschool in Gulfport and was looking for decoration for the preschool building; when she saw Enlow and Kilroy’s home, she stopped in to inquire about the art.
The result of these seemingly unrelated incidents led to the funding of art for Creative Play as the first project of Enroy Foundation Inc. (EFI), a Tampa Bay non-profit for the arts, with an emphasis on collaborative, educational and environmental projects.
“It is the spirit of giving back that ties us together,” says Killroy. “When I became paralyzed, our musician and contra-dance friends threw a big fundraiser for Larry and me, just out of love. It was a big joyous event. We wanted to find a way to give back to the Atlanta community and our community here in Gulfport.”
The art that now adorns the front of Creative Play at 2624 54th St. S. was created by Gulfport artists Rose Caballes and Tom Pitzen.
“Just starting out, Kya might not have had the funding to pay for the space,” says Enroy. “It made me think about what I could do to help make that a reality.”
The second EFI project was the Enroy Gallery at The Market Place at Boca Bay Grille. The gallery opened during the December First Friday Art Walk, featuring the work of local artists Rose Caballes, Tom Pitzen, Larry Busby, Nakita Rosalind and Naomi Glueck, with new artists being added on a regular basis. There is a visual balance of styles on display such as abstract, pencil, acrylics, photography and metal sculpture.
“It was important to us to help create a space where artists could display and sell their work and feel validated and fairly compensated,” says Killroy.
Instead of a typically larger percentage of sales found in many art galleries, EFI receives only 20 percent from art sold at the Enroy Gallery, which goes back into the foundation. Sales were brisk on opening night, and art work will be rotated on a regular basis. The Market Place is open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily and from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, featuring a variety of coffees and pastries, craft beer and wine with indoor and sidewalk seating and live music during Art Walks. The comfortable, relaxed environment is already becoming a gathering place for residents and visitors, particularly for those who appreciate art.
“The gallery is a destination for art lovers in the area. Rose has created a real art gallery,” says Enlow.
“We want the gallery kept fresh with continuously rotating art work, giving artists’ work a chance to be seen and something new on a regular basis for visitors to enjoy,” says Caballes. “People can stop by after dinner or with visitors from out of town.”
In addition to visual arts, the organization also has plans promote performing arts.
“We are working on a concert series to promote local musicians,” says Enlow. “We see Enroy projects as symbiotic. The art and music brings people together, and it all balances out.”