New gallery a Sweet addition to Sawgrass Village


The newest art gallery in Ponte Vedra Beach did more than simply open its doors Saturday, April 13; it fairly burst onto the scene with an eye-popping exhibition of original works by acclaimed mixed media artist Al Razza.

Owner Dede Sweet and Gallery Director Carri McGregor welcomed a large contingent of art lovers to Sweet Art Gallery, 310 Front St., Sawgrass Village, for the elegant event. This is actually Sweet’s second gallery location, the first being in Naples. She prides herself on the quality of artists she exhibits.

“We represent fabulous artists — over 39,” Sweet said. “They’re all really lifetime achievement artists.”

The galleries only deal in original works.

“We don’t do any giclées, any prints, any greeting cards or anything like that,” Sweet said. She plans to bring three to five of her artists to the local gallery for each exhibit.

“We’ll be doing great shows,” she said. “We’re very excited to be in Ponte Vedra.”

Razza, whom Sweet has represented for about eight years, is the gallery’s first featured artist. His works are large and bright and dynamic.

“Most of my work is abstract, although it draws inspiration from nature, and maybe technical things,” he said.

Razza works with different mediums: acrylic, oil, enamel. But he also uses “foreign objects,” screens, plastics, paper and more.

“They’re very physical works,” he said. “Very tactile works.”

A 54-by-48 inch portrait of Marilyn Monroe, done predominantly in blue and titled “Shades of Marilyn,” is an excellent example. The paint is applied over varying patterns of wall covering, and in one area, lace. Viewers are drawn into the image via the textures of these elements.

Other works owe something to the artists who Razza said helped to make him who he is: William Turner, Mark Rothko and Gerhard Richter.

But make no mistake: These works are all Razza, unique to him and to his vision.

“I can just bury myself in my own thoughts and explore the depth of my own mind,” he explained. “So everything that happens happens because of my connection to my soul.”

Razza has had numerous exhibitions in museums and galleries. His work is so popular that, at a show at the Coral Springs Museum of Art, 380 people showed up to claim the 80 seats provided.

Sweet represents several woman artists of note, such as Mary Ann Flynn-Fouse, who in 1958 became the first woman to exhibit at the Cleveland Museum; and Brenda Belfield, who created 60 stained-glass windows at the Washington National Cathedral and the American Embassy in Saudi Arabia.

To learn more about Sweet Art Gallery, its artists and exhibitions, go to or call 904-686-ARTS (2787). Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and by appointment.

The Razza exhibit will be displayed until May 15.