825 White Street
Key West, Florida 33040, U.S.A.
305 . 294 . 0609
Harrison Gallery has been a go-to source for fine art in the southernmost city in the continental United States since its founding by Helen and Ben Harrison back in 1986. Located at a privately owned and operated studio and show space, visitors can enjoy an array of local pieces that have earned it a prestigious reputation among locals as well as visitors.
Harrison Gallery in Key West showcases a selection of artworks by renowned artists along with pieces from the Harrison's themselves. This combination provides a highly personal and one-of-a-kind experience that is worth seeing. If you're looking for something unique, then make sure to visit Harrison Gallery!
In 1986, sculptor and artisans Helen Harrison and her spouse, Ben, decided to open Harrison Gallery at 825 White Street. Helen was particularly skilled at hand and power tools, allowing her to transform any medium into the exact forms she imagined in her head. Additionally, the process of boatbuilding the vessel “La Dulce Mujer Pintada” (The Sweet Painted Lady) fostered her interest in nature’s raw materials as excellent sources of inspiration. Her contemporary sculptures reflect back on the island’s indigenous form while also staying true to modern trends. At the gallery you can find not only works by Helen but also pieces from other artists locally and abroad.
In the 1970s, my husband and I embarked on a significant four-year project: building a thirty-eight foot sailboat in Costa Rica. This collective endeavor truly showcased our pioneering spirit, combining traditional wood techniques with self-taught methods. In doing so, we created a unique sculptural object that was both beautiful and functional. After eleven years of continuous travel and life as boat dwellers, I transitioned from boatwork to creating sculpture.
In 1979, Ben and Helen sailed into Key West harbor on a 38-foot sailboat they had constructed in Costa Rica. A fateful chance encounter with Dante Capas, the owner of Two Friends Patio Bar, presented Ben with an opportunity to play afternoon happy hour gigs. This was the start of his now decades-long musical career.
The Two Friends bar and restaurant provided a home for the Treasure Salvors, led by Mel Fisher, who were on an expedition to find lost artifacts from Spanish galleons. Although their tasks were difficult, they persisted and the story of their quest has been inspirational. Composer Ben wrote a song dedicated to the determined salvors in commemoration of their journey.
At The Bull on Duval Street, Robert Kelton entertained the Key West crowds for almost two decades with his vast repertoire featuring tales about Key West’s fascinating history. His stories ranged from the drug dealing fire chief “Bum Farto” to the tale of “Undying Love” between Dr. von Cosel and his late love Elena, to the ever popular Conch Train. Thanks to Robert's gift of storytelling, these vivid memories of Key West will live on.
Ben is a multi-faceted talent – still performing live, he's also written three major musicals all involving Key West. The first of these, "Key West: The Musical Tour About Town," was performed in multiple venues such as the Red Barn Theatre, followed by "Undying Love" at The Studios of Key West. His latest work "El Isleño 1921: The Untold Key West Story," delves into true historical events such as prohibition, a double murder with a hanging and the Roaring Twenties. These original pieces brought to life showcase Ben's skill and fascination with Key West locals, culture and history.