The Art of Barbie: Homage to a Global Icon

"I Want My Barbie" by Brett Butler, a feature at Art Gallery 21

It’s never a good thing to be considered “plastic” (thanks to “Mean Girls”) but come March 9, that changes.

Legendary doll Barbie will be honored in an exhibit titled “The Art of Barbie: Homage to a Global Icon.” Conceptualized by the City of Wilton Manors and Art Gallery 21, the exhibit will be on display from March 9 to April 6. There will be guided tours and information at no cost on Thursday, Friday and Saturday from noon to 8 p.m. 

To prove that Barbie truly doesn’t age (Seriously, what is her secret?), guests can celebrate her 60th birthday party on Saturday, March 9 at Art Gallery 21. Attendees will be able to tour the exhibit alongside local artists as well as enjoy prizes, party favors and drinks. Of course, there is an epic Instagram opportunity: guests can take selfies with an interactive Barbie installation. The party is from 7 to 9 p.m. and admission is free.

Barbie is so iconic, she deserves this 60 year celebration and homage,” said artist Rodger Helt. Artist Wayne Nilson, favoring the doll’s diversity, said, “Barbie has been portrayed as everything from a teenage fashion model, to an astronaut, to a presidential candidate, and everything in between. Her extended family of dolls are made up of many different races and ethnicities as well, which enables a worldwide ability to relate.”

There will also be a photography workshop on Saturday, March 23 from 2-4 p.m. titled “Characters in Search of a Dollhouse.” Here, attendees will learn how to use toys (and Barbie, of course) in photography and visual story telling.

With slides, video and various backgrounds and sets, attendees will be educated on how to create their own “Toy Story” (get it?). The event will be led by Brett Butler, one of the featured artists for the exhibit and a Wilton Manors based photographer and writer. Although there is no cost to attend, advance registration is requested.

Barbie is not a fad. She has been loved by children because, through Barbie and her many friends, they can be and do whatever they desire,” said Constance Ruppender, Founder & President of Art Gallery 21, Inc.

“Social media has allowed doll people to connect to each other across the globe and this community of creatives has elevated doll collecting to a level that encompasses everyone, regardless of their station in life. All of the artists in our exhibit are doll collectors and accomplished artists...The ability to play invites us to create without attachment, explore without a destination, and enjoy the moment.”

Featured artists for the exhibit are the aforementioned Brett Butler, Rodger Helt (artist, illustrator, architectural designer and writer) and Wayne Nilson (former guest designer for Ashton-Drake’s “Gene Marshall” doll).

“These events will showcase Barbie in various art forms allowing for an eye-opening learning experience,” Butler said.

Art Gallery 21 is located at 600 NE 21 Court in Wilton Manors. For more information or to RSVP to any of these events, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.m. Visit the Instagram page @artgallery21_ or visit http://bit.ly/WMBarbie19.


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