DID YOU KNOW?
Firefly Gallery WRITTEN BY LISA SIMEK
PHOTOS BY MICHAEL SPARK
As the sun shines bright at just the right angle over Long Beach Island, there is an extraordinary little building that both literally and figuratively sparkles so brilliantly, passersby can’t help but speculate about the origins of its enchantment. Up high on the South-facing wall they spot a giant shimmering mermaid reaching up, with a watchful eye over an ocean of twinkling glass fish and a beautiful dragonfly garden, the opposite side hosting abstracted sea creatures including dolphins and octopuses facing North, then a parade of ocean waves soldiering under a rising sun above a dozen more hypnotizingly intricate scenes Eastward—even a handsome Picasso-esque reference on the “back” West-facing wall. The glistening of the mirrored and colorful glass tiles can be seen from miles away, and everyone from tourists to natives, young and old, families, couples—even newlyweds about to take their vows— flock to the corner of Long Beach Boulevard and North 1st Street in Surf City to pose or take a selfie in front of the enthralling public work of mosaic art known as the Firefly Gallery. Firefly Gallery is a space like no other, in the sense that it is not your average, traditional retail store. Upon walking into Firefly, you are immediately immersed in 206 BAY MAGAZINE FALL 2018
a curated collection of owner Joanne Dozor’s whimsical world of art and Zen. Everything from mosaics, handmade ceramics, paintings—some original watercolor pieces by Dozor, others by local artists she admires—ubiquitously take up every available square inch of space along the windows and walls, together with clothing, home goods and unique jewelry are all inspired by her obvious fondness of mermaid folklore, original artwork, the beauty of nature, and the teachings of yoga. The building itself is arguably the largest piece of public mosaic community-collaborated art outside of Philadelphia, embodying a sort of intangible energy that is most definitely powered by Dozor’s talent, passion and dedication. Classically educated as a Registered Nurse and Certified Professional Midwife, Joanne Dozor ran a thriving practice, The Art of Midwifery, in her hometown of Media, Pennsylvania for nearly three decades. There she not only delivered babies with a passion for low intervention, holistic birth methods, but she also had a training seminar program for educating and certifying new midwives as well as teaching both prenatal and children’s yoga regularly. However, although a cele-