Arts for ACT Gallery & Boutique
Arts for ACT Gallery & Boutique is an award-winning, pace-setting gallery that moved to downtown Fort Myers in 2001, long before the area was dubbed the River District and years before any other gallery arrived on the scene. The gallery continues today to lead the way by introducing one avant-garde artist after another and providing leadership as the River District begins to transition into the final phase of its on-going redevelopment plan.
Location. Arts for ACT is located at 2265 First Street in a portion of the 103-year-old Arcade Building in which Thomas Edison watched early motion pictures with friends Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone. The space was also once home to the historic Sidney Davis Men’s Shop which served the haberdashery needs of Fort Myers’ elite professionals and business men for nearly four decades. Located just steps from the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center (right), Arts for ACT enjoys a prominent place in the very heart of the Fort Myers River District.
Facilities. The gallery’s 2,200 square feet of space is divided into a main exhibition hall and five smaller rooms in the back of the leasehold. The front gallery conveys a definite Soho feel with its distressed brick walls, twelve foot ceilings and restored natural wood floors. Further in, the space is divided into five smaller showrooms that range from formal to funky to a little claustrophobic. However, this arrangement allows each artist in the gallery’s monthly group shows to separately showcase their artwork, which is customarily significantly different than that of their co-exhibitors.
Genres and Media. Within the confines of its quaint, inviting walls, art lovers and potential collectors will find an eclectic variety of contemporary original art, as well as photographs, prints and giclees. Represented genres include pop art, surrealism, naïve and primitives, and abstract expressionism in an array of mediums including oil, acrylics, watercolor, pen and ink, graphite, mixed media (collage) on canvas, linen and wood panel, photography (right), glass art and art cards. The gallery displays a limited amount of sculpture, but does exhibit gourd art, raku and clay. Boutique items include silver and glass bead jewelry, hand-made fine crafts, art clothing, handbags and shoes.
Representative Artists. The gallery represents approximately 75 member artists, including metal sculptor Roy Benton III (whose uncle is internationally-renowned artist Darryl Pottorf), Cape Coral marine watercolorist David Belling and abstract expressionist Cheryl Faussel. However, the front gallery showcases the work of Arts for ACT’s featured artists and changes monthly, with opening receptions scheduled to coincide with Art Walk. As a result, there is virtually something new to see and collect every time you enter the glass storefront doors.
Hours. M-F 11-4:30. Call for Saturday hours at 239-337-5050. Expanded hours 6-10 p.m. the first Friday of every month for Art Walk and artist reception.
Ownership. The gallery is owned and operated by Abuse Counseling & Treatment, Inc. ACT is a non-profit agency that serves Lee, Hendry and Glades counties with a 24-hour crisis hotline, forensic examinations, and safe shelter for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, as well as their families and the new and temporarily homeless. At any given point in time, ACT feeds and houses approximately 100 men, women and children in two shelters, and provides them with counseling, advocacy, education, information and referrals. Proceeds from the sale of fine art and boutique items in Arts for ACT Gallery help support these operations. Jennifer Pottorf Benton (in black, left) serves as ACT’s chief executive officer and is frequently found in the gallery, particularly during the first-Friday meet-the-artists receptions held in conjunction with Art Walk each month.
Directors and Curators. Claudia Goode (in white, above left) serves as the curator and director of operations at Arts for ACT Gallery, a post she has held for more than ten years. An accomplished mixed media collage artist herself (right) who has exhibited her work extensively throughout southwest Florida, Claudia brings a creative sensibility to the art and artists the gallery includes in its permanent and rotating exhibitions.
Bright, insightful and energetic, Claudia not only handles every aspect of the gallery’s daily operations including meet-the-artists receptions on the first Friday of every month, she is a founding member of Art Walk, organizes the associated First Saturday Art Fair in Patio de Leon and Dean Street, and chairs the steering committee for the annual Arts for ACT Fine Art Auction and gala that is the talk of the entire town every August. For the last three holiday seasons, this mother of two and new grandmamma has also orchestrated “A Hand-Made Christmas,” an outdoor art fair that takes place along First Street that gives more than 60 vendors an opportunity to sell their arts and crafts to holiday shoppers. Among the many accolades lavished on this superlative representative of the local art community is a Lee County Alliance of the Arts 2011 Angels of the Arts nomination for Art Organization Leadership.
Currently on Exhibit. The links below provide information about the group show that’s presently on exhibit, as well as the one planned for next month.
2013 Articles and Links.
- ‘Tie One On’ with Arts for ACT at Robb and Stucky on June 13 (05-16-13)
- Arts for ACT issues call to artists for this year’s open theme group exhibition (05-07-13)
- George Mitchell ‘Ronda at Eye Level’ exhibit at ACT will touch your heartstrings (05-03-13)
- ‘Raw Images’ on view during April at Arts for ACT Gallery in River District (04-15-13)
- Andrew Miller’s ‘Raw Images’ portraits on view at Arts for ACT this Friday (04-02-13)
- S.W. Florida Penn Women exhibiting at Arts for ACT Gallery during Art Walk (04-02-13)
- Kim Kraft-Beckler to exhibit at Arts for ACT Gallery in April (04-01-13)
- ACT Gallery offers ‘Paris Flea Market Crystal Pendant’ workshop April 6 (03-29-13)
- ACT Gallery offers make it, take it memory box workshop on March 30 (03-28-13)
- ACT named representing charity for River District Ramble (03-15-13)
- ACT issues call to artists for August fine art auction and fundraiser (03-13-13)
- Folk artist Lennie Jones returns to ACT Gallery in March with ‘Roots & Branches’ (02-20-13)
- Impressionist Pat Dunn returns from Nashville for opening of Arts for ACT show (02-05-13)
- Arts for ACT hosting ‘Arts by Kids with Cancer’ exhibit in February (01-29-13)
- ‘Artists with Heart’ to benefit ACT and its gallery and boutique on February 1 (01-23-13)
- Old World impressionism of Pat Dunn comes to Arts for ACT in February (01-21-13)
- Richard Bush contributes ‘film noir’ drawings to Arts for ACT January show (01-01-13)
2012 Articles and Links.
- Tampa’s Peter Stilton one of three artists featured by Arts for ACT in January (12-31-12)
- Arts for ACT bids adieu to artist Christina Jarmolinski with farewell show (12-27-12)
- Cartoons by Doug MacGregor to be featured at Arts for ACT during December (12-06-12)
- New art by Ellen Sayet and Katherine Boren at Arts for ACT for December Art Walk (12-06-12)
- New work by Katherine Boren to be exhibited in December at Arts for ACT (11-27-12)
- Arts for ACT to welcome two generations of Baqueros, Bendola and Owen Cullimore (10-16-12)
- Arts for ACT ready for Music Walk with four exciting artists (10-15-12)
- Ann McCarty paintings challenge viewer to muse upon fleeting moments (10-12-12)
- Terry Lynn Spry puts cows on parade at Arts for ACT Gallery (10-11-12)
- Alliance’s Jamie Golob to donate portion of acrylic workshop tuition to ACT (10-10-12)
- Live music and live art demonstration made Arts for ACT memorable Art Walk venue (10-06-12)
- Arts for ACT Gallery brings in four special artists for Friday night’s Art Walk (10-01-12)
- Troy Thomas’ ‘Divisions’ and ‘Stripes’ show you can’t impose order on chaos (09-18-12)
- Arts for ACT Gallery features Golob, Weber and Thomas for Art Walk (09-04-12)
- Troy Thomas to exhibit geometric abstracts at Arts for ACT in September (08-28-12)
- Jamie Golob’s classical realism returns in September to Arts for ACT Gallery (08-22-12)
- Arts for ACT Gallery has three exhibits for Music Walkers to enjoy (08-14-12)
- Art auction and gala at Harborside raises much needed money for ACT (08-13-12)
- Much to see during Art Walk on Friday at River District’s Arts for ACT Gallery (o8-01-12)
- Time to buy tickets for ACT fine art auction and gala on August 11 (07-15-12)
- Big turn-out, brisk sales mark Rauschenberg Arts for ACT auction preview (07-14-12)
- Bob Rauschenberg Gallery hosts ACT auction preview on Friday (07-12-12)
- ‘Evening of Art and Blues’ theme for this year’s Arts for ACT fine art auction (06-15-12)
- Gael Collar takes cues from Picasso’s Cubism to develop unique, colorful style (06-13-12)
- With three shows, assemblage artist Alisha Koyanis had a big night Friday (06-03-12)
- Sanibel’s Tower Gallery artists descend on Arts for ACT Gallery in June (05-28-12)
- Arts for ACT has three exciting exhibits for Music Walkers to see (05-14-12)
- Arts for ACT chips in ‘three creative exhibits’ for this Friday’s Art Walk (04-30-12)
- Photographer Joe Sabella to exhibit ‘Project Homeless’ images at Arts for ACT (04-24-12)
- May show at Arts for ACT includes work by Linda Benson (04-15-12)
- Art Poems comes to Arts for ACT Gallery in May (04-15-12)
- ACT issue call to artists for silver anniversary fine art auction and gala (04-13-12)
- Call to artists issued for Fifth Annual Open Theme Juried Group Exhibition (04-13-12)
- Dog Art Diva, Charlene Ewen, exhibits at Arts for ACT Gallery in April (03-22-12)
- Music Walk is an opportunity to view new work by local artist Lisa Freidus (03-16-12)
- Jeffrey Scott Lewis to exhibit at Arts for ACT Gallery in April (03-14-12)
- What to see and hear during Music Walk on Friday, February 17 – part 2 (02-13-12)
- Profile on photographer and author George Mitchell (01-19-12)
- Jones’ life as Blues musician and swamp cop are now his folk art motifs (01-18-12)
- Local artist Lennie Jones lived the Blues experience he paints today (01-18-12)
- Arts for ACT to showcase Blues art of Lennie Jones & George Mitchell in February (01-18-12)
- Blues photog George Mitchell to perform with Mudcat at Buckingham Blues Bar (01-18-12)
- January 6th’s Art Walk kicks off artsy new year-3 (01-04-12)
- January 6th’s Art Walk kicks off artsy new year -4 (01-04-12)
2011 Articles and Links.
- Arts for ACT’s Claudia Goode nominated for 2011 Angels of the Arts Award
- Arts for ACT Gallery issues call to artists for July, 2011 Open Theme Exhibit
- Arts for ACT’s Claudia Goode weighs in on art collector demographics
- Group show opens Friday night at Arts for ACT Gallery
- 2010 Best New Artist Philip Heubeck in Arts for ACT September group show
- Photographer Sam Brough part of September show at Arts for ACT Gallery
- Artist Annie St. Martin part of September group show at Arts for ACT Gallery
- Surrealist Cindy Jane to exhibit at Arts for ACT in November