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Actors, artists, filmmakers and events in the news January 1-7, 2019


These are the actors, artists, filmmakers and events who are in the news in Southwest Florida this week:


‘Unimaginable’ Evans & Green exhibition opens in Wasmer Gallery on January 31 (01-07-19)

Up Close and Unimaginable, Cliff Evans and Gregory Green opens in the Wasmer Art Gallery at FGCU on January 31.

The heightened threats of terrorism and war are ever-present -both nationally and abroad. These threats are experienced through a wide range of lenses, including social media, international news outlets and direct exposure. Cliff Evans (Austin, TX) and Gregory Green (Tampa, FL) make work that is critical of these threats and the psychological toll they impose on everyday life. This immersive installation includes panoramic animated collages and sculptural installations.

The opening reception is from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. on January 31, with an Artist Talk at 5:00 p.m. on U. Tobe Recital Hall. Curated by John Loscuito and Anica Sturdivant, the show runs through February 28, 2019. The exhibition is sponsored by Alice and Dean Fjelstul, Gene and Lee Seidler, The State of Florida,Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture, and The Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel.



Enter ‘The Third Dimension’ in the FGCU ArtLab on January 17 (01-07-19)

Coming to the FGCU ArtLab on January 17 is The Third Dimension: Exploring Space, and exhibition showcasing student works from the Ceramics and Sculpture studios in the FGCU Arts Complex. The show has been curated by Patricia Fay and Mary Voytek.

Through figurative, abstract and functional projects, three-dimensional art offers an astonishing range of questions to ask and problems to solve. Students working in the third dimension grapple with the physical and tactile properties of made objects while exploring the intangible relationship between form and space. Their work thereby enables them to combine a variety of materials, techniques and concepts.

The exhibition runs January 17 through February 7. The opening reception takes place at 5:00 p.m. on January 17. The ArtLab is located in the west side of the library building on the FGCU campus, located at 10501 FGCU Blvd. S, Fort Myers, FL. The event is free and open to the public. The ArtLab is open Monday to Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on until 7:00 p.m. on Thursday evenings.



4th Annual Bonita Springs International Film Festival set for February 21-24 (01-07-19) 

moe-0444The Centers for the Arts Bonita Springs introduced the inaugural Bonita Springs International Film Festival in  February of 2015. It will return February 21-24 with more than 70 carefully curated narrative, documentary, animation and short films from around the world, complemented by a wide variety of workshops, demonstrations, and Q & A sessions with filmmakers, writers, directors, producers and actors.

The unique and entertaining special events begin with Thursday’s over-the-top ‘Opening Night’ and culminates with a spectacular Awards Night and Filmmakers rachel-albanese-2Party on Sunday evening. Each event is unique, featuring delicious catered food, refreshing beverages, quality entertainment and, of course, ample opportunities for film lovers to mix and mingle with a coterie of filmmakers, directors, writers and actors, who similarly enjoy the chance to share ideas and explore future opportunities. Films are shown in both the 400-seat CFABS Hinman Auditorium and the newly-renovated 200-seat Moe Auditorium & Film Center.

Last year, BIFF accepted films in 12 categories including youth- and teen-produced films, animated films, shorts and Florida films, as well as standard fiction/narrative and documentary works, and awarded cash prizes ranging from $250 to $1,000.

the-songbird-and-the-cinematographer-04The film festival is an expression of CFABS’ longstanding appreciation of film as an art form. The Centers launched their Film for Film Lovers series in 2008, offering one film per month for three months. Over time, Film for Film Lovers was expanded and now features films every Monday. And early in 2015, the Centers added the impressive Southern Circuit Tour of Independent Filmmakers, with showings on the first Tuesday of each month. Today, thousands of Southwest Florida residents and visitors attend these screenings, so it was only logical to add a multi-day film festival to the equation.

The mission of the Bonita Springs International Film Festival is to charlie-masi-06create experiences that bring people together to discover extraordinary films from around the world, recognizing that it is through the art of cinema that a community becomes more informed, aware and alive.

“The big point that ultimately surfaced in our discussions about having a film festival was that we, as an organization, are all about the arts, all the arts,” says Susan Bridges, President of the Centers for the Arts Bonita Springs, who is also Co-Chair for the festival. “So, we began looking at the idea that our Bonita Springs International Film Festival might see the majority of our films showcasing an artistic connection of some kind, beyond the fact that film is an art form in henrikas-genutis-06itself.”

BIFF is so much more than just watching films. Festival-goers enjoy fascinating and rewarding experiences, right alongside the discovery of each film’s unique details, inspiration, meaning and challenges.

CFABS has yet to release a schedule, so check back for details as they emerge. Read here for pricing.



Guerrilla Girls set to rattle some cages at Rauschenberg Gallery in January (01-07-19)

Florida SouthWestern State College will be presenting GUERRILLA GIRLS: Rattling Cages Since 1985 from January 17 through March 23. Sited in the Bob Rauschenber Gallery, the exhibition will be a site-specific survey and newly-commissioned, interactive installation.

The Guerrilla Girls is an internationally-renowned feminist advocacy and art collective which assiduously maintains its anonymity while confronting and addressing systemic problems of gender and racial parity in the art world.

Since their formation in 1985, the Guerrilla Girls have done more than 100 street projects, posters and stickers in cities ranging from New York, Los Angeles and Minneapolis to Mexico City, Istanbul, London, Bilbao, Rotterdam and Shanghai. They have also done outrageous projects and exhibitions at museums, attacking them for their bad behavior and discriminatory practices right on their own walls. Of these, their stealth project on the façade of the Whitney Museum in 2015 stands out as a very public and publicized excoriation of income inequality and the extent to which the super-rich have hijacked art.

You will find the rest of this advance here.



Dr. Wendy Chase to give lecture prior to ‘Guerrilla Girls’ opening (01-07-19)

At 6:00 p.m. on January 17, Dr. Wendy Chase will give a pre-opening lecture in connection with Guerrilla Girls: Rattling Cages Since 1985, a site-specific survey exhibition and newly-commissioned interactive installation at the Bob Rauschenberg Gallery. Dr. Chase is a professor of humanities and the program coordinator for the Honors Scholar Program at Florida SouthWestern State College. She is uniquely qualified to provide insight into both the Guerrilla Girls and their Rauschenberg exhibition.

Dr. Chase’s recent scholarship has focused on contemporary practices in art activism. She is the guest editor for the Journal of Interdisciplinary Humanities Fall 2019 issue titled “Art, Activism, and the Pursuit of a Better Life.” Her article, “Penetrating Art: Creative Interventions in the Age of Internet Porn” was published in the International Journal of Communication and Linguistic Studies in 2015. Chase attributes her greatest insights into what it means to be a human on this planet to revelations shared by artists, filmmakers, writers and musicians.

Dr. Chase teaches interdisciplinary courses in modern humanities, American cinema and contemporary world cinema. Her proudest moments have been receiving the NISOD award for Excellence in Teaching, the President’s Award for Exemplary Service, and being asked to give the Commencement Address at graduation in 2009. In addition to her other responsibilities at FSW, she has also served as coordinator for the Black Maria Film Festival. (Founded in New Jersey in 1981 to honor Thomas Edison’s pioneering spirit in cinema and recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as an Academy Award qualifying festival, the Black Maria’s annual collection of cutting edge films travels across the nation to universities, museums and other venues. It is hosted locally by FSW in partnership with the Edison Ford Winter Estates.)

Please read here for the rest of this post.



Time running out to submit for 33rd Annual All Florida Juried Exhibit (01-06-19)

The Alliance’s annual All Florida Juried Exhibition features pieces created by artists working in a wide variety of media from all over the 65,000 square miles that make up Florida. The juried entries come together for an award-winning and exciting exhibition representing today’s contemporary Florida artists. The Alliance is accepting submissions online now through Monday, January 28, 2019. The show will exhibit March 8-29, with an opening reception from 5:00-7:00 p.m. on Friday, March 8. A conversational walk and talk through the gallery with the artists and juror will take place at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, March 9.

Please visit for a prospectus or telephone 239-939-2787 for more information.



Leepa-Rattner director/curator Lynn Whitelaw tapped as All Florida juror (01-06-19)

The All Florida Exhibition is the Alliance for the Arts’ longest running show. This award-winning show features pieces created by artists working in a wide variety of media from all over the state of Florida. Admission into the show is juried, as are the awards given out, and this year’s juror is Lynn Whitelaw.

Lynn Whitelaw is the founding director and curator of the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art, located on the Tarpon Springs campus of St. Petersburg College. Whitelaw’s curatorial efforts have resulted in over one hundred and forty exhibitions shown at Hillsborough Community College, the Tampa Museum of Art and the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art.

Categories for entry are sculpture, painting (including oil, acrylic, collage, water color and mixed media), photography, prints and drawing. An entry may consist of 1 to 3 artworks. All entries must be submitted online no later than January 28, 2019. Artists can download the prospectus and submit their work online at

The opening reception will be March 8 from 5:00-7:00 p.m. The juror will be on hand to present awards including $1,000 cash for Best In Show, a 2nd Place gift certificate, $100 cash for 3rd place and Jurors Choice Award(s) of Alliance for the Arts membership(s).

A conversational walk and talk through the gallery with the artists and juror will be held on March 9 at 10:00 a.m. during the Alliance GreenMarket. Receptions and talks are open to the public and do not require tickets or reservations. While gallery admission is free, a $5 suggested donation keeps Alliance programming affordable and accessible. The show closes on March 30, 2019.

The exhibition is kindly sponsored by Elemental Stone and Waterworks. For more information, please call 239-939-2787 or visit


  1. Natural Vibrations by Betsy JDamoos
  2. Clutch by Susan Martin
  3. Inside by Dirce Kennedy
  4. Waiting in Paris by Tracy Owen-Cullimore



Tower, Hirdie-Girdie & Suncatcher’s partnering for inspiring, imaginative event (01-06-19)

The three “I”s – inspiration, innovation and imagination – are the theme for Tower Gallery’s third event in the 2018-2019 show season, which will also include neighboring galleries Hirdie-Girdie and Suncatcher’s Dream. It takes place from 5:00-8:00 p.m. on Thursday, January 10 at Tower Art Gallery located at 751 Tarpon Bay Road, Hirdie-Girdie Gallery, located at 2490 Library Way, and Suncatcher’s Dream, 630 Tarpon Bay Road.

“Join us for hors d’oeuvres and wine as the artists of Tower Gallery give back 10% of the evening’s proceeds to the Rotary Club of Sanibel and Captiva,” states the gallery. “There will also be artists demonstrating their art around the gallery and grounds. Visitors will have a special opportunity to use their own art skills along with the Tower artists to create a large ‘Community Canvas’ that will be auctioned off when complete at a later event.”

For more information and directions, please telephone 239-472-4557.



DAAS hosting exhibition of work by National League of American Pen Women (01-06-19)

DAAS CO-OP Art Gallery & Gifts is hosting Pages, Brushes and Pens, an exhibition of visual art, fine crafts and literature by members of the National League of American Pen Women (NLAPW).

The National League of American Pen Women was founded in 1897 and now has around 1,800 members around the nation who support various community arts organizations, offer seminars and classes, and advance the careers of budding young artists, writers and composers. Established in 1977, the Southwest Florida chapter of the NLAPW actively offers membership to other qualified professionals.

A meet-and-greet opening reception will be held from 6:00-9:30 p.m. on Saturday, January 12. The exhibition will be on display through February 2, 2019. All art lovers and collectors are invited to join DAAS CO-OP for the opening reception. For more information about the exhibit or the gallery, please visit or call 239-590-8645.

DAAS CO-OP Art Gallery & Gifts is conveniently located in the Royal Palm Square in the heart of the SoCo Cultural District (, at 1400 Colonial Blvd STE 84 in Fort Myers, FL. Hours of operation are Tuesday to Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.



TGIM returns to Davis Art Center on January 7 (01-05-19)

The Fort Myers Film Festival returns to the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center’s grand atrium for more Season 9 screenings on January 7.

New to the term? Well, the acronym stands for “Thank God for Indie Mondays,” and it symbolizes the anticipation and excitement that area indie film lovers feel as the first Monday of the month draws near between August and February each season. That’s when hosts Eric Raddatz and Melissa DeHaven screen a number of the indie short (typically no longer than 15 minutes) and short short (as brief as just a minute or two) films that have been submitted for inclusion in the Fort Myers Film Festival. Some are good. Others are bad. But they’re all worth talking about.

Read here for the rest of this advance.



Spotlight on January T.G.I.M. celebrity judge April Florio (01-05-19)

One of the celebrity judges who will be on hand Monday night to help co-hosts Eric Raddatz, Melissa DeHaven and the smartest, sexiest cineastes in town make sense of the evening’s films is Kids Incorporated superstar April Florio.

Florio has gained expertise in a myriad of professions over the course of her career. In addition to building a reputation as a public relations and marketing guru at Music Center in Melbourne, she has also done web design, photography and event planning for the Florida East Coast company. She writes and records music (she was a soul and R&B singer in her late teens) and has served as marketing chair with the American Jazz Pianist Competition. Prior to that, April worked as a model in Betsey Johnson runway shows, appearing in ad campaigns for Marie Claire, Twist, Seventeen, Maxim Pijan Perfrum, FHM (Australia/UK) and even Quaker State Motor Oil. While living in New York City, she also worked as an actress and in public relations for nightclubs, clothing companies and A-List celebrities.

For more on April, read here.



Kelsey Craft returns in January as T.G.I.M. celebrity judge (01-05-19)

One of January’s T.G.I.M. celebrity judges is Kelsey Craft.

Craft is a physician’s assistant at Gulfstream Urology in Fort Myers and Bonita Springs. She holds a Masters of Medical Science Degree from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Myers. A three-sport varsity athlete (basketball, tennis, swimming), earned her undergraduate degree in exercise science at the University of Idaho. But many local residents and visitors know Kelsey from her appearances as Miss International, including during last year’s Art Walks the Runway (where she joined Miss Fort Myers Rachel Conti and Michael Kors model Brittany Blasencia in modeling fashions featured during the show) and as a T.G.I.M. celebrity judge this past February.

Craft was crowned Miss International in August of 2017. Miss International is among the top-ranked pageants in the world. (The Miss International Pageant system is owned by Roanoke, Va.-based International Pageants, Inc., which also operates the Miss Teen and Mrs. International competitions.

For more, read here.



Meet January T.G.I.M. celebrity judge Tom Conwell (01-05-19)

One of January’s T.G.I.M. celebrity judges is Tom Conwell. He hosts Ask an Expert every Sunday morning at 11:00 a.m. If you’ve never listened in, Ask an Expert provides people with access to quintessential professionals and offers solutions to common everyday business and financial problems. Its aim is to gather unbiased expertise for the common good.Conwell started his career on the floors of the Chicago Board of Trade in the early ‘80s. He founded and started numerous businesses in the real estate and financial fields through the ‘90s. In the early 2000s, Thomas sold his business interests in the mid-west and relocated in Florida where he and his family have owned and operated numerous multi-million dollar corporations.

Read here for more.



Spotlight on filmmaker and T.G.I.M. celebrity judge Tyler Shore (01-05-19)

Tyler Shore is a Fort Myers-based filmmaker. He is president of and a freelance associate producer for Dreamtime Entertainment. Among his productions for the former are a series of trendy YouTube documentaries, music videos and ads, including a 10-minute memorial retrospective that looks into the surreal photo-artwork of the late Jonathan Kane, Cesar’s Cyber Art (an ad for the wearable art of popular Fort Myers artist Cesar Aguilera), #Unexpected (an absinthe-fueled timelapse reel of the awesome fine art images of Marco Island photographer Mila Bridger), Alright (an in-studio music video for the Helmsmen) and the BENDYtunnel (presenting the improvised and hypnotic contortionism of South Cape dance instructor Katarina Danks).

You will find the rest of this profile here.



Estero Fine Art Show takes place this weekend at JetBlue Park (01-04-19)

The 22nd Annual Estero Fine Art Show takes place on Saturday, January 5, and Sunday, January 6, 2019 at JetBlue Park on Daniel Parkway east of I-75. A Sunshine Artist top 100 outdoor art festival, the Estero Fine Art Show features original paintings, drawings, pastels, photography, ceramics, clay, glass, sculpture, wood working and carvings, fiber art and art jewelry from the ateliers, studios and workshops of a select group of local and internationally-acclaimed artists. All are present throughout the two-day event and eager to answer questions about their work and inspiration. Live art demonstrations afford numerous opportunities for patrons to see the various processes that the artists’ go through and techniques they employ to create high-quality artworks in their chosen medium.



Downtown Naples New Year’s Art Fair is January 5 & 6 along Fifth Avenue (01-04-19)

The Naples Art Association‘s Downtown Naples New Year’s Art Fair returns to Naples’ Fifth Avenue South on the weekend of January 5 & 6, 2019. Last year, the artworks on display were valued collectively at more than $15 million. As in years past, every category will be represented, from original oils and acrylics on canvas, panel and galvanized aluminum to watercolors on paper, 2D and 3D mixed media, limited edition prints, photography, digital art, metal sculpture, wood carvings, ceramics, hand-crafted jewelry, leather works and more. Because of its national ranking (Sunshine Artist consistently ranks it in its top 100 in the nation each year) and the beautiful weather in southwest Florida during this time of year, the Downtown Naples New Year’s Art Fair draws 200 of the finest artists in the country, which explains why more than 15,000 art enthusiasts turned out for this art fair last year. There’s lots of art for every taste and pocketbook, so bring your credit card or checkbook.

There is ample free parking. For more information, please call Naples Art at 239-262-6517.



Art in the Park to coincide with Downtown Naples New Year’s Art Fair (01-04-19)

Art in the Park will run alongside the Downtown Naples New Year’s Art Fair on Saturday, January 5. Art in the Park not only features work by Naples Art Association member artists in booths set up on Park Street outside The von Liebig Art Center, but art demonstrations by NAA artists plus art projects for the whole family. There are projects inside the art center for the kids as well. Art in the Park is not just an add-on to the Downtown Naples New Year’s Art Fair. It is a festival that has stood on its own merits for more than 58 years.



Art League of Marco fine craft fair takes place January 5 & 6 (01-04-19)

On Marco Island, the Art League of Marco Island Fine Craft Fair also takes place on January 5 & 6. This fair is held at 1010 Winterberry Drive, Marco Island, Florida 34145, which is toward the southern end of the island. Now in its 17th year, this craft fair provides browsers and art enthusiasts with some of the region’s best original artwork, including paintings, watercolors, photography and digital art, ceramics, pottery, glass, clothing, jewelry and mixed media work.



Make plans to experience ArtFest Fort Myers as a VIP (01-04-19)

The 2019 edition of ArtFest Fort Myers comes to the River District February 1-3, and you can enjoy the festival as a Very Important Patron for $125 per person.

VIP status entitles you to join fellow Very Important Patrons in the VIP Tent on Friday evening, February 1, for the Opening Night Party, where you’ll enjoy delectable culinary delights from some of our area’s finest restaurants, great wine and ice-cold beer.

The evening also includes an extraordinary sampling of 65 festival artists and surprise performances.

Not only does VIP status entitle you to reserved parking privileges, VIPs can relax in comfort and style in the VIP Club over the course of Festival weekend. This ticket-holder-only retreat right in the center of all the festival action creates a restful break amid your artful shopping. The VIP Club includes breakfast treats, specialty lunch, afternoon snack bar and beverages all day.

“I look forward to this event every year — The arts change life for the better and are so important to our community in Southwest Florida,” states Ron Bucher, VIP Club sponsor and Senior Director of Investments at Oppenheimer & Co, Inc. “I am proud to be a part of this nationally-award-winning art festival.”

The ArtFest experience includes work by 200 professional artists from across the country and around the world, the largest high school art exhibit and competition in south Florida, and free interactive art experiences for children of all ages. To join the ArtFest Fort Myers VIP Club, please visit and click on VIP Club button or call 239-768-3602.



Naples Artcrafters Fine Art & Craft Show returns to Cambier Park on January 12 (01-04-19)

The Naples Artcrafters Fine Art & Craft Show returns to Cambier Park on Saturday, January 12. For more than 45 years, the Artcrafters have been committed to promoting excellence in arts and crafts and to supporting established artists, craftspersons and students by providing a venue for the display and sale of their work in a beautiful setting. At their shows, they present a wide array of artistic genres, styles and media, including paintings in oils, acrylics and watercolors, drawings in pen and ink and pencil, pastels, scissors art, multi-media and collage, photography, ceramics, jewelry (including metalsmithing, metal clays, lapidary and beading), sculptures, pottery, clay, stained glass and fused glass, wood turning and carving, basket weaving, and more. The show features work by 90 juried artists.



Catch ‘Art After Dark’ in Crayton Cove on Saturday, January 12 (01-04-19)

Just steps away in Crayton Cove on Saturday, January 12 is Art After Dark, an Art-Walk-type evening that gives art enthusiasts and collectors an exceptional opportunity to combine fine art with fine dining alongside picturesque Naples Bay. Participating galleries include Phil Fisher Gallery, Random Acts of Art, Naples Ships Store, Pure Design and Guess-Fisher Gallery who band together from 6-9 p.m. to present an evening of art receptions, refreshments and live music (this month, the tunes are provided by Michael Colligan and Friends) which serve as companionable backdrop for viewing the newest works in the Crayton Cove galleries. Many art lovers complete their evening of art viewing with drinks and a sumptuous meal in one of Crayton Cove’s outstanding eateries, Bleu Provence, Chez Boez, or The Dock and Boathouse Restaurant. For more information, please telephone 239-403-8393.



Bonita Springs National invades Riverside Park January 12 & 13 (01-04-19)

The Bonita Springs National Art Festival invades Riverside Park on Old 41 in historic downtown Bonita Springs again this year, and its first of three fine art festivals takes place on Saturday, January 12 and Sunday, January 13. In 2011, Bonita Springs National was ranked the #10 art festival in the nation by The Art Fair SourceBook and #11 by Sunshine Artist Magazine, and in 2017 it received a #2 national ranking. This festival stresses quality and originality, with the 211 artists juried into the show from across the United States, Canada, South America and even Europe exhibiting and selling original paintings, drawings, pastels, photography, handcrafted jewelry, clay works and ceramics, glass art, metal sculpture and more. Riverside Park is located at 10450 Reynold Street or 27000 Old 41 Road in central Bonita Springs, Florida 34135.



34th Annual Cape Coral Festival of the Arts is January 12 and 13 (01-04-19)

Also taking place on the weekend of January 12 and 13 is the 34th Annual Cape Coral Festival of the Arts. The show takes place on the Cape Coral Parkway and includes arts and crafts by more than 300 artists in genres that include fine crafts, jewelry, mixed media, painting, photography, and sculpture. Last year, the event was ranked the 24th best festival in the nation by Sunshine Artist Magazine. An music festival has been added to the event and features a variety of live musical genres at various indoor venues along the Cape Coral Parkway between 3 and 9 p.m. See why more than 100,000 people pack the parkway in the Cape on the second weekend in January of each year.



METHOD & CONCEPT presenting Mike Brown talk this evening (01-03-19)

METHOD & CONCEPT (formerly Thomas Riley Studio) will present an artist talk with Mike Brown on the subject of experiential design titled “The Story of Space” this evening. The event takes place from 5:30-9:00 p.m. in Private Theater #12 at Silverspot Cinema Naples, which is located at 9118 Strada Place. Brown is a creative director who has collaborated with major brands, including Chanel, Bulgari, Swarovski, Adidas, Y-3 and Uniqlo, among others.



‘Lyes Energy of Life’ opens at METHOD & CONCEPT January 10 (01-03-19)

METHOD & CONCEPT’s first exhibit of 2019 is Lyès: “Energy of Life.” It opens Thursday, January 10, 2019 with a 5:30 to 8:00 p.m. reception. Inspired by quantum physics and Zen philosophies, the French-Algerian artist will present six new “wall-source” sculptures that explore the manifestations of energy in the world.

“As a special feature, we will also be presenting an artist inspired edible installation by renowned local French pastry chef, Yannick Brendel,” adds the gallery.

METHOD & CONCEPT is located at 26 10th Street South, Naples, FL. Visit their new website for more information about upcoming events and exhibitions.



Muffy Clark Gill part of tonight’s ’20th Century Seminole Experience’ (01-03-19)

Naples batik artist Muffy Clark Gill will be showing selections of artwork from her American Native Series in the 20th Century Seminole Experience, which will be on display at the Naples Depot Museum from January 4 through April 27. Many of the works that Gill is including in the exhibit were previously shown in the 22nd Floor Gallery at the Florida State Capitol building in Tallahassee.

The opening reception for the show will take place from 5:00-7:00 p.m. tonight. Gill will be give a lecture about this body of work and associated demonstration from 11:00 a.m. to noon on Friday, February 15.

The Naples Depot Museum is located at 1051 Fifth Avenue South in Naples.



National Art Encounter 2018-19 on exhibit at NAA through January 12 (01-03-19)

The National Art Encounter 2018-2018 Exhibition is on view now through January 12 at the Naples Art Association.

The Naples Art Association initiated the Art Encounter exhibition program in 1983. It is a contemporary art exhibition featuring 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional artwork by artists residing in the United States. The exhibition enables Florida artists to share the spotlight with their peers at the national level. For artists from outside of Florida, the exhibition provides an opportunity to demonstrate success, compete for cash prizes and exhibit in Naples, Florida. In the latter regard, Maria Holstein was selected by jurors Brad Cushman, Jill Deupi and Kirk Ke Wang as Best of Show, an honor that earned her a $1,000 cash prize.

For more information, please telephone 239-262-6517 or visit



Meet National Art Encounter 2018-19 juror Professor Kirk De Wang (01-03-19)

The National Art Encounter 2018-19 exhibition is on view now through January 12 at the Naples Art Association. The show was juried and judged by Jill Deupi, Brad Cushman and Kirk Ke Wang.

Kirk Ke Wang is Professor of Visual Arts at Eckerd College in Saint Petersburg, Florida. He is a painter, sculptor, photographer, mixed-media artist and an educational software developer.

He was born in Shanghai, China and received Master of Fine Art degrees from both the Nanjing Normal University in Nanjing, China and the University of South Florida in Tampa.

Mr. Wang travels frequently between China and the United States to promote art, education and culture. He maintains studios in Tampa, New York and Shanghai. In addition to teaching and making art, he led a team of experts and developed a computer learning system for children, which has now been used by over one-thousand schools nationally.

Mr. Wang’s art has been exhibited by museums internationally, nationally and in the Tampa Bay area at venues including the Museum of Modern Art, PS1 in New York and the National Art Museum of China in Beijing. His work has been collected by museums, galleries and private collectors in the United States and Asia. He was awarded the bronze medal by the Cultural Ministry of China, and he is also the recipient of numerous grants and foundation awards from institutions including the National Endowment for the Arts, the Freeman Foundation, Ford Foundation, and the Florida Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs.



Meet National Art Encounter 2018-19 juror Brad Cushman (01-03-19)

The National Art Encounter 2018-19 exhibition is on view now through January 12 at the Naples Art Association. The show was juried and judged by Jill Deupi, Kirk Ke Wang and Brad Cushman.

Brad Cushman has been gallery director and curator at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock since 2000. Cushman has curated numerous exhibitions for his own institution as well as others. In 2013, he curated Face to Face: Artist’s Self Portraits from the Collection of Jackye and Curtis Finch, Jr. for the Arkansas Art Center. The exhibition traveled to Auburn University in Alabama and the Baker Museum of Art at Artis—Naples.

An award-winning artist himself, Cushman taught art for twelve years at Oklahoma State University before moving to Arkansas. In 1989, Cushman received a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to study Postmodernism Theory at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee.

Cushman received a Master of Fine Arts degree in Painting from Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Studio Art from Illinois College in Jacksonville. He is the voice of Picture This, featuring audio essays on art and architecture on Little Rock NPR stations and is the host of Inside Art produced by University of Arkansas at Little Rock television.



Meet National Art Encounter 2018-19 juror Dr. Jill Deupi (01-03-19)

The National Art Encounter 2018-19 exhibition is on view now through January 12 at the Naples Art Association. The show was juried and judged by Brad Cushman, Kirk Ke Wang and Dr. Jill Deupi, the Beaux Arts Director and Chief Curator of the University of Miami’s Lowe Art Museum.

Prior to assuming the position in August 2014, Dr. Deupi was Director and Chief Curator of University Museums at Fairfield University, where she was also an Assistant Professor of Art History.

She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Mount Holyoke College and her Juris Doctor degree from American University’s Washington College of Law, graduating summa cum laude.

Dr. Deupi holds both a Master of Arts degree and Ph.D. in art history from the University of London’s Birkbeck College and the University of Virginia, respectively.

A Rome Prize recipient, Dr. Deupi wrote her doctoral dissertation on art and cultural politics in 18th-century Naples. Her prior museum experience includes work at the Royal Academy of Arts, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Snite Museum of Art, the National Gallery (Washington, D.C.), and the Wallace Collection.

Dr. Deupi is a Fellow of both the American Academy in Rome and the Leading Change Institute.

She is also a member of the Association of Art Museum Directors, the American Alliance of Museums, the Association of Academic Museums and Galleries (on whose board she sits), Art Table, the International Women’s Forum and the College Art Association (on whose Museum Committee she serves).



‘Morris Herstein: A Fusion of Fotos’ at North Collier Regional thru January 21 (01-03-19)

Morris Herstein: A Fusion of Fotos is on view through January 21 in the Exhibition Hall at North Collier Regional Park, located at 15000 Livingston Road in Naples. Presented in this solo exhibition are vivid examples of flowers from his Abstract and Fleur Collections, a never before seen sixteen-foot panorama of Miami’s Brickell Ave and Brickell Bay, Havana street scenes, and delicately-executed photographs of Ellis Island and the Palouse region of the Pacific Northwest. Herstein transferred his knowledge of color technology into the art of photography after a successful career as a scientist and product developer with cosmetic giants Revlon and Estee Lauder.

From scientist and cosmetic product developer to photographer, see how Morris transforms one art form into another. 



Naples Art Association’s immigration-themed show opens January 12 (01-03-19)

Immigration affects many areas, from work-force demographics to entitlement programs and finances. And as the conscience of society, artists have a lot to share on this important topic. So appropriately, the Naples Art Association is bringing Immigration: Does it Matter? to the Collier community January 12 – February 24, 2019. Artists who are interested in participating in this socially-themed show should bring one exhibition ready artwork to Gallery 104 today between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.



NAA’s Open Studio Program show opens January 12 (01-03-19)

Person to Person: The Naples Art Association’s Open Studio Program Exhibition opens January 12. The exhibition showcases work produced by the artists who participate in the NAA Open Studio program.

Olena Skiba facilitates the program, which affords artists an opportunity to work independently in Studio #200. During Wednesday afternoon sessions, a figure model is provided, with artists paying an additional fee for the undraped or clothed model. In addition to scheduling adult models of all ages, Skiba provides props and sets a length of time for each model’s pose.

The show will run through February 25, 2019.



January NAA exhibition focuses on human trafficking (01-03-19)

ArtReach’s Human Trafficking Awareness Partnerships Exhibition opens at the Naples Art Association on January 19. It features paintings and mixed media artworks produced by Collier County youth as part of Human Trafficking Awareness Partnerships’ ArtReach program.

“We want to educate [children] about human trafficking so they can protect themselves, their peers and their family members by understanding how traffickers work and understanding the signs so that they can be alert to it,” explains Nola Theiss, who uses art to educate children about human trafficking.

The will be on view in the Frederick O. Watson Gallery through February 2, 2019.



Anna Rac exhibiting at Naples Art Association January 19-March 2 (01-03-19)

Polish-born Chicago artist Anna Rac is exhibiting work at the Naples Art Association from January 19 through March 2, 2019.

Rac paints primarily with acrylics and oil pastels in her Naples Art District studio/gallery. She is a member of Florida Artists Group, Naples Art District, and the Naples Art Association. Rac’s paintings can be found in galleries in Florida and many private collections in the states and abroad.

RAC obtained her bachelor’s degree in music and classical piano and a master’s degree in business after moving to Chicago in her late teens. In 2007, she retired from a 27-year banking and finance career, and moved to Florida to pursue her passion for fine arts full time.



Next Fort Myers Art Walk comes to River District Jan. 4 & 5 (01-02-19)

The River District will come alive on January 4, when Art Walk returns to downtown Fort Myers. Now a two-day event, Art Walk will continue Saturday, January 5, from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. With exciting new exhibits and live art demonstrations, rain or shine, this is a “must attend event.”

New exhibits include exceptional art in a variety of mediums done by a bevy of local artists and some national and international artists as well.  You can meet the artists and talk art at the self-guided Friday night event, which brings together art enthusiasts, collectors and community friends who celebrate the arts each month. The Friday night Art Walk sees First Street closed to traffic. Local artists set up in the street selling their art, and face painting is offered at several locations along First Street. And at the Broadway and First Street intersection, the Fort Myers Art League will be hosting a “Make It/Take It” table for children of all ages.

Saturday Art Walk is a quieter affair with most of the galleries open for examining the art at more leisurely pace. This new and improved version of Art Walk includes 14 galleries and art stops, including:

  • American Legion Veterans Gallery showing Art done by Veterans
  • Art League of Fort Myers – new exhibits each month
  • Arts for ACT Gallery – features three or more art exhibits every month plus co-op members art
  • Bootlegger Alley Gallery – outdoor gallery open only during Art Walk in The Patio de Leon
  • Grand Illusion Gallery – art, tee shirts and more
  • Marc Harris Wildlife Photography – on Jackson Street
  • Miville Art Gallery – art and photography in the Franklin Shops
  • Ollie Mack Gentry Photography – photography  at 2180 West First Street
  • Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center – Main Gallery Exhibit and Capitol Exhibit on the 3rd Floor
  • The Barrel Room – Jazz art – on Bay Street
  • Timeless Gallery – gallery and gift shop featuring steampunk art and more
  • Two Newts Gallery – co-op gallery located off West First Street at 2064 Bayside Parkway
  • Unit A – urban contemporary gallery of internationally-acclaimed artist Marcus Jansen located in Gardener’s Park

As this survey of participating galleries reveals, Fort Myers Art Walk spans the core of downtown Fort Myers and includes the Gardener’s Park area and West First Street. Most of the action is located on First Street, but you can obtain a Fort Myers Art Walk map at any of the galleries that will lead you to all the art venues and Art Walk partners.  “Enjoy cultural venues, restaurants, bars and businesses, plus live music,” touts the River District Alliance. “Watch live art demos on First Street, eat amazing food, shop the unique local boutiques or just enjoy the atmosphere.”

So whether you prefer the energy of night or the calm of day, there’s something for everyone during this new-and-improved weekend of art that Fort Myers still calls Art Walk. There is free street parking and $5.00 at any of the parking garages.  In season ride the free River District Trolley. Fort Myers Art Walk is a Pet and Family Friendly free event! Fort Myers Art Walk is hosted by The River District Alliance, a non-profit organization. For more information, please visit




Guy Tieman connecting the dots at the Davis Art Center (01-02-18)

Abstract artist Guy Tieman will be connecting the dots at the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center this month. His Connecting the Dots exhibition opens on Friday at 6:00 p.m. during Art Walk.

Four years ago, Tieman was nearing the end of a 15 hiatus. With two young sons in tow, he moved to Southwest Florida in his 40s, got a “real job,” and focused on raising his kids. But when his sons entered high school, he returned to art.

“In my 20s and 30s, I focused on printmaking and photography (BFA) and on glass art (MFA),” Guy recounts. “Living in the Midwest, I was William Carlson’s artist assistant. And I was a glass artist with pieces in several galleries.”

But now he wanted to avoid the intricacies and labor of glass art, so he focused instead on print and drawing and wood and paint—“art that allows me to experience the true satisfaction of artistic expression.”

As Tieman began to re-immerse myself in art, he made a conscious decision to change everything about his approach. “I wanted to utilize more color, different media, and different imagery – and to develop a more playful approach,” Guy explains.

In a sense, he wanted to develop a more childlike approach to his work as well as a more simplified form of expression.

“While this body of work is a result of this approach, it is by no means finished, but rather one of continuing development,” Guy continues. “This body of work will hopefully demonstrate simplicity of color, form and imagination.

Connecting the Dots is on view in the grand atrium. It runs through January 24.

Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center is located at 2301 First Street, in the heart of the downtown Fort Myers River District. (Just look for the light sculptures.) For more information, please telephone 239-333-1933 or visit



Kristina’s World opens January 4 at Davis Art Center (01-02-19)

Kristina’s World opens January 4 during Art Walk upstairs in the Capitol Gallery of the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center. The show provides a unique glimpse into the world of Cape Coral artist Kristina Jackson.

As a child, Kristina was always on the outside looking in. On one level, she was desperately searching for a sense of home. Was it four walls? Family? Dinner around the table at night? A roof in the rain or a sign over the doorway proclaiming “home is where the heart is”?

“Where do you call home?” Jackson asks. “We have a large community of souls here in our city that is also looking for a sense of home… We call them homeless. They come each week to eat and feel connected; not only to each other but to humanity.

Some of them are only a few weeks from a better place, while others will live out their days in tent cities.

“We call them soldiers,” Kristina points out. “They return from foreign countries and become strangers in their own.”

And then there are those who walk quietly through our lives all the while struggling to survive on their own. “We call them animals. Beaten, abused, and forgotten pets. Dogs that would do anything for a loyal friend.”

In Kristina’s World, Jackson no longer sits on the outside looking in, waiting to connect. Home is in her heart amongst the homeless. Home is in outreach to the veterans that gave to her country. Home is in helping man’s best friend meet his new family in his forever home. Home is in connecting to her community. Her world is finding a need and filling it.

“Be what you Believe and you will find home in the world around you!”

Kristina’s World is on view at the Davis Art Center through January 24.

The Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center is located at 2301 First Street, in the heart of the downtown Fort Myers River District. (Just look for the light sculptures.) For more information, please telephone 239-333-1933 or visit



Kathy Kuser exhibiting digital surrealism in ACT’s White Gallery this month (01-02-18)

Artist, graphic designer, gallery owner and magazine publisher Kathy Kuser is exhibiting in the White Gallery at Arts for ACT Gallery this month.

“With my art, I want to bring a fresh and contemporary twist to a long established medium …. surrealism,” Kathy advises. “Using my skills as a graphic designer, I create 2D/3D digital surrealism. Through a mystical and fantasy-driven vision, a story emerges from my canvas.”

Kuser uses stark details with transitional blending to enable her art to take flight. “The range of my artwork can vary from something with as little as 70 digital layers to creating a more complex piece with greater than 700 layers or images.”

Kathy’s digital surrealism has been exhibited in nearly every local venue from the Bob Rauschenberg Gallery (2012) to the Naples Art Association (2013), Lee County Alliance for the Arts (2013, 2016), BIG ARTS on Sanibel (2016), Reverie & Rock Art Gallery (2012-2017), Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center (2012, 2015) and Spring Art Affair at Bell Tower Shops (2014, 2016). Her work has also been displayed at the Old Courthouse Art Center in Rockford, Illinois in 2017.

She has also participated in the annual Arts for ACT fine art auction (2012, 2016), Art Poems (2016) and the Pen Women of Florida annual conference in 2016.

Since becoming an artist in early 2012, Kathy has been featured in the News-Press, Sun Seeker Magazine, Gulf Coast Times, COASTE Magazine, Cape Coral Daily Breeze, Florida Weekly and Additionally, her art was featured on the October 2013 & 2018 cover of Happenings A&E Magazine. In 2017, she took 2nd place in an International Contemporary Art Competition through Open Art Miami and was featured in their gallery during Art Basel that same year.

Kathy earned her bachelor’s degree in management and organizational development from Spring Arbor University (Michigan). She and her husband own KMK Publishing Inc. which publishes two monthly event magazines in Southwest Florida, Happenings A&E Magazine and Lee County Family News. Additionally, she co-owned Reverie & Rock Art Gallery in downtown Fort Myers, which was forced to close due to damage suffered by the building as a consequence of Hurricane Irma last September.

The exhibition of Kuser’s work will remain on view through January 28, 2019.



Jill Lindsay exhibiting pixelated acrylic and alcohol inks at Arts for ACT (01-02-18)

Jill Lindsay is exhibiting work in Arts for ACT’s main gallery in January. She works in acrylic and alcohol ink. She has won multiple awards for her work at Visual Arts Center in Punta Gorda, Englewood Art Center, Sarasota Art Center and the International Society of Experimental Artists.

“I like to create artwork that catches your eye from a distance, usually using color to attract,” Jill discloses. “As you approach my work, the smaller details become clear. The longer you linger the more you may see.”

On a trip to the Dali Museum a few years ago, Lindsay was so inspired by Dali’s use of pixelation in the Lincoln piece Gala Contemplating the Mediterranean Sea that she began experimenting with altered National Geographic pages to achieve as similar result. Toward that end, she soaked the pages with a solvent that moves the ink, creating new colorations and patterns.

“I thought cutting these papers into squares would mimic pixels and add a graphic component to the pieces,” Lindsay elaborates. “I use a variety of techniques to add or subtract features. I have created many of these ‘square’ paintings now. They continue to mesmerize me. Using alcohol inks and resin add another depth and coloration that intensify the work.”

Jill “grew up” in Massachusetts and moved around a bit before landing up the road in Port Charlotte in 2001. She claims to have always been artsy (though others might say quirky), but her creative juices really started flowing after taking a furniture painting class in 2002. After she ran out of furniture to paint, Jill started working with other substrates and mediums. She joined an abstract art class in 2015 and was introduced soon after to alcohol inks and loved the colors and depths they created. The acrylic and ink have been flowing ever since!

The exhibit will be on view through January 28.

For more on Jill Lindsay and her art, please visit



Marcus Jansen introduces new series of politically-charged compositions (01-02-18)

Internationally-acclaimed artist Marcus Jansen has introduced a new series of paintings. He calls it Plot, and it is inspired by the idea of concealed and corroded information.

Through the work included in this series, Jansen seeks to question the integrity of and corroded information produced and provided by media. Through the obfuscation of seemingly tilted window blinds, Jansen gives viewers a sneak peek of concealed transcripts being produced by transparent stencil look-a-like typewriters. As in most of his works, Jansen rides that fine line between fact and fiction, real and abstraction with the compositions in this new series.



Alliance partnering with Dunbar Festival Committee to celebrate Dr. King (01-01-19)

The Alliance for the Arts and Dunbar Festival Committee are partnering to present From Podiums to Pulpits: Activists for Change on January 12 in celebration of Martin Luther King’s passion for justice and equality. Highlighting various national and local civil rights activists throughout history who have worked for change, From Podiums to Pulpits features community performers and entertainers who will honor Dr. King’s legacy through dance, music and verse.

Production participants include:

  • The Soleeaters, Dance Troupe
  • Luna Muni, Violinist
  • Quality Life Center Performing Arts Students
  • Derek Lively, Playwright/Equity Actor
  • Patricia Idlette, Equity Actor
  • Veronica Barber, Community Press Co-Founder
  • Keesha Allen, Quality Life Center Performance Arts Director
  • Bianca Russell, Dancer and Choregrapher
  • Shaunte Manuel, Vocalist
  • Rolf Julmisse, High School Actor
  • Sonya McCarter, Director

From Podiums to Pulpits is part of The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Legacy Weekend, which runs from January 12 – 21 and aims to educate the public, inspire new leaders and form partnerships to better our community.

From Podiums to Pulpit begins at 6:00 p.m. and will be held at Dunbar Community School, 1857 High Street, Fort Myers, FL 33916. For more information, visit



Spotlight on playwright/Equity Actor Derek Lively (01-01-19)

Derek Lively is an actor, playwright and screenwriter. Since relocating to Fort Myers from New York City in 2015, Lively has starred as Walter Lee Younger in Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance’s production of Lorraine Hanberry’s A Raisin in the Sun following another strong performance as Canewell in August Wilson’s Seven Guitars. A member in good standing in both the Actor’s Equity Association and SAG-AFTRA, Lively will play the part of Frederick Douglass in The Agitators in January.

For the rest of this profile, read here.



‘Saturday Night Fever’ on Broadway Palm main stage through February 9 (01-01-19)

On the main stage now through February 9 at the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre is Saturday Night Fever, one of the most adored dance stories of all time. The production captures the passion, energy and life-changing moments that have thrilled audiences for over forty years!

You know the story. The year is 1976 and in Brooklyn, New York, Tony Manero, a young man with a dead-end job tries to escape his problems and dance his way to a better life. With his electric dance moves, he hits the dance floor every weekend at the discotheque, where he tries to win the admiration of the crowd, and his crush, Stephanie. Based on the iconic 1977 film starring John Travolta and Karen Lynn Gorney, the high-energy production features electrifying choreography by Amy Marie McCleary and a score is packed with Bee Gees’ hits including “Night Fever,” “Stayin’ Alive,” “How Deep Is Your Love?,” “Jive Talking,” “You Should Be Dancing” and more!

Making his Broadway Palm debut in the leading role is Michael Notardonato. Michael has played Tony three times before, both in the states and internationally. His most recent portrayal earned him a Connecticut Critics Circle nomination for Outstanding Actor in a Musical. Michael is a proud member of the Actors’ Equity Association (AEA).

Reserve today as tickets are selling fast!



‘MID LIFE 2’ opens January 10 at the Off Broadway Palm (01-01-19)

Next up in the Off Broadway Palm theater is the ever-hysterical follow-up to Mid-Life The Crisis Musical – MID LIFE 2! #WhatDidIComeInHereFor? This uproarious comedy takes us back into the middle ages once again with a hilariously tuneful look at the aches, pains, and joys of getting older. From ever-increasing trips to the doctor’s office, to the horrifying moment when one qualifies for a senior discount, Baby Boomers and beyond are sure to see their lives reflected in this brand new, witty musical revue. If you bought some Gingko-Biloba, but can’t remember where you put it – then you’re ready for MID-LIFE 2! (The Crisis Continues).

The revue opens January 10 and will be on stage through February 23, 2019. For tickets, please call the box office as at 239-278-4422.



Staged Readings return to Moe Auditorium on January 11 (01-01-19)

The Center for Performing Arts’ will host another evening of staged readings in the Moe Auditorium & Film Center on Friday, January 11 beginning at 7:30 p.m.

Featuring poignant selections of written works carefully selected to enthrall and amuse, staged readings come from short stories, essays, plays, speeches, the inside of fortune cookies or anywhere else CFABS feels the written word might be made more impactful as read by local thespians. Each staged reading is a unique, powerful, funny and thought-provoking evening of entertainment as actors take on different roles.

Watch the transformative power of acting as directors and actors introduce all of us to works that may illuminate our mainstage work or introduce us to future programming possibilities. After readings, you’re invited to meet the cast and discuss the play with the director and actors. This lively and informative discussion brings new insight to the art of theater.



Submissions for ‘Stage It!’ 3 close January 20 (01-01-19)

The Center for Performing Arts Bonita Springs is now accepting submissions for its next STAGE IT! 10-MINUTE PLAYS challenge. The deadline for submissions is January 20, 2019. Interested playwrights may submit up to three 10-minute plays. The submission fee for the first entry is $15 and $10 for each additional entry up to three. Plays should be in generally-accepted script format and must be emailed to or mailed to the Center for Performing Arts, 10150 Bonita Beach Road, Bonita Springs, FL 34135, c/o: STAGE IT.

Submissions will be reviewed by at least two theatre professionals on a blind jury basis (so do not place your name on the script itself). The judges’ critique forms will be available to the playwrights after the competition, by request.

Ten plays will be selected for live performances at the Moe Auditorium and Film Center on the campus of the Center for the Performing Arts, and will be published by the Centers for the Arts Bonita Springs in their third collection of STAGE IT! Ten-Minute Plays. The Center will most likely invite more plays for publication in the book as well as future performances in its Funny Shorts LIVE! shows that are featured three times a year. Set, lighting and sound requirements should be minimal as the Center for Performing Arts does not have a limitless production budget and will cut for cost.

An “Audience Favorite” will be named following the performances, with the winner receiving a $100 cash prize.

For additional information, please email or call 239-495-8989.

For information on last year’s Stage It! Ten-Minute Play Festival and Book Release, read here.



‘Improv Tonight’ returns to Moe Auditorium on February 8 (01-01-19)

Join CFABS for some of Southwest Florida’s best improvisational comedy on Friday, February 8.

Bonita City Improv will perform musical improv, games and scenes that include suggestions provided by the audience. Every show is different with special guests always popping in from nationally-touring improv groups. Be as involved in the show as you’d like – whether you’re just setting a scene with your suggestions or you’re on stage as a player.

The fun starts at 8:00 p.m. at the Center for Performing Arts – Moe Auditorium & Film Center, 10150 Bonita Beach Road.

Adult Tickets are $13.50 for members and $15 for non-members. Beer and wine is available for purchase.



Florida Rep’s ‘Tenderly’ a loving salute to Rosemary Clooney (01-01-19)

Tenderly: The Rosemary Clooney Musical opened yesterday at Florida Repertory Theatre following four nearly-sold-out preview performances December 18-20. The show reunites regional theater and New York veteran Susan Haefner and frequent Florida Rep guest artist Michael Marotta. The duo originated their roles in the 2014 world-premiere production at the Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park.

Tenderly looks back at Clooney’s modest childhood in Maysville, Kentucky and follows her rise to Hollywood and recording stardom before the advent of rock ‘n’ roll and a battle with depression and addiction threatened her career. Clooney’s signature songs are woven in and out of the story, as audiences learn about her professional successes as well as her struggles – and cheer for her triumphant comeback. With over 20 of her most beloved hits, the score is itself a salute to the golden age of music, and features all the songs that made Rosemary famous, like Hey There, Sisters, Botch-a-Me, Mambo Italiano, and of course, Tenderly.

“This musical is a wonderful tribute to one of the most recognizable voices of the 20th Century, and we are so pleased to have the original cast with us here in Southwest Florida,” states Artistic Director Greg Longenhagen. “Many people don’t know Rosemary’s life story, which touched so many lives, and this musical shows us what a strong woman she was. She sang some of the most beloved music that defined the 1940s and 1950s, and hers is a story of courage and resilience that audiences will love.”

Janet Yates Vogt and Mark Friedman teamed up to write the musical, which is a personal and poignant portrait of the woman whose unparalleled talent and unbridled personality made her a legend!

Tenderly marks Haefner’s Florida Rep debut. Marotta takes on multiple roles in the production, including Bing Crosby, José Ferrer, Frank Sinatra, Clooney’s psychiatrist, and even her mother and sister, Betty. New York-based, Marotta appears in the role for the 6th time with this production and was seen most recently in Florida Rep’s Cabaret last March.

Also making her Florida Rep debut is Director Eleanor Holdridge, who’s worked at major regional companies across the country and holds an MFA in directing from Yale. In addition to her extensive work as a director, Holdridge is Head of Directing at Catholic University of America’s Department of Drama.

Musical Director Victoria Casella (Florida Rep’s Night and Day and Spelling Bee) and Choreographer MK Lawson (Florida Rep debut) join Holdridge to lead an expert creative team, including Resident Set Designer Jordan Moore (Florida Rep’s Damascus), Costume Designer Charlene Gross (Florida Rep’s Night and Day), Ensemble Lighting Designer Todd O. Wren (Florida Rep’s How the Other Half Loves), Sound Designer Katie Lowe (Florida Rep’s Damascus), and Ensemble Stage Manager Amy Massari (Florida Rep’s Becoming Dr. Ruth).

The show runs through February 24. Tickets, which are available online at and through the box office at 239-332-4488, are priced at $55 for regular performances and $35 for discounted previews. Performances are Tuesday through Thursday at 7:00 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8:00 p.m. and 2:00 p.m. on Thursday, Saturday and Sunday. There are no performances on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

New this season, Florida Rep’s parking lot will open 2 hours before each performance and offers guests limited free parking across the street from the Arcade Theatre.



August Wilson’s ‘Fences’ opens at Florida Rep for limited engagement on Jan 10 (01-01-19)

August Wilson’s Fences opens at Florida Repertory Theatre on January 11 for a limited run that ends January 30. The play is a multiple Tony Award-winning Best Play and winner of the Pulitzer Prize for drama. The modern American classic follows Troy Maxson, a former star of the Negro leagues now struggling to support his family as a trash collector in 1957 Pittsburgh. Excluded from the major leagues during his prime, Troy’s bitterness takes its toll on his relationships with his wife and teenaged son, who now has his chance to become a star athlete.

“August Wilson is one of the greatest playwrights of the 20th century,” says Artistic Director Greg Longenhagen, “and Florida Rep is honored to be taking on one of his most well-known plays. This important, poignant, and heartbreaking drama is one of Wilson’s American Century Cycle plays, and we have assembled an expert cast and creative team to bring this award-winning American story to life for you.”

August Wilson’s celebrated American Century Cycle captures 100 years of African American life during each decade of the 20th century. The cycle begins in the early 1900s, when wounds from slavery and the Civil War were still fresh, and closes in the 1990s when even a large and increasingly influential black middle class would not escape persistent racial tensions. Fences is Wilson’s offering for the 1950s, and like many of the plays in his Cycle, it takes place in Pittsburgh’s Hill District.


Mujahid Abdul-Rashid (2nd photo) plays Troy Maxson for the third time. Making his Florida Rep debut in Florida Rep’s production, he most recently portrayed Troy Maxson for Short North Stage in Columbus, Ohio.

Gayle Samuels (3rd photo) is cast as Rose Maxson after her appearance earlier this year in the Broadway revival of “Children of a Lesser God” directed by Kenny Leon. Like Abdul-Rashid, Samuels is also making her Florida Rep debut.

Also in the cast as Troy’s longtime friend, Bono, is John Archie (4th photo), whose appearances at Florida Rep include Dividing the Estate, To Kill a Mockingbird, and the 2017 PlayLab Festival.

Brian D. Coats (Florida Rep debut) plays Gabriel in Florida Rep’s Fences, after a recent Broadway appearance in August Wilson’s Jitney, the last of the American Century Cycle plays to open on Broadway.

Daniel Morgan Shelley (6th photo) plays Troy’s older son, Lyons, after recent appearances in Florida Rep’s PlayLab Festival and the theatre’s 2007 co-production of Romeo and Juliet with the Classical Theatre of Harlem. Recent Emerson College graduate, Marc Alexander Pierre (photo 7) also makes his Florida Rep debut as Troy’s youngest son, Cory, and local actress Johnieann Smith (Bayshore Elementary, photo 8) appears in her second Florida Rep production after appearing in 2017’s To Kill a Mockingbird. Smith is understudied by another of Florida Rep rising star, JoLe Peynado (Fort Myers Christian School).

One of the country’s preeminent directors of Wilson’s work, Benny Sato Ambush (Florida Rep debut), directs and is joined by Ensemble Set Designer Richard Crowell (Florida Rep’s Outside Mullingar), Costume Designer Danielle Preston (Florida Rep debut), Ensemble Lighting Designer Todd O. Wren (Florida Rep’s Tenderly), Sound Designer Katie Lowe (Florida Rep’s Damascus), and Stage Manager Lisa Lamont, returning to Florida Rep after her work in the company’s early years.

August Wilson’s Fences is generously sponsored by WGCU Public Media. The Media Sponsor is Lee Pitts Live on FOX 4.

Tickets are priced at $55 and $49 for regular performances and $35 and $29 for discounted previews and are available online at and through the box office at 239-332-4488. Subscriptions start as low as $99 for three plays and offer the best seats and the most significant savings, and are available through the box office. Box office hours are Monday through Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. New this season, Florida Rep’s parking lot will open two hours before each performance and offers guests limited free parking across the street from the Arcade Theatre.

Performances in the Historic Arcade Theatre are Tuesday-Thursday at 7:00 p.m.; Friday and Saturday at 8:00 p.m.; and Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday at 2:00 p.m. The theatre’s regular preview schedule is different for Fences ONLY, and the weekday matinee for that week only is Thursday, January 10th. Previews for August Wilson’s Fences are January 8 at 7:00 p.m., January 9 at 7:00 p.m., and January 10 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

Florida Repertory Theatre performs in the Historic Arcade Theatre and the ArtStage Studio Theatre on Bay St. between Jackson & Hendry with limited free parking in the Fort Myers River District. Visit Florida Rep online at, and by following the company on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.



Lab Theater producing best new rock musical in generation (01-01-19)

The four-time Tony Award winner Hedwig and the Angry Inch by Stephen Trask & John Cameron Mitchell opens January 18th at The Laboratory Theater of Florida.

As the name connotes, the play follows Hedwig, a boy born in East Berlin prior to the fall of the Wall. He meets an American G.I. by the name of Luther Robinson, who proposes marriage. But there’s one small glitch. In order for the couple’s marriage to be recognized by the military and immigration authorities, they must be a male-female couple. Desperate to escape East Germany, Hedwig undergoes a sex change operation. But the procedure is botched, leaving Hedwig with a dysfunctional one-inch mound of flesh between his legs – the proverbial and eponymous “angry inch.”

The couple settle in Junction City, Kansas, but Luther leaves Hedwig for a man – coincidentally on the same day the Berlin Wall comes tumbling down and East Germans pour freely into the West. Ah, but life goes on. Hedwig meets, befriends and mentors a young boy named Tommy, but he too ditches Hedwig, stealing the songs that he and Hedwig wrote while they were together. Because of the songs, Tommy becomes a wildly successful rock star, thereby adding insult to injury.

Read here for the rest of his advance.

And you will find play dates, times and tick info here.



PJ McCready takes on role of Hedwig in Lab’s upcoming musical (01-01-19)

PJ McCready will be tackling the ambitious role of rock singer Hedwig Robinson in Lab Theater’s upcoming musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch. For more on McCready, read here.



Paul Graffy directing ‘Hedwig and the Angry Inch’ for Lab (01-01-19)

The four-time Tony Award winner Hedwig and the Angry Inch by Stephen Trask & John Cameron Mitchell opens January 18th at The Laboratory Theater of Florida. Paul Graffy directs. Graffy directed Les Liaisons Dangereuses for The Naples Players in 2014 and Steel Magnolias for The Naples Players in 2013. He’s directed at other places as well, including at Juilliard while he was a student there. To see all of Paul’s theater credits, read here.



‘Agitators’ presents compelling portrait of two flawed agents of change (01-01-19)

Next up at Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance for the Arts is The Agitators by Mat Smart. The Agitators chronicles the oft-tempestuous 46-year friendship that evolved between Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass from their meeting in Rochester, through the Civil War and to the highest halls of government. They agitated each other. The agitated the nation. And in the process, they helped shape the Constitution and the course of American history.

Anthony and Douglas were two of history’s most important activists for equality. When they met for the first time at picnic in 1849, Douglas was already America’s most famous advocate for the abolition of slavery. Anthony had not yet built a reputation, but she was nonetheless on the verge of launching her campaign for women’s rights, including suffrage. Over the course of the play’s two-plus-hour running time, Smart drops the audience into eleven separate scenes that highlight the conflicts that existed within and between these legendary orators and organizers.

Read the rest of this advance here.

‘Agitators’ play dates, times and ticket info



Galyean & Lively play Susan B. Anthony & Frederick Douglass in ‘The Agitators’ (01-01-19)

When it comes to local theater, there are certain iconic pairings. Like Rachel Burttram and real-life spouse Brendan Powers. Anne Dodd and Patrick Day. Trossbach and Graffy. But brace yourself Southwest Florida (and apologies to any power pairings omitted). In January, Dena Galyean and Derek Lively will face off as Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass in Theatre Conspiracy’s production of The Agitators!

Both are coming off perhaps the best performances in their already illustrious careers, Galyean as Nora Helmer in Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll’s House and Lively as Walter Lee Younger in Lorraine Hansberry’s masterwork, A Raisin in the Sun.

Galyean is one of the hardest working thespians in all of Southwest Florida. She always seems to land fascinating roles. Prior to A Doll’s House, she appeared as Stella Kowalski in The Studio Players’ production of Tennessee William’s A Streetcar Named Desire at the Golden Gate Community Center. Smart, insightful and prone to thoughtful introspection, she’s come a long way since her seminal role after landing in Southwest Florida from Chicago as Louise in Lab Theater’s production of Steve Martin’s The Underpants in 2015. (Undies may be racy, but Vixen’s smokin’ hot.)

Few theater-goers who caught his performance in A Raisin in the Sun will ever forget Lively jumping on his mother’s coffee table as his character performs an impromptu song-and-dance duet with his sister as both seek to connect with their repressed (suppressed) African heritage. But his portrayal of Walter Younger was not Lively’s first “tour d’force” performance. That appellation was employed by a theater critic nearly 20 years ago to describe his performance in Dreamin’ in Church, a one-actor dramedy by playwright Robert O’Hara that was part of Worth Street Theater Company’s Snapshots 2000.

Here’s more.



‘Don’t Dress for Dinner’ opens in Blackburn Hall January 16 (01-01-19)

The Naples Players’ production of Don’t Dress for Dinner takes the stage in Blackburn Hall January 16 through February 10. Directed by TNP’s Associate Artistic Director Jessica Walck (Kalamazoo, June & Jason’s Survival Guide to Divorce), the play features seasoned TNP actor James Duggan (Maple & Vine), local actor/director Brett Marston, Rachel Ewy, Rachel Borwein, Lori Grandson and Daniel Ospina.

Don’t Dress for Dinner is a clever and rollicking comedy written by French playwright Marc Camoletti (Boeing-Boeing). Here’s the plot: Bernard plans a romantic weekend rendez vous with his saucy mistress, complete with a gourmet caterer and an alibi courtesy of his friend, Robert. But when Bernard’s wife learns that Robert will be visiting for the weekend, she decides to stay in town for a surprise tryst of her own—setting the stage for a collision course of assumed identities and outrageous infidelities. The cook is Suzette, the lover is Suzanne, the friend is bewildered, the wife is suspicious, the husband is losing his mind, and everyone is guaranteed a good time at this hilarious romp through the French countryside.

“It is all in the timing; the absolutely ridiculous situation they find themselves in, and how they realistically have to wiggle themselves out of it without getting caught,” says Walck. “And, the audience gets to witness the insanity unfold!”

“The challenge is you have to be in complete unison, its truly an ensemble piece of work,” adds Duggan, who teamed with Marston to give a brilliantly dynamic comedic performance in TNP’s production of The Foreigner. “It’s so quick—if one of us falls, we all fall.”

Rachel Ewy plays Jacqueline. She was previously seen as Belle in TNP’s Beauty & the Beast and has performed at TNP since a young age. Ewy also recently directed ETC Readers Theatre’s Making God Laugh.

The role of Suzette is played by Rachel Borwein, who was seen last season as Petruchio in Taming of the Shrew. Rachel also performs with local theatre troupe The Studio Players.

Lori Grandon is celebrating her TNP mainstage debut in the role of Suzanne. She has participated in ETC Readers Theatre and has also performed in The Vagina Monologues benefiting Project Help.

Daniel Ospina plays George and is a newcomer who is excited to begin his journey onstage with The Naples Players.

Don’t Dress for Dinner runs January 16 – February 10, 2019 in Blackburn Hall at The Naples Players at Sugden Theatre at 701 5thAvenue South in Naples.

There is a Red Carpet Opening Night event on January 16, 2019 at 6:00 p.m. before the show which features Red Carpet partners Riptide Brewery, Emillions Art, Fairways Wine Vault, Spice & Tea Exchange of Naples, Neubek Photographers NeuBoothPhoto Booth and live music. The production is s sponsored by Gulf Coast International Properties.

Tickets are $40 and are available for purchase online at or by contacting the Box Office at (239) 263-7990.



TNP ETC Readers presenting ‘Evening of New Plays’ on January 20 (01-01-19)

The Naples Players (TNP) ETC Readers Theatre Program will present “An Evening of New Plays” at 7:00 p.m. on Sunday, January 20 in the Tobye Studio Theater.

“An Evening of New Plays” is an experimental showcase of four original works, which the ETC Volunteer Committee selected through their annual new plays competition to be read aloud onstage in the Tobye Studio Theatre. The new plays to be presented are

  1. The Honeylocust Tree written by Marc Simon and directed by Erin Laughlin;
  2. The Name Game written by Cerin Holes and directed by Jamie Lynn Bucci;
  3. Intermission written by Ed Belling and directed by Judith Gangi Santos; and
  4. Stopping By written by Carole Fenstermacher and directed by Jim Corsica.

Tickets for “An Evening of New Plays” are $10 and available online at or by contacting The Naples Players Box Office at (239) 263-7990.



Francis, Hardcastle, Garnett and Kimball to star in TNP’s ‘Marjorie Prime’ (01-01-19)

Jordan Harrison’s Marjorie Prime opens at The Naples Players on February 6. Clever and captivating, this Pulitzer Prize-winning play explores the mysteries of human identity and the limits – if any – of what technology can replace.

TNP Executive Artistic Director Bryce Anderson directs a cast that features Kay Francis as Marjorie, Kenneth Hardcastle as her husband, Walter, Debi Garnett (Kalamazoo) plays her daughter, Tess, with Kevin Kimball in the role of Tess’ husband, Jon.

Among the questions the play poses is the connection between memory and family dynamics. For example, if technology offered you the chance to speak with your lost loved ones, would you take it? And if given the chance, what would you choose to remember and what would you choose to forget?

Sponsored by Naples Audiology, the creative team for this production includes Scenic Design by Alyssa LeBlanc, Sound Design by Bradley Van Houten, Lighting Design by Chris Riley, Sound Design by Bradley Van Houten, Costume Design by Dot Auchmoody and Stage Management by Kenzie Currie.

Marjorie Prime runs February 6 through March 3 in the Tobye Studio Theatre at The Naples Players at Sugden Theatre, 701 5th Avenue South in Naples. Tickets are $40 and are available for purchase online at or by contacting the Box Office at (239) 263-7990.



Vanagas, Coccari and Campbell headlining TNP’s ‘Midsummer Night’s Dream’ (01-01-19)

Mark Vanagas, Alisa Marie Coccari and Titania Kylie Campbell headline the cast of The Naples Players’ upcoming production of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Directed by John McKerrow, A Midsummer Night’s Dream will be performed free on the Baker Stage as part of TNP’s continuing effort to provide accessible Shakespeare to the community. Audience members are invited to bring lawn chairs and picnic s to enjoy Shakespeare under the trees and stars in the Sugden Plaza. The show will run Saturdays and Sundays, February 16 – March 10, 2019.

Shakespeare wrote A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 1595-1596. It is the mischievous and light comedy consisting of four plots, interconnected by the wedding celebration of Theseus, the Duke of Athens, and the Amazon Queen, Hippolyta. The classic story is about order and chaos, reality and appearance, and love and marriage.

In modern tradition, the cast of ten actors will play multiple roles:

  • Mark Vanagas as Thesus and Oberon
  • Alisa Marie Coccari as Hipployta and Titania
  • Kylie Campbell as Puck, Egeus, Snout and Moon
  • Kacey Canas plays Hermia
  • Jennifer Valiente is Helena and Mustardseed
  • Zachary Pachol is Lysander
  • Ty Bolen plays Demetrius, Snug and Lion
  • David Whalley is Bottom and Pyramus
  • Robert Ball is Peter Quince, Prologue, Wall and Cobweb
  • Shelley Gothard plays Flute, Thisbe and Peaseblossom.

A Midsummer’s Night Dream is sponsored by Neapolitan Family Magazine. The production’s Scenic Designer is Mike Santos with assistance by Megan Macker. Costume Design is by Mark Vanagas, Lighting Design by Chris Riley, and Sound Design by Bradley Van Houten and Grey Conderman. Lisa Nuccio will serve as Stage Manager.

As the show is free to the public, no ticket reservations are required to attend. But audience members are encouraged to arrive early with lawn chairs and picnic blankets.

Now celebrating its 65th season, The Naples Players Sugden Community Theatre is Naples’ oldest theater and is a vital part of the exciting experience of Downtown Naples. The Naples Players continually seeks to enrich, educate, and entertain the community through a superior theater experience. TNP is inspiring passion for the performing arts through life-long opportunities to participate in vibrant theatrical experiences.



Dawn and Charles Fornara leading ‘Guys & Dolls’ musical direction (01-01-19)

Guys & Dolls will open in Blackburn Hall at The Naples Players Sugden Theatre on March 6. And leading the choreography and musical direction is the creative team of Dawn Lebrecht Fornara (directing & choreography) and Charles Fornara (musical direction). This is the same artistic duet that led the creative and musical direction behind TNP’s sell-out productions, Chicago and Irving Berlin’s White Christmas.

Interestingly, it was Guys & Dolls that brought Charlie and Dawn together for the first time fifteen years ago. Now, they are poised to re-live those moments, but as a married couple.

Guys & Dolls is a classic American musical featuring some of Frank Loesser’s most memorable tunes, including the hilarious “Adelaide’s Lament,” the romantic “I’ve Never Been in Love Before,” the exuberant “If I Were a Bell,” and the classic “Luck Be a Lady.” Involving the unlikeliest of Manhattan pairings, Guys & Dolls follows the story of a high-rolling gambler and a puritanical missionary, a showgirl dreaming of the straight-and-narrow and a crap game manager who is anything but.

Guys & Dolls takes us from bustle of Times Square to the dance clubs of Havana to the sewers of New York City as it demonstrates the great lengths to which a guy will go when he truly falls in love with a “doll”.

Stage Management is by Cole Butcher and Jules Branche and Amy Tran are the Assistant Stage Managers. Guys & Dolls is produced with Scenic Design by Mike Santos, Lighting Design by Craig Walck and Chris Riley, Sound Design by Bradley Van Houten, and Costume Design by Dot Auchmoody.

Guys & Dolls runs March 6 – April 7, 2019. Tickets are $45 and are available for purchase online at or by contacting the Box Office at (239) 263-7990.


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