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Actors, artists, directors, filmmakers and events in the news July 1-7, 2021

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Grouped under headings that include art openings, film, outdoor art fairs and festivals and theater are advances, announcements and articles about the actors, artists, filmmakers and events making news in Southwest Florida this week:

 

1      ACTORS

 

Rachael Lord is Jenna Sealy in Off Broadway Palm’s ‘Farce of Nature’

Rachael Lord is performing in the Off Broadway Palm now through July 25 in the Southern-fried comedy Farce of Nature. She plays Jenna Sealy, the long-suffering girlfriend of Ty Wilburn who, during his long absence, has become the boytoy of a Chicago gangster’s sexy wife. It’s just how Rachael chooses to prepare for starting the Creative Writing MFA program at Drexel University in the Fall. But fear not, she can do most of the work online so she’s not leaving the area – and that means we can look forward to seeing her in more shows. Go here to view all of Rachael’s stage and other theatrical credits.

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Shelley Sanders makes Off Broadway Palm debut in ‘Farce of Nature’

Shelley Sanders is making her Off Broadway Palm debut in Farce of Nature, which runs through July 25. Sanders’ acting credits include both dramatic, comedic and musical theater roles, including Amy Lee in the Alliance for the Arts’ outdoor production of Laundry and Bourbon, Brooke in the filmed theatrical production of Realish Housewives of Fort Myers for Lab Theater (during COVID pandemic), a variety of roles in Ken Ludwig’s Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery by Ken Ludwig, Columbia in Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show (New Phoenix Theatre) and the lead in Marian, or the True Tale of Robin Hood (Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance).  Go here to see her full resume of roles.

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Sue Schaffel appears as Norma Desmond for Lab in ‘Sunset Schmoulevard’

Sue Schaffel loves zany, so it should come as no surprise that she’s Norma Desmond in Lab Theater’s summer parody, Sunset Schmoulevard.  An accomplished EMC actor who is based in Southwest Florida, her roles in Lab’s other summer spoofs include Blanche DuBois in Death of a Streetcar Named Virginia Woolf: A Parody and Velma in Hush Up Sweet Charlotte. She also appeared in the hybrid filmed theater production of The Realish Housewives of Fort Myers during the COVID-19 pandemicPlease go here to see all of Sue’s stage and film credits.

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Steven Coe is Joe Gillis in Lab’s ‘Sunset Schmoulevard’ spoof

Steven Coe plays Joe Gillis in Lab’s summer spoof, Sunset Schmoulevard, playing through July 3. Coe is one of Southwest Florida’s most intelligent and engaging actors. His evolving body of work includes starring roles as Sandro Botticelli in the regional premiere of Jordan Tannahill’s Botticelli in the Fire, John Proctor in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, Thomas Novachek in David Ives’ Venus in Fur for The Studio Players, Andri in Andorra, The Boy in Veronica’s Room, and Doug in Neil LaBute’s The Way We Get By, as well as memorable supporting and ensemble appearances in Sarah Ruhl’s How to Transcend a Happy MarriageHush Up Sweet Charlotte, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane: A Parody of the Horror, Arthur Kopit’s Wings, Rick Abbot’s Play On!, The Last Night of Ballyhoo and The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940. . Go here to see Steven’s impressive resume.

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Summer spoof ‘Sunset Schmoulevard’ features actor Madelaine Weymouth

Local actor and director Madelaine Weymouth plays multiple roles in Lab Theater’s summer spoof Sunset Schmoulevard which plays through July 3. Weymouth’s acting credits include Clarice Orsini in the regional premiere of Jordan Tannahill’s Botticelli in the Fire, Lab’s production of Kayleigh O’Connell’s Projekt Grotesquerie, Dr. Watson in Ken Ludwig’s Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery, Robyn in Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man (for Lab Theater) and Vandy Jordan in Venus in Fur (for The Studio Players). But go here to see everything she’s been in.

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Brian Linthicum plays multiple roles in ‘Sunset Schmoulevard’

On the heels of his performance as wealthy businessman Charles Strickland in David Mamet’s Race, Brian Linthicum is now playing multiple roles for Lab Theater in its traditional June parody, Sunset Schmoulevard, a spoof of the iconic 50s film Sunset Boulevard, which Lab Artistic Director Annette Trossbach has adapted for the stage. Brian Linthicum is a local actor who has been involved in community theater for more than 40 years. Go here to see all the shows in which he’s appeared.

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Greg Wojciechowski makes Lab debut in ‘Sunset Schmoulevard’

Greg Wojciechowski is a retired lawyer from Chicago who moved to Fort  Myers in 2011. That’s when he also exchanged the courtroom for the stage. He has been in numerous productions in various venues in Southwest Florida. Some favorite roles include Norman Thayer in On Golden Pond for Cultural Park Theater, Teddy Brewster in Arsenic and Old Lace, Ken Gorman in Rumors at New Phoenix Theatre, and Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest for Cultural Park Theater. He now appears for Lab Theater as Max von Mayerling in its summer spoof Sunset Schmoulevard.

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Daniel Sabiston appearing in Lab spoof ‘Sunset Schmoulevard’

Daniel Sabiston is appearing in Lab Theater’s annual summer spoof. This year, that’s Sunset Schmoulevard. Sabiston just completed his run in the regional premiere of Jordan Tannahill’s Botticelli in the Fire. Other roles include an oh-so-mean bully (not bunny) rabbit by the name of Serling Hunter in Kayleigh O’Connell’s Projekt Grotesquerie, Ezekiel Cheever in The Crucible and the Journeyman in Andorra, all for the Laboratory Theater of Florida. Daniel also appeared in several staged readings at Lab Theater, including Julia (Stage Manager/Narrator), Routine (Public Radio Announcer/911 Operator 2) and Stop Kiss (Peter).

 

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2    THEATER

 

The word at Broadway Palm through August 14 is ‘GREASE’

This summer GREASE is the word at Broadway Palm! Playing through August 14, 2021, travel back in time with your favorite teenagers in this light-hearted and nostalgic look at young love. This feel good, rock ‘n’ roll musical is sure to get everyone dancing in the aisles and singing along to their favorite songs.

Broadway Palm’s time warp will transport you back to Rydell High and the hot-rodding Burger Palace Boys with its gum-snapping, hip-shaking Pink Ladies. Head “greaser” Danny Zuko and new girl Sandy Dumbrowski try to relive their summer romance as the rest of the gang sings and dances their way through Greased Lightnin’; Summer Nights; Born to Hand Jive; We Go Together; Look at Me, I’m Sandra Dee; You’re The One That I Want; Beauty School Dropout; and more!

Performances are Wednesday through Sunday evenings with selected matinees. Tickets are $48 to $73. There is a summer special for children 18 and under, tickets are just $20 for the meal and the show. Group prices are also available. Tickets are now on sale and can be reserved by calling (239) 278-4422, visiting BroadwayPalm.com or in person at 1380 Colonial Boulevard in Fort Myers.

Broadway Palm is continuing to follow CDC guidelines while providing a delicious meal and exceptional entertainment in a safe and socially distanced environment. For a list of the extensive health and safety measures they have taken, please visit BroadwayPalm.com. It is important to note that Broadway Palm is asking guests that are not fully vaccinated to wear a face mask while not eating or drinking. Proof of vaccination will not be required.

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Southern-fried comedy ‘Farce of Nature’ in Off Broadway Palm through July 25

On stage in the Off Broadway Palm is Farce of Nature by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope and Jamie Wooten – the same trio who produced the Off Broadway Palm fan favs  The Savannah Sipping Society and The Dixie Swim Club.

Farce of Nature is a Southern-fried farce that highlights a day in the life of the Wilburn family of Mayhew, Arkansas. The Wilburnes run a struggling fishing lodge in the Ozarks by the name of the Reel ‘Em Inn, which becomes the backdrop for a motley collection of flawed characters stirring up a hilarious comedic stew – which include an extremely jittery guest by the name of Carmine DeLuca who arrives as a guest because of a glitch in the Witness Protection Program; the lodge’s grizzled proprietor, D. Gene Wilburn; his frustrated wife, Wanelle, who’s fed up with their lackluster romantic life and has taken drastic steps to improve it through hypnotic suggestion; D. Gene’s feisty sister, Maxie, whose efforts to keep Carmine alive is threatened by her proclivity to lose both her gun and the bullets; another Chicago gangster and his sexy wife, Lola, who has driven hundreds of miles to be with her boytoy, Ty, who is D. Gene and Wanelle’s son; and Ty’s seemingly innocent girlfriend Jenna, whose patience has reached the breaking point after months of waiting for Ty to come home.

In the deliciously funny romp that ensues, they all hide, lie, disguise themselves, cross-dress, and slam doors (the hallmark of all farces, n’est pas?), while trying to figure out the source of an increasingly awful stench. By then it’s too late and the lodge is surrounded by vicious critters and hungry varmints that have been lured by the odor from the surrounding hills. In the delightfully chaotic climax of this one outrageous day, love blossoms, truths are revealed, and the lives of all—family, guests and gangsters alike—change in incredible and surprising ways. This side-splittingly funny Jones Hope Wooten comedy is guaranteed to win your audiences over—hook, line, and stinker!

The Off Broadway Palm has adjusted their seating arrangement and is operating at a 50% capacity. For a list of the extensive health and safety measures the theatre has taken, please visit BroadwayPalm.com. It is important to note that Broadway Palm is asking guests who are not fully vaccinated to wear a face mask while not eating or drinking for the protection of the cast, crew, staff and other patrons.

The show runs through July 25. For tickets, please call the box office at 239-278-4422 or visit https://broadwaypalm.com.

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‘Doctor Dolittle Jr’ coming to Hinman Auditorium July 9-11

The Center for Performing Arts will present the adorable family tale of Doctor Dolittle, Jr. on July 9-11 in the Hinman Auditorium at 10150 Bonita Beach Road. This charming musical tells the tale of a wacky, but kind doctor who can talk to animals. Immortalized in the movie starring David Niven where the song, “Talk with the Animals” became an endearing classic for animal-lovers around the world, Doctor Dolittle Jr. takes audiences on a journey from a small English village to the far corners of the world.

Dr. Dolittle (Cecelia Zafra) lives in a small English village of Puddleby-on-the-Marsh. Realizing that he’s not a great people doctor, he resolves to become a great animal doctor instead. Thanks to a centuries-old parrot named Polynesia (Gianna Lucarelli), Dolittle learns to talk with the animals. When the doctor is sent to an insane asylum by his nemesis, General Bellowes (Ava Tufo), for freeing a lovesick seal from captivity, Polynesia and the doctor’s two closest human friends, Madeline and Tommy (Lyla Hogue and David Eisenberg) plot an escape. Along with Bellowes’ niece Emma (Amelia den Hertog), they set out by boat to find a famed and elusive creature—the Great Pink Sea Snail, eventually finding the creature on the floating Sea Star Island, a haven for animals of all kinds governed by Straight Arrow (Kylie Hackett). The villagers stand-up to authority on behalf of the good doctor and welcome him home.

Director Frank Blocker, Music Director Joseph Brauer (the Center’s new Youth Theatre Director) and student choreographer Lorelei Vega worked with students from Lee and Collier counties to produce this youth-centric musical. Ruben Dario Vazquez provides the scene design and Angelia Winn the costumes with assistant direction and stage management from Toni Palumbo.

Playing various animals both real and imaginary, as well as villagers, circus performers and militant islanders, the ensemble includes Colton Baugh, Leah Bertuna, Caitlyn Clark, Grace Iacobucci, Suzanna Lawson, Gabriella Macias, Sofia Passos, Josie Reed, Amelia Seth, Hannah Sidwell and Athena Yurjevich.

Performances are Friday, July 9 and Saturday, July 10 at 7:00 p.m. and Saturday, July 10, and Sunday, July 11 at 2:00 p.m. Tickets are $17.50-$22.50.

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CFABS brings Macbeth into the computer age

The tormented old-world tragedy that is Shakespeare’s Macbeth plays out at the Center for Performing Arts in a ridiculously inappropriate setting – the modern, corporate, computer age! Sink your teeth into this filthy rich tale of political power, greed, paranoia and who gets to claim credit for the next big IT idea in five delicious performances – at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, July 22-24 and at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, July 24 & 25. And here’s the rub: the audience not only chooses the ending, it chooses their favorite dessert at intermission! Go here to purchase tickets.

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Florida Rep producing world premiere of Jones/Coble collaboration ‘Bulletproof Backpack’

Florida Repertory Theatre is bringing the world premiere of Bulletproof Backpack to the historic Arcade Theatre for a limited engagement August 11-15. Conceived by Education Director Kody C. Jones and written by Broadway playwright Coble (the same creative team behind 2018-s hard-hitting play Refugee), Bulletproof Backpack began as a student driven social conflict project that originated with Oregon Children’s Theatre. Written with contributions from a team of local Southwest Florida young people, the play creates a platform for students to research, discuss and interview their local community on the subject of gun violence in our schools. Bulletproof Backpack is an  intertwining of student feedback and interviews with fictional characters who beg for answers and continue to pose the question… “How can we feel safe in our schools?”

Performances are August 11-15. Tickets are $25/$20.

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Lab’s best summer parody so far, ‘Sunset Schmoulevard,’ closes July 3

On stage through July 3 is Sunset Schmoulevard. It’s an affectionate parody of the iconic 1950 Hollywood dark comedy noir film Sunset Boulevard, which was co-written and directed by Billy Wilder and starred William Holden as Joe Gillis, a struggling screenwriter, and Gloria Swanson as Norma Desmond, a former silent-film star who draws him into her demented fantasy world, where she dreams of making a triumphant return to the screen.

Sunset Schmoulevard carries on a tradition that Lab began in 2017 with Whatever Happened to Baby Jane: A Parody of the Horror.  Lab followed that with Hush Up Sweet Charlotte in 2018 and Death of a Streetcar Named Virginia Woolf in 2019. While those parodies were terrific, this one is great.

The rest of this review is here.

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Melody Lane brings ’80s jukebox musical ‘Rock of Ages’ to Cultural Park Theater

Melody Lane Performing Arts Center is bringing the 80s jukebox musical Rock of Ages High School Edition to Cultural Park Theater for four spirited performances in July. The five-time Tony Award®-nominated Broadway musical smash features fan-favorite ’80s rock anthems and power ballads such as “Every Rose Has Its Thorn,” “I Wanna Know What Love Is,” “Here I Go Again,” “Don’t Stop Believin,” “Wanted Dead or Alive” and more along … with an endearing – and enduring – story of a small-town girl, a big city boy, and a rock ‘n’ roll romance on the Sunset Strip.

Go here for the rest of this advance.

Go here for play dates, times and ticketing.

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‘Wedding Singer’ plays at The Naples Players through July 25

Big hair and shoulder pads at the ready – It’s time to rediscover the 80’s!  Your favorite Adam Sandler movie in musical form takes the stage in Blackburn Hall at The Naples Players through July 25.

Sponsored locally by Porsche Naples, The Wedding Singer’s sparkling new score does for the ‘80s what Hairspray did for the ‘60s. Just say “yes” to the most romantic musical in twenty years!

Things are going pretty well for wedding singer Robbie Hart (Joseph Byrne) until he’s left at the altar by his fiancé, Linda (Erica Sample).  As he struggles to pick up the pieces and continue performing at other people’s weddings, he befriends Julia Sullivan (Alyssa Haney).  Julia is preparing for her wedding to long term boyfriend Glen (David Shaffer) –  whose commitment to their relationship is questionable, to say the least.  Robbie agrees to help Julia plan her wedding when complications arise and the two spend more and more time with each other…

With fan-favorite director and choreographer Dawn Lebrecht Fornara and musical director Charles Fornara at the helm of this production, you will certainly be dancing in your seat – and possibly even in the aisles.

“The Wedding Singer musical has been on our to-do list for some time” says Bryce Alexander, CEO & Executive Artistic Director (photo 4). “The show is funny, poignant, and a great way for audiences who have been disconnected, or in quarantine, to have a little fun. As they say in the show, it’s time for our audiences to ‘come out of the dumpster’ of COVID-19.”

The Fornaras will be leading an all-star ensemble cast of Naples favorites, many of whom have become regular staples of The Naples Players most popular shows. The cast includes (in alphabetical order): Joseph Byrne, Adam Fasano (photo 5), Alyssa Haney, Ruth Johnson, Christine Mastrangelo, Erica Sample (photo 6), David Shaffer, Kenny Tran, Lindsey Walsh, and Dominic Young in the principal roles, and features Leonard Allen, Sade Bassan, Abby Ciabaton, Jim Corsica, Jessica Daniels, Luke Danni, Maxine Danni, Kat Ebaugh, Frankie Federico, Kay Harkins, Madeleine Howe, Danaia Ivanov, Naphtailda Jean-Charles, Monica Joyce, Joseph Loiacono, Elizabeth Marcantonio, Sydney Mixon, Lexi Piper, Andrew Reid, Eileen Reynolds, Thomas Richardson and Ciarán Welch in the ensemble.

To alleviate the concern and spread of COVID-19, the theatre will be limiting capacity. Tickets are expected to sell quickly.  A Red Carpet event open to the public is slated for 6:30-7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 23 and will feature local vendors, food, drinks, and live music from the band Chariot.

Performances are Wednesdays & Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays & Saturday at 8:00 p.m., and Sunday at 2:00 p.m. Both general public and season tickets are on sale at the TNP Box Office.  Those interested can visit NaplesPlayers.org anytime or call the TNP Box Office at (239) 263-7990.

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3     ARTISTS

 

Five artists chosen for Alliance’s 2021 ‘Art Lives Here’ billboard campaign

The Alliance for the Arts Art Lives Here Selection Committee has juried five artists into this year’s billboard campaign. They fabulous five are Tania Alves, Bruce MacKechnie, Doug Smithwick, Khaysie Tiburcio and Susi Wingenroth.

Now in its third year, the Art Lives Here billboard campaign transforms billboard space throughout Lee County into public art. By bringing artwork outside of the traditional context of museum and gallery walls, the campaign draws attention to emerging artists’ work while at the same time making the arts accessible to all.

Go here for the rest of this announcement.

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Susi Wingenroth creates ‘Frame of Reference’ for healthier choices to preserve planet

Susi Wingenroth is one of five artists juried into this year’s Alliance for the Arts Art Lives Here Billboard Campaign. The work that will be coming to a billboard near you is titled Frame of Reference.

“This painting shows the morning sun radiating through the cypress trees in the wild heart of the wetlands,” says Susi of Frame of Reference. “It is intended as a call to those who see it to enjoy, care for and preserve these wild places.  When we look up from our busy lives and notice our home, beautiful living planet Earth, we see a frame of reference for making healthier choices to preserve the planet for all living beings and for future generations.”

Wingenroth is a Lee County School District arts educator. Prior to her current post, Susi taught art at Canterbury School from May of 2006 through August of 2016 and Renaissance School from August of 2001 through June of 2016. She has her B.A. Fine and Studio Arts from the University of Maryland College Park.

Go here for more.

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Bruce MacKechnie’s ‘Fandiggity Fandango’ expresses ‘some sort of lively, joyful dance’

Bruce MacKechnie is one of five artists juried into this year’s Alliance for the Arts Art Lives Here Billboard Campaign. The work that will be coming to a billboard near you is titled Fandiggity Fandango, which possesses in the words of the artist “an exuberance and rhythm that seemed to express some sort of lively, joyful dance, hence the title.”

“I am inspired by the challenge of translating a composition created with mouse clicks into the physical world of paint strokes,” Bruce amplifies. “As subject matter, I am interested in how pure abstraction is so wide open to interpretation. For this reason, I enjoy playing around with shapes, colors, and compositions to see what comes out of the process—especially surprises and unforeseen meanings.”

You will find the rest of this spotlight here.

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For ‘Art Lives Here’ artist Khaysie Tiburcio, art becomes part of the artist

Khaysie Tiburcio is one of five artists juried into this year’s Alliance for the Arts Art Lives Here Billboard Campaign. The work that will be coming to a billboard near you is titled Art Within Their Souls.

“I wanted to create a piece that represented the impact that art has on the painter,” says Khaysie. “This artwork includes portraits of Basquiat, Picasso, and Andy Warhol morphing into their masterpieces. This is used as a metaphor to express how art becomes a part of the artist.”

Tiburcio was inspired to begin painting by her uncle, Cristian Tiburcio, when she was six years old.

Go here for the balance of this spotlight.

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4     ART SHOWS, EXHIBITIONS & ARTS ORGANIZATIONS

 

Jansen’s ‘Two Decades of Relevance’ at Naples’ Baker Museum through July 25

The Baker Museum is hosting a retrospective of work by internationally-acclaimed artist Marcus Jansen through July 25, 2021. Representing Jansen’s first solo museum exhibition in Southwest Florida, Two Decades of Relevance showcases 18 powerful paintings, including Foreclosures (2008), Spotlight (2020) and The Colonialist (2021).

Over that span, Jansen has garnered numerous attention and accolades. Part of this recognition inheres in incredible technical competency and his revolutionary genre-busting style. But what sets Jansen apart from his contemporaries is his uncompromising critical commentary on global political and socio-economic issues and the world events that have shaped his life.

For Jansen, painting is an act of intense engagement with the world. It is this quality that emerges from his urban landscapes and portraiture and connects viscerally with those who encounter his colorful abstract-and-figurative constructions which, individually and in the aggregate, reflect his sustained preoccupation with the struggles of the displaced and disenfranchised, surveillance and technology, and power structures and their manifestations across different spheres.

Jansen’s response to the foregoing concerns is informed by a series of profound life experiences. He mother is Jamaican; his father German. He spent his formative years in the Bronx and his adolescence in Germany. He was diagnosed and treated for PTSD after fighting in Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm in the first Iraq War. And after losing his first wife to cancer, he struggled as a single dad to two boys saddled with a mountain of medical bills while trying to establish himself as an artist with a story to tell. Jansen has emerged from these life events filled with a passion for universal human rights and improved societal conditions. Charged with a sense of empathy and a commitment to justice, his works are, not surprisingly, simultaneously emotional, introspective and intellectual.

Jansen had his first European solo museum exhibitions at La Triennale di Milano Museum, Milan and the Museum Zitadelle Berlin. He has participated in the 12th International Print and Drawing Biennial in Taiwan at the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Art. Works by Jansen are in collections of the Moscow Museum of Modern Art (MMOMA), The University of Michigan Museum of Art, The New Britain Museum of American Art, The Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, The National Taiwan Museum of Fine Art, The Housatonic Museum of Art and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C.

In addition to his studio practice, Jansen is founder of the Marcus Jansen Foundation Fund in Fort Myers, which aims to serve veterans with PTSD and economically-disadvantaged children through enhanced cultural awareness of art and music.

The Baker Museum is one of the foremost fine art museums in Southwest Florida. Emphasizing modern and contemporary art, the museum hosts several traveling exhibitions annually to complement installations of works from its permanent collections. Dedicated to stewardship and scholarship, The Baker Museum provides world-class exhibitions and educational opportunities for Southwest Florida’s diverse community.

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Van Bergen, McNeil opine on Jansen’s ‘Two Decades of Relevance’

Marcus Jansen: Two Decades of Relevance opens tomorrow (April 24) at The Baker Museum, and Artis-Naples CEO and President Kathleen van Bergen and Museum Director and Chief Curator Courtney McNeil weighed in on the show.

“We are honored to be welcoming Marcus Jansen and his work to The Baker Museum, especially while celebrating the museum’s 20th anniversary,” van Bergen said of the impending show. “Marcus’ works are simultaneously emotional, introspective and intellectual, and he has built an international reputation for fully engaging the viewer in critical topics about our world.”

McNeil’s estimation of the significance of Jansen’s body of work is both interesting and spot-on. “Since the 1990s, Marcus Jansen has been creating powerful, painterly works of art that critically explore urgent topics, from industrial agriculture to the impacts of gentrification on city dwellers. He has experienced a meteoric rise over the past few years as art audiences in the United States and Europe have embraced artists with the ability to compellingly portray the issues and tensions that shape our lives in these challenging and complicated times. Jansen is not only sensitively attuned to the world around him, but he is also a dazzling practitioner of an expressive, gestural style of painting that arrests the viewer’s attention with its vibrancy and energy.”

“We have been thrilled to safely open our doors this season to the community, and we invite everyone to experience Marcus’ show,” van Bergen adds.

Additional information on the exhibition, related event, timed-entry tickets and details on The Baker Museum’s safety protocols (including face masks, social distancing and forehead temperature scans) is available at artisnaples.org.

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‘Postcards for Democracy’ on display at Bob Rauschenberg Gallery through August 8

On display in the Bob Rauschenberg Gallery at FSW now through August 8 is Postcards for Democracy, the premiere of Mark Mothersbaugh and Beatie Wolfe’s collective art campaign.

Artistic visionaries Mark Mothersbaugh and Beatie Wolfe share a love of tangible art forms. In and amongst their futuristic explorations, they have joined forces to create Postcards for Democracy, a collective art campaign in support of the United States Postal Service (USPS) and its essential role in our elections.

The resulting gallery exhibition is expansive, immersive and participatory, but the concept continues to be quite simple: create and mail your postcard design to 8760 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90069 to become part of this art demonstration and, in so doing, support the USPS and democracy in the process.

To date, Mothersbaugh and Wolfe have received thousands of cards, covering themes from Covid and science to democracy, capitalism, the environment, social injustice and even insomnia. Together these postcards (like the exhibition itself) form something of a time capsule – reflecting our collective experience personally, socially, societally, politically, and environmentally – while the archive expands with ongoing contributions

Both Mothersbaugh and Wolfe have strong ties with Bob Rauschenberg’s work and ethos – Mothersbaugh in his adoption of Pop imagery and early experimentation with industrial printing techniques (including cyanotype) and Wolfe due to her reboot of the Rauschenberg founded E.A.T. programme (Experiments in Art and Technology) of the late 60s with her Raw Space project.

Postcards for Democracy also extends the tradition established by the Gallery in 2014 with Yoko Ono Imagine Peace and ELEVEN: The John Erickson Museum of Art (JEMA). The latter, in particular, featured Ono’s Wish Tree, to which attendees attached shipping tags containing scribbled wishes in a process that Yoko likened to a collective prayer. After the exhibition, the Gallery harvested the wishes and sent FSW Studio Art Professor Dana Roes and three “Wish Ambassadors,” Christopher Lacoste, Leila Mesdaghi and Josue’ Charles, to Iceland for purposes of adding them to more than a million others that have been placed in the base of the Imagine Peace Tower on Videy Island in Kollafjordur Bay near Reykjavik.

The difference between Wish Tree and Postcards for Democracy, of course, is that while the shipping tag wishes were kept completely private, the postcards are shared publicly with those who visit the Gallery to take in the site-specific, groundbreaking show.

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‘Postcards for Democracy’ artists Mothersbaugh and Wolfe in the frame

On display in the Bob Rauschenberg Gallery at FSW is Postcards for Democracy, the premiere of Mark Mothersbaugh and Beatie Wolfe’s collective art campaign. A collective art campaign, the exhibition supports the United States Postal Service (USPS) and elucidates its essential role in our elections.

Mothersbaugh first started making postcard art as a young art student at Kent State University in the early ’70s, exchanging work with known and unknown artists alike. Through these exchanges, he realized that he was creating an image bank and a lyric collection that served as a basis of inspiration that he would later use in the creation of his seminal art-rock band, DEVO.  Since then, he has filled over 490 archival volumes of 100 cards each. These cards became the basis of his most recent show, Myopia, a retrospective beginning in 2015 focusing on modern man’s ongoing, internal dialogue of beatnik stream of consciousness poetry, the surrendering of the intellect to the primordial and science vs. faith.

Mark has shown his visual art in over 125 solo exhibits over the last 35 years, with touring shows Homeland Invasion, Beautiful Mutants, and Myopia, a 30,000-object retrospective in 2015. His art has been featured on numerous books, album art, and consumer products. He has collaborated musically with artists such as Brian Eno, David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Beck, The B52s, and Neil Young,  to name a few.

He was given an honorary doctorate of humanitarian letters from Kent State in 2008.

“What better way than to use the very system of the USPS as proof of concept that if we protest through art and connection, we not only capture this moment, but we also create a movement and preserve it for posterity,” Mothersbaugh comments.

”Musical weirdo and visionary” Beatie Wolfe is an artist who has beamed her music into space, been appointed a U.N. Women Role Model for Innovation, and held an acclaimed solo exhibition of her ‘world first’ album designs at the Victoria & Albert Museum. Named by WIRED Magazine as one of “22 people changing the world,” singer-songwriter and innovator Beatie Wolfe is at the forefront of pioneering new formats for music that bridge the physical and digital, which include: a 3D theatre for the palm of your hand; a wearable record jacket – cut by Bowie/ Hendrix’s tailor out of fabric woven with Wolfe’s music – and most recently an ‘anti-stream’ from the quietest room on earth and space beam via the Big Bang horn.

The Barbican recently commissioned a documentary about Beatie Wolfe’s pioneering work titled Orange Juice for the Ears: From Space Beams to Anti-Streams and Wolfe’s latest innovation is an environmental protest piece built using 800,000 years of historic data that will be premiered at the London Design Biennale in 2021.

“Lockdown has reminded me of the joy and importance of physical communication at a time when it’s more important than ever,” adds Wolfe. “And mail connects us in a way that technology never can. So let’s use it before we lose it!”

Postcards for Democracy will be on view in the Bob Rauschenberg Gallery through August 8.

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Opening for ‘Different Strokes’ will be Alliance’s first in-person reception in 18 months

The Alliance for the Arts will be hosting its first in-person reception in more than a year and a half at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, July 9. The event not only celebrates our continued recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic but the Alliance’s much-anticipated member exhibit Different Strokes.

No, Different Strokes is not an homage to the legendary NBC sitcom that ran from November 3, 1978 to March 7, 1986. Instead, it recognizes the unique styles and widely diverse approaches to making art of the Alliance’s member artists.

It is that diversity that makes the Alliance’s community of visual and performing artists strong and culturally significant, and in recognition of its members’ individual and collective perspectives and viewpoints, the Alliance strives each and every day to support and foster all styles and mediums – ranging from traditional 2 and 3-dimensional mediums (like painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics, fiber and mixed media) to emerging and contemporary trends (such as digital, installation, performance and experiential based works). From within this tradition, the Alliance challenged the artists participating in this two-month-long show (that runs through August 28) to let their freak flags fly by exhibiting those pieces that didn’t quite fit into other calls to artists over the past year.

If you cannot make the opening, the show runs through August 28. Gallery hours are 9:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. during their weekly farmer’s market. Admission is free, although donations are gratefully accepted.

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‘Dia de los Muertos’ returns to Alliance in October by popular demand

By popular demand, Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead is returning to the Alliance for the Arts.

Contrary to what the title might suggest, Day of the Dead is a celebration of both life and death – a time to remember and commemorate the lives of family and friends who have passed from this world into the next realm. The holiday springs from the observation that death is a natural and inevitable part of the human experience – the end point on a continuum that begins with birth, progresses through childhood and culminates with the process of becoming a contributing member of the community. On Dia de los Muertos, the dead take their place among the living as part of the community, awakened from their eternal sleep to share celebrations with their loved ones. And believing that the dead would be insulted by mourning or sadness, Dia de los Muertos celebrates the lives of the deceased (children on Day 1 and adults on Day 2) with food, drink, parties, and activities the dead enjoyed in life.

During Dia de los Muertos, families decorate altars, or ofrendas, with candles, photographs, toys, food, and bright colors to honor their loved ones and lead their visiting spirits home. The most familiar symbols of Dia de los Muertos are calacas and calaveras (skeletons and skulls), which appear everywhere during the holiday – in candied sweets, as parade masks and as dolls. But rather than somber or macabre, calacas and calaveras are almost always portrayed in a positive, uplifting manner, frequently dressed in fancy clothes and entertaining situations.

In fact, calaverita de azucar, or sugar skulls, are a prominent symbol in the Dia de los Muertos tradition. These brightly decorated sugar skulls are placed on the altars of the deceased, especially children, as a whimsical reminder of precious life. The monarch butterfly is also commonly associated with Dia de los Muertos as they are thought to bring with them the spirits of deceased loved ones during their migration to Mexico. Another common symbol includes the use of cempasuchil, a brightly colored Mexican marigold, whose smell is believed to attract spirits to visit their families during Dia de los Muertos.

This, then, is the context for the art that exhibitors bring to the Alliance for the Arts to display in its Dia de los Muertos exhibition. As the family and community play integral roles in this cultural celebration, the congregation of local art to honor the deceased maintains the power of community in the Dia de los Muertos tradition. Each artist explores their own interpretation of this rich holiday, and brings to light not only the honor associated with death in Mexican culture, but remind us of the vivacity and significance of the lives of our loved ones who have passed.

The show exhibits October 1-30, 2021, and opens with a 5:00-7:00 p.m. in-person reception in the main gallery. Awards will be given of $250 for Best in Show, $125 for 2nd Place and $75 for 3rd Place. The deadline for submissions is Friday, September 17.

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DAAS C0-Op showcasing the work of Jersey boy Ian Summers in July

DAAS CO-OP Art Gallery is showcasing the artwork of award-winning artist Ian Summers in July.

“I am for an art of memories that are chipped and fragmented, but not nostalgic,” Summers told The Elucidator in connection with a 2015 article they published about his art.

Summers’s main subject is faces, but he does not consider them portraits, but conjured.

“Faces conjure forming associations with people, with persons who may never have lived anywhere, but in my mind. Faces haunt me in my sleep and when I am awake.”

Summers works primarily in acrylics on large scale canvases and other surfaces, such as tar paper and board. Currently, the artist lives in Southwest Florida with his wife Wendy.

Summers was born in Patterson, NJ. He studied at the University Bridgeport, CT where he completed a degree in Art Education, later becoming an art teacher in Wayne, NJ. His desire to create and expand his artistic career took him to Europe in the mid 1960’s. He lived in Paris for a short time, when an unexpected opportunity took him to London, where he taught art at the American School. He exhibited in London and conducted speeches at art clubs and centers, like the Unites States Information Center.

In 1967, Summers moved to New York where his first daughter was born. After the birth of his second daughter, he started working in advertising as a creative director, working with some of the most important authors in the world. Among these was Isaac Asimov, whose book cover landed Summers a place in the science fiction community. As a member of the Society of Illustrator of New York, he received an award for best paperback cover, for several years. After years working for Random House publishing, he became a career consultant to people in the creative field, using a problem solving technique he called “Heart-storming.” In 2021, he joined the Union Artist Studios in Fort Myers, FL.

The opening reception is scheduled for 6:00-9:30 p.m. on Friday, July 2, 2021 in conjunction with Fort Myers Art Walk. The exhibition will be on display through July 31, 2021.

DAAS CO-OP is located at 1815 Fowler Street in the Butterfly Estates complex in Fort Myers, FL. The gallery’s temporary business hours are Wednesday to Sunday, from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. More information about the venue and/or how to become a member can be found at daascoop.com or by calling 239-590-8645.

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