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Actors, artists, directors, filmmakers and events in the news July 22-31, 2021


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


Madelaine Weymouth in ‘Chechens’ at the Alliance

Madelaine Weymouth appears for Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance in their upcoming production of 2019 New Play Contest winner The Chechens by Phillip Christian Smith. She last appeared on stage as Betty Schaefer in Lab Theater’s summer spoof Sunset Schmoulevard and before that as Clarice Orsini in the regional premiere of Jordan Tannahill’s Botticelli in the Fire. Her resume is extensive. To she what other roles she’s played, please go here.



Hollis Galman in ‘Chechens’ at the Alliance

Hollis Galman appears for Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance for the Arts in their upcoming production of 2019 New Play Contest winner The Chechens by Phillip Christian Smith. She last appeared in the iconic role of Ethel Thayer in On Golden Pond for The Studio Players. Other local roles include Marty in Circle Mirror Transformation and the larger-than-life role of Masha in Vandy and Sonia and Masha and Spike, which represented her Studio Players’ debut. While she was living and working in New York, she also appeared in a number of Off-Broadway productions. Go here to access all her theatrical credits.



Gerrie Benzing playing Edith Frank in ‘Diary’

Gerrie Benzing will portray Edith Frank in Fort Myers Theatre’s production of The Diary of Anne Frank. The part is the polar opposite to her last role, that of Ruth in Calendar Girls for The Naples Players. “Edith Frank is a very sad person,” observed Ellice McCoy in 2015, who played the part for Lab Theater six years ago.  “Of the eight people who went into hiding in that annex, Edith was the one most unable to cope with the situation in which they found themselves. She was so depressed, all she could do was sit there and try to take it all in.” And her depression was compounded exponentially by her estranged relationship with both her husband and her daughter. Normally upbeat and life-affirming, McCoy found the role emotionally draining. Benzing, no doubt, will as well. But she’s a pro who relishes the opportunity to tackle dramatic parts, such as Theresa in Circle Mirror Transformation for The Studio Players, Ethel Thayer in On Golden Pond for Cultural Park Theatre (for which she won a Cultural Park Theatre Best Actress Marquee Award) and Amanda in The Glass Menagerie. Go here to see all of Benzing’s stage and other theatrical credits.



Kinley Gomez part of ‘Prabh & Wedler All Original Variety Show’

The Laboratory Theater of Florida will present an evening of original songs, spoken word, comedy and even beatboxing performed by some of the area’s most talented youth performers. The Prabh & Wedler All Original, Not Your Usual Variety Show is a one-night-only experience that takes place at 8:00 p.m. on July 24 and the insanely talented Kinley Gomez’ comedic stylings will be part of the show.

Gomez broke upon the local theatrical scene with her portrayal of Abigail Williams in Lab Theater’s production of The Crucible (although she’d previously appeared at Lab in the Vagina Monologues, in the ensemble of Willy Wonka and Big River for Florida Repertory Theatre, as Rose in Alice in Wonderland Jr. for Creative Theater Workshop (CTW) and numerous shows at Canterbury School, including 22 PebblesNine Worst Breakups (Wilma), Alfie Dungworth: A Day in the Life of a Daydreamer (Crypta), The Great Pecan (Priscilla), Legally Blonde (Enid) and #Viral (Troll)). But she is determined to make her mark as a screenwriter and, toward that end, will head to the University of Southern California next month to start work on a degree in writing for screen and television.

The USC program teaches students how to create the kinds of scripts that excite creative collaborators, agents, managers, and investors and become real projects, but KG is already working on developing and honing her screenwriting skills. Her entry in Lab Theater’s seminal 24-Hour Screenwriting Project titled Escape Room garnered an audience choice award. She’s written a number of other scripts just for practice, and for grins and chuckles, she also writes comedic material. Rumor has it that this is what she’ll be performing during the Prabh & Wedler All Original, Not Your Usual Variety Show.

Tickets are $25 each or $12 for students with valid student IDs.  Seating is limited. For tickets, please call the box office at 239.218.0481 or online at

Go here for more on KG and her film acting and screenwriting aspirations.



Kristen Noble will be part of ‘Prabh & Wedler All Original Variety Show’

The Laboratory Theater of Florida will present an evening of original songs, spoken word, comedy and even beatboxing performed by some of the area’s most talented youth performers. The Prabh & Wedler All Original, Not Your Usual Variety Show is a one-night-only experience that takes place at 8:00 p.m. on July 24 and Kristen Noble will be part of the show. Kristen Noble is a rising star in community theater. Her two most recent stage appearances were the colorful lazy Mayzie la Bird in Seussical the Musical and Kitty in The Drowsy Chaperone. She has received direction from Amy Massari, Kimberly Suskind, Jessica Walck, Dawn Fornara, Christina DeCarlo, Michelle Hamstra, Lori Oliver, Kayleigh Campo, Chris Taylor and Craig Price. A true triple threat, Kristen also has extensive training in both voice and dance. Her full resume is here.

Tickets are $25 each or $12 for students with valid student IDs.  Seating is limited. For tickets, please call the box office at 239.218.0481 or online at



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.



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.





McCleary directs and choreographs Grease 

Instead of resting on the laurels of her success with Beehive: The 60s Musical, the incomparable Amy McCleary has tackled the direction and choreography of Grease, on the mainstage at Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre now through August 14. And as you’ll see when you catch the show, she’s clearly put her own unique spin on this iconic classic. McCleary is a multi-faceted musical theater artist who works as an actor, director and choreographer in local and regional theater. Amy started in theater as a chorus girl. Since then, she has played some pretty prestigious roles, including Velma Kelly in Chicago. But most Southwest Florida theater lovers know McCleary more through her work as Prather Entertainment Group’s resident director/choreographer, and in that capacity, she has staged more than 50 productions. Go here to view her impressive resume of shows and other accomplishments.



Spotlight on ‘Failure: A Love Story’ playwright Philip Dawkins

Opening at the Laboratory Theater of Florida on July 29 is Failure: A Love Story by Chicago playwright Philip Dawkins. Dawkins’ plays have been performed all over the world. In addition to Failure: A Love Story, Dawkins’ catalog of plays includes Le Switch, The Homosexuals, The Burn, Dr.Seuss’s The Sneetches, the Musical (with composer David Mallamud), Spamtown, USA, The Gentleman Caller, Charm, Miss Marx, Or The Involuntary Side Effect of Living and The Happiest Place on Earth. Four of his plays have been nominated for Jeff Awards, the prestigious Chicago theater prize, including his critical breakthrough, 2011’s The Homosexuals.

Go here for the balance of this profile.



Spotlight on ‘Failure’ co-director Madelaine Weymouth

On stage at Lab Theater through August 8 is Lab Theater Education’s summer camp play Failure: A Love Story by Philip Dawkins. Directing are Madelaine Weymouth and Steven Michael Kennedy. Weymouth is best known as a talented character actor. Most recently, she appeared as Betty Schaefer in Lab’s summer parody Sunset Schmoulevard and as Clarice Orsini in Botticelli in the Fire. But Weymouth is an equally talented director. Among her directing credits is the regional premiere of Chiara Atik’s comedy Five Times in One Night, in which she cast Chris Heartwell and Tamicka Armstrong to play five different couples engaged in an exploration of sex through the ages.  In her capacity as head of Lab’s winter camp, she co-directed the Lab’s summer camp shows, The Wolves (2019) and Evil Dead (2018). She also had the distinction of directing the Audience Choice winner in Lab Theater’s 2018 24-Hour Playwriting Challenge, Sunny with a Chance of Social Anxiety by Dave Matthew Chesebro.




Alliance 2019 New Play Contest winner ‘Chechens’ opens in Foulds Theatre August 5

The 2019 Janet and Bruce Bunch New Play Contest Award winner, The Chechens by Phillip Christian Smith, opens in the Foulds Theatre at the Alliance for the Arts on August 5. Directed by Artistic Director Bill Taylor, the plays stars Reuben Garcia, Miguel Cintron, Sharon Isern, Hollis Galman and Madelaine Weymouth. Set in modern day Grozny, the capital of Russia’s Chechen Republic, rumors are going around that “certain people” are being rounded up and held in a camp on the east edge of town. A family finds itself at a crossroads when learn that little brother may be the next target. Will they protect him? Turn him in? Or go so far as to honor-kill him? What prevails in the end -religion, politics or love? Go here for play dates and times.



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 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 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.



Southern-fried comedy ‘Farce of Nature’ closes July 25

Off Broadway Palm is Farce of Nature closes July 25. For tickets, please call the box office at 239-278-4422 or visit

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. 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.



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.



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.



Fort Myers Theatre promises living, lyrical version of diarist Anne Frank

Anne Frank began a diary when she turned 13, just days before she and her family went into hiding in Nazi-occupied Amsterdam. Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett transformed her diary into a stage play in 1955 that won both a Tony Award and Pulitzer Prize for Drama. More than 40 years later, Wendy Kesselman adapted their play for a generation that was finally able to confront the true horrors of the Holocaust. In her iteration of this timeless story, Kesselman interwove survivor accounts and newly-discovered writings from the diary to create a contemporary, impassioned story. Now, director Kristen Wilson and the Fort Myers Theatre bring his modern version of The Diary of Anne Frank to the stage in eight haunting performances that begin on August 13.

The rest of this advance is here.

Go here for play dates, times and ticketing.



Lab Theater presenting one-night-only variety show featuring local youth performers

The Laboratory Theater of Florida will present an evening of original songs, spoken word, comedy and even beatboxing performed by some of the area’s most talented youth performers. The Prabh & Wedler All Original, Not Your Usual Variety Show is a one-night-only experience that takes place at 8:00 p.m. on July 24.

Prabh Saini and Wedler Lordeus will emcee the show, which will include a cappella singers, guitarists, ukulele, poetry and comedy. All of the performers are under 25 and the creators of their original material.

“These are names and faces to know and follow,” touts Lab Theater Artistic Director Annette Trossbach. “Everybody in the show should be on a list of some of the most talented young people in southwest Florida. All their material is original and all these kids are at the beginning of their careers. They’re about to head off to college and be connected with so many other talented young people who will only help to propel them to the next level. You’ll be able to look back in a few years and say I remember when that kid was just 16 and performing her own material at the Lab Theater. And now she’s got a Grammy.”

Prabh Saini has been involved in various theater productions and musical endeavors. His latest work includes the role of Seymour in Little Shop of Horrors at Cypress Lake High School, and winning Best Mix for The A Cappella Group at CLHS during ICHSA (International Competition of High School A Cappella). Prabh has released his first album, entitled The Collective, under the moniker Nové, available on all streaming platforms on July 23rd.

Wedler Lordeus is a beatboxer, singer, actor, and dancer who has won best vocal percussionist twice in competitions. He is a four-time varsity vocals champion, in addition to winning numerous awards for acting and choreography. He has recorded four award-winning á cappella albums, including a ‘best album’ that featured his beatboxing.

The also features Kristen Noble, Darius Webb, Araima Hondares, Anna Lehman, Gus Bahruth, Isabella Sbarra, Mady Ladd, Andrew Darden and Kinley Gomez.

This is a special, one-night-only event. This event is not included in the Lab Theater Season Pass.

“People should come to the show because it is a one-night-only event where you can see the young talent in SWFL at their absolute best,” adds Prabh Saini. “Get this – it’s ALL original. If you want to see a great handful of talent this is the night for you!”

To help promote these young artists, photography and videography are encouraged. Guests are invited to use #labtheaterfl

Tickets are $25 each or $12 for students with valid student IDs.  Seating is limited. For tickets, please call the box office at 239.218.0481 or online at



Lab Ed’s summer camp production of Failure: A Love Story opens July 29

The Laboratory Theater of Florida in conjunction with The Laboratory Theater of Florida: Education will present Failure: A Love Story by Philip Dawkins opening July 29 and playing for two weekends.

Set in 1928, the play follows the Fail sisters, Nelly, Jenny June and Gerty. They live above the family clock repair shop near the Chicago River, and are destined to die within the year in reverse order.

Go here for the rest of this advance.

Go here for play dates, times and ticket information.




Naples Players’ ‘Wedding Singer’ closes 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. But the show closes 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 anytime or call the TNP Box Office at (239) 263-7990.





Acevedo’s ‘Different Strokes’ work evinces naturalistic, primordial sensibility

David Acevedo is one of 72 artists with work included in the Alliance for the Arts’ member show Different Strokes, on view now through August 28. His painting AJA is a representation of the African goddess of nature.

“I was inspired by these chaotic times [in which] we are living, where nature itself seems to be sending a message that most of us ignore,” David explains.

You’ll find the rest of this post here.



Boren’s ‘Water View’ is clarion call for water quality stewardship

Katherine Boren is one of 72 artists with work on display in the Alliance for the Arts’ member exhibition Different Strokes. Her abstract composition is titled Water View. It is a mixed media piece incorporating sand from the Gulf off the shore of Sanibel Island.

At first blush, the painting presents a juxtaposition of greens. The majority of the canvas transitions from soft turquoise to the luscious, mottled emerald green you would see dangling from a parasail high above the tranquil waters off the white sandy beaches of Pensacola, Fort Walton Beach and Destin. The waters west of Sanibel and Captiva were once that color too. And Boren’s Water View “celebrates the beauty of the water the way it once was and could be again if we all do our part in caring for our community and planet.”

Go here for the rest of this story.



Khaysie Tiburcio’s ‘Child’s Play’ contains numerous ironic elements

Khaysie Tiburcio is one of 72 artists with work on display in the Alliance for the Arts’ member exhibition Different Strokes. Her composition is titled Child’s Play.

Child’s Play highlights our imagination,” Khaysie shares. “I included a few ironic elements that include the rabbit with the human foot for ‘good luck,’ and the goat and sheep playing patty cake to emphasize the playful behavior  in the piece.”

Tiburcio reports that the painting process for Child’s Play proved to be as fun as it was rewarding. “I was able to experiment with different mediums to add textures and patterns.”

Khaysie Tiburcio is one of five artists juried into this year’s Alliance for the Arts Art Lives Here Billboard Campaign. Her work for that initiative is a metaphorical piece titled Art Within Their Souls, which underscores how art becomes a part of the artist and not simply an expression of the artist’s thoughts and emotions. Go here for more on Khaysie’s billboard artwork.

You can view Child’s Play and the other 71 works of art included in Different Strokes in the Alliance’s main gallery now through August 28.



’18 Occasions’ really is a ‘Different Stroke’ for mixed media artist Roy Rodriguez

Roy Rodriguez is one of 72 artists with work on display in the Alliance for the Arts’ member exhibition Different Strokes. “This one really is a Different Stroke for me,” says Roy. It is a composite of 18 photographs combined and printed on canvas.

“One day I put some powder on a puff and noticed this incredible design made by the powder,” Roy divulges of his inspiration and process for the unconventional artwork. “I was so taken that I rushed to photograph it.”

The next day, an image reminiscent of waves crashing over rocks appeared when he powdered the puff.

Go here for the rest of this post.



Susi Wingenroth’s ‘Palm Queen’ part of Alliance’s member show ‘Different Strokes’

Susi Wingenroth is one of 72 artists with work included in the Alliance for the Arts’ member show Different Strokes, on view now through August 28. Titled Palm Queen, her piece is a woman’s portrait painted on a frond from a queen palm. If Wingenroth’s name seems familiar, it’s because she is also one of five artists juried into this year’s Alliance for the Arts Art Lives Here Billboard Campaign. Her Art Lives Here work is titled Frame of Reference. 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.





‘Different Strokes’ at Alliance through August 28

On view in the main gallery at the Alliance for the Arts through August 28 is Different Strokes. The exhibition recognizes the unique styles and widely diverse approaches to making art of the Alliance’s member artists. The artists participating in this two-month-long 72-piece show were challenged to exhibit pieces that didn’t quite fit into other calls to artists over the past year.

Each day the Alliance strives 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). This diversity of genre, media and motif is on full display in Different Strokes.

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.



‘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.



Jansen’s ‘Two Decades of Relevance’ at Naples’ Baker Museum closes 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.



‘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.



‘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.



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 or by calling 239-590-8645.



DAAS’ August show featuring whimsical art of Lorrie Bennett

DAAS CO-OP Art Gallery’s August show features the artwork of whimsical artist/illustrator Lorrie Bennett.

Bennett is a self-taught, contemporary and expressive mixed-media artist and illustrator. Lorrie knew from an early age that she was an artist. Even though her earlier career was not originally a creative field, artistic endeavors always found their way into her life. And then after 20+ years as a single mother working as a Graphic Designer/Marketing Manager, she decided it was time to spend her life as a full-time artist and currently works out of her studio at her home.

For Lorrie, creating has been a lifelong journey of experimentation and exploration. She is bound by no medium and paints an assemblage of layers of materials that include acrylics, watercolors, inks, pastels, charcoal, monoprints, photo transfers, fabrics and vintage ephemeral papers such as wallpapers, book pages, maps and sewing patterns (some over a century old). Lorrie also often incorporates mark-making patterns that come from textured items such as rolled up cardboard, bubble wrap, bottle caps and even Styrofoam.

“The excitement is the process of combining paints, drawing, mark-making, and collaging while choosing what to add, to cover up and what to leave untouched,” Lorrie effuses.

Inspired by the John Muir quote “And into the forest I go, to lose my mind and find my soul,” Lorrie’s current series weaves figurative and nature scenes together – as well as smaller botanical works.

Nature has always been a huge inspiration for Lorrie and all things nature have often found its way onto her canvas over the years.

Her figurative paintings express bold strength and beauty while a gentle kindness emerges – “something I believe every woman carries inside.”

Each painting begins with a collaboration of materials and photography that once combined create a new story of life energy and soul.

Lorrie has been blessed to have her artwork reside in homes, businesses, and numerous publications including two adult coloring books, Inkspirations: Fruit of the Spirit and Inkspirations: Fruit of the Spirit for Moms. She has illustrated several children’s books and is currently working with Applewood Books on a children’s counting book named Dreaming of Fort Myers, available later this year on Amazon and stores throughout the U.S. Her art was also chosen for the cover and inside pages of The Beauty of Zentangle, which recognized and presented 137 tangle artists worldwide. In 2018, Lorrie received the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center’s Choice Award for Exhibition: X juried show, for her mixed-media painting The Story of Chromosome X.

The opening reception is scheduled for 6:00-10:00 p.m. on Friday, August 6, 2021 in conjunction with Fort Myers Art Walk. The exhibition will be on display through August 28, 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 10am to 3pm. More information about the venue and/or how to become a member can be found at or by calling 239-590-8645.



Deadline for submissions for SBDAC’s Artist Trading Card exhibit looms

The Davis Art Center has issued a Call to Artists for its August show, Carded: Miniature Masterpieces. The exhibition will feature artist trading cards or ATC, tiny (2.5 x 3.5 inches) original pieces of art created with the intention of swapping or trading with another artist. On the front of an ATC, an artist creates an original work to showcase their art. It can be a one-off, part of a series, or a limited edition. On the back, the artist puts their name, contact details, title of the ATC, number if it’s a limited edition, and sometimes the date it was created. The can be made in any medium and using any technique, whether it’s painting, drawing or collage.

ATCs date back to 1997 when M. Vanci Stirnemann, a Swiss artist, created 1200 cards by hand as part of an exhibit. On the last day, he invited others to create their own cards and trade with him during the closing reception. The movement took off and, today, there are ATC swaps in almost every major city around the world. There are also many online swaps.

The movement builds on different traditions, including miniature art, which has been in existence for centuries beginning with the illustrated manuscripts of scribes in the Far East and Europe prior to the 15th century. ATCs also reflect the influence of pop art, which features motifs taken from everyday life. In this regard, ATCs share an affinity with the Fluxus movement and with Robert Filliou’s notions of a “fête permanente,” a “création permanente” or an “eternal network.”

The origin of the modern trading card is associated with cigarette cards first issued by the US-based Allen and Ginter tobacco company in 1875.

Artist Ndola Pensy introduced the artist trading card idea to Southwest Florida in 2017 with great reception among artists of different mediums in the area. Carded: Miniature Masterpieces will be curated by Cesar Aguilera.

The deadline for submissions is July 24. There is no limit on the number of submissions.

Any medium, motif and theme is acceptable, but no prints or reproductions will be curated into the show (digital art excepted). Submit your good quality images to with your name, medium, and title of each piece.

The show exhibits August 6-26. Cards will not be for sale, but in the tradition of ATC events, there will be an optional trading part at the end of the show.

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