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Actors, artists, filmmakers and events in the news June 1-7, 2020

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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

 

Dena Galyean part of special Best Seats in Your House production on June 11

On Thursday, June 11, Dena Galyean will be part of a special production of The Best Seats in Your House that deals theatrically with the subjects of systemic racism, implicit bias, equity and access. She’ll play Maryann, the white wife of an African-American man who feels he must participate in the protests in Ferguson, Missouri following the shooting of Michael Brown in spite of Maryann’s fears and trepidation. Since relocating to Southwest Florida from Chicagoland, Dena Galyean seems to have a penchant for landing fascinating roles. Among her most memorable are Susan B. Anthony in Theatre Conspiracy’s production of The Agitators, Nora Helmer in Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll House (also for Theatre Conspiracy) and Stella Kowalski in The Studio Players’ production of Tennessee William’s A Streetcar Named Desire at the Golden Gate Community Center.

You will find Dena’s full resume here.

And go here to read how acting feeds Dena’s soul.

 

Nuniez Philor finds  himself at crossroads in ‘Hands Up’ on June 11

On Thursday, June 11, Nuniez Philor will be part of a special production of The Best Seats in Your House that deals theatrically with the subjects of systemic racism, implicit bias, equity and access. He’ll be in Hands Up, playing the part of a man who finds himself at a crossroads as protests mount in Ferguson, Missouri in the aftermath of Michael Brown’s slaying by a white police officer. He needs to stand against injustice, but his wife is afraid. Will he show up or cave to his wife’s fears and reservations? Nemo’s stage credits include the roles of Ali and PJ in the Alliance for the Arts’ production of Charles Busch’s Vampire Lesbians of Sodom, Theatre Conspiracy’s production of Steven Dietz’s Rancho Mirage and as Seth Holly in August Wilson’s Joe Turner’s Come and Gone.

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Crussard teaching online acting class for grades 3-6 in June

Alliance Youth Theatre Director and local drama teacher Carmen Crussard is teaching an online acting class in June for students in grades 3-6. Enrollees will develop foundational acting skills as they learn, practice, and develop new theatre technique and skills and play theatre games. By the end of the course, they’ll have a fully prepared audition piece – or just a fun piece to perform for family and friends.

Here’s a break-down of the curriculum, which will be taught online from 10:00-11:00 a.m. on each Monday in June beginning June 1:

  • Week 1: Characters and storytelling
  • Week 2: Fun with facial expressions and voice
  • Week 3: Magical movement
  • Week 4: Rehearsal, critique, and final presentation

Students must have a Zoom app or program downloaded on their device. (While phones and tablets work, a desktop or laptop computer affords a larger viewing area.)

Member price is $40; non-members pay $50. For scholarship opportunities please email education@artinlee.org.

document titled “Playbook for Early Response to High-Consequence Emerging Infectious Disease Threats and Biological Incidents.”

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Rachael Endrizzi doing what she can with what she has as ‘Medora Musical’ stage manager

Earlier this year, Rachael Endrizzi was lighting up the Off Broadway Palm in A Christmas Carol: A Live Radio Show and Weekend Comedy. To fill in her spare time, she was also directing Rob Green, Madelaine Wright, Shelley Sanders, Thomas Marsh and Jordan Wilson in Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery for Bill Taylor and Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance for the Arts.  When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, she had just opened Harriett Tubman & the Underground Railroad, a travelling show performed at assemblies in middle schools throughout the state of Ohio and had two other touring shows (one in Atlanta and the other in Ohio) in pre-production. But fret not for this mega-talented theater professional. Rachael not only landed on her feet. She’s stage managing the rootin’-tootinest, boot-scootinest show in all the Midwest, the Medora Musical.

The roughly two-hour show is performed every night in an outdoor amphitheater in the little town of Medora on the southwestern edge of North Dakota. Roughly four hours south of the Canadian border and four and a half hours due west of Fargo, the town sits on the edge of the Badlands and the Theodore Roosevelt National Park. With less than 200 permanent residents, it’s so tiny that it doesn’t even show up on most maps of North Dakota. But that doesn’t deter more than 120,000 visitors from making the pilgrimmage to Medora each summer to see the extravaganza which features live music, fireworks, horses on stage and a charge up San Juan hill.

Go here for the rest of this story.

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Online options don’t offer escapism that theater traditionally provides

Rachael Endrizzi has a long history in touring theater. As the former Director of Education for the Florida Repertory Theatre, she ran Southwest Florida’s leading performing arts training program and a professional touring theater. When the pandemic struck, her Ohio-based non-profit had just opened a production of Harriet Tubman & the Underground Railroad, a traveling show performed at assemblies in middle schools throughout the state. Plus she had two more traveling shows in pre-production, one in the Atlanta area and the other in Ohio. Now she’s considering the possibility that it may be necessary for her to replace live theater shows with virtual productions, a prospect she considers as anathema.

While elementary, middle and high schools will undoubtedly be in session during the 2020-2021 school year, its uncertain whether social distancing considerations will force a suspension of assemblies and field trips. If so, Endrizzi’s non-profits may have little choice but to switch to virtual shows.

The rest of this article is here.

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For Rachael Endrizzi, directing is all about storytelling and personal connections

Rachael Endrizzi fashions herself as a storyteller. Her medium, however, is not putting words on a page. Rather, it is breathing life into words that a playwright has written. Sometimes she gives impetus to the story from the vantage of director. At other times, it’s as an actor.

“I prefer directing over acting because I love seeing stories come together,” Rachael remarks. “As an actor, you’re a piece of the story, a piece of the puzzle, but so much of your energy has to go into your character that you don’t always get to enjoy the whole story. You don’t have the luxury in the middle of a play of sitting back and enjoying it because you’re busy [portraying your character]. But as a director, you get to be the audience every day. So I love seeing it come together.”

The rest of this interview can be found here.

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Cicero McCarter uses inner conflict to infuse characters with depth and believability

A few years ago, Producing Artistic Director Bill Taylor and Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance decided to showcase more plays written by both black and female playwrights. Since then, they’ve not only produced Mountaintop by Katori Hall, A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry and For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf by the  late Ntozake Shange, but four plays from August Wilson’s Pittsburgh or Century Cycle, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Seven Guitars, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone and King Hedley II. Cicero McCarter’s been in each of those last four, and it hasn’t been easy.

“Of all the August Wilson’s that I’ve done, Slow Drag [in Ma Rainey] was the only character I could possibly be [in real life]. He enjoyed life. He played base fiddle. He was a cool dude,” McCarter muses.

In Seven Guitars, McCarter played Hedley, an old man with tuberculosis, a religious fetish and a big knife with which he kills chickens for the sandwiches he sells. Having turned his back on the white world he loathes, he’s a believer in saints, spirits, prophets and the ghost of Charles (Buddy) Bolden, the legendary New Orleans trumpeter who died in an insane asylum.

Go here for the rest of this interview.

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2     ARTISTS

According to a U.S. Census Bureau Small Business Pulse Survey, two-thirds of the nation’s artists are now unemployed, as jobs in the “Arts, Entertainment & Recreation” sector have shrunk by 54.5%.

 

Acevedo introducing new work at Davis Art Center solo show ‘Introspection’

David Acevedo has new work to exhibit!. Exploring new and past mediums, Introspection contains paintings created in the last year that use human interactions, experiences and perceptions as inspiration. Introspection opens to the public on Friday, July 3, 2020 in the Grand Atrium of the Sidney Berne Davis Art Center in conjunction with the return of Fort Myers Art Walk.

The general opening reception starts at 6:00 p.m., but guests have the opportunity for a more intimate, social distancing-conscious reception by reserving for one of three VIP parties hosted by the artist. Reservations are accepted on the artist’s website at acevedostudio.com.

With the launching of a new website and the Introspection exhibition, Acevedo plans on reinventing and restructuring his artistic self. His new pieces are stronger in subject matter and presence. His composition and symbolism is more focused and relevant to his environment. In addition, his approach to the mixing of mediums has reached a higher level of expertise. He has incorporated silkscreen printing, spray acrylic paint and stencils with traditional acrylic painting on large scale canvases. The larger size of the pieces in this collection is also a change in the artist’s production.

A 24-page full color limited edition catalog will be available for sale during the opening reception on July 3 and available online on the artist’s website following the reception.

Acevedo arrived in Southwest Florida in 2000, quickly immersing himself in the art scene of Fort Myers and surrounding cities by collaborating in a multitude of projects, including co-founding Fort Myers Art Walk, the Union Artist Studios and the very popular DAAS CO-OP Art Gallery. He was awarded an Angel of the Arts award in 2009 and a FACE Award in 2016. He is also the recipient of two City of Fort Myers Individual Artist Grants. Throughout his career, he has supported, sponsored and promoted other local artists, some of whom got their first exhibition at one of Acevedo’s venues. The artist has been featured in several publications, both locally and internationally, and has exhibited his work in Europe and Asia.

The Sidney Berne Davis Art Center is located at 2301 First Street, Fort Myers, FL 33901. Regular exhibition hours are 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. More information about the venue is available at sbdac.com. Additional information about David Acevedo is available at acevedostudio.com.

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James Futral installs three sculptures in Alliance’s new site-specific outdoor show

James Futral is one of three artists participating in a series of new outdoor site-specific art installations on view at the campus of the Alliance for the Arts. Futral’s installation consists of three steel sculptures from his animal series, Panda (3x3x4 foot), Panther (3x6x2 foot) and Elephant (10x15x5 foot), all made from recycled materials. James Futral is a sculptor who works in a variety of materials including metal, wood and ceramics. Some of the pieces used to assemble the creatures of Futral’s works are recognizable as old dryer drums, car parts and old furniture.  His skill and sensitivity to the anatomy of each creature is fun and inviting.

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Nick Masiello installs mural as part of new site-specific outdoor show at Alliance

Nick Masiello is one of three artists participating in a series of new outdoor site-specific art installations on view at the campus of the Alliance for the Arts. His contribution, titled Vibrancy Mural, measures 12x40x8 feet and is made of Aerosol Acrylic, Lacquer and Enamel. For this project, Masiello created a large-scale custom mural on a storage trailer located on the Alliance campus.  He used words of inspiration from the Alliance for the Arts mission statement and painted them on the surface of the trailer in various handstyle techniques.  Masiello took the mission statement’s core ideas of community, compassion, guidance, exploration, trust, friendship, self-expression, connection, inspiration, imagination, performance, individuality, and equality, and put those words directly onto the surface of the building. Interestingly, the text is unrecognizable which allows all of the words to blend together as one.  The colors are bright, cheery, and tropical with a welcoming Floridian flare.

Masiello is a mixed media artist who specializes in abstract expressionist works in aerosol acrylic.

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Roseline Young installs two pieces in Alliance’s new site-specific show

Roseline Young is one of three artists participating in a series of new outdoor site-specific art installations on view at the campus of the Alliance for the Arts. Her pieces are titled Currents of Destruction, a 2019 mixed media fiber on fishnet work, and River of Decay, made from found objects, fiber and chain link fence. These collaborative installations come from her “Art Speaks for the Earth” project, which engages viewers by their beauty and powerful environmental statements. Currents of Destruction involved the fiber art community in the creation of crochet rings to represent cyano-bacteria, green algae and red tide clogging the Caloosahatchee River, canals and beaches. River of Decay was created at Art Fest Fort Myers and the S.T.A.R.S Community Center with help from children calling attention to pollution in the Caloosahatchee which drains into the Gulf of Mexico.

Roseline Young is a fiber artist who works in hand weaving, art quilting, fabric dyeing and painting.  Young collaborates with various groups of artists to fight for Mother Earth and the growing problems of climate change and water quality.

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Cornell Fine Arts Museum to exhibit Jansen’s first U.S. museum solo show

The Cornell Fine Arts Museum is exhibiting a solo show of work by Marcus Jansen September 18, 2020 through January 3, 2021. Titled E Pluribus Unum, the exhibition represents the first ever solo museum exhibition of Jansen’s work in the United States.

This exhibition will focus on works Jansen created in the last 15 years and will be comprised of both large scale paintings and a selection of works on paper (among them a select number of new pieces on view for the first time) that examine Jansen’s visual explorations of structures of power and the struggle to grapple with the nuanced reality of our time. The exhibition is being organized by the Cornell Fine Arts Museum in collaboration with the artist and will be accompanied by an illustrated catalogue.

While E Pluribus Unum may represent Jansen’s first solo museum show in the United States, the Bronx/Fort Myers artist has enjoyed a number of solo shows abroad, including shows at La Triennale di Milano Museum in Milan and the Museum Zitadelle  in Berlin, and he 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.

Jansen is known for powerful, monumental canvases that address poignant social and political themes. Through the use of an arresting visual language characterized by colorful and expressive brushwork, and references to contemporary and historical issues, Jansen invites viewers to engage in a reflection about the human condition. Jansen continues to explore surveillance and social divides in society and will place his iconic 2010 piece Obscure Line Between Fact and Fiction (3rd photo) to the museum for the show.

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Kickin’ it with artist Marcus Jansen on virtual TGIM last night

Last night, artist Marcus Jansen was Eric Raddatz’s guest on his weekly edition of virtual TGIM. The two covered a wide range of topics, including his upcoming solo show at the Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College in Winter Park, the impact that the pandemic has had on Jansen, the meaning and import of his statement that “art is the most intimate act of war” and the message he seeks to convey through his urban landscape and Faceless paintings. More, the discussion provided a glimpse into the heart and soul of the artist who’s been called the most important American painter of his generation.

The Cornell museum show is a very big deal for Jansen. Although he has enjoyed solo museum shows in Europe, the Cornell exhibition represents the first solo museum exhibition of Jansen’s career in the United States.

Go here for the rest of this article.

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Revisiting Dorothy’s gas mask in tornadic aftermath of COVID and nationwide protests

During last night’s virtual TGIM, Lane Cook called in to ask artist Marcus Jansen how he felt about seeing people in COVID-19 face masks and gas masks as they protest the killing of George Floyd given that he Dorothy wearing an olive green gas mask in his iconic painting Creeping Obstacles in Kansas.

“Ironic,” was Jansen’s first reaction. Marcus painted the piece almost ten years ago to the day!

Reflecting further, he amplified his assessment. “Eerie,” he modified. “That’s exactly where we are today.”

Go here for the rest of this article.

 

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3     FILMMAKERS

 

Dates announced for Fort Myers Beach International Film Festival

The Fort Myers Beach Film Festival will be back for its 14th year from September 22-27. With events for all ages, this five-day event attracts independent film fans, filmmakers, and distributors to the beaches of Fort Myers Beach. Attendees come from all over the world to exchange ideas, make new contacts, and enjoy some compelling and interesting films encompassing a wide range of tastes. Th festival screens at the Beach Theater, 6425 Estero Blvd. Fort Myers Beach, Florida 33931.

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Virtual TGIM featuring artist Marcus Jansen on June 1

Join Eric Raddatz tonight (June 1) from 7:00-7:30 p.m. as he celebrates T.G.I.M. with special guest Marcus Jansen, who has been called the most important American artist of his generation. Marcus is known for powerful, monumental canvases that address poignant social and political themes. Through the use of an arresting visual language characterized by colorful and expressive brushwork, and references to contemporary and historical issues, Jansen invites viewers to engage in a reflection about the human condition. He has works in museums in the United States and abroad and will enjoy his first US. solo museum show in September at the Cornell Fine Arts Museum.

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Setting sights on film, Kinley Gomez going places

Kinley Gomez is going places. Just not to Southern California in June. That had been the plan. The incoming senior at Canterbury School is among a handful of talented applicants who’ve been accepted into the University of Southern California’s vaunted advanced summer screenwriting program. But due to COVID-19 concerns, the four-credit course has been moved online. And for now, so has Kinley’s attention and focus.

While she won’t be able to meet people in person or network face-to-face, KG nonetheless expects to learn invaluable tools, techniques and tips in screenwriting once the six-week course starts in the last week in June.

Go here for the rest of this interview.

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Film actor Cassidy Reyes working on craft with deliberate practice

When the pandemic struck, Cassidy Reyes was filming Love Song and Power. Written by Stevie Kinchen and directed by Erik Krefeld and Eddel Martinez, the picture is about finding the courage to be oneself. Reyes couldn’t be more perfect for the part of Alex. That’s because Cassidy Reyes exemplifies the film’s theme.

After graduating college magna cum laude, Reyes followed her parents’ footsteps into medical school. Both Christine Dee-Reyes and Joseph Reyes are board certified optometrists who have been practicing locally for more than 20 years. But within six weeks, Cassidy realized that being a doctor was more her parents’ dream than hers. She longed to be a film actor. So she telephoned her folks and broke the news that she was leaving medical school for the silver screen. She had to follow her dream.

Not surprisingly, her parents were less than thrilled. Cassidy had but one gig lined up at the time, and her parents assayed to impress upon their daughter how difficult and rare it is to make a living as a film actor.

“Mom’s a realist,” Cassidy acknowledges with a chuckle. “Dad’s the ultimate optimist. But he is also involved in the local film community.”

Go here for the rest of this interview.

Go here to see all of Cassidy’s film credits.

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4     ART SHOWS AND EXHIBITIONS

Southwest Florida’s museums, galleries and art centers are beginning to re-open as Florida and its individual counties move into Phase 2 of Governor Ron DeSantis’ reopening plan. Large venues such as movie theaters, concert halls, arcades, playhouses and presumably museums, galleries and art centers are nevertheless subject to certain requirements, including (1) groups are limited to 10 or fewer people with six feet of space maintained between each party and the overall limitation restricting social gatherings to no more than 50 people; (2) regular cleaning and disinfecting is required; (3) owners are encouraged to conduct health screenings of employees; and (4) masks are recommended for both patrons and staff. In the meantime, some of Southwest Florida’s museums, galleries and art centers are producing shows, and this online option may continue beyond reopening.

Nationally, financial losses to nonprofit arts organizations due to the COVID-19 pandemic are estimated to be $5.5 billion through May 2. These organizations and companies have also lost 210 million admissions due to cancelled events, resulting in a $6.7 billion loss in event-related spending at restaurants, lodging and nearby retail shops and stores – prompting 140 Chambers of Commerce from 39 states to tell Congressional leaders in a joint statement that “[t]hese institutions are important to every community, exposing residents to creativity and education and enhancing their quality of life.”

 

Davis Art Center re-opening June 5 with ‘Rumors or Reality?’

After great deliberation and extensive considerations, the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center has decided to re-open on June 5 with its annual June juried art exhibition at reduced capacity. Appropriately themed “Rumors or Reality?,” the show features 70 artworks by 50 different artists.

“We will be following CDC reopening guidelines and taking a gradual approach in reopening which allows us to prioritize health and safety while taking progressive steps to restore regular operations,” states SBDAC President & CEO Jim Griffith in making the announcement. “Our people (patrons, volunteers, supporters, artists, and staff) are our biggest assets, and we want to make sure that you’re safe.”

Griffith and the rest of the staff at SBDAC expect everyone attending the show to do their part.

After all, we’re all in this together.

“Once our doors reopen to the public, you can expect to see signs asking people to come in very small groups, wash their hands, be mindful about who and what they touch, remain at least six feet apart, and observe the one way traffic designs while inside the building.”

As Griffith sagely observes, this is so much more than just a new way of being. It’s an art. It’s the art of social distancing.

“Now is the time for us to reach out to the community. Now is the time to continue. Now is the time to share our art forms. Now is the time to welcome you back. Things will be different. Some things will be better. We will do what we do best and create new experiences…create new memories…transform your lives. We look forward to serving you once again and eagerly anticipate your curiosity, your love of art, and your support.”

Curated by Cesar Aguilera, “Rumors or Reality?” will be on view in the grand atrium from 6:00-10:00 p.m. on Friday, June 5.

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Alliance introduces outdoor site-specific installation on 10-acre campus

There’s a lot going on at the Alliance for the Arts’ ten acre campus. The art park along McGregor Boulevard is done. The long-anticipated Water Wall is coming. Sharon Isern’s Coronavirus Ninja light projection mural can be seen after dark. And now you can also enjoy a series of outdoor site-specific artwork installations by local artists.

The artwork can all be viewed from the safety and comfort of your own vehicle by driving through the Alliance for the Arts parking lot.  Visitors can also get out of their cars and explore the artwork more closely on foot.  The artists featured in this project are James Futral, Nick Masiello, and Rosealine Young.

“We wanted to create a safe place for people to enjoy the visual arts,” says Gallery Director Ehren Gerhardt. “Visitors can take the opportunity to get outside, out from behind a screen or device and interact with artwork in an outdoor setting.”

For more information call 239-939-2787 or visit ArtInLee.org/PopUp.

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Alliance’s ‘Light Projection Mural’ artists named

The inaugural lineup of artists participating in the Alliance for the Arts’ Light Projection Mural Rotating Exhibit are Pat Collins, Shirley Hales, Sharon Isern, Kelsey Lang, Carolyn Sommers, Alyssa Stoff, Africa Valdez, and Lorraine Weiss.

Artists were asked to produce an 8.5 x 11 inch hand cut stencil depicting various themes such as messages of hope, beauty, the power of the arts in healing, healthcare workers and community. Each artist’s work will be projected for approximately one week from dusk until midnight in a newly developed installation space that is visible to pedestrian and vehicle traffic along McGregor Blvd. The project will continue as part of the Alliance exhibition schedule for the next month, with the projection  artwork beginning at dusk on Monday, May 25.

“It is our hope that by bringing messages of compassion, creativity and hope that we may empower and uplift our community through the arts,” says Gallery Director, Ehren Gerhard. The projection murals the community will see include:

  • Heroes Behind the Mask (Spray Paint on Dura-Lar Acetate) by Pat Collins (3rd photo);
  • Tree of Love (Cut Paper) by Shirley Hales;
  • Coronavirus Ninja (Cut Paper) by Sharon Isern (2nd photo);
  • Breathing Life Into Our Estuaries (Cut Paper) by Kelsey Lang;
  • Disconnected From Our Song (Cut Paper) by Carolyn Sommers;
  • Butterfly (Cut Paper) by Alyssa Stoff (1st photo);
  • Light at the End of the Tunnel (Cut Paper) by Africa Valdez; and
  • Thank You to Our Heroes (Cut Paper) by Lorraine Weiss.

Now celebrating its 45th anniversary year, the Alliance for the Arts is a nonprofit community visual and performing arts center located in the heart of Fort Myers, Florida. Since 1975, the Alliance has been committed to transforming lives and improving community through the arts.  For more information, please call 239-939-2787, visit us at www.ArtInLee.org, find the Alliance on Facebook (www.Facebook.com/ArtInLee.org),  Instagram (@AlliancefortheArts) or follow it on Twitter (@ArtInLee).

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DAAS re-opening with ‘Pieces from the Vault’ and clearance sale

It has been a minute since the last opening reception at one of the few cooperative art galleries in town, DAAS CO-OP. The month of June will serve as the much-needed bridge towards restructuring and normalcy, starting with an exhibition of pieces from older collections from artists David Acevedo and Xavier a Brignoni and a clearance sale. Entitled “Pieces from the Vault,” the exhibition will be on display through June 27, 2020.

Just like most businesses, DAAS CO-OP has felt the impact of this pandemic. “It has been a few very difficult months, but we are too resilient and hardheaded to give up – so here we are and we hope the community continues to support us as they have done in the past,” says president and co-owner David Acevedo, who is excited about the future of the venue.

Currently, DAAS CO-OP is operating on a limited schedule, opening only Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. More hours will be added during the month of June. Up-to-date information can be found at daascoop.com.

DAAS CO-OP is located at 1815 Fowler Street, inside the Butterfly Estates in Fort Myers, FL. For additional information, please call 239-590-8645 during business hours.

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Sanibel’s Watson MacRae readying gallery for re-opening

Maureen Watson advises that she’s been readying Watson MacRae Gallery for re-opening June 1 now that Sanibel as followed suit with the State and Lee County in re-opening the island effective immediately. While Maureen is conflicted, she’ll be in the gallery from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Monday through Wednesday and Fridays, but it is best to make an appointment. She’s following CDC guidelines, so masks and social distancing are sine qua nons (hence the appointment to avoid letting too many people into the gallery at one time). If you’re wondering what the gallery is looking like these days, here’s a video that Florida Weekly’s Ella Nayor shot while she was in Watson MacRae picking up an artwork she ordered.

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5        Public Art

 

‘Water the Source of Life’ mural being installed in Fort Myers’ Viva Court

The Fort Myers Mural Society is launching a new mural project this week. Called “Water, the Source of Life,” it is being painted by local muralist Erik Schlake in Viva Court in downtown Fort Myers.

In its press release announcing the project, the Fort Myers Mural Society states that the mural will draw attention to the Seminole Nation’s desire to preserve and share their culture while reminding all of us of the importance of clean water.

Traditional Seminole cultural, religious, commercial and recreational activities depend on clean water, which is inextricably linked to a healthy Everglades ecosystem. In fact, the Tribe’s identity is so closely linked to the land that Tribal members believe that if the land dies, so will the Tribe. Consequently, when the Everglades went into decline, The Tribe recognized that they had to act to protect and preserve the endangered natural ecosystem. So the Tribe formulated an ambitious $65 million multi-year program designed to mitigate the impacts of development on the environment and, more specifically, improve water quality, increase water storage capacity, enhance hydroperiods and remove phosphorus and other pollutants from water leaving the Reservation, flowing through Big Cypress National Preserve and entering Mullet Slough and the Everglades Protection Area. Because of its importance, the Seminole Everglades Restoration Initiative has been included in the report issued by the Governor’s Commission for a Sustainable South Florida on the projects needed for Everglades restoration.

The Seminole Tribe occupies a prominent place in the history of Southwest Florida, particularly Fort Myers. The fort from which our town takes its name was constructed to serve as a base of operations for locating, rounding up and deporting the Seminoles living in the Big Cypress and Everglades in 1850. When the federal government could not persuade Chief Billy Bowlegs and his people to voluntarily relocated to Indian territory in present day Oklahoma, they instigated a war that ended in the Spring of 1858 with the surrender and deportation of Bowlegs and 123 of his tribe. But roughly 300 Seminoles refused to leave, including 108-year-old Sam Jones, the former leader of the once mighty Mikasukis. They were the undefeated, the unconquered. But they did not possess an acre they could call their own until the State of Florida set aside 100,000 acres of swamp, sawgrass and wilderness as a reservation which exists to this day.

“Historians and anthropologists share with us the Seminole contribution to southwest Florida’s cultural legacy,” the Fort Myers Mural Society amplifies. “Already a vulnerable population, the Tribe depends heavily on its natural resources for economic and sacred cultural identity. This is especially true when climate change alters the landscape and ecosystems on native lands. When hunting, fishing, and traditional gathering sites shift, and plants, animals, and aquatic species disappear, the Tribe will be unable to protect an ancient way of life.”

Muralist Erik Schlake started his art career in St. Louis at the age of 23. After studying fine art, he felt unsettled until discovering various forms of decorative arts.  Becoming fascinated with the work of European decorative painters, the New York native quickly moved his work in that direction. Erik has worked with numerous private and commercial clients, developing one-of-a-kind murals and a multitude of decorative arts in both residences and businesses locations. The project also bear the influence of contemporary street art and Schlake’s participation in 2017, 2018 and 2019 in Salon, a world-wide gathering of artist from different countries that exhibit their work, teach master classes and discuss old and new techniques.

Pre-COVID-19, the Fort Myers Mural Society shared and celebrated the mural painting process with the community through an event it has affectionately called an “Art Stumble.” However, in response to the pandemic and the ban on public events, the Society is inviting everyone to participate in the process instead via:

  • https://www.facebook.com/fortmyersmuralsociety/,
  • https://www.fortmyers-sanibel.com/ and
  • https://www.facebook.com/erikschlakedesign.

For more information, please contact fortmyersmuralsociety@gmail.com or telephone Shari Shifrin at 239-461-7245.

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City of Fort Myers’ website now contains table of exterior artworks

The City of Fort Myers’ website now contains a table listing each of the outdoor artworks that comprise the City’s public art collection, together with the artist who made the piece, the date it was installed and its location. Links are provided for some of the pieces that will take visitors to pages that furnish photographs and stories about their history, what they represent and the artists who created them.

“With the first official piece of Fort Myers public art dating back to August 17, 1913, we are fortunate to enjoy a long history of supporting the acquisition of additional installations,” states the intro to the table. Go here to view this page on the City’s website.

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6.       Outdoor Art Fairs and Festivals

 

No outdoor art fairs or festivals were scheduled for the month of May. The 2020-2021 art festival season will presumably start up in October. However, year-round events such as Fort Myers Art Walk have been cancelled for the time being due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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7      THEATER

 

Southwest Florida’s theaters remain closed to the public. However, they may open again as soon as the State moves into Phase 2 of Governor Ron DeSantis’ reopening plan. Although we don’t know when that will happen, when it does, large venues such as movie theaters, concert halls, arcades and playhouses can reopen subject to the requirements that groups be limited to 10 or fewer people with six feet of space maintained between each party and the overall limitation restricting attendance to 75% of capacity. Regular cleaning and disinfecting will be required, owners are encouraged to conduct health screenings of employees and masks are recommended for both patrons and staff. In the meantime, many of Southwest Florida’s community theater companies are producing virtual readings and shows, and this online option may continue beyond reopening.

 

Special Best Seats in Your House on June 11 tackles systemic racism and implicit bias

The Best Seats in Your House returns June 11 for three short, powerful and relevant one-act plays featuring Nemo Philor, Dena Galyean, Sonya McCarter, Lemec Bernard and Tijuana Clemons.

“The arts expose us to different viewpoints, expand our knowledge and help explain difficult situations in an approachable and universal way,” notes the Alliance. “Artists play a vital role in the ongoing conversation about systemic racism, implicit bias, equity and access.”

These are the topics explored on Thursday, June 11 when The Best Seats in Your House screens online:

  • Hands Up by Kristy Thomas, starring Nemo Philor and Dena Galyean and directed by Bill Taylor:  On the day of the Michael Brown shooting, Mason, an African American man, arrives home to see his white wife, Maryann, watching the news as it unfolds. Mason wants to take action and stand with the people protesting. He sees this as his time to stand for what he believes is an injustice. Maryann doesn’t understand why this is so important. Mason desperately wants Maryann to support his decision and Maryann wants Mason to follow what he believes is right while seeing the dangers of his decision.
  • For Black Women Who Experienced Genocide When The Police Murders of Their Sons Was Too Much by Keith A. Wallace, starring Sonya McCarter and directed by Bill Taylor: A grieving mother needs you to understand.
  • Remembrance by Aja Houston,starring Lemec Bernard and Tijuana Clemons and directed by Bill Taylor: Holly and Robert are back in Florida for their ritualistic trip of mourning. These trips have taken a toll on their marriage, their sanity, and their happiness. This year threatens to break their marriage forever or save it.

Experience and enjoy live theatre from your own home and from the best seats in your house during this special performance. All are welcome. All we ask is that you RSVP so we can provide you with the access link and information. You will receive an email with access information on Thursday, June 11 at 6:00 p.m. Performance begins at 7:30 p.m. and is 45 minutes.

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Broadway’s reopening could be delayed until after first of year

Broadway World reports that Broadway’s reopening could be delayed until after the first of the year, and maybe even as late as Spring – based on an interview conducted by the Daily Beast with Broadway League President Charlotte St. Martin. Everyone involved has a keen financial interest in seeing Broadway reopen, from theater owners, production companies, actors and the public. Broadway attendance tops those of the ten professional New York and New Jersey sports teams combined, surpassing their total attendance last year by 4.6 million people and contributing $14.7 billion to the city’s economy and supporting 96,900 jobs. But given what NYC has been through in the past three months, the theater industry refuses to risk an earlier reopening if it means risking a resurgence of the virus.

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Hamilton coming to Disney+ on July 3

The Hamilton film is coming to Disney+ on July 3. Combining the best elements of live theater, film, and streaming, the film is described as a “leap forward in the art of ‘live capture,’” which transports viewers into the world of the Broadway show in a uniquely intimate way. “No other artistic work in the last decade has had the cultural impact of Hamilton-an inspiring and captivating tale told and performed in a powerfully creative way,” observes The Walt Disney Company Executive Chair Robert A. Iger. “In light of the extraordinary challenges facing our world, this story about leadership, tenacity, hope, love and the power of people to unite against the forces of adversity is both relevant and impactful.”

Original Broadway cast members Lin-Manuel Miranda (as Alexander Hamilton), Daveed Diggs (Marquis de Lafayette/Thomas Jefferson), Renée Elise Goldsberry (Angelica Schuyler), Leslie Odom, Jr. (Aaron Burr), Christopher Jackson (George Washington), Jonathan Groff (King George), Phillipa Soo (Eliza Hamilton), Jasmine Cephas Jones (Peggy Schuyler/Maria Reynolds), Okieriete Onaodowan (Hercules Mulligan/James Madison) and Anthony Ramos (John Laurens/Philip Hamilton) are joined in the film by Carleigh Bettiol, Ariana DeBose, Hope Easterbrook, Sydney James Harcourt, Sasha Hutchings, Thayne Jasperson, Elizabeth Judd, Jon Rua, Austin Smith, Seth Stewart and Ephraim Sykes.

Hamilton premiered Off-Broadway at the Public Theatre on February 17, 2015, winning 8 Drama Desk Awards, including Outstanding Musical. It opened on Broadway in the Richard Rodgers Theatre on August 6, 2015, going on to receive a record-setting 16 nominations at the 2016 Tony Awards, eventually winning 11, including Best Musical. It received the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The West End production of Hamilton opened at the Victoria Palace Theatre in London in December 2017, winning seven Olivier Awards in 2018, including Best New Musical. The first U.S. national tour of the show began performances in March 2017. A second U.S. tour opened in February 2018. Hamilton’s third U.S. tour began January 11, 2019, with a three-week engagement in Puerto Rico featuring Miranda in the lead role.

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Past SoDis virtual readings

Here are links to SoDis Theater’s prior virtual readings, but know this. These titles are only available for a limited time before they will be archived forever:

Link to watch MACBETH
Link to watch INTELLECTUALS
Link to watch THE TEMPEST
Link to watch CHARM
Link to watch INVITING MARIE
Link to watch Bob Hilliard’s INQUISITION

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Studio Players reopening with ‘Walter Cronkite is Dead’ once Phase 2 begins

The Studio Players is planning to resume live performances once Florida enters Phase 2 of Governor Ron DeSantis’ “Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step” reopening plan. While no timeline has been given for when that will happen, The Studio Players plans to reopen with Joe Calarco’s Walter Cronkite is Dead. Directed by Hollis Galman, the show stars Bonnie Knapp and Cindy Hile as Patty and Margaret, two “funny, difficult, deeply revealing and astonishingly frank” women.

“As you know, our venue at the Golden Gate Community Center’s Joan Jenks Auditorium is a very large open space which will allow us to be able to social distant very easily,” states Scott Lilly. “We are ready to set up our chairs with the 75% capacity following the recommended strict social distancing guidelines as soon as we get the word! Disposable masks, gloves and hand sanitizer will be provided if needed.”

Under the guidelines, movie theaters, concert halls, auditoriums, bowling alleys, casinos, arcades and playhouses can open in Phase 2 with strict distancing in place and 75% capacity. Groups should be limited to 10 or fewer people and there should be six feet of space between each party. Cleaning and disinfecting should be done regularly and owners should consider conducting health screenings for employees. Masks are also encouraged.

The Golden Gate Community Center has taken extra steps to provide a safe place to be once the facility is back open, Lilly adds. “Your safety will be our priority!”

For more information about the theater or Walter Cronkite is Dead, visit www.thestudioplayers.org or telephone 239-398-9192.

 

 

 

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