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


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


Alliance, Broadway Palm bringing Fringe to Fort Myers (09-07-19)

In partnership with the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre, the Alliance for the Arts will present the first ever Fringe Fort Myers Festival April 22 – 26, 2020. Festival tickets go on sale January 2020.

It all started in 1947 in Edinburgh, Scotland, as an alternative festival that played concurrently with the Edinburgh International Festival. Though not invited to participate, groups of actors, musicians, and the like performed at various venues on the fringe of the EIF. In 1948, local journalist Robert Kemp gave it the name Fringe: “Round the fringe of official Festival drama, there seems to be more private enterprise than before…” And thus, Fringe was born.

Today, Fringe performing arts festivals can now be found all over the world, with dozens thriving in the United States today including Orlando International Fringe, Tampa Fringe, Atlanta Fringe Festival, Capital Fringe, Hollywood Fringe, Minnesota Fringe Festival, PortFringe, and the San Diego Fringe Festival.

Fringe Fort Myers is the newest Fringe theatre festival in the United States and maintains long-standing Fringe traditions of being 100 percent uncensored, 100 percent unjuried and 100 percent inclusive. Even better, 100 percent of ticket sales go directly to the artists.

Fringe Fort Myers kicks off on April 22, 2020 with the fun and frenetic Teaser Show. The Teaser Show is a great opportunity for audiences to learn what the shows in the festival are about. Each performance group gets 2 minutes to sell their show to the audience, and how they do it is up to them (as long as they don’t go over 2 minutes).

Over the next four days, Fringe will play host to 48 performances on 4 different stages at the Alliance for the Arts and Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre. After the final curtain, Fringe Fort Myers will host its first Fringe awards ceremony celebrating the artists that made Fringe an incredible experience.

Florida Rep Education will also offer Kids Fringe, which will operate a family-friendly festival within Fringe Fort Myers.

“Fringe offers an incredible diversity of high quality work with the goal of being as affordable and accessible as possible to all members of the community,” says Bill Taylor, the Producing Artistic Director of Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance. “This event will enhance our area both culturally and economically.”

Artist applications are now open at Applications must be submitted no later than Thursday, November 15, 2019 at 5 p.m. EST.

Sponsorship opportunities are available at or by contacting Jessica Wisdom at

For more information, call 239-939-2787 or visit



TGIM returns to Davis Art Center on September 9 (09-07-19)

Delayed a week by the threat of Hurricane Dorian, the Fort Myers Film Festival returns for its 10th season on September 9 when TGIM returns to the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center’s grand atrium.

New to the term? Well, the acronym stands for “Thank God for Indie Monday,” and symbolizes the anticipation and excitement that area indie film lovers feel as the first Monday of the month draws near each season.

Go here for the rest of this advance.



Meet TGIM September judge John Davis (09-07-19)

On September 9, T.G.I.M. returns to the grand atrium of the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center and among the esteemed panel of celebrity judges that will be on hand to help get the post-screening discussions going is WGCU radio host John Davis.

John has been a full-time Reporter/Producer for WGCU since 2009. He is the local host of NPR’s Morning Edition and producer and host of WGCU’s radio talk program Gulf Coast Live!

Go here for the rest of John’s profile.



Meet TGIM September judge and accomplished filmmaker John Biffar (09-07-19)

On September 9, T.G.I.M. returns to the grand atrium of the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center and among the esteemed panel of celebrity judges that will be on hand to help get the post-screening discussions going is filmmaker John Biffar. Over the past two decades, John Biffar has served as a director, producer, screenwriter, cinematographer and on-air talent. He has directed such notable talent as Don Shula (former coach of the Miami Dolphins), Helio Castroneves (Indy Car Champion and Dancing with the Stars Mirror Ball winner), Ernest Borgine (McHales Navy), Arte Johnson (Laugh In), Norma Miller (The Queen of Swing), Bill Cobbs (Night At The Museum, Northern Exposure) Ali MacGraw (Love Story), news legend Walter Cronkite, Olympic skater Dorothy Hamill and Jacques Cousteau. And this is just a fraction of why he’ll make an excellent celebrity judge at September’s TGIM.

For more, go here.



Meet TGIM September celebrity judge Nate Foy (09-07-19)

NBC2’s Nate Foy will be one of the celebrity judges for T.G.I.M. on September 9.

Nate joined the Waterman Broadcasting team as the Weekday Sports Anchor for ABC7 three years ago in September of 2016. Then in 2017 he was named weekend anchor for NBC2.

Prior to that, Nate was the Sports Director at KQTV in St. Joseph, Missouri. In his time there, he covered the Kansas City Chiefs and Royals, as well as local college and high school teams.

For more on Nate, go here.



Lab making many improvements to #thisoldtheater in time for 11th season (09-07-19)

As it embarks on its 11th season, Lab Theater wants everyone to know there’s more to the theater than the magic they routinely create on stage. Maintaining a nearly-100 year-old building is more involved than meets the eye.

The first project the Lab undertook on #thisoldtheater after replacing the leaky roof was updating the exterior paint. They chose Caribbean colors in keeping with the building’s traditional Spanish architecture. The warm pink with deep green shutters and trim do justice to a building that has served the Gardner’s Park neighborhood for a century.

Following its purchase of the building, Lab was delighted to discover a third bathroom hidden underneath the stairs. But it needed some work to bring it up to standard. That work led to replacing collapsed pipes beneath the building.

The upstairs rehearsal space has new life with refinished flooring and reclaimed spaces that are utilized not only by actors preparing for their performances, but by Lab’s education department for overflow classes in playwriting and improv.

Lab’s backstage rehearsal space also received an expansion – just in time for the crew of The Legend of Georgia McBride and all of the wigs, makeup, and fabulous costumes created by Kristen Wilson and Miss Tracy actor Clayton Brown.

The stage has also been refurbished and reinforced, and thanks to a generous grant from The City of Fort Myers, Lab has been able to add a patio where it can hold outdoor performances and events. In fact, two special outdoor performances are planned for Season 11.

On top of all this work, Lab has redone the wiring, added a new and improved lighting and sound system, painted the interior and added comfy tiered theater seating.

If you haven’t see #thisoldtheater lately, you owe it to yourself to catch a show. Lab celebrates its new season and 100th production with a real gemThe Crucible by Arthur Miller, which boasts a cast of 20 actors, a crew of six and four directors! The Crucible opens September 20.



Alliance for the Arts introduces Ehren Gerhard as new Exhibitions Director (09-07-19)

The Alliance for the Arts launched its 2019-2020 season last night at the opening reception of The Shape of Things: Carve Stone & Pat Zalisko. Among the many highlights of the evening was the introduction of the Alliance’s new Exhibitions Director Ehren F. Gerhard.

Gerhard is an experienced Exhibitions Director with a demonstrated history of working in the fine art industry. His resume demonstrates a high level of skill in art education, museum standards and practices, exhibition layout and lighting, and arts administration. He most recently served as the Arts Exhibitions Director for the Center of Visual Arts Bonita Springs and is an adjunct drawing instructor at FGCU.

As an accomplished artist himself, Ehren has been on the other side of the exhibition equation. Area art lovers may recall his 2015 group show in the FGCU ArtLab, Reunion: Baker, Gerhard & Heubeck. He has also exhibited locally in group exhibitions at the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center, Space 39 and ArtFest Fort Myers.

His motifs and compositions reflect his extensive travels both within the United States and abroad.

“I grew up in small towns and my family moved across the country multiple times,” Ehren confides. “I see new places as exciting opportunities to discover more about unique cultures, histories and natural ecosystems. When I stop, look and enjoy my surroundings, I feel privileged to see the world as a magical place.”

After earning his Bachelor of Arts in 2009, Gerhard worked a series of environmentally-related jobs before marrying and moving with his bride to a small town in Spain, where he taught English, got to be an extra in a movie, had a solo show of his paintings and made a lot of connections.

Back in the States, he obtained his M.F.A. at Arizona State University, where he also taught courses in 2-D Design and Drawing from August of 2010 to May of 2013.

“During this time, I apprenticed, curated a couple of shows and made even more contacts,” Ehren relates. He also continued to work on his own artwork.

Then he returned to Spain for a year to serve as Cultural Ambassador: North American Language and Culture Assistant at the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport of Spain.

His media include painting, graphite, printmaking and works in ceramics.

But it’s Ehren’s effort to translate the magical places he’s visited into whimsical landscapes that unifies his work. He describes his compositions as “wild, crazy, goofy, intense as possible, playful and psychedelic.” But he hastens to add that he doesn’t merely paint what he sees. Inspired by contemporary trends in art, his landscapes are a synthesis or amalgamation of a given spot or locale as viewed from differing perspectives.

In this, he is unique. Whereas traditional landscape painting portrays the subject from a fixed point of view, Ehren’s contribution to the motif is to depict his subject within the frame from multiple spots along the time/space continuum.

“This gives me the ability to move things around rather than paint from a single point,” Ehren explains. Of course, this shifting perspective presents myriad challenges and opportunities, like looking up at the sky and down at your feet at exactly the same moment.

Gerhard’s overarching goal is not to create just a panorama as captured by a point-and-shoot camera, but an entire visual experience that expresses his emotional reaction to a place that can be experienced on some level by his viewers. That experience will change, however, as the viewer moves toward the canvas or away from it because of the multiple layers of impasto and glazes that he employs.

“There is something of an impressionist cast to what I do,” he admits, and that includes his current practice of painting almost exclusively en plein air. “I used to take photographs and then go back into the studio, but there are too many things you don’t notice if you’re just passing through a place,” he adds, sharing the benefit of the wisdom he amassed moving and travelling from place to place throughout his life. “Those things only reveal themselves if you’re willing to stand on that site, look deep, and study what you see.”

Because of his patience, tenacity and willingness to think outside the traditional paint box, Gerhard is able to channel energy, emotion and joy into works that bend, twist and model the representational structure to which we are all accustomed in ways that pull viewers in, make them want to stay and play around awhile so they can see, explore and appreciate the multiple levels of imagery and activity that he so meticulously presents.

Ehren possesses a Master of Fine Arts (M.F.A.) in Painting and Drawing from Arizona State University and a Bachelor of Arts in Fine Art and Studio Arts from Florida Gulf Coast University, where he served as Head Gallery Assistant for a year. He is also an alum of the Cypress Lake High School Center for the Arts.



Solo show of Jansen work opens today in Paris (09-07-19)

Fort Myers artist Marcus Jansen is opening a solo show of his work at the Danysz Galerie in Paris today. Titled Stop, Look and Listen, the exhibition will run through October 12.

The Press Release announcing the show draws a parallel between Jansen’s formative experiences and those of Jackson Pollock. In Pollock’s case, he learned to throw sand to make pictures from the Hopi Indians. Back in New York City from Desert Storm, Jansen was influenced by the graffiti he saw on the sides of subway trains when he traveled from the Bronx to Manhattan to sell his work on Prince Street in Soho in order to survive.

Described alternately as urban expressionism and post-urban cataclysmic surrealism, his unique blend of abstract and the figurative belies the influences of the Iraqi war and the intensity of his post-conflict urban environment. He got his big break when his work drew the attention of Jerome A. Donson, who organized exhibitions of such prestigious artists as Jackson Pollock, Robert Rauschenberg, Jasper Johns, Willem de Kooning and Franz Kline as Director of MOMA’s American Vanguard Exhibitions in Europe.

Danysz Galerie is located at 78 rue Amelot. For more information, you may email the gallery at or Unit A Space at



Exhibition opening September 26 that examines aftermath of Marjorie Stoneman Douglas shootings (09-07-19)

Ian Witlen was one of the photojournalists on the ground when terror struck Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on February 14, 2018. In the aftermath of the tragedy, Ian recorded the stories of over 75 students and teachers present at MSD. He has compiled the audios he collected and associated black-and-white portraits in an exhibition he calls Anguish in the Aftermath: Examining a Mass Shooting. That exhibit goes on display at the Coral Springs Museum of Art on September 26. The Coral Springs Museum of Art is located at 2855A Coral Springs Drive, Coral Springs, FL 33065. For more information, please call 954-340-5000.



Alliance September show features Carve Stone and Pat Zalisko (09-06-19)

The Alliance for the Arts’ September exhibition is The Shape of Things: Carve Stone & Pat Zalisko. It exhibits from September 6 through September 28. This thought-provoking exhibition features contemporary art forms from intricate, color rich collages and acrylic paintings to graceful carved marble sculpture and silhouettes.

Carve Stone creates sculptures from marble, chlorite and alabaster. As a child, she collected pebbles and rocks, which was the start of her fascination with rock quarried from the earth. As a university student, the ease and passion of her stone carving grew. Her award winning body of work includes women’s high heel shoes, pointe ballet slippers, female torsos, as well as flowers, heart people and abstracts. Her stone sculptures are exhibited in museums, universities and art galleries as well as in private collections throughout North America.

Born and raised in New York City, Pat Zalisko has wonderful childhood memories of painting intricate Ukrainian eggs, pysanky, one of her first creative experiences. After retiring from a successful legal career, she renewed her passion for painting when she moved to Florida. Her body of work includes large abstract color-filled collages on canvas. Her multi-dimensional images are influenced by the color wheel and the written word using abstract shapes that beg the viewer to liken them to something in reality, yet defy definition. Over the past several years, her contemporary art has been featured in major private and public collections in the Unites States. She was one of only four artists with connections to Florida to exhibit her body of work in the Florida Contemporary exhibit at Artis Naples – Baker Museum.

The opening reception will be from 5:00-7:00 p.m. this evening. The opening will feature light refreshments, beer tastings from Eight Foot Brewing and the kick-off of the Alliance’s 19-20 Season. The event is free to attend, but an RSVP is requested online at

You can also meet and engage with Carve Stone and Pat Zalisko during a conversational tour through the gallery at 10:00 a.m. on September 7 during the Alliance for the Arts weekly GreenMarket.

HomeGrown and Art Lives Here will be on display in the member galleries during the month of September. The HomeGrown Exhibit features works from The Union Artist Studios. The Art Lives Here Exhibit showcases all nine original paintings that are featured on billboards throughout Lee County. The Art Lives Here Campaign is made possible by Alliance season sponsor, Carter-Pritchett Advertising.



‘Dia de los Muertos: A Juried Exhibit’ returning to Alliance in October (09-06-19)

Dia de los Muertos: A Juried Exhibit is returning by popular demand to the Alliance for the Arts in October. It’s a show that will feature traditional Mexican sugar skulls in a variety of media ranging from painting in oil, acrylic, watercolor and collage to photography, prints, drawing and sculpture. Artists interesting in participating in the show may submit up to 3 artworks for consideration online no later than September 20. To download the prospectus or submit artwork, please visit

What exactly is Day of the Dead? In many parts of Mexico, South America and the United States, Dia de los Muertos is a time to remember and celebrate the lives of family and friends. More about reveling in life than remembering death, this unique day encourages us to connect with loved ones while reflecting on the ties that bind the past to present.

“Community participation is a powerful part of this holiday,” says exhibitions coordinator Krista Johnson. “That’s why we’re calling on local artists to contribute to this lively and fun exhibit.”

The show’s opening reception is scheduled for 5:00-7:00 p.m. on October 4, with awards being announced at 6:00. There will be a $250 prize for Best in Show, $125 for 2nd place and $75 for 3rd place.

For more information about this exhibit, visit or call 239-939-2787.



Rocky Horror Picture Show returns to Alliance on October 12 (09-06-19)

Guaranteed to thrill you, chill you and fulfill you, the Rocky Horror Picture Show returns to the Alliance on October 12th! Hike up your fishnets and unleash your inner Sweet Transvestite as the mother of all cult classics hits the big screen replete with audience participation and local shadow cast The Forbidden Triffids pantomiming the film (see next post).

A beloved, rowdy, nocturnal tradition, The Rocky Horror Picture Show has been tantalizing audiences for over 40 years. Rocky Horror is meant to be experienced: be part of a decades-long tradition of crowd participation as guests are encouraged to dance along to the Time Warp, yell obscenities, and throw props in time with the action on screen.

Compete against fellow creatures of the night in a costume contest; give yourself over to absolute pleasure with food trucks and drinks; enter a Rocky raffle; pick up your official prop bags; and enjoy a night under the stars with your favorite Transylvanians.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show film is Rated R – Under 17 requires accompanying parent or adult guardian, contains some adult material. This screening involves audience participation and many lines or jokes shouted by audience members or the shadow cast may be offensive beyond the film’s R rating. Viewer discretion is advised.




Forbidden Triffids to pantomime ‘Rocky Horror’ at Alliance’s Oct. 12 screening (09-06-19)

The Forbidden Triffids will be pantomiming the already sold-out Rocky Horror Picture Show when it returns October 12 to the Alliance for the Arts. The Forbidden Triffids is a Lee County shadow cast who help audiences relive the cult classic movie.

The troupe formed in 2013, starting as street performers after the previous Fort Myers cast split. They are notable for combining other kinds of performers with the show such as fursuiters and fire performers. At the moment they perform in the Halloween season on stage and perform at art shows off season.

In addition to the Alliance of the Arts, The Forbidden Triffids has appeared at the AMC movie theater, Red Headed Witches, Peace Day in the Park, Mystery Walk, CGA show and Zombicon.

2019 Show Cast, which may change depending on availability and understudies, consists of:

  • Dr. Frank-N-Furter (A Scientist): TBA
  • Janet Weiss (A Heroine):               Chandler Burwell
  • Brad Majors (A Hero):                    Caitlin Karcher
  • Riff Raff (A Handyman):                Takua Lockwood
  • Magenta (A Domestic):                   Kimberly Reichenbecher
  • Columbia (A Groupie):                    Kathi Reichenbecher
  • Dr. Everett V. Scott:                         Bjorn Ugland
  • Rocky Horror (A Creation):            Mike Heidenreich
  • Eddie (Ex Delivery Boy):                 Bjorn Ugland
  • The Criminologist (An Expert):     David Condoluci
  • Trixie (The Lips):                              Takua Lockwood



Centers for Performing Arts to screen ‘Rocky Horror’ on October 12 (09-06-19)

The Center for Performing Arts Bonita Springs will be conducting an interactive screening of the cult classic The Rocky Horror Picture Show – where people are encouraged to yell back lines at the screen, dress in costume and act out the film. Attendance includes a bag of ‘essential’ Rocky Horror viewing items! Come dressed in costume a la Rocky Horror and receive a raffle ticket to win terrific Rocky Horror memorabilia.

The screening takes place at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, October 12 in the Moe Auditorium at 10150 Bonita Beach Rd, Bonita Springs FL 34135.

For more information, please telephone 239-495-8989 or visit



Alliance announces dates for ‘Off the Wall’ holiday exhibit (09-06-19)

Each year, the Alliance for the Arts invites 100 members to submit two original 2D or 3D artworks for exhibition in the gallery beginning with the onset of the holiday shopping season. Called Off the Wall, this non-traditional art show features works in all mediums priced at $200 or less. All sales are “cash and carry,” meaning purchasers will get to take the piece with them when they buy it, rather than waiting until the end of the exhibit.

Make supporting local arts tops on your list this year by giving a gift that gives back. Make plans to do your Christmas shopping at the Alliance for the Arts this year. Betcha there’s 100 member-artists who would be delighted to have their art under your tree.

This year’s show runs from December 6 through December 28. The opening reception is scheduled for 5:00-7:00 p.m. on Friday, December 6. For more information, please visit or telephone 239-939-2787.



Next Fort Myers Art Walk is Friday/Saturday (09-05-19)

The River District will come alive tonight when Art Walk returns to downtown Fort Myers on Friday, September 6. Now a two-day event, Art Walk will continue Saturday (September 7) from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. With exciting new exhibits and live art demonstrations, rain or shine, this is a “must attend event.”

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

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

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

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

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



‘DC vs. AC’ opening in Edison Ford Caretaker’s House on October 4 (09-05-19)

The public is invited to an exhibit opening in the Edison Caretaker’s House at Edison and Ford Winter Estates at 6:00 p.m. on October 4. DC vs. AC: Edison, Tesla, Westinghouse, and the Race to Electrify America explores the differences and similarities of the genius inventors, as well as the differences between alternating and direct current. Chief Curator Brent Newman will give a gallery talk on these relationships in the context of 19th century history and science.

The event coincides with the opening of The Current War, a movie about how Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla disagreed on which type of electric current was best. Edison believed his direct current was superior to Tesla’s alternating current; however, Tesla ultimately won that war, as alternating current is used around the world today.

Opening attendees to the exhibit will receive a complimentary glass of beer or champagne, light hors d’oeuvres will be provided and a pianist will play period music. A cash bar will be available. Admission is free for Edison Ford members; $10 for non-members (does not include admission to the museum, laboratory or tours of the homes).



DAAS to feature work of visual/tattoo artist Mully in September (09-05-19)

In the month of September, DAAS CO-OP Art Gallery will feature the work of visual and tattoo artist Mully. Originally from Braintree, Massachusetts, the artist moved to Florida in 2003 to pursue his artistic career.

Mully has been producing fine art painting since 2007. He has a refined yet loose approach. His genres range from tattoo-inspired to classical portraiture and figurative work. His recognizable style features drips, a bit of chaos, or what he considers “happy little accidents” (quoting the iconic painter Bob Ross). His medium is acrylic paint, combined with a plethora of mixed media materials which give each piece its own unique contrasts and textures.

Before embracing his artistic talents, Mully studied Business Management and worked in the financial field as an accountant. He immediately recognized that the corporate world was not for him and sought the opportunity to become a tattoo artist. This led to a career that has allowed him to produce fine art and experiment with multiple mediums.

“First came wood burning and then painting with acrylics and oils,” says Mully, who finds the use of various mediums as the outlet for his creativity. “I think it is important to stay in a creative mindset and be inspired by bringing what I learn from each medium to my paintings.”

During the month of September, Mully will present a series of artworks which he considers his most prominent. The artist will be present to answer questions and meet the gallery’s guests. More information about Mully can be found at

The opening reception is scheduled for Friday, September 6, 2019 from 6:00 to 10:00 p.m. in conjunction with the monthly Fort Myers Art Walk event. The exhibition will be on display through September 28, 2019.



DAAS participating in Shop Hop in September (09-05-19)

It started last year in the Gardner’s Park Area. The Shop Hop returns, now with more shops, giveaways, surprises and more. The 2019 Shop Hop is scheduled for Saturday, September 14, 2019 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Joy Schwartz, owner of Shoppe Around the Corner, created the event in 2018 and hopes to make it a yearly partnership between the businesses of the area. “We had a tremendous success during the first event and we want to make it even better this year.” – says Schwartz.

To add to the excitement, three lucky guests will win a fantastic basket full of exquisite products from participating venues. All you have to do to enter the drawing is pick up your District Passport at any venue and then visit as many shops as possible in order to enter the contest.

“Last year so many shoppers stated they had no idea such cute shops were available in the area,” points out Sophisticated Seconds owner Jennifer Jahn. “The Shop Hop definitely spreads the word about the unique stores in the Gardner’s Park district.”

Jahn features an exquisite artist up-cycled and consignment shopping experience at her store, located on Fowler Street.

“Our newest arrival is the Jolie Line of paints and supplies and we also carry Sweet Pea Naturals soaps, candles & lotions, clothing, shoes, jewelry, furniture and home décor,” Jahn proudly adds.

Popular Remedies Parlor will also be headlining the event this year. This boutique and wine bar is one of the neighborhood’s favorites. For this event, owner Tyna Swingler is offering a free gift with purchase.

Also, the famous Buddha Blends food truck will be offering their scrumptious selections in their garden.

One of the newest shops in the block is DAAS CO-OP Art Gallery & Gifts. As the only art gallery in the district, their inventory is filled with amazing creations by working emerging and established artists living in southwest Florida. For the Shop Hop event, the gallery will offer refreshments, special discounts and gifts with every purchase.

“We heard about the event last year and knew that once we relocated to Gardner’s Park, we wanted to be part of it,” says co-founder and vice-president Xavier Brignoni. “Since moving our gallery to this area, we’ve had nothing but great experiences and we look forward to this and many more collaborative events.”

The 2019 Shop Hop venues are Thrifty Garden, Remedies Parlor, Shoppe Around the Corner, Sirena del Sol, DAAS CO-OP Art Gallery & Gifts, Bullig Coffee and Bites, Rust Never Sleeps, Florida Native Butterfly Society, Sophisticated Seconds, Belle Fille, Wisteria Tea Room and Millennial Brewing Company. Each venue is located in the Gardners Park District of Fort Myers.

The District Passports can be obtained at any of the participating venues, on the day of the event. No purchase is necessary to participate in the contest, but a visit to all the shops is encouraged.

The Gardner’s Park District is bordered by the Caloosahatchee River to the North, Fowler Street to the West, Park and Evans Avenue to the East and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to the south, all within a minute from Downtown Fort Myers. For more information about the area, visit



Public Art Committee expanding free phone app that explains public artworks (09-04-19)

Art professionals and urban planners have identified nearly four dozen benefits that flow from the presence of public artworks in outdoor spaces. However, these advantages can only be maximized to the extent that the public fully appreciates the stories they tell. And it is exactly for this reason that the City of Fort Myers has installed a free phone app that informs local residents, vacationers and other visitors about the murals, sculpture and other art installations they encounter as they work, shop, dine and walk around downtown Fort Myers and parks located in other regions within our city limits.

Go here for the rest of this tutorial.



SWFHS President Glenn Miller records Otocast audio on Wes Nott Statue (09-04-19)

In 2018, the City of Fort Myers launched a free mobile app that enables resident, vacationers and other cultural tourists to learn all about the public artworks that are interspersed throughout town. Called Otocast, the app contains text and historic photos for each covered artwork. But the app’s centerpiece is an audio recording made by the artist who created the piece or someone who is intimately familiar with the artwork and the stories it recounts. By virtue of this audio component, Otocast is like having your very own tour guide who knows the coolest facts and behind-the-scenes stories about the art pieces you see all around you.

One of those artworks is the Wes Nott Statue. It’s located in the northeast corner of the campus of Lee Memorial Hospital in (where else?) Wes Nott Park, which appropriately sits on the site of what was once the Wes Nott swimming pool. Today, Coach Nott presides over the space, standing against a railing that abuts the southbound lanes of Cleveland Avenue (U.S. 41). It was cast by North Fort Myers sculptor Don “D.J.” Wilkins for the Fort Myers Beautification Board in the year 2000.

Go here for the rest of this article.



Edison Ford Exec VP and author Mike Cosden records Otocast audio for ‘Uncommon Friends’ (09-04-19)

Edison Ford Winter Estates Executive Vice-President Mike Cosden has graciously provided an audio for Otocast that tells listeners more about the Vagabonds’ legendary camping trips. Mike even included music from 1929 as backdrop for his commentary in the recording!

In addition to serving as Executive Vice President of the Edison & Ford Winter Estates, Mike is a co-author of Edison and Ford in Florida, a photo anthology published by Arcadia Publishing in 2015. Mike holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Florida Gulf Coast University and a Master’s in Library and Information Science from the University of South Florida.

Go here for the rest of this notice.



Garden Council past president Kay Holloway records Otocast audio for 1880 statue ‘Lorelei’ (09-04-19)

To tell folks about Lorelei, the City’s Public Art Committee recruited Kay Holloway, who is a past president of the Lee County Fort Myers Garden Council.

Why the Garden Council? Well, from 1960 until 2014, the marble sculpture of a river siren stood guard outside the entrance to the library on Jackson and Central Avenue (across from the bus station where the new fire station sits today). But when the library moved to First and Royal Palm Boulevard, they left Lorelei behind. But fortunately, out of respect for Periwinkle Garden Club member Evelyn D. Rea, the Garden Council stepped in and gave the 1880 statue a forever home in their Hibiscus Garden. Rea purchased the statue during a trip to Italy in 1930 and bequeathed the marble sculpture to the library when she died in 1959.

Go here for the rest of this notice.



Activist Reginald Billups records USCT 2d Regiment Monument Otocast audio (09-04-19)

In 2018, the City of Fort Myers launched a free mobile app that enables resident, vacationers and other cultural tourists to learn all about the public artworks that are interspersed throughout town. Called Otocast, the app contains text and historic photos for each covered artwork. But the app’s centerpiece is an audio recording made by the artist who created the piece or someone who is intimately familiar with the artwork and the stories it recounts. By virtue of this audio component, Otocast is like having your very own tour guide who knows the coolest facts and behind-the-scenes stories about the art pieces you see all around you.

One of those artworks is the USCT 2nd Regiment Monument in Centennial Park. The memorial features a larger-than-life “bronze” of a fictional sergeant in the United States Colored Troops 2nd Regiment. He is standing before a gate within a wall. The wall represents slavery; the gate symbolizes the freedom provided by emancipation. The soldier memorializes the 179,000 African American men who served in the Union Army and the 19,000 who served in the Union Navy during the Civil War.

Closer to home, the fictional soldier also represents the 168 men of Companies D and I of the USCT 2nd Regiment who were stationed in Fort Myers in 1865 and defended the Union outpost from Confederate attack during the Battle of Fort Myers on February 20, 1865.

You will find the rest of this article here.



Recalling other luminaries and artists who’ve provided Otocast audios (09-04-19)

The Public Art Committee recently added audios on the free mobile phone app Otocast for the USCT 2nd Regiment Monument and the Wes Nott Statue by civil rights activist and music instructor Reginald Billups and freelance writer, author and Southwest Florida Historical Society president Glenn Miller, respectively. They join an illustrious group of other luminaries and artists who’ve provided Otocast audios in the past.

River District Alliance Director Jared Beck provided the audio for Fort Myers’ first public artwork, the Tootie McGregor Fountain. Beck is a past chair of the City’s Public Art Committee, and in that capacity, he played an instrumental role in persuading the City to subscribe for Otocast in order to better provide information to the public about Fort Myers’ public artworks. Beck has long held the opinion that more needs to be done to acquaint people with the accomplishments of Tootie McGregor Terry, who was perhaps the town’s greatest benefactor during its early history. Jared is also the co-author of River & Road, a visual and narrative history of the architectural evolution and urban development of Southwest Florida as shown in Fort Myers, Florida. Written with Pamela Miner, River & Road won the 2017 Richard E. Rice Gold Medal Award for Visual Arts.

The audio for the phone app that informs the public about the Buckingham & Page Army Air Field Monument in Centennial Park was provided by the Executive Director of Fort Myers’ IMAG History & Science Center, Matt Johnson. Matt has a special connection to the two army air fields. He and journalist Chris Wadsworth co-authored a book on the Buckingham Army Air Field and knows more about the Buckingham & Page Army Air Fields than just about anyone living in Southwest Florida. In the audio, Matt shares interesting, little known facts about the air fields and describes the impact that they had on the growth and development of Fort Myers in the post-war years. Go here for more on Matt.

Gerri Reaves provides the audio for The Spirit of Fort Myers, which is popularly known as Rachel at the Well. She wrote a dispositive article on the artwork for The River Weekly in May of 2015, and contacted von Zengen’s family for information on the sculptor and his work incident to that story. To this day, she remains in touch with the von Zengen family. In her Otocast audio, Gerri shares historical information, fun facts and fascinating anecdotes about Rachel and the circumstances surrounding her creation, dedication and ongoing conservation. Many downtown residents, workers and visitors know Gerri Reaves from her weekly column appearing in The River Weekly News. But Gerri’s credentials are considerably more far-ranging. Her books include Legendary Locals of Fort Myers (Arcadia Press, 2013), Fort Myers: Then and Now (Arcadia Press, 2008) and Mapping the Private Geography: Autobiography, Identity and America (2000), all of which are available on Amazon and in select area bookstores.

One of Fort Myers’ most important artworks is the mural on the federal courthouse known as Fort Myers: An Alternative History, and artist Barbara Jo Revelle recorded the audio for her ceramic tile mural herself. The audio is filled with interesting facts and little known anecdotes culled by the artist from disparate source materials during the intensive research she conducted between 1997 and 1999. Revelle gained national notoriety in 1991 when she completed a photo-based, computer-generated tile mural on the Denver Convention Center that is two city blocks long. Titled A People’s History of Colorado, it is still one of the largest outdoor public art murals in the world. Between 1991 and 1997, Ms. Revelle went on to render murals on the new public library in Lafayette, Colorado, the clock tower that is part of the Safety and Justice Building in Longmont, Colorado, and a documentary photo-mural for the Hancock Center, IBM Building and Uptown Hull House Gallery in Chicago that was sponsored by the Chicago Council of Fine Arts.

Sitting in the entrance to the Riviera-St. Tropez Condominiums is a modernist sculpture known as Naiad, and its maker is renowned monumental metal sculptor Albert Paley from Rochester, New York. Like Revelle, Paley himself recorded the audio that describes Naiad. Paley is a phenom in the world of public art, so having an example of his work in downtown Fort Myers is quite a coup. Over the past four decades, he has created monumental site-specific metal assemblages that place him not only in the forefront of contemporary sculpture, but in the vanguard of artists working in the cutting-edge genre-defying field of “Archisculpture.” In fact, the American Institute of Architects took note of Paley’s work in the Archisculpture several years ago, naming him the first metal sculptor to ever receive its coveted Institute Honors Award, the highest award conferred by AIA on a non-architect.

More recordings are in the offing, so check back periodically for updates as the City’s Public Art Committee expands Otocast in the days, weeks and months ahead.



Many FGCU public artworks and their artists profiled on Art Southwest Florida (09-04-19)

Cross Currents Showing Original Color Saturation (2)The FGCU public art collections contains over 100 monumental works and collections. In an ongoing effort, Art Southwest Florida has profiled many of them in order to provide students, faculty and surrounding residents, vacationers and visiting parents with detailed information about these works and the artists who rendered them. These profiles include:

There are still more to come, so visit the dropdown under Public Art/FGCU often.



Insects rule at Center for Visual Arts (09-03-19)

Insects have been on earth 350 million years. Hundreds of thousands of insect species have been documented (scientists believe 30 million may exist), far outnumbering the total of all other animal species. Insects are so prolific that thousands share our own backyards. In the air, water, and even under foot, insects inhabit every domain of our daily lives, performing essential functions that balance our fragile ecosystem on earth. By using cutting-edge technology and custom methods, artist Bob Sober created Small Wonders: Insects in Focus, an exhibition of breathtaking beauty that allows viewers to see this hidden world like they’ve never seen it before. The exhibition comes to the Centers for Visual Arts Bonita Springs today and will remain on view through October 19, 2019.

Creating human-scale images of insects with resolution so high that every hair, dimple, and tiny structure is clearly revealed was impossible prior to the technological advancements of the past ten years. High-resolution digital cameras, fast personal computers, economical digital storage, and powerful software applications capable of assisting with the assembly of hundreds or thousands of individual photographs create the opportunity to capture accurate images of insects as they truly exist.

These new ways of seeing confront viewers with the idea that insects display the elements we attribute to good design or beautiful artwork. Colors like neon green, sapphire blue, crimson red, deep violet, and brilliant yellow are all part of the insect world. Wild, multi-colored patterns sometimes come from hair, sometimes from iridescent scales, and other times from colors integral to the insect’s exoskeleton. Smooth metallic finishes and heavily stippled texture may exist on the same insect. Strange body shapes, delicate wing structures, and beautifully engineered body components captivate. These tiny creatures are indeed artwork, in every sense of the word.

Bob Sober, a visual artist as well as technological pioneer whose photographic techniques are the subject of educational tutorials, offers a series of thirty images that bring the natural world to a scale rarely experienced until now. Small Wonders finds viewers at the intersection of art and science, and brings together two fields of thought in a provocative and inspiring way.

The exhibition opens with a Free Family Activity Day and Opening Tour from 10:00 a.m. to noon on Saturday, September 7. And from 10:00 a.m. to noon on Saturday, October 5, families can enjoy printmaking with a “Bee” twist to create prints of bees and honeycombs!

This exhibition is toured by ExhibitsUSA, a national program of Mid-America Arts Alliance. ExhibitsUSA sends more than twenty-five exhibitions on tour to over 100 small- and mid-sized communities every year. These exhibitions create access to an array of arts and humanities experiences, nurture the understanding of diverse cultures and art forms, and encourage the expanding depth and breadth of cultural life in local communities. For more about ExhibitsUSA, email or visit

The exhibition is organized by ExhibitsUSA, a program of Mid-America Arts Alliance. Mid-America Arts Alliance (M-AAA) strengthens and supports artists, cultural organizations, and communities throughout our region and beyond. We achieve this primarily through our national traveling exhibition programs, innovative leadership development, and strategic grant making. We are especially committed to enriching the cultural life of historically underserved communities by providing high quality, meaningful, and accessible arts and culture programs and services. We believe in more art for more people. Additional information about M-AAA is available at

Each year the Centers for the Arts Bonita Springs presents a dynamic and wide-ranging selection of exhibitions which both appeal to and enlighten our membership and visitors. While some exhibitions feature member, faculty or student artists from our own community, other shows feature traveling exhibitions from national institutions in the U.S. or artworks from around the world. Our schedule provides events that focus on a particular theme, medium or concept. Summer and Fall feature regional artists, and February features our Annual Members’ Exhibition. Admission is free to any of our exhibitions.



FSW celebrating 40th anniversary of art gallery with ‘Rauschenberg 40’ exhibition (09-03-19)

Florida SouthWestern State College is celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Bob Rauschenberg Gallery with a major solo exhibition of gallery namesake Bob Rauschenberg. Four decades since the founding of the Gallery in 1979, this celebratory show is drawn from several prominent local collections and includes a number of never-previously-exhibited original paintings from the Gluts, Urban Bourbon, Anagrams (A Pun) and Waterworks series.

Beginning chronologically with the portfolio edition of “XXXIV Drawings for Dante’s Inferno” (1965) that was illustrated on his first extended visit to the Sunshine State’s Gulf Coast, Rauschenberg often joked that he had “gone through Hell to move to Florida.” Widely-acknowledged as one of the most important artists of the 20th Century, Rauschenberg is credited with pioneering the transition from European modernism to American pop art and has been the subject of recent retrospectives at the Tate Modern in London, Museum of Modern Art in New York and the San Francisco MoMA. However, this is the first exhibition to exclusively survey works produced by the artist while living and working in Southwest Florida and to feature seldom or never-before-seen works that have remained in the community that he so proudly called home.

As RAUSCHENBERG 40: The Fortieth Anniversary of the Bob Rauschenberg Gallery at FSW makes evident and Bob Rauschenberg often repeated: “Fort Myers is as small as your mind is. It can be just as large as the world is.”

When (then Edison State College) established an art gallery on its Lee campus in 1979, the school named it The Gallery of Fine Art. Over the ensuing decades, the Gallery worked closely with Rauschenberg to present world premiere exhibitions of his work, including multiple installations of the ¼ Mile or Two Furlong Piece. To commemorate its long-standing association and friendship with the artist, the College decided on June 4, 2004 to rename the gallery. The school originally proposed naming the space the Robert Rauschenberg Gallery, but the artist insisted on naming it the Bob Rauschenberg Gallery to better convey the intimate, informal relationship he maintained with both our local Southwest Florida community and FSW.

Please note that this exhibition opened to the public during regularly scheduled hours and without a preview reception on Monday, August 26. However, related lectures, performances and celebratory events are planned. Their dates and times will be announced throughout the duration of the show.

The exhibition and related events are open to the public, free of charge. Gallery Hours are Monday – Friday from 10:00 a.m. through 4:00 p.m. and on Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

For additional information, please call 239-489-9313 or visit



FGCU ArtLab’s Global Sustainable Design closes September 5 (09-03-19)

On view in the FGCU ArtLab Gallery through September 5 is Global Sustainable Design, an exhibition that contains works from students from the 2019 Global Sustainable Design course study abroad. Students traveled to Copenhagen, Denmark; Malmo, Sweden; and London, U.K. to experience firsthand practical approaches to sustainable design. The students were asked to explore current practices in sustainable design and then create works that could translate to the U.S. culturally. The focus is on challenging and changing existing attitudes, products, spaces, communications and communities as a positive step toward a greener, more ecologically balanced future.

The FGCU ArtLab Gallery is located in Library West. 



‘Open to Interpretation’ on view in FGCU Wasmer Gallery through October 3 (09-03-19)

On view now through October 3 in the Wasmer Gallery at Florida Gulf Coast University is Open to Interpretation: Selections from the Permanent Collection.

The FGCU Art Galleries’ Permanent Collection is an essential part of the FGCU campus’ educational resources. For many students it is their first exposure to a wide range of artists, materials and techniques. It is thanks to FGCU’s generous donors that the Permanent Collection exists and is appreciated by the campus and community. Open to Interpretation provides some insight into how the collection has been formed and is being activated.

The exhibition features three parts:

Recent Gifts features artists who have recently exhibited at FGCU. On display is also a new sculpture by Nancy Wilkins and a print by Édouard Manet from a gift by Edwin L. and Marlene Lyons to the FGCU Library Archives and Special Collections.

Three Rooms are three arrangements of artworks that mimic how art collector Robert Feir curates the works in his home. The eighteen artworks are a small selection of Feir’s bequest to the Permanent Collection.

Unexpected Forms is a selection of works from the Permanent Collection curated by FGCU Art Major and Seidler Fellow Farrah Alkhadra. This exhibition also required conservation of a number of pieces and research into display methods, which was funded by the Student/Faculty Undergraduate Scholarly Collaboration Fellowship.

[Photos 1 & 2: Mally Khorasantchi, Roots of Feeling VIII (detail), 2015, 72×48 in., Oil on canvas, Gift of Artist, and Anne Lindberg, Twilight Garden Blue (detail), 1988, Fabric and ink, 44 x 48 in, Gift of ASG Technologies.]



ArtFest Fort Myers application deadline looms (09-02-19)

The deadline for applying for admission into ArtFest Fort Myers is September 10. Many artists are vying for a spot in next year’s show not only because ArtFest brings 90,000 art lovers and collectors to Southwest Florida each year, but the February show marks ArtFest’s 20th anniversary.

The festival’s popularity among both artists and viewers is attributable in large measure to the staff’s focus on the artist and the art-selling experience. Targeting art buyers throughout Southwest Florida and beyond – from Marco Island to Sarasota and east to West Palm Beach – ArtFest’s promotional campaign includes all forms of media. Judging from each year’s turn-out, they’re clearly doing something right. No other art festival in Florida comes close to pulling in the number of people or the concentration of collectors that ArtFest does.

The organizers also understand the importance of providing great artist amenities over festival weekend to ensure that its exhibitors are stress free and ready to share their work with the festival’s dedicated and enthusiastic attendees.

How are festival artists chosen?

Each October, ArtFest Fort Myers brings together a panel of professional artists who view submitted images and score each applying artist on a range of 1 – 7 points. The artists with the highest scores are then invited to participate in ArtFest.

For Artist Application information, please contact ArtFest Fort Myers at 239-768-3602, email or visit



Deadlines loom for number of Boulderbrook Southwest Florida art festivals (09-02-19)

Boulderbrook Productions hosts a number of boutique art festivals in Southwest Florida each season. It is currently accepting submissions for:

  • The Art Festival at Mercato (January 25 & 26, 2020);  application deadline now closed;
  • Bonita Springs Invitational Art Festival (November 23 & 24); application deadline now closed;
  • Sanibel Masters Art Festival (Novembe 29 & 30); application deadline now closed;
  • Art Festival at the Sanibel Shops (December 7 & 8); deadline: September 7;
  • The Sanibel SCA Art Festival (January 17 & 18, 2020); deadline: October 4;
  • Sarasota Masters Art Festival (February 1 & 2, 2020); deadline September 21;
  • Bonita Springs Invitational at The Promenade (February 15 & 16, 2020); October 1;
  • Boca Grande Art Festival (March 7 & 8, 2020); deadline: October 14;
  • Peace River National Art Festival (March 21 & 22, 2020); deadline October 1; and
  • Bonita Springs Masters Art Festival (March 28 & 29, 20209); deadline October 14.

You must apply online at



Hot Works accepting applications for Estero Fine Art Show through September 17 (09-02-19)

Hot Works LLC is now accepting submissions for the 23rd Estero Fine Art Show. It will take place on Saturday and Sunday, January 4 & 5, 2020 at JetBlue Park. The show features original work in a wide array of disciplines, including painting, clay, glass, fiber, sculpture, wood, photography, jewelry and more.

Voted a top 100 art show four years running, the Estero Fine Art show is recognized as one of America’s highest quality and most respected art shows in the country. One of the show’s highlights is a Youth Art Competition for grades K-8 or ages 5-13.

Winter home of the Boston Red Sox, JetBlue Park affords both exhibitors and attendees with numerous benefits, including a location that draws from and is easily accessible from everywhere in Southwest Florida, as well as plenty of convenient, on-site parking.

The application deadline is September 17, 2019. Applications can be found online at For more information, please contact Executive Director Patty Narozny at or 248-684-2613.



Deadline for gaining entry into Naples New Year’s Art Show 2020 is September 8 (09-02-19)

East Entry 02The Naples Art Association is currently accepting applications for inclusion in its three outstanding outdoor art festivals, The Naples New Year’s Art Show 2020, Naples National Art Festival and The Downtown Naples Festival of the Arts.

Start your new year off in sunny Florida. New opportunities await you at the 24th Annual Naples New Year’s Art Show. This fine art festival draws professional artists from around the country and was ranked #20 in the nation in 2018 by Sunshine Artist Magazine and is included by in its “BLUE CHIP 100” Fine Art Events for 2019.

If you are interested in exhibiting at this show, here’s what you will need to know:

  • Dates: Saturday and Sunday, January 4-5, 2020
  • Festival Hours: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Location: 5th Avenue South, Downtown Naples
  • Accept 250 artists max
  • Application fee: $35
  • Booth fee: $450 for 10×10
  • Cancellation refund policy: Full refund: 11/22/19; 50% refund: 12/06/19 (refunds subject to $25 processing fee)
  • Set up specifics: 4 a.m. early morning set up only: On street set up in quads; No electrical
  • Application deadline: 09/08/19
  • Jury Process begins: 09/13/19
  • Status Notification: 09/23/19
  • Booth Fee Due: 10/24/19
  • Artist Info Emailed: 11/25/19
  • Wait List Acceptance: 10/24/19
  • No Refund Deadline:  12/07/19
  • Application available online at ZAPP




Naples Art now accepting applications for Naples National Art Show (09-02-19)

Crowd Shot BestThe Naples Art Association is currently accepting applications for inclusion in its three outstanding outdoor art festivals, The Naples New Year’s Art Show 2020, Naples National Art Festival and The Downtown Naples Festival of the Arts.

Naples National is consistently voted among the top 25 art festivals in the country by Sunshine Artist Magazine and was ranked #24 last year. As one of the oldest festivals in Collier County, Naples National is counted by the local community as among its premiere, must–see events, thanks to the high quality of art, the engaging personalities of the artists and the festive atmosphere. The show is held in scenic Cambier Park and along 8th Street South, one block from downtown Naples’ premier shopping and dining district.

If you are interested in exhibiting in the 41st Naples National Art Festival, here’s what you will need to know:

  • Dates: Saturday & Sunday, February 22-23, 2020
  • Festival Hours: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Accept 194 artists max
  • Application fee: $35
  • Booth fee: $625 for 10×10
  • Cancellation refund policy: Full refund: 01/10/20; 50% refund: 01/31/20 (subject to $25 processing fee)
  • Set up specifics: Friday set up on 2/21,
  • Park and street setting
  • Application deadline: 10/28/19
  • Jury Process begins: 11/01/19
  • Status Notification: 11/25/19
  • Booth Fee Due: 12/16/19
  • Artist Info Emailed: 01/20/19
  • Wait List Acceptance: 12/16/19
  • Application available online at beginning June 1, 2019

To improve the quality of the show and to provide more sales opportunities for our artists, NAA has reduced the number of booths available from 270 to 194. “This will allow artists greater exposure and less competition,” states NAA in its prospectus for the show. “Additionally, the park layout, will consist of one loop making it easier for customers to view all artist’s booths. However, there is a corresponding increase in booth fees.”

This is the only Naples Art Association show that offers cash awards for Best of Show, Best 2D, Best 3D and Awards of Distinction in 2D and 3D. The amounts are:

  • Best of Show – $2,000
  • Best 2D – $500
  • Best 3D – $500
  • Awards of Distinction 2D – 5 awards at $200 each
  • Awards of Distinction 3D – 5 awards at $200 each

Awards will be presented at the band shell in Cambier Park at 3:00 pm on Saturday. NAA staff or volunteers will notify an artist if they need to be present at the awards ceremony on Saturday. Awards are given based on the same criteria used for the jury process. The winning artists are invited to participate in the following year’s show and receive jury exempt status but must still pay his/her booth fee.

The mission of the Naples Art Association is to expand cultural opportunities, broaden education and enrich SWF through the visual arts. Proceeds from the Naples National Art Show support educational programming at The Naples Art Association.



Naples Art now accepting applications for Naples Downtown Art Show (09-02-18)

Crowd Shot 01 (4)The Naples Art Association is currently accepting applications for inclusion in its three outstanding outdoor art festivals, The Naples New Year’s Art Show, Naples National Art Festival and The Naples Downtown Art Show.

The 31st Annual Downtown Naples Festival of the Arts is one of the last major art festivals of the winter season and a favorite festival for artists, art enthusiasts and collectors. This festival was rated #34 by Sunshine Artist’s Magazine 2018 ARTIST 200 Best Shows in America.

If you would like to exhibit in this show, here’s what you will need to know:

  • Dates: Saturday and Sunday, March 21-224, 2020
  • Festival Hours: Saturday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Sunday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Location: 5th Avenue South, Downtown Naples
  • Accept 250 artists max
  • Application fee: $35
  • Booth fee: $450 for 10×10
  • Cancellation refund policy: Full refund: 02/07/20; 50% refund: 02/21/20 (subject to $25 processing fee)
  • Set up specifics: 4 a.m., early morning set up only;
  • On street set up in quads: No electrical
  • Application deadline: 12/08/19
  • Jury Process begins: 12/13/19
  • Status Notification: 12/27/19
  • Booth Fee Due: 01/18/20
  • Artist Info Emailed: 02/26/20
  • Wait List Acceptance: 01/18/20
  • Application available online at beginning June 1, 2018



Naples Art accepting submissions for next season’s Art in the Park (09-02-19)

Art in the Park LogoAre you ready for the 2019-2020 season of Art in the Park? The Naples Art Association (NAA) proudly connects artists with art shoppers in another terrific season of Art in the Park.

Since 1957, Art in the Park has showcased paintings in oil and acrylics, watercolors, mixed Art in the Park 01media, photography, sculpture, ceramics, glass art, jewelry and wood-working created by members in good standing of the Naples Art Association. For art lovers, it’s a casual, fun-filled venue for meeting local artists and becoming acquainted with their work. It is believed to be the first outdoor art show held in Naples. And the tradition continues for the 2019-2020 art fair and festival season.

Art in the Park 04Art in the Park is held between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. on the first Saturday of each month from November through April. Because of its long tradition, prestige and the interest and number of people who routinely turn out for the show, many NAA members seek admission to the show. Applicants go through a jury process.

“Art in the Park is a membership opportunity, providing artists a venue to sell and market their Art in the Park 05work while broadening their customer base,” notes the Naples Art Association in its call to artists for the 2019-2020 season. “It also provides a setting for artists to interact with other artists sharing ideas, industry changes and the camaraderie of creative people. It is an opportunity for both artists and the public to engage in enlightening conversations about art.”

Make and Take Art 01The one-day fair takes place on Park Street adjacent to The Naples Art Association in the northwest corner of Cambier Park. Located just a block and a half from historic Fifth Avenue South, Art in the Park is within walking distance of trendy European boutiques, sidewalk cafes and iconic art galleries such as Sheldon Fine Art, Call of Africa’s Native Visions Gallery and Shaw Gallery of Fine Art Demo Booth 01Art. The show is also just three minutes by car from fabled Gallery Row and the Third Street South Gallery District. The January show is also held in conjunction with the Downtown Naples New Year’s Art Fair, which will be held next season on Saturday and Sunday, January 4 & 5, 2020.



New Play Contest Winner ‘Engagement Rules’ is comedy with bite (09-01-19)

Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance for the Arts is bringing Engagement Rules to the stage. A comedy with bite, Engagement Rules follows the intertwined lives of two couples who advise and support each other on challenges of love, sex and the soul. The younger couple (early 30s) is recently engaged, and the older (in their 70s) has been married over fifty years.

Go here for the rest of this advance.



Spotlight on ‘Engagement Rules’ actor Cantrella Canady (09-01-19)

Cantrella Canady plays Donna in Engagement Rules, the Theatre Conspiracy New Play Contest winner by Rich Orloff that opens at the Alliance for the Arts on September 20. The play is billed as a comedy with bite, and comedies, of course, are Cantrella’s jam – although it’s been awhile since this talented actor has laughed and giggled this much during rehearsals. Cantrella has been in an incredible number of shows all over Southwest Florida, but Engagement Rules represents the first time she’s worked with Theatre Con Producing Artistic Director Bill Taylor. For more on the girl who just likes to act, go here.



Spotlight on ‘Engagement Rules’ actor Lemec Bernard (09-01-19)

Lemec Bernard is an imposing figure. He made his presence known in Theatre Conspiracy’s production of August Wilson’s Joe Turner’s Come and Gone. So much so that folks in the audience were astonished to learn that the show represented Bernard’s theater world debut. “Tall and physically imposing, Bernard’s Loomis doesn’t just loom over the other actors on stage,” this reviewer wrote. “His ‘wild-eyed, mean-looking’ persona serves as catalyst for much of the action in this play and he’s the perfect antithesis to the otherworldly Bynum ….”

Bernard returns to the Foulds Theatre boards in the role of Tom in Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance’s upcoming production of New Play Contest winner Engagement Rules, which opens September 20. Ironically, Lemec was Cantrella Canady’s on-stage husband in Joe Turner. This time his character is engaged Ms. Trella’s. It should be intriguing to witness Bernard’s growth and development as an actor – this time under the tutelage and direction of Producing Artistic Director Bill Taylor.



Spotlight on ‘Engagement Rules’ actor Jim Yarnes (09-01-19)

Jim Yarnes was last seen on the Foulds Theatre boards in August Wilson’s Joe Turner’s Come and Gone. He’ll be returning to the Alliance for the Arts in the role of Phil in New Play Contest winner Engagement Rules, which opens September 20 for eight performances. Like Johnny Depp in the genre of film, local actor Jim Yarnes is building a reputation for playing off-kilter and larger-than-life characters. Among his acting credits are the world’s second greatest classical composer, Ludwig van Beethoven, in Moises Kaufman’s 33 Variations and Pinchwife (an abusively possessive husband who locks his young bride in a room rather than risk her seduction by a London rascal) in The Country Wife.

Go here for the rest of Jim’s credits.



Spotlight on ‘Engagement Rules’ actor Carolyn England (09-01-19)

In Engagement Rules (opening September 20 at Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance for the Arts), Carolyn England plays Rose, a woman who’s been married to a guy named Phil (Jim Yarnes) for over half a century. Theater Conspiracy audiences wlll remember England from Murderers, a comedy in which she portrayed Lucy Stickler, the long-suffering wife of a septuagenarian with a roving eye. But that play was no laughing matter for Carolyn, who was injured in a car wreck prior to opening night. But ever the gamer, Carolyn soldiered on with a walker in order to play her part!

In addition to Murderers, Carolyn’s recent credits include Ivan Menchell’s The Cemetery Club and Jack Neary’s The Porch, both for Cape Coral Cultural Park.



‘Once’ kicking off national tour at Broadway Palm (09-01-19)

Once is now on stage at Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre. Winner of eight 2012 Tony Awards (including Best Musical) and winner of the 2013 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album, the musical broke new ground on Broadway.

Once is based on the 2007 Academy Award-winning film of the same name which was written and directed by John Carney and starred Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová, with original music and lyrics by Mr. Hansard and Ms. Irglová. Featuring an impressive ensemble of actor/musicians who play their own instruments onstage, Once tells the enchanting tale of a Dublin street musician who’s about to give up on his dream when a beautiful young Czech immigrant takes a sudden interest in his haunting love songs. As the chemistry between them grows, his music soars to powerful new heights – but their unlikely connection turns out to be deeper and more complex than your everyday romance. Emotionally captivating and theatrically breathtaking, Once draws you in from the very first note. It is an unforgettable story about going for your dreams… not living in fear… and the power of music to connect all of us.

Michael Zygo, who performed in the Broadway production as the Emcee, will be recreating the original staging and movement by John Tiffany and Steven Hoggett, respectively. As an original Broadway and Off-Broadway cast member, he feels a special attachment to the incredible work realized by the original cast and creative team. Mr. Zygo’s recent credits include Director of Once at Pittsburgh CLO, Music Director / Associate Choreographer of Once at The Fulton Theatre / Virginia Repertory Theatre. He was also featured on the Grammy Award winning cast album of Once. Other acting credits include Broadway: School Of Rock; Off-Broadway: Once (NYTW); Tours: Rock Of Ages – first National, The Wedding Singer, Bridges of Madison County – first National, Annie – 30th Anniversary tour, and Oklahoma! – first National.

The cast is led by Jack Gerhard as Guy and Mariah Lotz as Girl. Jack is a recent graduate of Rider University with a BFA in Musical Theatre. Previous regional credits include Jesus in Jesus Christ Superstar at the Tibbits Opera House in Coldwater, Michigan.

Mariah is also a graduate of Rider University and has premiered numerous new shows in New York and was part of the Rising Star program at Fifth Avenue Theatre.

The ensemble includes Todd Aulwurm (Bank Manager/Cello/Guitar), Carrie Lyn Brandon (Swing), Carlos Castillo (Andrej/Guitar/Bass Guitar/Ukulele), Trevor Craft (Svec/Mandolin/Guitar/Drums/Banjo), Richard Daniel (Da/Mandolin), Elleon Dobias (Ex Girlfriend/ Violin), Emily Gregonis (Reza/Violin), Caleb Hartsfield (Emcee/Guitar), Jody Alan Lee (Swing), Sam Saint Ours (Swing), Jon Patrick Penick (Billy/Guitar), Marta Rymer (Swing), Matthew Staley (Eamon/Guitar/Piano/Cajon) and Tracy Thomas (Baruska/Accordian).

The production features scenic and costume design by Tony Award winner Bob Crowley (Aida, An American in Paris, Carousel, Mary Poppins) with additional designs by Southwest Florida BroadwayWorld winner Evan Adamson (Mamma Mia), lighting design by Russell A. Thompson (international tour of The Wizard of Oz, US tours Million Dollar Quartet, Fiddler on the Roof) and sound design by David Temby (Clearwing Productions/national tour of Memphis). The production also includes a pre-show onstage bar atmosphere where performers play a variety of traditional Irish and Czech tunes each night. The bar will be open prior to the performance and at intermission and theatregoers are able to go onstage and purchase beer and wine.

Once plays at Broadway Palm now through September 28, 2019 (and then begins the traveling portion of the tour at the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Center in Fort Myers). Performances are Wednesday through Sunday evenings with selected matinees. Tickets are $48 to $73 with group prices available. There is a special and tickets for anyone 25 and under are just $25 for the meal and the show! 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.

For more tour and cast information, please visit



Funny Shorts LIVE! returning to Center for Performing Arts in September (09-01-19)

In September, the Center for Performing Arts Bonita Springs is bringing back Funny Shorts LIVE! – the wildly successful extension of the Stage It! 10-Minute Play Festival.

Now in its second year, the program is denoted by five high-quality comedic short plays from around the world. Each will be funny. Each will be short, with a run time of approximately 10-minutes. And at least one will be written by a local playwright. From witches to driving instructors, from shoe closets to speed dating for robots, there is a variety of stories from gifted storytellers.

Funny Shorts LIVE! takes place at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, September 13 and 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 14 in the Moe Auditorium & Film Center at 10150 Bonita Beach Road, Bonita Springs, FL 34135. Tickets are $20 General Admission (with 10% off for current CFABS members). Best of all, wearing your own funny shorts is completely optional. Encouraged, but optional. For more information, please telephone 239-495-8989.



Future ‘Funny Shorts Live’ and related auditions (09-01-19)

The Center for Performing Arts Bonita Springs will be conducting more Funny Shorts Live at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, December 13 in the Moe Auditorium & Film Center. Auditions for this show will be held at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, November 6 and 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 9. Auditions will be cold readings from scripts as assigned at the audition. Although walk-ins are always welcome, you can request a preferred date and time in advance via email at



‘Cause and Affection’ to incorporate video component into live action on stage (09-01-19)

The Center for the Performing Arts Bonita Springs will be performing the world premiere of Cause and Affection, an original multi-media comedic play.

Cause and Affection follows an aging soap star by the name of Preston whose evening plans are ruined when his elderly neighbor gets locked out of her apartment and his best friend, Barry, shows up needing marital advice. While trying to help them solve their problems, a bombshell drops, leaving Preston with a problem of his own to solve.

One of the distinguishing aspects of this production is the incorporation of three videos into the action taking place on stage. As you may suspect, the videos are episodes or outtakes from the soap opera, in which Preston stars as a handsome politician. Although CFABS cast actors especially for the soap opera videos, only the actor playing the part of Preston appears both on stage and in the soap opera videos!

Performances are at 7:00 p.m. Thursday – Saturday, October 24 – 26, 2019 and at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday & Sunday, October 26 & 27 in the Center for Performing Arts – Moe Auditorium & Film Center, 10150 Bonita Beach Rd, Bonita Springs FL 34135. For more information or tickets, please call 239-495-8989 or visit



Center for Performing Arts presenting staged readings of ‘Good Jews” and ‘Book Club Thief’ (09-01-19)

The Center for Performing Arts Bonita is presenting staged readings of Good Jew and The Book Club Thief at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, November 8. Watch the transformative power of acting as directors and actors introduce us to works that illuminate the Center’s mainstage work or introduces us to future programming possibilities. After readings, you’re invited to meet the cast and discuss the play with director and actors. This lively and informative discussion brings new insight to the art of theater.



Upcoming staged readings and auditions at Center for Performing Arts Bonita (09-01-19)

The Center for Performing Arts Bonita Springs will be conducting staged readings at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, November 8 in the Moe Auditorium & Film Center and at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, January 10, 2020. It will conduct auditions for the November staged readings at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 16 and at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 19 and for the January staged readings at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, December 17 and 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, December 18. Auditions will be cold readings from scripts as assigned at the audition. Although walk-ins are always welcome, you can request a preferred date and time in advance via email at



Looking at rest of Ghostbird’s 2019-2020 schedule (09-01-19)

With 3 in the books, here’s what’s on tap for the rest of Ghostbird Theatre Company’s 2019-2020 season:

  • October House to be performed October 31 and November 1, 2, 7, 8 and 9 at the historic Langford-Kingston Home;
  • Thistletoe Cabaret, a one-night performance scheduled for December 17 in the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center;
  • the 24-Hour Festival on March 1 in the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center; and
  • Ori by Barry Cavin in April of 2020 to be performed at the Calusa Nature Center Planetarium in Fort Myers.

For the rest of this advance, go here.



Improv returns to The Lab Sept. 7 with Scared Scriptless Comedy Lab (09-01-19)

They are back and funnier than ever! Scared Scriptless Comedy Lab returns to the Laboratory Theater of Florida on September 7 at 7:00 p.m. for a night of hilarious antics, musical comedy, and spot-on on-the-spot jokes. Every facet of the uproariously improvised show is based on audience suggestions. With years of experience performing, Scared Scriptless Comedy Lab delivers a side-splitting, one-of-a-kind show every time. No wonder their performances in July and August sold out!

Formerly Bonita City Improv, this troupe of talented performers offers a unique mixture of both short and long form improv, creating an entertaining evening of family-friendly laughter that is fast-paced, musical, and completely improvised. While no two shows are the same, they are always packed with hysterically funny songs, sketches, and jokes created instantaneously based on your suggestions. For the more adventurous, there are occasional opportunities to join the cast on stage!

Scared Scriptless is composed of Leigh Shein, Nick Hernandez, Kea McElfresh, Bill Owens, Andrew Florance and Steve Cobb.

Individual Tickets are $15 per person and are available at or by calling (239)218-0481. The past two performances have sold out, so get your tickets early.



Spotlight on Scared Scriptless Comedy Lab tech Leigh Shein (09-01-19)

Chicagoan, Leigh Shein took his first improv class with Second City in 1979 and has since studied and worked all over the world. He was a founding member of Bay Area Improv Theater and currently directs and hosts Harry’s Senior Moment. In addition to Scared Scriptless Comedy Lab, Leigh is also a member of Gene Pool Party, an improv group of dads and their daughters. He teaches improv to all ages including kids with Autism Spectrum Disorders.



Spotlight on Scared Scriptless Comedy Lab tech Nick Hernandez (09-01-19)

Nick Hernandez has been doing improv for 4 years. He has been in many productions in various theaters. He is currently in college studying to be a sound engineer for theater and artist performances. He is glad to now be a part of this improv group.



Spotlight on Scared Scriptless Comedy Lab tech Kea ‘Mac’ McElfresh (09-01-19)

Kea “Mac” McElfresh has been with Scared Scriptless Comedy Lab for nearly two years. As a Miami Improv Member of “Impromedy”, she was glad to finally find an improv family in Fort Myers. Mac is currently teaching theatre at Estero High School and serves the community as District VI Jr. Thespian Chair. She brings a wealth of knowledge and crazy characters to the stage.



Spotlight on Scared Scriptless Comedy Lab tech Bill Owens (09-01-19)

Bill Owens has the privilege of performing with fellow cast members, Steve Cobb, Leigh Shein and Kea McElfresh in the local improv troupes Scared Scriptless Comedy Lab and Gene Pool Party. He was also a member of Harry’s Senior Moment and Dueling Swords. Bill’s passion for improvisation began only three years ago when his determined kids persuaded him to get out of his comfort zone and take an improv class. When not making a fool of himself on the improv stage, Bill practices law as a business and real estate attorney.



Spotlight on Scared Scriptless Comedy Lab tech Andrew Florance (09-01-19)

Andrew Florance was born in Tucson, AZ in the back of the O.K. Corral. After escaping from his crib for the 6th time he started traveling with a comedy troupe of babies. They traveled through Georgia, South Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, before ending up in Florida. When he grew too old for the Crying Laughing baby troupe he traveled the U.S. and Europe to perfect his comedic skills in the corporate world, making jokes at the office level until he found Scared Scriptless Comedy Lab. He’s been performing with Scared Scriptless Comedy Lab happily ever after.



Spotlight on Scared Scriptless Comedy Lab tech Steve Cobb (09-01-19)

Steve Cobb has been professionally doing improv for over 6 years. Steve currently is the creative director, show runner and cast member for the following improv groups: Scared Scriptless Comedy Lab, Gene Pool Party Improv (dads and their daughters), and Musical Swords Improv. Gene Pool Party Improv has performed locally in Southwest Florida, at the 2017 Palm Beach Improv Festival, the 2018 Palm Beach Improv Festival, and at the 2018 Miami Improv Festival, among several recognized national and international troupes. Musical Swords Improv debuted in the 2018 Palm Beach Improv Festival.

Steve coaches and trains the youth improv troupe Foot Milk Experience Improv. He is the former coach and director of Mission Improvable Youth Improv, and New and Improv’d Youth Improv.

Steve has hosted improv shows throughout the state of Florida, including at the Naples Players Sugden Theatre and the Bonita Springs Center for the Arts. Steve has taught workshops throughout the state, including at the 2018 Palm Beach Improv Festival and for the FGCU Improv Club. He has worked extensively with the FGCU Improv Club. Steve was a judge in Sarasota for the Regional College Improv Tournament in 2017. Steve has performed with many local and national improvisors all around the state, including with “Stacked- All Female Musical Revue” in Sarasota, Florida, as part of an instructor show at the Palm Beach Improv Festival, and with other troupes throughout the state as a guest featured player.

Steve is also a stage actor. His credits include Moon Over Buffalo for the CFABS Players.



Lab Theater’s landmark 100th production to be ‘The Crucible’ (09-01-19)

Arthur Miller’s The Crucible will open the 11th season at The Laboratory Theater of Florida September 20. Not only is The Crucible the season opener, but it marks a milestone as the 100th production put on by the theater.

Things take a deadly turn when Reverend Parris finds a number of young women inappropriately dancing in the forest. To save themselves from punishment, they claim they’ve been bewitched by various townspeople. Once these girls, who have never had any voice or control, get a taste of the power that their claims wield, is there anything they won’t do to get everything they desire?

Arthur Miller’s The Crucible is as relevant today as it was when it was first released in 1953, not long after the playwright had himself had been accused of un-American activities and communism by the McCarthy Commission.

Please go here for the balance of this advance.

And you’ll find The Crucible’s play dates, times and ticket info here.



Focus on Crucible’s Steven Coe (09-01-19)

Fort Myers actor Steven Coe is so much in demand, that although he’s starring opposite Madelaine Weymouth in The Studio Players’ production of Venus in Fur, he will also appear in The Crucible, which opens September 20 at Laboratory Theater of Florida. Steven has a reputation for placing himself in challenging roles and situations that build confidence. Besides Venus in Fur, his evolving body of work includes starring roles as Andri in Andorra, The Boy in Veronica’s Room, and Doug in Neil LaBute’s The Way We Get By, as well as memorable supporting and ensemble appearances in Hush Up Sweet Charlotte, Whatever Happened to Baby Jane: A Parody of the Horror, Arthur Kopit’s Wings, Rick Abbot’s Play On!, The Last Night of Ballyhoo and The Musical Comedy Murders of 1940.

Go here to read Steven’s full profile.



Focus on Crucible’s Imani Lee Williams (09-01-19)

Included in the large and talented cast of Lab Theater’s production of The Crucible (opening September 20) is Imani Lee Williams. Lab Theater audiences are still raving about her performance in the role of Jo in the Southwest Florida premiere of Matthew Lopez’s The Legend of Georgia McBride. After participating in the Alliance for the Arts’ inaugural CHANGE course, she also had the distinction of performing a monologue in George Wolfe’s edgy The Color Museum. To read Imani’s full profile, go here.



Focus on Crucible’s Paul Graffy (09-01-19)

Paul Graffy is part of the large and talented cast of The Crucible, opening September 20 at the Laboratory Theater of Florida. Over the past 15 years, Paul has appeared in more than 25 productions and directed over a dozen others at such theaters as The Naples Players, Artis Naples, TheatreZone, The Studio Players, The Naples Dinner Theater and the Laboratory Theater of Florida. Among his acting credits are General Thomas F. Waverly in Irving Berlin’s White Christmas (The Naples Players), Pale in Burn This! (for The Lab), Senator Joe Cantwell in The Best Man (also for Lab), Frank Sr. in Catch Me if You Can, Johnny Lowell in Stage Kiss, Alan in God of Carnage and George in Moon Over Buffalo, both at The Naples Players in 2014. In 2011, Florida Weekly recognized his stage talent with its Best Actor award. Go here for the rest of Paul’s prodigious profile.



Focus on Crucible’s TJ Albertson (09-01-19)

Included in the large and talented cast of Lab Theater’s production of The Crucible (opening September 20) is TJ Albertson, fresh from his tour de force, raised fist in a sequined glove performance as Rexy Nervosa in The Legend of Georgia McBride. In addition to Georgia McBride, TJ has turned in outstanding performances in just the last year as The Soldier in Andorra, Tyler Johnes in And the Winner Is … and Timmy in Hand to God. For more on this Fairfax, Virginia transplant, go here.



Focus on Crucible’s Todd Lyman (09-01-19)

Included in the large and talented cast of Lab Theater’s production of The Crucible (opening September 20) is Todd Lyman. Todd is a Fort Myers actor whose credits include multiple roles (Customers 3, 6 and 9) in Lab Theater’s production of Zalman Velvel’s farce D.M.V., Teddy in Mitch Albom’s And the Winner Is …, theater critic Ira Drew in Terrence McNally’s It’s Only a Play (which marked Todd’s Lab Theater debut), Bud Frump in How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, Enoch Snow in Carousel, Hysterium in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum and Ivan in Anton Chekhov’s The Marriage Proposal.



Focus on Crucible’s Heather Johnson (09-01-19)

Included in the large and talented cast of Lab Theater’s production of The Crucible (opening September 20) is Heather McLemore Johnson. Heather is a recent theatrical transplant from Starkville, Mississippi. After arriving in Southwest Florida, Heather made her Lab Theater debut as the dip-spittin’ sheriff in Hush Up Sweet Charlotte, followed by multiple sidesplitting roles in Every Christmas Story Ever Told (and Then Some) and an aggrieved soccer mom (and the only adult cast member) in The Wolves. She also recently participated in Lab Theater’s 24-Hour Playwriting Project, directing Candice Sanzari’s Critics’ Choice winner Thanksgiving is for Nutters.



Focus on Crucible’s Art Keen (09-01-19)

Included in the large and talented cast of Lab Theater’s production of The Crucible (opening September 20) is Art Keen. Originally from Long Island, Art has come to the Southwest Florida theater community by way of retirement. A certified theater arts and social studies teacher with a B.S. in Theater Arts from SUNY Oneonta, Art’s theater resume is wide and varied. His most recent work includes portraying Jimmy Rogers in Lab Theater’s world premiere of Zalman Velvel’s D.M.V. and playing Manolo Costazuela in Del Tura Repertory Company’s production of The Odd Couple: Female Version. 



Focus on Crucible’s Tamicka Armstrong (09-01-19)

Included in the large and talented cast of Lab Theater’s production of The Crucible (opening September 20) is Tamicka Armstrong. Tamicka is a former “choir kid” and karaoke aficionado with a decade’s worth of experience in ensemble and solo work. In 2017, she relocated to Southwest Florida from Wyoming and after taking improv classes at the Alliance for the Arts, she decided to take a chance and audition at Theatre Conspiracy, landing the role of Cindy in 2017 New Play Contest winner Repossessed. The Crucible marks her Lab Theater debut.



Focus on Crucible’s Emmie Spiller (09-01-19)

Returning to the boards at Lab Theater in The Crucible is Emmie Spiller. Emmie was last seen as the captain (#25) of the Wolves indoor soccer team in the summer intern production of Sarah DeLappe’s The Wolves. She was previously seen as Cheryl in Lab’s production of Evil Dead: The Musical last summer.



Focus on Crucible’s Lauren Miller (09-01-19)

Included in the large and talented cast of Lab Theater’s production of The Crucible (opening September 20) is Lauren Miller. Lab Theater audiences will remember Lauren as Kit Kat Girl Texas in Brenda Kensler’s blockbuster production of Cabaret in 2015. She is a seasoned stage performer, with appearances as Mazeppa in Gypsy, Sister Mary Hubert in Nunsense, and Henrietta in All Shook Up. She also performed with The Naples Players in Les Miserables, Little Shop of Horrors, Smokey Joe’s Café and Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.



Focus on Crucible’s Melanie Payne (09-01-19)

Included in the large and talented cast of Lab Theater’s production of The Crucible (opening September 20) is Melanie Payne. Melanie only just made her Lab Theater stage acting debut in Lab’s inaugural Festival of tens. But Lab Theater audiences are nonetheless familiar with Melanie’s work. Lab has produced a number of staged readings of Payne’s work, including Routine in 2018 and True Colors in 2016. Melanie is an investigative reporter with The News-Press/USA Today Network. In that capacity, she has exposed scams, corruption and bad deals. For more than a decade, she wrote the consumer column, Tell Mel. She has published two nonfiction books and is a nationally-ranked Scrabble player. A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Melanie is a graduate of Wellesley College and has lived in Fort Myers since 2004.



Focus on Crucible’s Mike Dinko (09-01-19)

Included in the large and talented cast of Lab Theater’s production of The Crucible (opening September 20) is Mike Dinko. Among his acting credits are Customers 1 and 8 in Lab Theater’s production of Zalman Velvel’s D.M.V., Boberg’s Timer and Junk in the Trunk in Lab’s inaugural Festival of Tens, The Odd Couple, Female Version (one of the Castilian brothers), Zalman Velvel’s 55 and Over (landlord), Play On! (where he played a villainous actor in a very bad murder mystery), The Country Wife (Dorilant), The Best Man (where he played the role of an Army veteran who is brought to a political convention by one candidate to ruin the reputation of his adversary) and An Empty Plate in the Café du Grand Boeuf (the surly French waiter, Claude).

Go here for the rest of Mike’s credits.



Richard O’Brien’s ‘Rocky Horror Show’ coming to New Phoenix in October (09-01-19)

New Phoenix Theatre will perform Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show live in October. If you have never experienced Rocky Horror, this is yours chance. If you have, you won’t want to miss this opportunity to do the time warp again. Audience participation is encouraged, but not necessary, so feel free to dress up as your favorite character. Prizes will be awarded for the best costumes.

Performances are October 3, 4, 5, 10, 11, 12, 17, 18, 19, 24, 25, 26 and 31 at 8:00 p.m. and October 6, 13, 20 and 27 at 3:00 p.m.



TNP KidzAct holding auditions for ‘Frozen Jr.’ (09-01-19)

The Naples Players (TNP) KidzAct is holding open auditions for the Disney musical sensation Frozen Jr. on Saturday, September 7, 2019 from 12:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. at The Naples Players at The Sugden Community Theatre located at 701 5th Avenue South in Naples.

Frozen Jr. is a story of true love and acceptance between sisters, Princesses Anna and Elsa. When faced with danger, the two discover their hidden potential and the powerful bond of sisterhood. With a cast of beloved characters and loaded with magic, adventure, and plenty of humor, Frozen Jr. is sure to thaw even the coldest heart!

The Naples Players KidzAct production is seeking to cast 16 principal roles (8 male, 8 female) and a large singing/dancing ensemble with multiple featured roles. Rehearsals for Frozen Jr. begin on Tuesday, September 24, 2019, from 4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. and performances run Saturday, December 7th (two performances at 12 noon and 4:00 p.m.), Sunday, December 8th at 6:30 p.m., and Monday, December 9th at 6:30 p.m. Cast members must be available for all four performances.

Auditions for Frozen Jr. are open to students of all abilities ages 9 – 18 years old who are currently enrolled in 3rd – 12th grades. Auditions are by appointment only and students can register online. If all slots fill up, the time of auditions will be extended later. Auditions are free and walk-ins are always welcome.

Students need to prepare 32 bars (about a minute in length) of a song with sheet music or a non-vocal CD/track. Singing will be followed by learning a dance combination. For a full rehearsal and performance schedule, and to register to audition for the Frozen Jr. auditions: For further questions about auditions, please contact Cole Butcher, Production Stage Manager, 239-434-7340 ext. 125 or

There is an Audition Prep Class offered on Saturday, August 10, 2019, from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. TNP KidzAct Director/Choreographer, Erica Sample will be teaching the Audition Prep Class to introduce auditionees to the style of dance in the show prior to the audition. Students are encouraged to take this class to best prepare for the audition process. To register for the Frozen Jr. Audition Prep Class call (239) 434-7340 ext. 103 or

Frozen Jr. performs December 7th at 12:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m., December 8th and 9th at 6:30 p.m. in Blackburn Hall at The Naples Players at The Sugden Community Theatre at 701 5th Avenue South in Naples. Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for students and are available for purchase online at or by contacting the Box Office at (239) 263-7990.



TNP holding open auditions for ‘She Loves Me’ holiday show (09-01-19)

The Naples Players (TNP) announce open auditions for She Loves Me from 12:00 to 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 14 at The Naples Players Sugden Community Theatre at 701 5th Avenue South.

She Loves Me is the perfect holiday musical. Based on the same storyline as the blockbuster hit film You’ve Got Mail, this story follows two feuding clerks in a European parfumerie during the 1930s who secretly find solace in their anonymous romantic pen pals, little knowing that their respective correspondents are each other.

The Naples Players is casting 2 women (ages 20s-30s), 2 men (ages 25-30), 1 male (age 45-55), 1 male (age 55-65), and 1 boy (age 14-17) as well as the ensemble with additional dancing and non-speaking featured roles available.

Audition sides are made available two weeks before the auditions. The Naples Players auditions are open to all interested persons and walk-ins are welcome. All that is required is the desire to be involved in a production and the willingness to commit your time and effort to the project.

She Loves Me rehearsals begin Monday, September 29, at 7:00 p.m. Rehearsals are typically five nights a week for five weeks before production.

Performances run Wednesdays through Sundays, November 26 through December 22 in Blackburn Hall.

There is no performance on Thanksgiving with a make-up performance on Tuesday, December 10, 2019. There is a special Sensory-Friendly Performance on Tuesday, December 17, 2019.

For audition information, please call Cole Butcher, Production Stage Manager, (239) 434-7340 ext. 125 or email All audition details and script sides for auditions are accessible on the website:



‘Great Gatsby’ opening at The Naples Players on October 2 with red carpet party (09-01-19)

The Naples Players is bringing The Great Gatsby to the stage. The play is a contemporary adaptation by Simon Levy of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s classic novel, and features much of his language along with the legendary decadence of the 1920s.

The dominant themes of love, desire, and obsession wash over Fitzgerald’s characters rich with hope and dreams positioned within an Art Deco stage design that artfully sets the stage for their decadent world in the Jazz Era.

Performances run Wednesdays – Sundays, October 2 through 27 in Blackburn Hall. A special Red Carpet Party will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, October 2 on The Baker Stage before the 7:30 Opening Night performance with live music and complimentary refreshments. Tickets are $40 and are available to the public on Tuesday, September 3, 2019 at the Box Office or



‘Venus in Fur’ akin to verbal tango or sexual Schottische (09-01-19)

On stage at the Golden Gate Playhouse is The Studio Players’ production of David Ives’ Venus in Fur starring Steven Coe and Madelaine Weymouth. It’s a complex psychodrama with tinges of eroticism that ultimately serves as an indictment of the entwinement of sex and power that has repercussions far beyond the workplace in this post-Harvey Weinstein era.

Before delving into the play itself, it’s imperative to observe from the outset that not just any actors can play the roles of Thomas Novachek and Vandy Jordan. Required is the ability to effectively convey a wide range of emotions and behavior. The male must be able to vacillate at the flip of a switch (pun intended) from haughtiness and arrogance to uncertainty and subservience. The female must be able to intertwine seduction and manipulation with sophistication on the one ungloved hand and unrefined crassness on the other. Fortunately for director Anne Segreto, Steven Coe and Madelaine Weymouth showed up at her audition.

Go here for the rest of this critique.



Spotlight on ‘Venus in Fur’ actor Steven Coe (09-01-19)

Coming to The Studio Players in Golden Gate on August 23 is Venus in Fur directed by Anna Segreto. The play stars Madelaine Weymouth and Steven Coe.

Coe is one of Southwest Florida’s hardest working actors. He has a reputation for placing himself in challenging roles and situations that build confidence. For example, while he was playing The Boy in Veronica’s Room for Lab Theater, he was also on the Murder Mystery Dinner Train over at the Seminole Gulf Railway.

Go here for the rest of Steven’s profile.



Spotlight on ‘Venus in Fur’ actor Madelaine Weymouth (09-01-19)

Coming to The Studio Players in Golden Gate on August 23 is Venus in Fur directed by Anna Segreto. The play stars Steven Coe and Madelaine Weymouth.

Madelaine Weymouth is a local actor and director. Her acting credits include Forgive Me; I Put You in a Play, Boberg’s Timer and Dash in the Middle in Lab Theater’s inaugural Festival of Tens, Serenity in And the Winner Is, The Musical Comedy Murders of the 1940s and Stage Kiss, as well as a number of staged readings at the Laboratory Theater of Florida. She has also headed the Lab’s winter camp and co-directed the Lab’s summer camp shows, The Wolves (2019) and Evil Dead: The Musical (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.



‘Church & State’ fast-paced dramedy about faith, politics and ‘The Twitter’ (09-01-19)

It is three days before Charles Whitmore’s Senate re-election and he’s decided to finally tell the public exactly what’s on his mind, no filter. What could possibly go wrong? Church & State is a fast-paced dramedy about faith, politics and “The Twitter.” Directed by Brett Marston, it will be performed by The Studio Players October 4-20.

Keith Gahagan plays Senator Charles Whitmore, with Suzanne Sole portraying his wife, Sara Whitmore. Sharon Isern is Alex Klein and Danny Cancio tackles multiple roles, playing Tom/Marshall/Security Guy/News Anchor.

Church & State playwright Jason Odell Williams is an Emmy-nominated writer and producer (Brain Games). He has also received an Ovation Award nomination.

Church & State is his latest play and was originally produced as a National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere at The Skylight Theatre in L.A. and JCC CenterStage in Rochester, NY.

Please go here for the remainder of this advance.



Spotlight on actor Keith Gahagan (09-01-19)

Keith Gahagan will play the role of Senator Charles Whitmore in The Studio Players’ upcoming production of Jason Odell Williams’ dramedy Church & State. Keith has performed in community theater productions in Marco Island, Bonita Springs and Fort Myers since 2007. Among his stage credits are Curt in Don’t Talk to the Actors (The Studio Players) Eddie the bar owner in The Legend of Georgia McBride (Lab Theater, June 2019), Mitch in A Streetcar Named Desire (The Studio Players, January 2018), August Osage County, Things Being What They Are and A Clockwork Orange a decade ago. Most recently, Keith took part in Stage It Playwrights Festival in Bonita Springs, which followed his performance in  the Waverly Gallery at the Center for Performing Arts Bonita.

Go here for the rest of Keith’s profile.



Spotlight on ‘Church & State’ actor Sharon Isern (09-01-19)

Sharon Isern will be playing the part of Alex Klein in The Studio Players’ October production of Jason Odell Williams’ dramedy Church & State. Sharon Isern is an actor, artist ( and recovering academic (@profpathogen) who spends her days teaching and doing virus research with undergraduate students as a Professor of Biology at FGCU. Although new to acting, Sharon has made a mark already in the Southwest Florida theater community. She made her debut in January 0f 2019 in Ghostbird Theatre’s production of Everyone on this Train, excelling in the role of a mother fleeing the Chechen war with her daughter. And she recently turned in a tearfully painful portrayal of a doting daughter caring for her terminally ill mother who is also afflicted with dementia in New Phoenix Theatre’s production of The Shadow Box. For more on Sharon’s acting accomplishments and chops, read here.



Spotlight on ‘Church & State’ cast member Daniel Cancio (09-01-19)

Daniel Cancio plays multiple roles (Tom/Marshall/Security Guy/News Anchor) in The Studio Players’ upcoming production of Church & State. An FGCU theatre grad, Daniel is an emerging talent in the local theater scene. While at FGCU, he appeared in productions of The Tempest, Mr. Perfect, 12 Angry Men and The Zoo. His credits also include Jerry in The Studio Players’ production of Don’t Talk to the Actors, Bear in Ghostbird Theatre Company’s production of Orbs! and Laboratory Theater’ss 2016 production of Joshua Harmon’s Bad Jews. He additionally took part in a staged reading of Robert Caisley’s The Open Hand. 




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