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This is what’s happening September 22-30, 2018


This is what’s happening in the arts, independent film and community theater between September 22 and 30, 2018:


ARTScool exhibition on view at NAA through October 18 (09-27-18)

Just under 900 students filled the NAA’s halls this past summer, where they learned to create artwork in various genres. NAA’s 2018 ARTScool Exhibition features their newly-created works in clay, drawing, fiber, mixed media, painting and printmaking. The exhibition is on view in Gallery 104 through October 18.

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



Shake off traditional ‘look-but-don’t-touch’ gallery experience with ‘Feel the Art’ (09-27-18)

Exhibiting October 1 through 27 in the Frederick O. Watson Gallery on the ground floor of the Naples Art Association is Feel the Art, an exhibition of artwork by sighted, visually-impaired and blind artists. As the title implies, visitors will be invited to shake off the traditional gallery experience and use their sense of touch to explore the exhibit.

“Art is generally considered to be a visual experience,” notes NAA in the prospectus for the show. “But our appreciation of art does not need to come purely from sight. Touching is a basic instinct and a way to experience objects, gather information and build awareness.”

Deborah Patterson Butler serves as juror for this show. Butler is a scholar, artist and native Floridian who has enjoyed an extensive art career in Southwest Florida. She was Professor of Art History and Humanities at Florida SouthWestern State College for 34 years and served on the college’s Rauschenberg Gallery board. She currently serves on the Board of the International Society of Experimental Artists and chairs the Visual Arts Committee at BIG ARTS on Sanibel Island, where she arranges exhibitions for the center’s Phillips and Founders Galleries.

Butler’s additive sculpture, collage and mixed-media works have been exhibited in Sarasota, Fort Myers and Sanibel, as well as in Traverse City, Michigan. She received a Master of Arts degree in Art History and Humanities from Florida State University in Tallahassee, a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from FSU, and an Associates of Arts from Saint Petersburg College. She has been awarded multiple grants by the National Endowment for the Humanities for study and research at the University of California and John Hopkins University, as well as for programs in Naples, Italy.

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



NAA bringing ‘Scene to be Seen” back on November 1 (09-27-18)

Last year, Naples Art Association introduced Scene to be Seen: A Runway Art Show. The popular event returns on Thursday, November 1. Artwear in all media and styles including garments, ensembles, hats and handbags for both men and women will be featured.

“This event combines the sophistication of Naples with the thrill and excitement of top international couture runway shows,” states NAA in its announcement for the show. “High fashion collides with high art for a unique, exciting opportunity to see the creative process and own a unique piece of artwear yourself.”

The evening will have an immersive atmosphere, giving attendees a chance to socialize and experience the thrill of creativity — including a fully staged runway show, sales gallery, and live auction featuring men’s and women’s garments, ensembles, hats, jewelry and handbags created by artists from Los Angeles, New York, the Philippines and Italy as well as right here in Southwest Florida.

The welcome reception with appetizing hors d’oeuvres and cocktails begins at 7:00 and will be followed by the extraordinary fashion show and auction. After the show, stay for a fabulous after-party with music and a full cash bar.

NAA is currently accepting submissions for the show. A panel of Fashion/Art Centric professionals will select entries from digital images or sketches based upon originality, creativity, artistry, and complexity of workmanship.

Artists may submit model names, however, they must go through committee approval. For more information, including an application form, please visit



NAA accepting entries for National Art Encounter 2018-2019 (09-27-18)

Online entries are being accepted now through October 4 for National Art Encounter 2018-19, a biennial exhibition open to artists residing in the United States. $3,500 in cash awards will be presented during a reception on the evening of Friday, November 30.

The Naples Art Association initiated the Art Encounter exhibition program in 1983. It is a contemporary art exhibition featuring 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional artwork by artists residing in the United States. The exhibition serves as a platform upon which Florida artists share the spotlight with their peers at the national level. For artists from outside of Florida, the exhibition provides an opportunity to demonstrate success, compete for cash prizes and exhibit in Naples, Florida.

Brad Cushman, Jill Deupi and Kirk Ke Wang will serve as jurors and select nine recipients of the $3,500 in cash awards, vis:

  • $1,000 Best of Show
  • $800 First Place
  • $600 Second Place
  • $400 Juror’s Choice Award
  • $200 Award of Merit (2)
  • $100 Honorable Mention (3)

There is a $29 nonrefundable entry fee to submit one to two artworks in the 2D and/or 3D categories. The deadline for entries is October 4.

National Art Encounter 2018-19 will be installed in the Naples Art Association’s ground floor galleries from December 1, 2018 through January 12, 2019. For more information, please telephone 239-262-6517 or visit



Meet National Art Encounter 2018-19 juror Brad Cushman (09-27-18)

Online entries are being accepted now through October 4 for National Art Encounter 2018-19, a biennial exhibition open to artists residing in the United States. $3,500 in cash awards will be presented during a reception on the evening of Friday, November 30. Brad Cushman, Jill Deupi and Kirk Ke Wang will serve as jurors and select the cash award recipients.

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

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

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



Meet National Art Encounter 2018-19 juror Dr. Jill Deupi (09-27-18)

Online entries are being accepted now through October 4 for National Art Encounter 2018-19, a biennial exhibition open to artists residing in the United States. $3,500 in cash awards will be presented during a reception on the evening of Friday, November 30. Jill Deupi, Brad Cushman and Kirk Ke Wang will serve as jurors and select the cash award recipients.

Dr. Jill Deupi is the Beaux Arts Director and Chief Curator of the University of Miami’s Lowe Art Museum. Prior to assuming the position in August 2014, Dr. Deupi was Director and Chief Curator of University Museums at Fairfield University, where she was also an Assistant Professor of Art History.

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

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

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

Dr. Deupi is a Fellow of both the American Academy in Rome and the Leading Change Institute. She is also a member of the Association of Art Museum Directors, the American Alliance of Museums, the Association of Academic Museums and Galleries (on whose board she sits), Art Table, the International Women’s Forum and the College Art Association (on whose Museum Committee she serves).



Meet National Art Encounter 2018-19 juror Professor Kirk De Wang (09-27-18)

Online entries are being accepted now through October 4 for National Art Encounter 2018-19, a biennial exhibition open to artists residing in the United States. $3,500 in cash awards will be presented during a reception on the evening of Friday, November 30. Kirk Ke Wang, Jill Deupi and Brad Cushman will serve as jurors and select the cash award recipients.

Kirk Ke Wang is Professor of Visual Arts at Eckerd College in Saint Petersburg, Florida. He is a painter, sculptor, photographer, mixed-media artist and an educational software developer. He was born in Shanghai, China and received Master of Fine Art degrees from both the Nanjing Normal University in Nanjing, China and the University of South Florida in Tampa.

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

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



Naples Art looking for artists to participate in ‘Celebrating Light’ (09-27-18)

Bright sunlight, multicolored carnival lights, chiaroscuro and control of lighting effects have produced some of the most spectacular images in art. With this in mind, the Naples Art Association will be exhibiting Celebrating Light October 31 – December 1, 2018. The exhibition will feature work by artists in a variety of media that explore and reveal how dramatic and other light effects impact the viewer. Artists interested in participating in the show should bring one exhibition ready artwork to Gallery 104 on October 22, 2018 between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.



Naples Art looking for artists for its immigration-themed 2019 show (09-27-18)

Immigration affects many areas such as work-force demographics, entitlement programs and finances. Artists have a lot to share on this important topic. And so the Naples Art Association is bringing Immigration: Does it Matter? to the Collier community January 12 – February 24, 2019. Artists who are interested in participating in this social-themed show should bring one exhibition ready artwork to Gallery 104 on January 3, 2019 between 10:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.



‘Morris Herstein: A Fusion of Fotos’ opens today at NAA (09-26-18)

Morris Herstein: A Fusion of Fotos opens at the Naples Art Association today. Presented in this solo exhibition are vivid examples of flowers from his Abstract and Fleur Collections, a never before seen sixteen-foot panorama of Miami’s Brickell Ave and Brickell Bay, Havana street scenes as well as delicately executed photographs of Ellis Island and the Palouse region of the Pacific Northwest. Herstein transferred his knowledge of color technology into the art of photography after a successful career as a scientist and product developer with cosmetic giants Revlon and Estee Lauder.

The exhibition has been installed on the first and second levels in the Elizabeth & William Barrick, Millicent & Charles Marshall, Elizabeth & Alan Harris, John H. & Lucile Harris Foundation and Minnesota Lobby Galleries.

The exhibition runs through November 3.



Englishman gallery adds work by two new artists (09-26-18)

The Englishman Fine Art on Naples Fifth Avenue South has announced that they have added works to the gallery by marine artist Patrick O’Brien and Cambodian born artist Pakan Penn.

“Patrick’s striking paintings capture the glory and grandeur of the age of sail,” states The Englishman. “Patrick was a draftsman in a naval architecture firm before becoming an artist in 1985. In 2003 he entered the marine art field. Since then, he has won numerous awards and honors and his work has graced the cover of Naval History magazine on several occasions.”

Cambodian-born artist Pakan Penn began painting at an early age. He left Cambodia at 19 to enter the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, D.C. but had to abandon his studies for financial reasons. Unable to return home due to the Khmer Rouge takeover of Cambodia, Pakan took a job with a construction crew in the Metro D.C. area. But he returned to his true passion of painting after becoming an American citizen and successfully running a home improvement business for 25 years.

“His experimentation with an array of colors and use of palette knife and brush cultivate a sense of emotion in his paintings shaped by his unique life story and extensive travels,” The Englishman points out.

For more on either artist or the gallery, please visit, telephone 239-649-8088 or drop by the gallery. It’s located in Suite 101 at 365 Fifth Avenue South, Naples, Florida 34102.



‘Parallel Harmonies’ on view at Rookery Bay through October 31 (09-26-18)

Parallel Harmonies: Art and Nature is on view now through October 31 at Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center. The exhibition features a collection of work by Cesar Aguilera, Paul Arsenault, Juan Diaz, Ehren Fritz Gerhard and Katia Miranda that celebrates the relationship between the artist and the natural world that inspires him or her.

This relationship has evolved over the millennia and is still a central focus of contemporary practice for many artists today. Relationships are symbiotic, one taking care of the other. In a time of global climate change, artists are using the inspiration of nature and its current health to bring light and change to human patterns of behavior. They aim to protect this relationship and care for what inspires them: wind, color, trees, texture, sun and vibrancy.



Friends of Rookery Bay and United Arts Council seek submissions for joint show (09-26-18)

Friends of Rookery Bay (FORB) and the United Arts Council of Collier County (UAC) are seeking submissions for their annual painting exhibit at the Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center in Naples, Florida. The title of this exhibit is Intersection of Man and Nature: People, Planet, and Prosperity. Paintings should therefor reflect and/or express the essence of Florida’s flora and fauna. The show helps commemorate Rookery Bay’s 40th anniversary and will be exhibited November 6, 2018 through January 9, 2019.

The exhibit is open to artists residing in Charlotte, Collier, Glades, Hendry and Lee counties, both full-time and seasonal. Artists may submit up to two jpeg entries. The deadline for submissions is 4:00 p.m. on Friday, October 5. Send entries via email with jpeg attachments to:

The juror for the show is Megan C. McShane, PhD, who serves as Associate Professor of Modern Art History at Florida Gulf Coast University.

Artists can qualify for three awards:

  • $750 for Best in Show,
  • a Juror’s Choice Award of $350 for Excellence; and
  • the United Arts Council Merit Award of $150.

Winners will be chosen on the day of the reception, which will be held from 5:30-7:00 p.m. on Thursday, November 29.

Rookery Bay is part of the National Estuarine Research Reserve and is located at 300 Tower Rd., Naples, FL 34113.



First Wednesday Studio & Gallery Tour returns to Naples Art District October 3 (09-25-18)

On Wednesday, October 3, the more than two dozen galleries and artist studios that comprise the Naples Art District open their doors to the public from 5:00-8:00 p.m. Called 1st Wednesday Studio & Gallery Tour, the event is a unique opportunity to not only visit some of Southwest Florida’s most interesting galleries, but immerse yourself in the sights, sounds and smells of the studios of more than 50 emerging and mid-career artists working in a broad cross-section of genres and media.



Scope out art fairs and festivals coming to Southwest Florida in October (09-25-18)

Southwest Florida is home to more than 60 outdoor art fairs, festivals and other shows each season, and season starts this year on October 3 with the First Wednesday Studio & Gallery Tour in the Naples Art District. It’s never too soon to start marking on your calendar the art fairs, festivals and other shows you want to catch this season, and to assist you in this effort, Art Southwest Florida features a detailed month-by-month calendar for October, 2018 through April, 2019. So check it out here.



Hot Works holding two fine art shows in Naples this season (09-25-18)

Hot Works LLC has announced that it will be holding two weekend art shows in Naples during the upcoming season. Both will be held at the Galleria Shoppes on Vanderbilt. The 1st Bi-Annual Naples Fine Art Show will take place on Saturday and Sunday, December 15 and 16, with the second returning to the Galleria Shoppes on Saturday and Sunday, March 30 and 31, 2019.

Hot Works emphasizes quality not quantity at its fine art shows. Festival Director Patty Narozny focuses on originality, artist accessibility, cultural diversity and community enrichment. There is also a youth art competition and show to foster art education among aspiring young artists.

The Galleria Shoppes at Vanderbilt is an upscale lifestyle shopping center located on the northwest corner of Vanderbilt Beach Road and Airport Pulling Road. The intersection is reputed to be the fourth busiest in Naples. Conveniently located across the street from the Ritz Carlton Hotel and the Greg Norman Tiburon Golf Course and with casual and fine dining, one-of-a-kind boutiques, Mediterranean-themed architecture and pedestrian-friendly covered walkways, the 226,000-square-foot shopping center is an ideal locale for high-end art shows. And for art enthusiasts who are also sports buffs, Bokamper’s Sports Bar & Grill is on site. Owned by former Miami Dolphins linebacker Kim Bokamper, the restaurant has already garnered a 2011 Choice Awards Star for best sports bar in southwest Florida.



Naples Art accepting apps for 31st Annual Downtown Naples Festival of the Arts (09-25-18)

Crowd Shot 01 (4)The Naples Art Association is currently accepting applications for inclusion in two of its outstanding outdoor art festivals, Naples National Art Festival and The Downtown Naples Festival of the Arts. (The app deadline for The Downtown Naples New Year’s Weekend Art Fair is now closed.)

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. If you would like to Tents 03exhibit in this show, here’s what you will need to know:

  • Dates: Saturday and Sunday, March 23-24, 2019
  • Festival Hours: Saturday: 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Sunday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Location: 5th Avenue South, Downtown Naples
  • Premier Crowd Shot 01Accept 250 artists max
  • Application fee: $35
  • Booth fee: $450 for 10×10
  • Cancellation refund policy: Full refund: 02/04/18; 50% refund: 02/25/18
  • Set up specifics: 4 a.m., early morning set up only;
  • On street set up in quads: No electrical
  • Application deadline: 12/09/18
  • Jury Process begins: 12/14/18
  • Crowd Shot 11Status Notification: 12/28/18
  • Booth Fee Due: 01/18/19
  • Artist Info Sent: 02/26/19
  • Wait List Acceptance: 01/18/19
  • Application available online at beginning June 1, 2018

The Naples Downtown Art Show was voted one of the top five favorite events by local businesses and residents. It was also rated in the top 15 by Sunshine Artist’s survey of all artists in the country.



Naples Art Association accepting applications for Naples National Art Festival (09-25-18)

Crowd Shot BestThe Naples Art Association is currently accepting applications for inclusion in two of its outstanding outdoor art festivals, Naples National Art Festival and The Downtown Naples Festival of the Arts. (The app deadline for The Downtown Naples New Year’s Weekend Art Fair is now closed.)

Naples National is consistently voted among the Crowd Shot 01top 25 art festivals in the country by Sunshine Artist Magazine and was ranked #15 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.

Aerial 02If you are interested in exhibiting in the 40th Naples National Art Festival, here’s what you will need to know:

  • Dates: Saturday & Sunday, February 23-24, 2019
  • Festival Hours: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Location: Cambier Park & 8th Street South, downtown Naples
  • Accept 190 artists max
  • Application fee: $35
  • Crowd Shot GreatBooth fee: $625 for 10×10
  • Cancellation refund policy: Full refund: 01/11/19; 50% refund: 2/04/19
  • Set up specifics: Friday set up on 2/22,
  • Park and street setting
  • Application deadline: 10/30/18
  • Jury Process begins: 11/09/18
  • Status Notification: 11/27/18
  • Booth Fee Due: 12/15/18
  • Crowd Shot 04Artist Info Sent: 01/21/19
  • Wait List Acceptance: 12/15/18
  • Application available online at beginning June 1, 2018

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 190. “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.”

The 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 5:00 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 Ass’n. accepting submissions for this season’s Art in the Park (09-25-18)

Art in the Park LogoAre you ready for the 2018-2019 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 2017-2018 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 2018-2019 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 von Liebig Art Center 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 5 & 6, 2019.



Boulderbrook Productions application deadlines nearing (09-25-18)

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

  • Bonita Springs Invitational at The Promenade (February 16 & 17, 2019); deadline: October 1;
  • Naples Masters Art Festival (March 2 & 3, 2019); deadline: October 1; and
  • Bonita Bay Masters Art Festival at The Promenade (March 30 & 31, 2019); deadline October 14.

You must apply online at

NB: Applications are closed for five of Boulderbrook’s art shows, vis: The Art Festival at Mercato (January 26 & 27, 2019), Sanibel SCA Art Festival (January 18 & 19, 2019); Bonita Bay Invitational Art Festival (November 17 & 18), Sanibel Masters Art Festival (Novembe 23 & 24), and Art Festival at the Sanibel Shops (December 8 & 9).



Alliance’s ‘Identity’ members’ show closes September 29 (09-24-18)

The Alliance’s current member exhibit explores the concept of identity – the factors that influence or determine our sense of who we are – that which makes one person distinct from another. The exhibition runs to September 29. The Alliance campus is located at 10091 McGregor Boulevard,  just south of the intersection of McGregor and Colonial boulevards.



‘Alliance’s ‘Dia de los Muertos’ show opens in main gallery on October 5 (09-24-18)

Opening October 5 in the Alliance for the Arts’ main gallery is Dia de los Muertos: A Juried Exhibit, a show featuring traditional Mexican sugar skulls in a variety of media ranging from painting in oil, acrylic, watercolor and collage to photography, prints, drawing and sculpture. In many parts of Mexico, South America and the United States, Dia de los Muertos or Day of the Dead 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.

The show’s opening reception is scheduled for 5:00-7:00 p.m. on October 5, 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, please visit or call 239-939-2787.



Beyond the Tattoo on exhibit at DAAS Co-op through October 6 (09-20-18)

DAAS CO-OP Art Gallery & Gifts’ Beyond the Tattoo closes on October 6. It contains work by tattoo and fine artists Ananda Warrick, David Dotts, Erin Kraepel and Spencer Elles.

Ananda Warrick started her tattoo apprenticeship in 2011 with Andy Howl of HOWL Gallery. At that time, she went by the name of Mandalin and her fine artwork ranged in mediums from installations to paintings portraying dreamy, surrealist subject matters.

“Sometimes people would question if my work was finished because of its washy, abstract qualities,” comments Warrick, who sees tattooing as a collaboration between client and artist to create work that is polished, controlled and designed to last a lifetime. “Tattooing professionally these past five years has impacted my artwork dramatically by sharpening my attention to detail and cultivating appreciation for clean line work and easy to read imagery.”


David Dotts began drawing at an early age. “Through my love for art I enjoyed experimenting with different mediums, which I still do today,” says Dotts, who seeks to become proficient in all tattoo styles, thus finding influences for his fine art while finding new avenues to explore artistically. “I believe my works exhibit qualities of expressionism, surrealism, abstract, and minimalism. I enjoyed being a multi-disciplined artist and wish to embellish the art community with curious and challenging works.”

Erin Kraepel is a self-taught artist whose artistic focus revolves around creating narratives and statements using fantastic elements and abstractions of the human form. Kraepel was born and raised in Detroit, where he found an interest in art at a very young age. After dropping out of Wayne State University to pursue a career in tattooing, he took an introductory oil painting class at a community college. This is where he found his focus. For this exhibition, his pieces focus on transition and destruction, using alla prima oil painting techniques, textures and muted colors.

Spencer Elles (Sp33n) is a visual artist and illustrator. He also goes by the moniker of Duke Stamina as a musician, writer, activist and aspiring animator. As an artist, he has worked as a freelance graphic designer for print and web, as well as a commissioned artist of homoerotic art. He is also an amateur music producer, videographer and father of 2 perfect cats.

Elles is currently working towards a career in the field of tattooing. “I find myself being very intellectually attracted to tattooing by the interesting competitive culture surrounding it that relies on a heavy drive to seek individual stylistic personality,” notes Elles, who is currently an apprentice of tattooist Andy Howl.

DAAS CO-OP Art Gallery is conveniently located in the Royal Palm Square, in the heart of the SoCo Cultural District (, at 1400 Colonial Blvd STE 84 in Fort Myers, FL.


‘Tres’ coming to DAAS on October 13 (09-24-18)

In the month of October, DAAS CO-OP Art Gallery & Gifts will display a collective exhibition entitled Tres. The three artists included in this show are all Puerto Rican – David Acevedo, Peter Gaztambide and Rodney Acosta. They will be presenting a series of recent works in their own distinctive styles and mediums.

Peter Gaztambide has enjoyed a successful artistic career since the mid-seventies. His work has been exhibited in art galleries, museums and biennales around the Unites States, the Caribbean and Asia. He has received numerous accolades and his work is part of very important public and private collections, such as the University of South Florida in Tampa, Santa Fe Community College in Gainesville, Museo de Historia, Antropologia y Arte, U.P.R., Rio Piedras, P.R. and Banco Popular de Puerto Rico, San Juan, Puerto Rico, among many others.

“My art work is my statement,” states Gaztambide. “It reflects the development of a pictorial language in progress. It is born from of a need to make order out of abstract elements, whether physical or spiritual, to compose a unique picture by using mixed media in an honest effort to emulate all the great artists that have come before me.”

Gaztambide currently resides in Punta Gorda, Florida.

“My goal has been to find a way to challenge the viewer the same way I challenge myself while working on a particular image. I want you to engage into the picture as you would when you read a poem. When you do this, it becomes your picture – the same way a cloud becomes something else in your eyes. I paint not that which you might actually see, but that which you might perceive when looking at something as mundane as a raincloud.”

David Acevedo is a beloved Southwest Florida artist, curator, promoter, art writer and entrepreneur. His works have been exhibited in galleries in the United States, Europe, Asia and the Caribbean. He is a founding member of Fort Myers Art Walk and the SoCo Cultural District. In 2012, he founded the only organized artists’ studio in our city, the Union Artist Studios. In 2016, he founded DAAS CO-OP Art Gallery & Gifts.

Acevedo has also received many accolades for his artistic and community leadership, including a 2009 Lee County Angel of the Arts for visual artist of the year and a FACE Award in 2016 for his diversity and inclusion work in the community.

“My art is a mix of emotions and depictions of what I consider interesting,” says David, whose characteristic artworks contain an array of mediums with strong, bold colors. “I try to tell stories, sometimes from memories and sometimes imaginary, and use symbols that sometimes are universal and other times just my own. I tend to dance to my own heart’s beating and rarely stay within the boundaries of a single medium or technique. That is just how my brain works.”

Rodney Acosta has been working in central Florida for the past 28 years. Graduated from Escuela de Artes Plásticas (School of Visual Arts) in San Juan P.R., he has participated in multiple collective exhibitions in the United States and the Caribbean.

“My work is concerned with different narratives from my subconscious journeys to alternative realities, where one experiences boundary dissolution and exploration of inner self,” says Acosta, whose favorite medium is oil and charcoal on medium to large canvas. “Often questioning and playing with the idea of reality being a dream or dreams being reality, my apparently simple subjects are full of hidden archetypes and symbolism,” add the artist, whose work consists of various layers of oil and transparencies over the base textures often heavily scratched and extreme contrasts.

All art lovers and collectors are invited to join DAAS for an opening reception on October 13, 2018, starting at 6:00 p.m. The exhibition will be on display through November 3, 2018.

For more information about the gallery, please visit or call 239-590-8645. DAAS CO-OP Art Gallery is conveniently located in the Royal Palm Square, in the heart of the SoCo Cultural District (, at 1400 Colonial Blvd STE 84 in Fort Myers, FL. Current off-season business hours are Wednesday to Saturday from 11:00 a.m to 5:00 p.m.



Alliance hosting ‘Arts on Tap’ fundraiser  on October 20 (09-24-18)

The Alliance for the Arts is bringing back its annual fundraiser Arts On Tap. The event is scheduled for 7:00-10:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 20 on the Alliance campus at 10091 McGregor Blvd. Fort Myers, FL 33919.

The announcement comes alongside the nationwide celebration of American Craft Beer Week. Now in its second year, Arts On Tap is a taste of creativity in the Alliance gallery featuring the craft of local brewers. For one night only, guests can delight their senses with locally-handcrafted beers and spirits, hand-selected wines and culinary creations against a vibrant backdrop of local art.

Participating crafters include Big Blue Brewing, Bury Me Brewing, Eight Foot Brewing, Fort Myers Brewing Company, Momentum Brewhouse, Palm City Brewing, Point Ybel Brewing Company and Scotty’s Bierwerks, with more participants to be announced. The event is sponsored by Briers CPA, Custom Packaging and Products , EnSite, HBKS Wealth Advisors, Priority Business Solutions and Sanibel Captiva Community Bank. Sponsorships and visibility opportunities are also available at

Last year, Arts On Tap attracted 200 guests. Tickets are $75 and include unlimited tastings from participating breweries and distilleries, culinary creations, pub snacks, gallery admission, music and games. The first 75 guests to purchase a ticket will receive an exclusive Support Local pint glass.

“The Alliance for the Arts is all about supporting small, independent makers who have a story,” says development and marketing director Jessica Wisdom. “We’re excited to celebrate the art of craft beer for the second year in a row. In our never-ending quest to outdo ourselves, this year’s event will be bigger and better with more art, more food, more fun and of course more beer!”

Arts On Tap is a fundraising event for the Alliance for the Arts, a nonprofit visual and performing arts center located in the heart of Fort Myers. Since 1975, the Alliance has been transforming lives and improving community through the arts. Event proceeds support a creative hub that spurs self-expression, imagination and individuality.

Arts On Tap is for ages 21 and older. A state-issued form of I.D. is required.

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



Alliance announces dates for ‘Off the Wall’ holiday exhibit (09-24-18)

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 of 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.

The show runs from November 9 through December 29. The opening reception is scheduled for 5:00-7:00 p.m. on November 9

For more information, please visit or telephone 239-939-2787.



Alliance accepting submissions for 33rd Annual All Florida Juried Exhibit (09-24-18)

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

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



Alliance’s ‘Art Park and Water Wall’ to be inspirational community hub  (09-24-18)

The Alliance for the Arts is reimagining the western perimeter of its 10-acre campus. To fashion a place where people, art and imagination can companionably meet, it is creating a freshly-landscaped space around its existing retention pond that will feature an 8-foot wide sidewalk, flower beds, palm and cypress trees along with special lighting and a towering sculpture by world-renowned artist Michael Singer.

The sidewalk, new crosswalks and lighting along McGregor is being installed in partnership with the Florida Department of Transportation. “[T]hese updates will help make our community more walkable, livable and accessible,” notes the Alliance. “Sidewalks drive progress by creating connection and improving the social well-being of the places we call home. Just like the arts.”

But the goal is to create more than just an aesthetically-pleasing buffer between busy McGregor Boulevard and the Alliance’s gallery, theater and administrative offices. Rather, the Alliance envisions a community hub where local residents and visitors can enjoy sunshine, nature and a touch of history in space that engenders social connections, reunion, education and a sense of adventure and discovery.

The focal point of the new space will be a towering sculpture by internationally-acclaimed artist Michael Singer called Caloosahatchee Water Wall. The artwork will consist of a shimmering blue, anodized panel that metaphorically depicts the Caloosahatchee River and surrounding area. But it will have a functional element as well.

“The Caloosahatchee Water Wall is also designed to be a storm water run-off filter, using aeration and aquatic vegetation at its base to filter water in the retention basin,” the Alliance reports.

Here’s how it will work: Water will be pumped to the top of the panel from the retention basin, where it will trickle down a trellis into a regeneration zone. The filtered water will then re-enter the basin and eventually make its way out to the Caloosahatchee River, which is located just a quarter of a mile away.

“Our address is a McGregor address, so it’s time we overhaul our front porch by connecting our property to the rest of the community and beautifying our yard with native plants and gardens,” notes the Alliance.

So “catch a nice breeze riding down McGregor on your bike,” entices the Alliance. “Uncover a fresh backyard experience with a locally-rooted vibe at our weekly GreenMarket. Feel the beat of the street with local artists. Come inside and cool down with an art class. We’re ready to give you a warm welcome.”



About artist/sculptor Michael Singer’s sculptural philosophy and approach (09-24-18)

The Alliance for the Arts is reimagining the western perimeter of its 10-acre campus. To fashion a place where people, art and imagination can companionably meet, it is creating a freshly-landscaped space around its existing retention pond that will feature an 8-foot wide sidewalk, flower beds, palm and cypress trees along with special lighting and a towering sculpture by world-renowned artist Michael Singer.

Since the 1970s, Michael Singer’s work has opened new possibilities for sculpture and contributed to the definition of site-specific art and the reimagining of public places. His projects reflect four core principles: site specificity, ecological regeneration, craft and detail, along with an interdisciplinary approach that embraces collaboration by a wide range of disciplines in the design process.

With regard to site specificity, Singer and his studio planners and designers study each site and explore specific opportunities to reveal its full potential. Every project is designed and built for a specific place ensuring a unique outcome that responds to its context.

For over 25 years, Singer has also been a leading voice in the creation of spaces that actively regenerate the built environment. From water cleansing gardens to large scale infrastructure projects, Singer and his studio have always sought to shape environmental systems to improve ecological health, filter air and water, and create places for people to witness growth and change over time.

And when it comes to fabrication, each site-specific element is hand crafted in Vermont with careful attention to detail. In this regard, Singer engages a select group of stone, metal and wood suppliers who are intimately familiar with his fabrication processes and expectations.

Singer’s approach to projects often includes a wide range of professionals. The creation of sculptural gardens calls for biologists, masons, structural engineers, water quality specialists, and landscape architects. Larger planning projects often take in anthropologists, urban designers, whole systems engineers, philosophers, and economists. The goal is to obtain a range of ideas and points of view that then become Singer’s foundation for integrating systems and programs, creating new and refreshing spaces that are unique to their environment.

Singer’s more recent work has been instrumental in transforming public art and landscape projects into successful models for urban and ecological regeneration. Singer has received numerous awards, including fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation.



‘Tropical Reunion’ aims at motivating viewers to protect natural world (09-23-18)

Opening in the ArtLab Gallery in Library West at Florida Gulf Coast University on October 4 is Tropical Reunion: Megan Kissinger and David Shepard. Kissinger and Shepard are two FGCU alumni. Both conservationists, they are bringing together in this exhibit art aimed at inspiring and motivating viewers to appreciate and protect the natural world.

Of course, art has long played an important role in raising public awareness about social, political, environmental and other issues faced by communities and cultures. In Tropical Reunion, Kissinger and Shepard turn up the light of public inspection on species that inhabit tropical habitats that are threatened today. Through an aesthetically broad and creative process, they are reconnecting people to the rich tapestry of life.

The opening reception for Tropical Reunion takes place from 5:00-7:00 p.m. on October 4 in the ArtLab. The exhibition will remain on view through November 8.




Jonathan Kane retrospective on view at Davis Art Center to Sept 28 (09-23-18)

The Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center is celebrating the life and art of Jonathan Kane. Jonathan Kane Retrospective: 1957-2017 is on view in the grand atrium now through September 28.

Curated by Heather Nigro, the show covers the entire range of Kane’s work. Spanning more than 40 years, the retrospective begins with Kane’s teenage years as a precocious amateur and young staff photographer at a local Naples newspaper. It moves on to his experimentation with different styles during his years at art schools in Florida and California, and as an unhappy young urban professional. It ends with the considerable volume of experimental nudes produced upon Kane’s return to Naples in the early 2000s.

The media presented also covers the entire range of Kane’s work: Almost archival black & white photos that capture Southwest Florida of the 1970s (and echoes of it in the 2000s); humorous manipulated [SX-70] Polaroid images; collages; and highly inventive digital color, primarily nudes.

As he stated on his website (, “I strive to create images that are surreal and mysterious, but grounded in human emotion and my own experience.”

Kane was born in Miami Beach in 1957, but moved at an early age with his family to Bradenton and Naples, where he attended primary and middle school, and graduated from Naples High School.

He began his photography career as a yearbook photographer at Naples High, and later became a staff photographer at The Naples Star, a local newspaper where he covered society events and shot advertisements. He then went to art school at the University of Florida in Gainesville and the San Francisco Art Institute in Northern California. After art school, he initially worked as a passport and freelance photographer, before embarking on a brief career in finance – while still pursuing photography on the side.

Due to health issues, he returned home to Naples in 2002, where he produced a significant volume of digital color photos, as well as occasional collages and black & white photos as a full-time photographer. He died on September 26, 2017 as a result of chronic kidney and heart disease.

Jonathan Kane Retrospective: 1957-2017 runs through September 28. Gallery hours are 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday – Friday. Call 239-333-1933 or visit for more information. The Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center is located at 2301 First Street in the heart of the downtown Fort Myers River District.



‘Urban Dreamscapes’ in Capital Gallery in September (09-23-18)

Danielle Branchaud and Nick Masiello are two of Southwest Florida’s most innovative artists. Known as Syzygy, their work is featured this month in the Capital Gallery of the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center. The exhibition presents the sophisticated series Urban Dreamscapes, electrifying in both its beauty and its concept.

The Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center is located at 2301 First Street in the heart of the downtown Fort Myers River District.



Second Annual Dark Art exhibition at Davis Art Center in October (09-23-18)

The Syzygy Collaborative Art Project will present the second annual Dark Art exhibition in October at the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center. From ghoulish to the macabre, the paintings, sculpture, mixed media work and photography in this show will be on display in the main gallery beginning Friday, October 5. The opening reception takes place during Art Walk and will feature local live entertainment including burlesque, body painting, and live painting. In fact, costumes are highly encouraged. The Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center is located at 2301 First Street in the heart of the downtown Fort Myers River District.



Love Your Rebellion looking for entries for ‘Art Rocks’ juried exhibition (09-23-18)

Submit your best music-inspired art works to Love Your Rebellion’s Art Rocks Juried Exhibition! Love Your Rebellion will be accepting artist submissions for the chance to win more than $400 in prizes and the opportunity to hang work in the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center’s Capital Gallery.

Artists may submit up to 2 pieces with music/musicians/music events as the subject matter for consideration in the LYR Pick and People’s Choice categories. Acceptance will be based on theme relevance and space availability.

Art Rocks opens Friday, November 2 in the Capital Gallery, and runs until November 19. Proceeds from this show will benefit LYR’s Babefest 2019 and the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center’s art programming.



‘Let’s Go To The Movies’ closes September 29 (09-22-18)

Broadway Palm’s Let’s Go To The Movies closes September 29. This fun-filled musical parody features scenes and songs from your favorite movies and movie musicals such as Titanic, Grease, Indiana Jones, Moulin Rouge, Singin’ in the Rain, Forrest Gump, Chicago and more. Some of “the movie stars” even make guest appearances during the performance. You’ll laugh, sing along and become part of the action. So, get your tickets, click your heels together three times and say “There’s no place like Broadway Palm…..There’s no place like Broadway Palm…”

The ever-popular Victor Legarreta wrote, directs and choreographed Let’s Go To The Movies. Legarreta shined this summer as Oliver Warbucks in Annie and is also well known for his role as the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz. In addition, he created and directed Yesterday’s: The 50s and 60s Musical and Groovin’: The 60s and 70s Musical.

The cast includes Sarah Cammarata, Erica Clare, Chris Duir, Kira Galindo, Chasdan Ross Mike and Chris Trimboli. Broadway Palm audiences may remember Cammarata as Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, Duir as Bert in Mary Poppins, Mike as Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar and Trimboli as Magaldi in Evita. Galindo has appeared in several productions at Broadway Palm and in The Off Broadway Palm and Clare is making her debut at the theater.

Performances are Wednesday through Sunday evenings with selected matinees. Tickets are now on sale and can be reserved by calling (239) 278-4422, by visiting or by stopping by the box office at 1380 Colonial Boulevard in Fort Myers.

And to see what else Broadway Palm has in store for audiences this season, read here.



Off Broadway Palm’s current season will feature five shows (09-22-18)

The Off Broadway Palm Theatre is Broadway Palm’s second performance venue. The Off Broadway Palm’s season begins September 27, 2018 and runs through July 21, 2019, and here are the five shows you’ll see Off-Broadway. Ticket prices range from $39 to $59. Performances are Tuesday through Sunday evenings (no Tuesday evening performances May through October), with selected matinees. Individual tickets go on sale June 1st.



Here’s what’s coming to Cultural Park Theatre following ‘Oz’ (09-22-18)

Cultural Park Theatre in Cape Coral opened its 2018-2019 season on September 7 with The Wizard of Oz. Following Oz, Cultural Park Theatre will produce:

  • Wedding in Tuscany (written by local playwright Patrick Shepherd, Wedding in Tuscany is about a wedding in the old country using Italian-American songs): October 7-9 and 12-14;
  • Don’t Drink the Water: October 26-28 and November 2-4;
  • Cultural Park Theatre’s Spectacular Christmas Revue: December 12-16;
  • Jesus Christ Superstar: January 11-20, 2019;
  • The Butler Did It: February 1-10, 2019;
  • Chicago: March 1-10, 2019;
  • Ripcord: March 22-31, 2019;
  • Broken Hearts: April 5-14, 2019; and
  • Lend Me a Tenor: April 26-May 5, 2019.



Florida Rep’s ‘Becoming Dr. Ruth’ on stage through October 21 (09-22-18)

Florida Repertory Theatre opened its 2018-2019 season last night with Becoming Dr. Ruth by Mark St. Germain. It plays through October 21.

If the name Mark St. Germain seems familiar, it’s because his resume includes such Florida Rep hits as Best of Enemies, last season’s world premiere of George Washington’s Teeth, and the first play to be performed in the new ArtStage Studio Theatre, Camping with Henry and Tom.

Chris Clavelli returns to Florida Rep to direct the production. He also directed last year’s season opener, Outside Mullingar, as well as a recent production at Sarasota’s newest professional company, Dog Days Theatre.

Clavelli’s creative team includes set designer Bert Scott (Over the River and Through the Woods), costume designer Jacqueline Loy (Florida Rep debut), lighting and projection designer Rob Siler (Disgraced), sound designer Katie Lowe, and ensemble stage manager Amy Massari (George Washington’s Teeth).

Regional theater veteran Susan Greenhill stars in the iconic title role. Greenhill is no stranger to the role, having appeared as Dr. Ruth at Studio Theatre in Sarasota and the Kravis Center in West Palm Beach.

”Dr. Ruth’s unbelievable life story is a profile in courage, and it is in capable hands with Chris Clavelli and Susan Greenhill,” observes Florida Rep Interim Artistic Director Jason Parrish.

Becoming Dr. Ruth is moving, incredibly funny and a fascinating look at a life well-lived, and full of Dr. Ruth’s signature personality and charm,” he adds. For Charles Runnels slant on Dr. Ruth and the play, read here.

Tickets are available online at and through the box office at 239-332-4488. Tickets are at $55 and $49 for regular performances, and $35 and $29 for previews. Subscriptions start as low as $150 for six plays and offer the best seats and the most significant savings, and are available through the box office. Box office hours are Monday through Friday, 10:00 a.m to 5:00 p.m. New this season, Florida Rep’s parking lot will open two hours before each performance and offers guests limited free parking across the street from the Arcade Theatre.

And to see what else Florida Rep has in store for audiences this season, read here.



The real Dr. Ruth attended Florida Rep opening of eponymous play (09-22-18)

The real Dr. Ruth – who turned a very young 90-years-old this summer – was in the audience at Florida Rep last night for the opening of Becoming Dr. Ruth by playwright Mark St. Germain. She also gave a talkback following the performance.

This one-woman play is moving, harrowing, hopeful, and incredibly funny because it’s filled with Dr. Ruth’s unique brand of humor and tenacity of spirit. Longtime ensemble member Chris Clavelli returns to direct his friend Susan Greenhill, a Broadway and regional theatre veteran, in the iconic title role. Greenhill is no stranger to the character, having played this remarkable woman twice before.



On stage through Sept. 29, Florida Rep Ed’s ‘Refugee’ available for tour bookings (09-22-18)

Florida Rep Education’s current production, Refugee, has been so eagerly anticipated, that it had to add an additional performance date, vis September 29.

Refugee tells the story of three young refugees and their families. Each is fleeing violence at home to find the promise of a better life in America. Electrifying, heartbreaking, and timely, the play follows Josef, a Jewish boy leaving Nazi Germany in 1939, Isabel, a Cuban girl escaping Castro’s regime in 1994, and Mahmoud, a Syrian boy ravaged by the ongoing civil war.

“The themes and story are not only current, covering the Syrian refugee crisis, but also historically and geographically relevant as they touch on both the Holocaust and Cuban refugees fleeing through the Florida Straits,” states Florida Rep Education Director Kody C. Jones (photo 2). “These are the socially, politically, and geographically relevant elements we want to bring to schools in the hopes of educating and inspiring our young people.”


These particular stories illuminate each other and the nation’s current conversation about refugees. They also reflect the very human face of a situation most of us have never lived through. “I think the chance to share these stories with students and families and to start that discussion and give a frame of reference is a gift to the community,” Jones adds. “I wish I’d … seen this play when I was in school.”

The play is based on a novel by Alan Gratz (photo 3), a New York Times bestselling author who’s written a number of titles for young readers including Samurai Shortstop (named one of the ALA’s 2007 Top Ten Best Books for Young Adults), Something Rotten (a 2008 ALA Quick Pick for Young Adult Readers), Something Wicked, The Brooklyn Nine (one of the ALA’s Top Ten Sports Books for Youth and Top Ten Historical Books for Youth), Prisoner B-3087 (one of YALSA’s 2014 Best Fiction for Young Readers), Code of Honor (a YALSA 2016 Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers), Projekt 1065, the League of Seven trilogy and, of course, Refugee.

Florida Rep Education commissioned Manhattan playwright Eric Coble (photo 4) to adapt the book for the stage.

Coble’s plays have been produced Off-Broadway and on four continents, including productions at Manhattan Class Company, The Kennedy Center, Alabama Shakespeare Festival, Cleveland Play House, Actors Theatre of Louisville, Alliance Theater, Stages Repertory and the Contemporary American Theater Festival. He also enjoys more than a decade of history with Florida Repertory Theatre.

In 2006, he was commissioned to write ZAP! for Florida Rep’s Theatre for Young Audiences Series. Sponsored by the Lee County Electric Cooperative, ZAP! was a play about electrical safety, history, and conservation. In 2016, Coble’s new play, In Vivo, was read in the now-popular PlayLab new works festival, and last season his adaptation of Lowis Lowry’s The Giver was on tour across Southwest Florida.

Part of Florida Rep Education’s Theatre for Young Audiences Series, Refugee will tour throughout Southwest Florida through May of 2019 and is currently accepting school bookings. To book a tour, contact Education Outreach Manager, Anna McCullers at 239.332.4665 x 2041.

In addition to tour bookings, Refugee will have a public performance in the Theatre’s Lunchbox Theatre Series on Thursday, March 28 at 11:00 a.m. Lunchbox Theatre tickets are also $10 and available online at or through the box office. For parties with over 100 students, Florida Rep offers a $100 discount to help with transportation costs.

Florida Rep’s Education Department reaches over 30,000 young people in Southwest Florida annually with programs that bring theatre into schools, students into the theatre, and hundreds of children on our Florida Rep’s stages.

To see what else Florida Rep Education has in store this season, read here.



Ghostbird to help Franklin Shops mark Art Walk’s 10th anniversary (09-22-18)

Ghostbird Theatre Company is presenting a live performance in the front window of The Franklin Shops on First during Art Walk on Friday, October 5. Designed by Artistic Director Barry Cavin and appropriately titled Windowstories, the production will involve a continuous performance set within a rather dusty scene of books, puppets, umbrellas and brooms … Is it a broken fairy tale? A woman trapped in domesticity? A scene of how we make our own prisons or our own escapes?

“This performance and installation piece also announces our theme for the upcoming Ghostbird season,” elucidates Barry Cavin. “We yearn for freedom, for new destinations and identities, while we are arrested by our fears that come with traveling away from captivity and toward our humanity.”

Ghostbird will be mounting Cavin’s play, Boxes Are for What We Keep this November at the Happehatchee Center in Estero. And in January, it will produce James Brock’s Everyone on this Train at the Southwest Florida Community Foundation Collaboratory in Fort Myers. It will also host the 13th annual 24 Hour Festival in March at the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center.

“We are so fortunate to have so many partners like the Franklin Shops to set aside their business and space for our productions,” says Cavin. “It’s a sign of just how much our community supports the arts.”

Windowstories also marks the 10th anniversary of Art Walk in the downtown Fort Myers River District.



‘Anna in the Tropics’ on stage at Lab Theater through September 29 (09-22-18)

Lab Theater is celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month with a production of playwright Nilo Cruz’s period piece play Anna in the Tropics. Forget that Cruz won a Pulitzer Prize for the play. Or that Lab’s production features an all-Latino cast. Go see this play because it is truly transformative. It possesses immediacy, intimacy and bareknuckle honesty – rare attributes whether you’re talking literature, film or theater.

For all the particulars on this play, follow these links:



New Phoenix compresses inaugural season to accommodate theater renovations (09-22-18)

A new community theater will open in Fort Myers soon, but first it must make numerous renovations to its space at 13211 McGregor Boulevard (roughly midway between College and Cypress Lake). With all building permits in place, the theater’s contractor has provided a construction calendar that promises completion of all renovations and the issuance of a certificate of occupancy for the 96 seat theater facility in November, 2018 .

The mission of the new theatre company is to entertain and enlighten the community, celebrate diversity, and inspire imagination. The theater is the brainchild of Brenda Kensler (who serves as president), Anthony Neri (vice-president), Lori Riti, Debra Neri, James Robinson, Alide Jarbeau and Tom Riti, who have worked together as actors and directors at Cultural Park Theater in Cape Coral and The Laboratory Theatre of Florida in downtown Fort Myers.

The name is strategic.

“We all come from previous experiences in the theater — some good and some not so good,” divulges co-founder Lori Riti, whose stage credits since arriving in Southwest Florida include Chris in Calendar Girls, Frankie in Frankie and Johnny at the Clair de Lune, Kate in Kiss Me Kate, Elaine in Arsenic and Old Lace, the niece in The Sunshine Boys, Nikki in Musical Comedy Murders of 1940, Ms. Casewell in Mousetrap, Mrs. Smith in Meet Me in St. Louis, and roles in The Laramie Project, The Gay Marriage Plays and Agnes of God at Lab Theater.

“We feel like this is the beginning of something fresh and new for all of us – a chance for us to be reborn.”

High on Phoenix’s agenda is bringing greater diversity and more roles for women in the local theater scene. The theater will even have a mechanical lift that will convey handicapped actors, directors and stage hands onto the boards and backstage facilities.

New Phoenix will open its inaugural season in January, 2019 with Marvin’s Room, a dark comedy by playwright Scott McPherson that affords a moving view of one woman’s commitment to family and correlative response to despair.

The season will include three other shows, including one musical. Two shows were eliminated to allow ample time for the completion of all renovations and the installation of all necessary lighting and sound equipment and computer technology.

Read here for the full schedule of shows that New Phoenix will produce during its inaugural season.

Tickets will go on sale at a date yet to be announced.

For more information, please visit newphoenixtheatrefortmyers.orgfollow The New Phoenix Theatre on Facebook or telephone 239-284-5214.



Homicide turns hilarious at the Alliance with Theatre Conspiracy’s ‘Murderers’ (09-22-18)

Next up during Theatre Conspiracy’s 25th consecutive season is Jeffrey Hatcher’s Murderers. It’s directed by June Koc and stars Shelley Sanders, Rob Green and Carolyn England as Riddle Key Retirement Community’s lethal threesome. Follow these links to learn more:

Here are the other shows which Theatre Conspiracy will produce during its 2018-2019 season.



Theatre Conspiracy holding auditions for ‘Rancho Mirage’ (09-22-18)

Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance for the Arts is holding an open casting call for Rancho Mirage by Steven Dietz. The production will be directed by Anne Dodd and be performed at 7:30 p.m. on May 9-11 and 16-18, with 2:00 p.m. matinees on May 12 and 19.

Written by America’s most widely-proclaimed playwright, Stephen Dietz, Rancho Mirage is a black comedy that looks at three affluent suburban couples whose truths finally catch up with them. At an ill-fated dinner party, these long-time friends are awakened to the secrets of their past with hilarious and farcical results. A National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere comedy, Rancho Mirage asks what remains between us when youth, dreams, and the last bottle of wine is gone?

Ms. Dodd will conduct auditions between noon and 3:00 p.m. on September 29 at the Alliance for the Arts, which is located at 10091 McGregor Blvd. Fort Myers FL 33919. The play contemplates a cast consisting of four women and three men, the three 40-something couples, Diane and Nick Dahner, Louise and Trevor Neese and Pam and Charlie Caldwell, along with 17-year-old babysitter by the name of Julie. All seven roles are available.

Actors are encouraged to have a prepared monologue between one and two minutes in length; if not, cold readings will be available.

For more information, call Bill Taylor at 239-939-2787.





‘Peter and the Starcatcher’ opens in Blackburn Hall on October 3 (09-22-18)

The Naples Players will roll out the red carpet for the opening of Peter and the Starcatcher on October 3. The musical takes place in Blackburn Hall at the Sugden Community Theatre on Naples Fifth Avenue South. The musical runs through October 28, 2018.

Written by Rick Elice and with music by Wayne Barker, Peter and the Starcatcher is based on the novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson. The Tony Award-winning musical upends the century-old story of how a miserable orphan comes to be The Boy Who Would Not Grow Up (a.k.a. Peter Pan). The musical features flying, dreaming, adventure and the tale of growing up. From marauding pirates and jungle tyrants to unwilling comrades and unlikely heroes, Peter and the Starcatcher playfully explores the depths of greed and despair and the bonds of friendship, duty and love. It’s an exciting adult origin story that’s great for kids, too!

The play provides a backstory for the characters of Peter Pan, Mrs. Darling, Tinker Bell and Hook and serves as a prequel to J. M. Barrie’s Peter and Wendy. A young orphan and his mates are shipped off from Victorian England to a distant island ruled by the evil King Zarboff. They know nothing of the mysterious trunk in the captain’s cabin, which contains a precious, otherworldly cargo. At sea, the boys are discovered by a precocious young girl named Molly, a Starcatcher-in-training who realizes that the trunk’s precious cargo is starstuff, a celestial substance so powerful that it must never fall into the wrong hands. When the ship is taken over by pirates – led by the fearsome Black Stache, a villain determined to claim the trunk and its treasure for his own – the journey quickly becomes a thrilling adventure.

New York guest artist Emma Canalese (photo 4, right) directs.

“When offered the opportunity to direct at The Naples Players, I immediately jumped at the chance to direct Peter and The Starcatcher,” relates Ms. Canalese. “The possibilities of what can be created are only limited by the imagination of the creative team and I have been incredibly lucky to have had a dream team to work with. While I was initially drawn to the show because of its energy and movement, what has really excited me is the meat of the play. Yes, the show is fast, exciting and funny but it also asks us to look at profound questions about life, like what is it that matters to us and what mark do we leave on the world? What does time take from us and what does it mean to grow up?”

Joseph Brauer provides musical direction; Dan Granke serves as Fight Director.

Newcomer Harvey Millar (3rd photo) portrays Boy (Peter), with seasoned favorite Mark Vanagas (5th photo) as the incomparable Black Stache and rising star Alex Portaro (6th photo) as Molly Aster.

Other performers in the cast include:

  • Alex Alfaro as Captain Scott,
  • Jamielynn Bucci as Smee,
  • Kylie Campbell as Prentiss,
  • Michael Chernini as Fighting Prawn,
  • Julia Cornwall as Sanchez/Hawking Clam,
  • Brian Hann as Alf,
  • Kenneth Hardcastle as Lord Aster,
  • Les Prebbleas as Mrs. Bumbrake/Teacher,
  • Misha Ritter as Slank, and
  • Briallen Sanchez-Thurber as Ted.

To complete the theatrical and artistic production, the Scenic Design is by New York NYU-Tisch based Todd Potter, Lighting Design by Craig Walck, Sound Design by BradleyVan Houten and Costume Design by Mary Wallace.

Peter and the Starcatcher runs October 3 – 28, 2018 in Blackburn Hall at The Naples Players at Sugden Theatre at 701 5th Avenue South in Naples. Tickets are $40 for adults, $35 for subscribers and are available for purchase online at or by contacting the Box Office at (239) 263-7990.

Read here to see the shows that TNP will produce during the remainder of its 2018-2019 season.



October 16 performance of ‘Peter and the Starcatcher’ to be sensory friendly (09-22-18)

The Naples Players (TNP) will present a special sensory-friendly performance of Peter and the Starcatcher at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, October 16.

What are sensory-friendly screenings and why are they important? For many people with special needs, sensory stimuli are overwhelming and sometimes painful. “Some things just feel so intense .I’m not over-reacting,” explains Tina J. Richardson, a woman with autism. “My sensory processing is unique to me.”

This makes it difficult for them to attend traditional performances that may have loud noises and strobe lights. Combine this with the fact that many people with special needs cannot sit still for long periods of time. This can make them and their families uncomfortable in public spaces, especially in cultural performances where any kind of disruption is often met with judging stares.

The slight changes introduced in sensory-friendly performances can transform the theatre into a place as welcoming and comfortable as their own home.

During sensory-friendly performances, the house lights remain on during the performance, sound is turned down, movement during the performance is not restricted, and the performance is capped at 50% capacity. In addition, audience members receive a guide to the show that tells them where there might be a sensory trigger so they can prepare themselves in advance. This can make all the difference in opening the doors of the theater to people with special needs.

As sensory-friendly screenings become more common in local movie theaters and even on Broadway, The Naples Players knows it is beyond time to expand this practice to the community plays and musicals. The Naples Players is proud to participate in the national shift towards making it possible for individuals with special needs and their families to experience the same quality theatre as everyone else.

Tickets for the special one-night Sensory Friendly Performance on Tuesday, October 16, 2018 are $20 for adults, $10 for students/educators and are available at or by contacting the Box Office at (239) 263-7990. Special pricing for The Naples Players sensory-friendly performances helps make great theater affordable for families and is made possible through a grant from Suncoast Credit Union.



TNP announces cast for ‘June & Jason’s Survival Guide to Divorce’ (09-22-18)

The Naples Players (TNP) has announced the cast for the upcoming world premiere of the dystopian comedy June & Jason’s Survival Guide to Divorce. The show opens October 24 in Tobye Studio at The Naples Players Sugden Theatre and runs through November 18.

Reminiscent of great sitcom humor, this quick-witted comedy introduces an unforgettable collection of zany neighbors and friends who try to save June and Jason from a looming divorce. In a clever combination of The Dick Van Dyke Show meets Friends meets Will and Grace comical-style, this fresh and modern comedy places marriage and its trials and tribulations front and center with a fun and modern twist.

June & Jason’s Survival Guide to Divorce was written by Naples playwright Laura Lorusso and is directed by Naples Players Associate Artistic Director Jessica Walck. Walck also directed a staged reading of the play last November at the Laboratory Theater of Florida.

Cole Butcher (photo 4) stars as Jason Cooney and Caitlynn Crawford (photo 5) plays June. Local audiences may recall her from TNP’s sold-out run of Love, Loss and What I Wore.

Ellen Cooper stars as Josephine Rossi, the classic Italian grandmother, who inspired the playwright from her portrayal of Momma Nonna in Joey & Maria’s Comedy Italian Wedding. Alexandra Holmes is a newcomer to the stage and plays the always-ready-to-party Lacy Brock.

Read here for more.


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