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Audio for Billy Bowlegs’ murals at Fort Myers River Basin now live on Otocast


Two portraits of Seminole Chief Billy Bowlegs have been installed on the stanchion located on Bay Street next to the entrance to Ella Mae’s Diner at the Luminary Hotel. The audios for those River Basin murals are now live on Otocast.

The first portrait was painted by Sherry Lynn Diaz, a local artist who, operating under the motto ‘have brush, will travel,’ paints in Marco Island, Naples, Bonita Springs, Estero, Sanibel, Captiva Islands and homes and businesses throughout in Lee, Collier and Charlotte Counties. The second mural was rendered by Fort Myers artist Lorrie Bennett, who works in many different mediums and materials including acrylics, watercolors, ink, pastels, graphite, charcoal, image transfers, textiles, and vintage ephemeral papers, such as wallpaper, book pages, maps and sewing patterns (some over a century old).

Two portraits of the Alligator Chief were deemed necessary because of Bowlegs’ importance in the establishment of the fort from which Fort Myers derives its name. Billy Bowlegs not only played an instrumental role in the Second Seminole War (1836-1842), but his refusal to be voluntarily relocated to a reservation in Oklahoma prompted the federal government to establish Fort Myers in 1850 and instigate a war six years later to capture and remove the Chief and his people from Florida.

You can hear these fascinating and sometimes heartbreaking stories now on Otocast, and when you listen to the audios, you’ll hear the new voice of Fort Myers public art, Bill Taylor.

A long-standing member of the City of Fort Myers Public Art Committee, Bill Taylor is best known in Southwest Florida as a producer, director, actor and founder of Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance for the Arts.

Since founding the latter company in 1984, Bill has produced more than 120 shows, directed 40 productions and performed in over 50 others including three one-man shows, Sex, Drugs & Rock and Roll, Barrymore and Tru. His favorite shows include A Tuna Christmas, The Katy and Mo Show, and whatever play he is working on currently.

Among the many initiatives Taylor has launched at Theatre Conspiracy are its perennial New Play Contest, an emphasis on productions written by female playwrights and providing strong female characters, and programming that provides opportunities for area actors of color and discourse on the Black experience in America (in shows like George C. Wolff’s A Colored Museum, Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun, August Wilson’s King Hedley II, Joe Wilson’s Come and Gone, Seven Guitars and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Lydia Diamond’s The Bluest Eye and Ntozake Shange’s For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf).

If you haven’t yet used Otocast yet, pull out your smartphone and go to your app store right now. When you land there, type Otocast in the search bar and then hit download. It’s free!

The app works with geo-mapping, which means that when you tap on the green Otocast icon, the app will automatically call up the Fort Myers Guide.

Tap on the Guide and you’ll see an aerial map of Fort Myers that displays a number of push pins. Those pins signify the location of most of the public artworks that are interspersed throughout Fort Myers.

Notice the banner that runs along the bottom of your screen. It contains thumbnail photographs of the particular artworks identified by those pins. Tap on any one of them and it will take you to written information about the artwork; historic, installation and other photos; and an audio like the ones that Bill Taylor just recorded for the two Billy Bowlegs murals.

At present, 14 of the 53 murals that are being installed around the river basin adjoining the Luminary Hotel are live on Otocast, with work under way to add the other 39 River Basin murals to Otocast in the coming weeks.

Otocast users will also find 31 of the City’s 41 outdoor sculptures and sculpture installations in the Fort Myers Guide as well. Work is under way to not only add the other 11 sculptural artworks, but more than 30 historic points of interest located throughout the City.

Don’t just use Otocast to learn more about the artworks see about town. Be sure to share Otocast with everyone you know. It’s a real conversation starter.

February 7, 2023.


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