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Audio for Lesley Morrow’s mural of early settler John Alexander Weatherford now live on Otocast


Few people will recognize the man depicted by this mural or have ever heard his name. But John Alexander Weatherford was one of the first four people to set foot on the grounds of the old fort in 1866. He came with Manuel A. Gonzalez, his five-year-old son, Manuel S., and their close family friend Joe Vivas on February 21st of that year. Now you can learn about this early settler, who’s been painted by local artist Lesley Morrow. His story is now live on Otocast!

When you listen to the audio providing the context for Lesley’s mural, you’ll hear the 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 upwards of 250 shows, directed over 50 productions and performed in more than 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, productions written by female playwrights, plays that provide strong female characters, and programming that affords 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 one that Bill Taylor recorded for Lesley Morrow’s mural of Evalina Weatherford Gonzalez’s brother, John Alexander Weatherford.

At present, 14 of the 53 murals that are being installed around the river basin adjoining the Luminary Hotel are live on Otocast, with another 31 of the City’s 41 outdoor public artworks being included in the Fort Myers Guide as well. Work is under way to not only add the other 39 River Basin murals and eleven 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 14, 2023.


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