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Spotlight on River Basin muralist Rod Acosta


Today, there exist no artifacts or remnants of the once proud fort from which Fort Myers derives its name. But thanks to an article published on October 2, 1858 in Frank Leslie’s Illustrated Weekly and an associated drawing, we know what the fort’s guardhouse looked like and how it was constructed. And there also exists a survey map that was drawn to scale two years earlier by Major J. McKinstry, who came to investigate why the fort’s namesake, Colonel Abraham C. Myers, had approved the expenditure of so much money on a frontier fort in the middle of nowhere.

Local artist Rodney Acosta painted both the guardhouse and the map that you see in this mural. Rod also painted a mural of Fort Myers most venerable sheriff, Frank Tippins, in a boat with a posse heading to “The Glades.” Tippins was connected to three of Fort Myers most notorious criminal cases, including that of Edgar J. Watson. Those stories are now live on Otocast as well.

Rodney works chiefly in mixed media on canvas or board. His compositions often include textiles and found objects. His technique features extreme light contrasts, heavy textures and scratching over layers of oil. Acosta is also a 3D artist, producing steel and wood sculpture.

Rodney exhibits his art in these various mediums in Florida and throughout the Caribbean. He has exhibited three times at the annual cuartel la puntilla biennial in San Juan, O.V.A.L. Artists League, the Orlando Museum of Art, Cafe Tutu Tango, Borders Bookstore, D.A.A.S. Co-Op and Sydney & Berne Davis Art Center, among others. He has taught individual art classes from time to time and has participated and won at least in 3 art contests.

Rodney has been drawing and painting since he was 14 years old. He graduated from the San Juan School of Fine Arts with a Bachelor’s Degree in Visual Arts, but continued his art education at the Rollins College in Florida.

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 for Rod Acosta’s Block House and Survey Map and Frank Tippins murals.

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 12, 2023; revised July 23, 2023.


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