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Art Walk August 2, 2013


035 (2)Art Walk returns to downtown Fort Myers on Friday, August 2. Come join the monthly self-guided tour of new art exhibits opening in the River District’s art galleries and boutiques from 6-10 p.m. With exceptional venues like the Art League of Fort Myers on Monroe, Articulture Gallery & Tattoo Studio, Arts for ACT Gallery & BoutiqueEnjewel, Ocasiocasa Studio Gallery, Reverie & Rock Art Gallery, the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center and UNIT A Contemporary Art Space on Evans Avenue, there’s much to sample and savor.

New for August, Art Walk now includes a monthly theme. “With the sizzling hot summer weather, downtown businesses and Art Walk visitors are encouraged to dress for the beach this Art Walk,” states the River District Alliance. “Break out the sunscreen, sunglasses, beach hats, and beach shirts as we celebrate the summer in the River District.”

Live art demonstrations are also planned throughout the downtown area. Participating artists and art stops include Sarah Kiser (at Charme), Hoolie Huffer (at Enjewel), Brian Christensen (in front of the former Yano’s), body painting by Angela Hicks (At The Franklin Shops), Linda Benson (at Arts for ACT Gallery) and a face painting artist (near the Art League)

Here’s a summary of everything there is to see and do in the River District this Friday night:

100_0646 (4)1. After being closed in June and July for renovations, the Art League of Fort Myers will be open for Art Walk on August 2 with “Back to School,” a two-dimensional show open to members of the Art Council of Southwest Florida that will feature oils, acrylics, watercolors, pastels, collages, original prints (including etching, lithographs and wood block,), photography and fiber art. This is a People’s Choice show, so Art Walkers get to choose the recipients of the coveted red, blue and yellow ribbons. The Art League is located at 1451 Monroe Street, on the ground floor of the City of Palms Parking Garage. For more information, please visit or telephone 239-275-3970.

Night view2.  On July 17, Art of the Olympians closed its doors after five years of service to the community. No decision has been made as to the future of the City Pier Building, but it is likely that the picturesque waterfront site will become a venue for a top-end restaurant or retail/restaurant combination. Until then, however, the building will remain closed to the public.

3. Articulture Gallery & Tattoo Studio is holding a group exhibit. Articulture’s tattoo artists have had work featured in numerous online magazines. They specialize in original art, cover ups, and all around quality tattoo work.

4. In August, Arts for ACT Gallery & Boutique is featuring the art of illustrator Joe Lemay, photographer and naïve painter Cheryl Hucke and the mother and daughter duo of Christina and Carol Machula.

  • lemay2 (7)Lemay‘s gallery work blends elements of his illustration background with an abstract expressionistic style. Subjects in his paintings exist within a world of bleeding color that serves as a virtual playground for a variety of characters and creatures. It is a take on illustration that places some traditional subject matter and characters in a non traditional physical environment. Joe credits his colleagues at The Union Artist Studios for his move toward a more abstract or abstractly whimsical style. “It really helps being in an environment like [The Union Artist Studios],” Joe states, referencing the divergent genres and styles of fellow artists David Acevedo, Xavier Brignoni, Troy and Danielle Thomas, Willow, and Paul Rodino.
  • cheryl hauke glassy watersCheryl Hucke has a degree in graphic design. Having worked for many years as a floral designer, she is greatly inspired by nature. Cheryl paints mainly with acrylics and enjoys photography. Her photography and naive paintings will be featured off the main gallery.
  • Carol Machuca has been experimenting with art since childhood. She has exhibited in several galleries in southern Indiana. Carol has found much pleasure and inspiration from all the masters, as well as fellow local artists, but the most inspiring has been her daughter Christina. Carol’s favorite medium is also acrylic on canvas. Though her passion is flowers, she also enjoys lizards, birds, and occasionally an abstract thrown into the mix.
  • christina machula flowersChristina Machuca is a new artist in Southwest Florida. From Evansville, Indiana, Christina received her Bachelor’s degree in art from Kentucky Wesleyan College in 2006. Christina has always found inspiration in music. Over the years, Christina has experimented with a wide variety of mediums and subject matter, but has found that acrylic on canvas best facilitates her rapid method of painting. Christina uses a bold color palette to transform even the most somber, dark, or dilapidated subject matter into vibrantly colored pieces.

Linda Benson will be doing $5 portraits inside the gallery, which is located in the century-old Arcade Building at 2265 First Street in the heart of the Downtown River District.

100_1158 (3)5Enjewel is the hip First Street boutique that caters to confident and fashion-forward women. Operating under the banner that “with the right accessories [a woman] can do anything,” Enjewel offers vintage purses, handmade Mother of Pearl and natural horn bags, faux fur scarves with pockets, and chic dresses galore. “We love supporting local designers with our made in the USA collections,” Lynne Routhier posts on Facebook. “These apparel pieces will provide your wardrobe with classic colors and fun prints and you’ll be sure to turn a few heads.”

Lynne 06 (2)Enjewel also has a long history of sourcing and providing sensibly-priced art jewelry to its patrons. But now the boutique is offering pieces created by the intrepid entrepreneur herself. “I actually started making jewelry nearly a decade ago when I visited my brother in New Hampshire,” Lynne explained during last month’s Stroll the Arcade. “He was making some jewelry at the time and let me join in. But I’ve been so busy with the store that I didn’t really pursue it in earnest until a few months ago.” Her pieces reflect the chic, trendy casual and business wear for which Enjewel is known. Lynne 05 (2)They are full of colorful, highly textural stones and baubles that glint and sparkle in the Florida sun … or the low lights of your favorite restaurant or nightclub. While Routhier may not be in their class – yet – she aspires to follow in some pretty big footsteps. Picasso, Dali, Max Ernst, Georges Braque, Fernand Leger, Man Ray, Josep Hoffmann, Hector Guimard, Auguste Rodin and Alexander Calder all experimented in the genre of fine art jewelry.

Back from graduate school at the University of Florida in Gainesville, artist and art educator Juliana “Hoolie” Huffer will demonstrating and selling her art outside the boutique. Stop by and wish her a hearty welcome home. Enjewel is located at 2266 First Street in the downtown Fort Myers River District, across from Arts for ACT.

100_2636 (7)6. In June, the Franklin Shops on First introduced ARTlocale, a program that includes special exhibits, live art performances, entertainment and art talks. “The events of ARTlocale are meant to support local artists and at the same time stimulate the artistic scene in the River District,” notes Franklin Shops owner Rene Miville. In June, Fort Myers based painter George Settos set up his ARTlocale studio in the shops, and last month fiber artist Roseline Young and Susan Barton took their turn in the Shops. This month, Bonita based painter and dancer Angela Hicks will set up her studio in the Franklin Shops, while Katie Gardenia, creator of the legendary Bubble Room restaurant in Captiva, will present and sign her book A Bubble Moment.

Tincher at Angels for the Arts 01The Franklin Shops are home to permanent exhibits by the Fort Myers based sculptor Steven Swenor – aka The Dragonfly Guy – and local painters George Settos, Lourdes Mora-Shay, Lilia Lopez, and Joe Rossi. Art dealer and entrepreneur Terry Tincher has also established his Art & Odditorium gallery at the shops, specializing in antiques and artistic works for collectors who are attracted to the unique and unusual. Terry Tincher presents his distinctive personal collection, which includes artworks by Andy Warhol and Robert Rauschenberg.

playThe Franklin Shops on First is also home to True Tours, which offers a highly informative historical walking tours, spooky haunted history tour, architectural and public art walking tours. So if you’ve ever wondered about the history of the old buildings downtown or the public artworks that dot the River District, then stop into the Franklin Shops during Art Walk and book your tour with Gina Taylor. (For more information, you can reach Gina by phone at 239-945-0405 or at

The Franklin Shops are located at the corner of Broadway and First in the downtown Fort Myers River District.

Eagle Against Hotel Indigo (3)7. Part of the InterContinental Hotel Group, Hotel Indigo is known for plush guest rooms and swank public spaces that are transformed seasonally through changing signage, aromas, music and artwork. With Vino de Notte, a newly-renovated lobby lounge and its Phi in the Sky rooftop lounge, Hotel Indigo always figures prominently in the Art Walk scene.

Phi in the Sky is home to David Acevedo’s mural, The Heart of the City’s SkyOwners Tim and Catherine O’Brien commissioned the work in August, 2011 following a month-long competition 011 (6)Acevedo won because of his superb attention to detail, space, color and deep concentration on Fort Myers’ cultural society. Says the hotel’s social media director, Kayla Dacosta, “David is not only a sensational artist, but his spirit runs deep and his work is an obvious statement of all things beautiful and exceptional in the world. He grasps color and moves paint in such a way that viewers feel awakened by his work. Hotel Indigo is very pleased and grateful to have David lending inspiration to the Phi in the Sky!”

Jeff Ocasio and Elijah Masathi 01 (3)8. Ocasiocasa Studio Gallery presents new artwork by owners Jeff and Dale Ocasio. In the House of Ocasio, sculpture is molded, modelled, crafted and formed through the successive application of layers of masking tape over old vinyl dolls and other found objects that are recycled, upcycled, modified, customized and re-purposed into other-worldly creatures that spring from the fertile imaginations of Jeff and Dale Ocasio. Jeff experiments on these “found canvases,” using masking tape to give life to his one-of-a-kind designs. When he’s done, Dale takes over, adding water-based professional glue, acrylic paint and varnish. She also photographs each piece at varying stages throughout the creative process and collages the digital images into illustrations that hang on Ocasiocasa’s cream-colored plaster walls.

mushroom_shade36ad79In recognition of all the rain Southwest Florida has experienced in July, Jeff and Dale will be featuring soggy August mushrooms for Art Walk, while Young Artists Awards vocalists Sarah Daigle, Elisabeth Best and Sarah Best will be performing at Ocasiocasa Studio Gallery from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Ocasiocasa is located at 1540 Broadway. For more information, please visit (where you can preview Jeff and Dale’s work, see some of Dale’s illustrations and watch several short, stop-action film clips) or telephone 239-691-8292.

Majesty9. Reverie & Rock Art Gallery features the digital surrealism of Kathy Kuser and the rock and country concert photography of Jamie Kuser. “With my art, I want to bring a fresh and contemporary twist to a long established medium – surrealism,” says Kathy Kuser. “I find that through tragedy comes hurt and healing. At 50, I am at a point of re-evaluating life’s direction and I find myself invigorated by my new form of artistic expression. Using my skills as a graphic designer, I create 2D/3D digital surrealism. Through a mystical and fantasy driven vision, a story emerges from my canvas. I use stark details with transitional blending; thus my art takes flight.”

002 (2)The new downtown Fort Myers art space also showcases the concert photography of Jamie Kuser. For more than 15 years, Jamie has been photographing national recording artists while they perform on stage. From AC/DC to ZZ Top, and from Alan Jackson to Sugarland, Jamie has photographed more than 150 national artists live in concert. His photos have appeared on national tour T-shirts, VH1’s Behind the Music, the Associated Press Photo Archives, published in daily newspapers and, of course, in Southwest Florida’s own Happenings Magazine.

For Art Walk, Debby Dorr will be performing from the group “Joy Duet” and as Director of SW Florida Lee County Youth Choir. For more information about Reverie & Rock Art Gallery, please visit or telephone 239-278-5236.

10. The Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center is the venue for a ground-breaking solo exhibition of vibrant and captivating paintings and sculpture by abstract artist Veron Ennis, who has promised to transform the Art Center’s Grand Atrium into a “haven of aesthetics.” Ennis’ non-objective paintings and abstracted cityscapes are saturated with bold modern colors and composed of countless interlacing layers. Her signature cube sculptures are free-standing constructions made of six paintings hinged together to close into a cube. They have the unique ability to unlock and hang in an open state on the wall. Both forms will be exhibited during her Transference exhibition at the Davis.

Founder of the art movement OPT (Open Positive Transference), Ennis promotes and exhibits art that has the intention of transferring to viewers a positive and uplifting feeling, one of hope and balance. Also a founding member of MAMA (Movement of Aleatoric Modern Artists), part of Ennis’ technique depends on the chance application of her medium. “Falling in and out of control of the work energizes the composition and pushes compositional boundaries,” says Ennis.

SBDAC is also hosting a Love That Dress! 5 Collection Party during August’s Art Walk, so bring your new or gently worn dresses and help support PACE Center for Girls. Love That Dress! is the ultimate feel-good girls night out shopping spree of the year benefitting PACE Center for Girls. An estimated 800 fashionistas (and a few brave men) are expected to stake their claim on thousands of new and gently worn dresses and accessories selling for nominal prices. Guests will enjoy the event’s popular silent auction, camaraderie, and cocktails. This year’s event will take place on August 28 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m., at the Embassy Suites in Estero. Proceeds will benefit PACE Center for Girls, Inc., which provides girls and young women an opportunity for a better future through education, counseling, training, and advocacy.

The Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center is located at 2301 First Street, in the heart of the downtown Fort Myers River District. For more information, please call 239-333-1933 or visit

11. Outside the Art Center during Art Walk from 7-9 p.m., Dr. Sketchy will be on hand. The Dr. provides models attired in intriguing costumes who assume exaggerated poses for sketchers to capture on paper. But there’s a catch. The muses only hold each pose for several minutes, forcing sketchers to work quickly. There’s no time for a detailed, full-blown drawing.

The trick is for sketchers to focus on big picture subjects like  mood, character and the inner spirit of the muse rather than on trying to get all the details right. By compressing session times into five and ten minute increments, participants gain in just a few short hours experience it would take weeks to glean in a conventional classroom setting. “This will be a free event but I will be putting out a tip jar so anything you can throw in will go toward paying the model and the extra paper/pencil supplies as well as a portion to the Art Center,” adds Perara.  ”We will also be giving away prizes as well as having an online contest for anyone who posts their art and photos from the evening on our Facebook Wall….”

12. Be sure to check out the strange but amazing work of Elijah Green at Space 39 this Friday. Also known as Nathaniel Gromalski, Green is displaying his work for the first time at Space 39 during Art Walk. Elijah has previously spent much of his time writing music, playing piano, singing, and teaching creative spiritual development, but he joined Space 39 as its new curator. “I’m very excited to be curating for Space 39″ states Green, who names the downtown nightspot as his “favorite place to chill and mingle with friends.” Located at 39 Patio de Leon, Space 39 offers a chic artistic atmosphere, excellent live music, adult beverages and an atmosphere perfect for a classy River District experience.

13. UNIT A Contemporary Art Space in downtown Fort Myers is planning a treat for August’s Art Walk. The Space is giving residents and visitors a one-time chance to view the oldest works left in Marcus Jansen’s collection. Many are experimental works dating back to 1997 which he rendered at the advent of his already illustrious career. For August, guest artist and former Robert Rauschenberg assistant Jonas Stirner will also have new large and small sculpture works on display. Parking is free and there is no cover charge. For more information, space rentals or to RSVP for the July 3 preview, please contact Terry Tincher at or visit


More than 35 participants make Art Walksuccessful each month and they include the Art League of Fort MyersArt of the OlympiansArts for ACT Gallery and Boutique, Charme, Cigar Bar, The Deli, Downtown House of Pizza, Enjewel, First United Methodist Church, Florida Repertory Theatre, Ford’s Garage, Fort Myers Community Redevelopment Agency, French Connection, Franklin Shops, Gulf Coast Times, Happenings Magazine, Hotel Indigo, Legacy Harbour Hotel & Suites, Linen Cottage, Lush Bakery, Market America Realty & Investments, The Nest Home & Garden, Ocasiocasa Gallery Studio, The Open Door Shoppes on Hendry, Palm Printing, River District Alliance, The Shoppes at Broadway, Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center, Spirits of Bacchus, Twisted Vine Bistro, UNIT A Contemporary Art Space, United Café Bar & Bistro, The Veranda Restaurant and the Young Artists Awards Program.

Held the first Friday of every month from 6 to 10 p.m., Art Walk features local and national artwork in the downtown art galleries and several art stops in the Fort Myers River District. While thousands will be making their way to the River District for this month’s Art Walk and party opportunities, fret not. There’s plenty of free parking within easy walking distance of the galleries, shops, restaurants and bars along First and adjoining streets. So call your friends and meet downtown in the city on the Caloosahatchee that’s quickly gaining a worldwide reputation as the art center of southwest Florida.

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