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Fort Myers Founding Females Portrait Exhibition

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On this page you will find information about the Fort Myers Founding Females Portrait Exhibition.

 

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Purpose

Fiery Flossie Hill 02While many in Southwest Florida may have heard of Mina Edison or Tootie McGregor Terry, few are aware of the important roles played by women in the founding, settlement and development of Fort Myers. The Fort Myers Founding Females portrait exhibition is designed to introduce to area residents and visitors the names and faces of some of Fort Myers’ most prominent female leaders, civic activists, philanthropists and entrepreneurs, and tell their inspiring stories for the very first time.

The relative anonymity of Fort Myers’ Founding Females can be explained in part by the fact that the town’s founding Olive Stout Portrait 1fathers – cattlemen like Jake Summerlin and Capt. F.A. Hendry, uncommon friends Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone, and developers Harvie Heitman, William H. Towles and Walter Langford – were strong and colorful personalities. But it is equally true that the historians who recorded and recounted their stories were men themselves. But were it not for the contribution of Fort Myers Founding Females, it is unlikely that there would be a Fort Myers at all, and certainly not the town Fort Myers is today.

The portrait show also seeks to shine a spotlight on Fort Myers’ determined, forceful and sometimes even heroic Founding Crowd Shot 03Females in order to provide young boys and girls with astereotypical role models who demonstrate by their lives and examples that women are not only capable of making decisions about their health, education and careers, but can and do make important contributions to the communities in which they live.

According to a report prepared by Mitsu Klos for the Women’s Media Center, female characters on television, in films, and in video games are typically sexualized and cast in roles that are subservient to men. Not surprisingly, by the age of six, girls are already seeing themselves in this demeaning way, which means Crowd Shot 02that young boys are too. That’s just not acceptable.

The U.S. Media 2013 report also noted that:

  • Women are rarely portrayed as accomplished business, civic and political leaders. In this regard, women comprised only 9 percent of the directors of the top 250 domestic grossing films of 2012. Of the top grossing films of 2013, Kissinger, Pendleton and Cosden 09women accounted for only 16% of the writers, directors, producers, executive producers, editors and cinematographers, with just 28.4% of the speaking roles in the top 100 films going to women.
  • The landscape is even bleaker when it comes to women being quoted as authoritative sources in news articles, which quoted women in a scant 19% of the news stories published in January and February of 2013. Just seven out of 100 honorees included in the Newsweek Daily Beast Cindy and Dr. Piper at Edison Ford Jan 15 2015 BDigital Power Index were women.
  • At this pace, women will not attain parity with men in leadership roles in government , politics, entrepreneurship and nonprofits until 2085.

Since media not only informs, but forms self-images by providing explicit and tacit role models, our Founding Females portrait exhibition undertakes to provide positive role models that can inspire children, teens and the rest of us to set and achieve great personal and societal goals. Among the local artists who have submitted works The Artists 01are (alphabetically) Vicki Baker, Mary Beth Barbato, Dr. Kyra Belan, Linda Busch Benson, Celeste Borah, Tracy Owen Cullimore, Paula Eckerty, Beth Everhart, Cindy Jane, Marianne Poole Keefe, Megan Kissinger, Leoma Lovegrove, Christine Reichow, Nadi Reuter, Sarah Tumm, Africa Valdez, Genie Witzel and M. Joan Wollam.

 

History

Davis Hall June 19 2014 CThe show opened at The Linen Cottage on First in April of 2014. It moved to the historic Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center in the downtown Fort Myers River District in September, where it remained on display through October. It moved to the historic Caretaker’s Cottage at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates in December of 2014, where it was on view through May 29, 2015. During its run at the Edison Ford Estates, more than 150,000 Back by Popular Demandpeople had the opportunity to familiarize themselves Fort Myers’ early female pioneers and the artists who captured them in oil, acrylics, collage and digital photography. By popular demand, the portrait exhibition is returning to the Edison Ford Winter Estates for the 2016 observance of National Women’s History Month. The show will open on Sunday, March 6, with an artists’ reception from 3:oo to 5:00 p.m. The exhibition will remain on display through May 23, 2016.

 

The Artists

Fort Myers Founding Females PlacardThe encore presentation of the Fort Myers Founding Females portrait exhibition will open Sunday, March 6 in the historic Caretaker’s Cottage at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates with a 3-5 p.m. artists’ reception that is open to the public. The show will feature the work of more The Artists 01than a dozen area artists and more than 20 illustrious women from Fort Myers’ past. While most of the artists will be in attendance and happy to answer questions about their process and subject, here’s a brief introduction to the artists you will meet on March 6.

Vicki Baker 02SOregon/Fort Myers artist Vicki Baker chose Evalina Weatherford Gonzalez to paint. “As a retired elementary school teacher, I was attracted to Evalina’s role as one of the first teachers in Fort Myers,” she explains. Vicki’s  work can be found in various private collections across the United States and has been featured in juried shows such as the international Au Naturel: The Nude in the 21st Century in Astoria, Oregon, The Southwest Symphony 50th Anniversary Art show at the Alliance for the Arts and at the Art League of Fort Myers. Her portrait has been juried into Mary Beth Barbato 03Sthe 10th Biennial National Art Exhibition at the Visual Arts Center in Punta Gorda which runs from January 29 through March 12, 2016. But don’t fret. Vicki is rendering another portrait of Evalina for the Edison Ford show.

A Syracuse, New York transplant, mother of three and grandmother of five, Mary Beth Barbato will have two portraits in the show. The first is of Florida Shultz-Heitman and the other is of Candis Walker. Mary Beth was attracted to both of these women because they were possessed of strong character and lofty goals. Candis WalkerBarbato received her BAE from Herron School of Art at Indiana University/Purdue University in Indianapolis, Indiana. After many years of teaching Elementary Art in Indiana and Ohio, she now welcomes the opportunity to revisit the “artist within” and experiment in different mediums and techniques in her home studio in sunny Fort Myers.

Dr. Kyra Belan rendered pencil drawings of BFF Berne Davis and Barbara B. Mann for the first portrait show and is adding one of Clara Ford for this sequel. Dr. Kyra Belan creates portraiture that commemorates outstanding women in contemporary history. Her Dr Kyra Belan 01Spreoccupation with the subject stems from her realization that the percentage of portraiture that is dedicated to women of achievement is currently unacceptably small. Her goal, therefore, is to help correct this inequity by drawing attention to iconic women through her art. Dr. Belan is an internationally-acclaimed artist, author, mythologist and art historian. She served as a professor of art and art history and a founding Kyra Belangallery director at Broward College for two decades. She has enjoyed more than 50 solo art exhibitions, numerous group shows and numerous awards. She has authored a number of books, including Art, Myths, and Rituals (Bent Tree Press, 2007), The Virgin in Art (Barnes & Noble Books, New York, 2006), La Virgen en el Arte (Panamericana, 2007), and Lucid Future, Madonnas: From Medieval to Modern (Parkstone Press, 2001), which has also been translated into German and French.

Linda Benson selected Veronica Shoemaker as the Founding Female she most wanted to paint. Linda spends her days creating art aboard a 46-foot 1969 Chris Craft vintage Benson at Edison Ford 03Aquahome that she’s dubbed Artist Xpress. Her style reflects both her training at the Art Institute of Chicago and the American Academy of Art, as well as a 40 year career as a commercial artist. For 19 of those years, she was a creative artist for the Chicago Tribune. During the last ten years of her career, she served as an award-winning graphic designer and manager of various Florida newspapers,. Linda will be doing a live demonstration outside the Caretaker’s Cottage Celeste Borah 02during the opening reception on March 6, and has another surprise in store for those who turn out for the opening.

Local realist Celeste Borah has rendered a portrait of Mary Florence Hill standing outside her popular hostel, The Hill House. Some of Celeste’s most notable works include large graphic drawings of the sky with clouds on canvas. These large, dramatic drawings are rendered with such amazing detail and clarity that they stop viewers in their tracks. Borah has exhibited and won awards Mary Florence Hill 01at many art organizations including the Naples Art Association at The von Liebig, the Center for the Arts Bonita Springs, the Visual Arts Center in Punta Gorda, the Alliance for the Arts, the Art League of Fort Myers and Fort Myers Beach Art Association. Her painting US 41 Sky recently (August, 2015) took 1st place honors out of 122 entrants in the Centers for the Arts Bonita Springs’ It’s Hot, It’s Cold, It’s COLOR show, which was Tracy Owen Cullimore 09judged by Anica Sturdivant, who is the Coordinator for the Art Galleries of Florida Gulf Coast University.

Tracy Owen Cullimore rendered an alluring pastel pink portrait of Fiery Flossie Hill for the first Founding Females portrait exhibition, but that work is now on view at the 10th Biennial National Art Exhibition at the Visual Arts Center in Punta Gorda through March 12, 2016. But Tracy has rendered a different version of Miss Flossie for the new portrait show. A member of both the Portrait and Figure Painters Society of SW Florida and the Art League of Fort Myers, Tracy specializes in portraits of both people and Paula Eckerty 01Spets rendered in oil, watercolor and charcoal. Cullimore has exhibited extensively throughout the United States, as well as in London and Germany, winning numerous Best of Shows and other awards. Her art can be found in private collections throughout Florida, Colorado, North Carolina and California.

Paula Eckerty has painted Fort Myers’ first bride, Laura Hendry Thompson. Eckerty paints mostly from her imagination, deep memories of nature and the intense beauty of her surroundings here in Southwest Florida. Paula believes it is impossible to Beth Everhart 01Scompete with Mother Nature in a painting so she tries to grab an impression and create as much movement and light in her painting as possible. She has had shows at BIG ARTS on Sanibel Island, Florida West Arts and Arts for Act Gallery, of which she is a proud supporter.

Beth Everhart has rendered a collage of historic photographs depicting Founding Female Mina Edison. Beth’s work generally consists of large-scale black-and white images, photographed using Cindy and Dr. Piper at Edison Ford Jan 15 2015 Aa variety of vintage box-style and pinhole cameras, rendering dream-like, soft-focus images. Beth received her Master of Fine Arts degree in 1989 from Hunter College in New York City and is currently teaching Creative Photography and Art History at Island Coast High School in Cape Coral.

For her Founding Female, Cindy Jane chose civic activist and philanthropist Dr. Ella Mae Piper. The choice is synchronous as Cindy herself seeks to draw attention to animal cruelty, ecological responsibility and a host of other socio-political issues through her art and cindy1personal example. Characterized as a biomorphic surrealist, Cindy attended Edison College for drawing, basic design, and art history. Her work has been shown in galleries throughout the area including a solo show at the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center in February 2013. Cindy will not be at the opening. A pioneer in her own right, Cindy is fulfilling a lifelong dream of hiking the Appalachian Trail, an endeavor she expects to take several months.

Marianne Poole Keefe is a newcomer to the Thompson, Laura Henora Hendry SFounding Females portrait show and is contributing a portrait of Laura Hendry Thompson, who advocated during her tuberculosis-truncated life for better treatment of the Seminole Indians and temperance. Since taking early retirement, Marianne has continued her early interest in painting, and has studied with many well-known artists. She is a member of several art organizations including the Southwest Florida Portrait & Figure Painters Society.  A certified instructor in both oils and acrylics, she has taught in her own New York studio as well as other locations. Marianne has won numerous awards and has painted many commissioned portraits and landscapes. Marianne earned her B.A. helen hendrydegree from Barrington College in Rhode Island, and did graduate work at the State University of New York at Oneonta as well as Bridgewater State College in Massachusetts.  She taught elementary school full time and as a substitute teacher for 16 years, working for 16 more years after that as an office manager for the Mass. Laborers’ Pension Fund.

MeganMegan Kissinger has provided a rare portrait of Helen Hendry for the Fort Myers Founding Females portrait show. Megan is a member of Artists for Conservation International  and one of the ten charter artists working with the Florida Wildlife Corridor. This award-winning acrylic painter is known nationally for her wildlife conservation art and botanical illustration. Megan has a B.A. in Art from Florida Gulf Coast University. As a complement to her fine art endeavors, she is also as a Conservator at The Edison Ford Winter Estates.

Leoma Lovegrove rendered a luminous portrait of a young and beautiful Mina Edison for the original portrait show that Leoma and Mina 01Sfeatures her signature tropical palette and an impressionistic style that was informed by experiences painting in Claude Monet’s gardens in Giverny, France and a week-long portraiture workshop in California. Leoma is known for impressionist works characterized by exuberant strokes (applied to canvas not only via brushes of all sizes and shapes, but with her fingers and hands as well), and her art is currently featured by Bealls Department Stores on a line of casual wear and home goods. But due to space limitations, a Christine Reichow Dstudy that Leoma did for the massive triptych of Mina will be included in the encore show instead.

Christine Reichow rendered a lush portrait of 100-year-old Bernese Barfield Davis for the original portrait exhibition. Christine is a member of the American Watercolor Society, Florida Watercolor Society, Watercolor West, Transparent Watercolor Society, and the National Watercolor Society. Locally, she exhibits her work Renate Laura Hendry Thompsonin more than a dozen outdoor art fairs and festivals each year. Her floral and naturalist paintings have appeared on the cover of Watercolor Magic, Sunshine Artist Magazine, Florida Women’s Digest and Natural Awakenings and been featured in The Artists Magazine, Wildlife Art Magazine and Bonita Living.

Portrait and figure artist Nadi Reuter possesses a broad background and interest in the visual arts, and while she is accomplished in various media, she concentrates in oil painting. Renate is classically trained, and paints in the tradition and style of the Old Masters, particularly those forged by Rembrandt, John Singer Sargent, John Waterhouse, Sir Fredrick Leighton, John Constable and Eugene Fromentin. Nadi Sarah Tumm Cchose Laura Jane Hendry Thompson as her subject for the show.

Sarah Tumm’s portrait of Jerusha Barber “Tootie” McGregor Terry is a synthesis of a 3D digital scan of Don Wilkins’ bust of Tootie in the Harborside Event Center and digitized vintage photographs of her. Sarah holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts from the International Academy of Design and Technology. “This shaped my foundation in design and appreciation for fine art,” says Sarah on her Vilo Studio website. “LADT’s teachings of Mies von der Rohe’s ‘less is more’ and Robert Venturi’s ‘less is a bore’ operate as my fundamental principles.”

Africa Valdez CAfrica Valdez did progressive renderings of Olive Stout, depicting the Fort Myers News Press owner and social activist as a young, middle aged and elderly woman, and is adding a rendering of Barbara Mann for the new show. A naturalized U.S. citizen,Africa hails from Venezuela, where her family was highly involved in the arts. Although she includes traditional art and portraiture in her versatile repertoire, “my true love is in the Genie Witzel Achallenge and creativity that comes from blending realism and abstract art to produce unique meanings with deep feelings in everything I create,” states Africa, an independent-thinking woman in her own right. Africa attained a degree in fashion with an emphasis in art in Venezula in 1993 before going on to complete her art education at the Art Instruction School in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

A reformed self-taught landscape artist, Fort Marion Myers 1Myers artist Genie Witzel has rendered not one, but three Founding Females, choosing as her subjects Fort Myers’ first daughter, Ada Elizabeth Hancock, the woman for whom the fort was named, Marion Twiggs Myers, and Jane L. Hendry’s daughter and first telephone switchboard operator Alice Hendry Tooke McCann. Genie discovered she was a portrait artist when she painted the portrait of a less bellicose, more remorseful General Robert E. Lee to replace the one in the County Commission Chambers.

M. Joan Wollam provides a soft and subtle portrait of Julia Isabel Frierson Hendry as well as a portrait of an elderly Joan Wollam BJulia Allen Hanson for the Founding Females portrait exhibition. Born and raised in Philadelphia, Joan Wollam began drawing at 16 and quickly advanced to oils and watercolors while attending Fleisher Art Memorial School in Philadelphia and Parson School of Art and Design in Greenwich Village, NYC. Mostly self-taught (“with the help of some fine accomplished and professional atists along the way”), the decade-long Art League member’s favorite subjects are her two children and five grandchildren.

The Edison Ford Winter Estates is bringing back the portrait show to commemorate National Women’s History Month Founding Females Now Open C(March), but will keep the show on display in the historic Caretaker’s Cottage at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates on McGregor Boulevard in downtown Fort Myers through Mother’s Day on May 8, 2016. Authors Robin C. Tuthill and Tom Hall will do a presentation at the opening and autograph copies of their book, Female Pioneers of Fort Myers: Women Who Made a Difference in the City’s Development, which was inspired by last year’s show. The book is available on Amazon, from the publisher and in the Edison Ford gift shops.

 

News

 

Fort Myers Founding Females Portrait Show sequel opens at Edison Ford Estates with gallery talk and book signing (03-07-16)

Founding Females Now Open CThe encore exhibition of the Fort Myers Founding Females Portrait Show opened yesterday at the Edison Ford Winter Estates with a gallery talk and book signing. Included in the show are portraits of women who made a difference in Fort Myers’ development rendered by 18 local artists.

While many in Southwest Florida may have heard of Mina Edison or Tootie McGregor Terry, few are Kyra Belan Baware of the important roles played by women in the founding, settlement and development of Fort Myers. The Fort Myers Founding Females portrait exhibition is designed to introduce to area residents and visitors the names and faces of some of Fort Myers’ most prominent female leaders, civic activists, philanthropists and entrepreneurs. In conjunction with a new book released in December by Editorial Rx Press, the portrait show also seeks to tell the inspiring stories of Fort Myers’ female pioneers in conjunction with National Women’s History Month.

Linda Benson A“When the organizers of the National Women’s History Project met in 1980, less than three percent of the content of children’s textbooks was devoted to women’s achievements,” noted author, arts writer and arts advocate Tom Hall during the gallery talk. “Girls had few role models and girls and boys and many adults assumed women did nothing important. Until last year, this was equally true here in Lee County.”

The relative anonymity of Fort Myers’ Founding Females can be explained in part by the fact that the town’s founding fathers – cattlemen like Jake Summerlin and Celeste Borah ACapt. F.A. Hendry, uncommon friends Thomas Edison, Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone, and developers Harvie Heitman, William H. Towles and Walter Langford – were strong and colorful personalities. But the historians who recorded and recounted their stories were men, and they relegated the role women played in the town’s settlement and early history to footnotes and parantheticals even though there would be no town today were it not for the contributions of women like Evalina Gonzalez, Christiana Stirrup, Jane L. Hendry and Flossie Hill.

Christine Reichow B“Their stories were in danger of being lost forever,” noted Hall, who collaborated with North Fort Myers author Robin C. Tuthill to chronicle the achievements of 24 of Fort Myers’ most notable early women in a book titled Female Pioneers of Fort Myers:  Women Who Made a Difference in the City’s History. “It proved extremely difficult to unearth the information contained in the book and, regrettably, many of the details about what drove these women and how they interacted with each other and their male Sarah Tumm Bcounterparts is absent from the few accounts written about them.”

Both the book and the portrait show aim to shine a spotlight on the legacies created by Fort Myers’ early female pioneers, but on Sunday, the focus was on the artists and the portraits they’ve rendered for the show. A wide variety of genre and media are represented. Among the local artists who have submitted works are (alphabetically):

Together, they have rendered paintings, drawings, collages and graphic works depicting (alphabetically) Bernese Barfield Davis, Mina Miller Edison, Clara Ford, Evalina Weatherford Gonzalez, Ada Elizabeth Hancock, Julia Allen Hanson, Florida Abby Shultz Heitman, Helen Hendry, Julia Isabel Frierson Hendry, Africa Valdez AFlossie Hill, Mary Florence Hill, Barbara Mann, Alice Hendry Tooke McCann, Marion Twiggs Myers, Dr. Ella Mae Piper, Veronica Shoemaker, Olive Stout, Tootie McGregor Terry, Laura Jane Hendry Thompson and Candis Walker.

If you don’t know who these women are or what they did for Fort Myers, then take in the portrait show. It will be on display in the historic Caretaker’s Cottage not only through National Edison Ford Book Signing BWomen’s History Month (March) but through May 27, so that it will be available for viewing on Mother’s Day. Curator Mike Cosden and his staff have created placards that introduce each of these subjects and the artists who painted them. But if you want more information about our early pioneers, you can pick up a copy of Female Pioneers of Fort Myers. It is on sale in the Edison Robin Tuthill CFord gift shop and museum store. You can also attend a presentation, Q&A and book signing by authors Robin Tuthill and Tom Hall at the Edison Ford Shoppe in the Bell Tower Mall from 5-7 p.m. on March 23. It is free and open to the public.

The Edison Ford Winter Estates is located at 2350 McGregor Boulevard in downtown Fort Myers. For more information about the show, please telephone 239-334-7419 or visit http://www.edisonfordwinterestates.org.

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Edison Ford issues invitation to opening of Fort Myers Founding Females Portrait Exhibition on March 6 (03-01-16)

Updated Edison Ford Invite 01The Edison Ford Winter Estates is inviting the public to the opening of the Fort Myers Founding Females Portrait Exhibit from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday, March 6. “The opening includes a gallery talk, reception and book signing with authors Tom Hall and Robin Tuthill,” notes the Edison Ford in a recent press release. “The reception also will feature a painting demonstration by Linda Busch Benson.”

Along with the exhibit, there will be lectures, films, teas, and other activities to explore the lives of women both in Southwest Florida and throughout the world. The exhibit commemorates National Women’s History Month, but will remain on view through May NWHM 01A27. The exhibit ‘puts a face with the names of the women who settled in Fort Myers in the years following the end of the Civil War and helped transform the town in the last third of the 19th Century from a rough-and-tumble cow town into the commercial, cultural and tourist center of Southwest Florida. “For myriad reasons, the names and accomplishments of these female visionaries were largely relegated to footnotes and parentheticals in the annals that recounted the achievements of their male counterparts,” states Robin C. Tuthill in a newly-released book titled Female Pioneers of Fort Myers: Women Who Made a Difference in the City’s Development. Published The Artists 01after the successful 2015 showing of the Founding Females of Fort Myers exhibit, Tuthill and her co-author, Tom Hall, note that the book “brings the personal stories of 24 remarkable women to the forefront.”

“Hall and Tuthill will speak at the exhibit opening Female Pioneers Book Cover 03and will be available to sign copies of their new book, which is available in the Edison Ford Museum Store,” states the Edison Ford in its announcement about the exhibition. “There will also be a book signing at the Edison Ford Shoppe at Bell Tower Shops on March 23 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.”

The exhibit is free for Edison Ford Members and $20 for non-members. For more information, please call 239-334-7419 or visit www.edisonfordwinterestates.org. And for more on the portrait show and the artists who are particiapting in it, please click here.

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Edison Ford Estates bringing back female pioneers portrait show for National Women’s History Month 2016 (02-16-16)

NWHM 01March is National Women’s History Month and to commemorate the event, the Edison Ford Winter Estates is bringing back the Fort Myers Founding Females portrait exhibition. Opening Sunday, March 6 with a free reception from 3-5 p.m., the show puts a face with the names of the women who settled Fort Myers in the years following the end of the Civil War and helped transform the town in the last third of the 19th Century from a rough-and-tumble cow town into the commercial, cultural and tourist center of Southwest Florida.

The National Women’s History Project (NWHP) was founded in NWHM 02Santa Rosa, California by Molly Murphy MacGregor, Mary Ruthsdotter, Maria Cuevas, Paula Hammett and Bette Morgan in 1980 to broadcast women’s historical achievements. At the time, women were absent from the nation’s textbooks. No more than 3% of their content was devoted to women. Girls had few role models, and girls, boys and many adults assumed women did nothing important. To correct the record, the Project immediately began to familiarize the public with the accomplishments of and contributions made by women of diverse cultural, ethnic, NWHM 03occupational, racial, class, and regional backgrounds throughout our nation’s history. “Today our aim is as clear and simple as it was 25 years ago: to teach as many people as possible NWHM 06about women’s role in history,” notes the NWHP on its website.

Locally, the Edison Ford Winter Estates serves to further these same objectives by drawing attention to Fort Myers’ female pioneers – a collection of women whose contributions to our collective heritage were all but forgotten and in danger of being lost until just recently.

Female Pioneers Book Cover 03“For myriad reasons, the names and accomplishments of these female visionaries were largely relegated to footnotes and parentheticals in the annals that recounted the achievements of their male counterparts,” write Robin C. Tuthill and Tom Hall in Female Pioneers of Fort Myers: Women Who Made a Difference in the City’s Development, a new book that was published by Editorial Rx Press in the aftermath of the first Fort Myers Founding Females portrait show, which was exhibited in the historic Caretaker’s Cottage from January through May 29, 2015. “With this thought in mind, Female Pioneers of Fort Myers brings the personal stories of 24 remarkable women to the forefront so that current and future generations of Southwest Florida residents and Female Pioneers Book Cover 04visitors can learn and benefit from their examples of self-sacrifice, refusal to conform to the social norms of their day, and the self-confidence to manifest their unique vision for the future.”

Not only is Hall collaborating with Edison Ford to bring the portrait exhibition back to the historic Caretaker’s Cottage, he and Tuthill will be giving a presentation and autographing copies of their book at the opening of the exhibition on March 6, as well as on a number of additional dates to be announced by the Edison Ford Winter Estates in the lead up to the opening.

The National Women’s History Project convinced Congress and the Ronnie ShoemakerWhite House of the country’s need to celebrate and recognize women’s role in history on an annual basis. What started out as International Women’s Day became National Women’s History Week and then National Women’s History Month in 1987.

The theme for this year’s celebration of National Women’s History Month calls attention to and Ella Maehonors women who have shaped America’s history and its future through their public service and government leadership. On a local level, many of Fort Myers’ female pioneers have helped shape Fort Myers history and future through public service and government leadership, including most notably Veronica Shoemaker, who died on January 21 at the age of 86. But she was far from alone. Evalina Weatherford Gonzalez, Mary Verdier Parker and Dr. Ella Mae Piper made important contributions to education. Dr. Piper along with Julia Allen Hanson, Olive Stout, Melissa Jones and Candis Walker led the effort to build hospitals and bring medical care to the community. Hanson, Stout, Mary Laycock Perry and others gave Julia Hanson PicFort Myers its first library, while Tootie McGregor Terry and Mina Miller Edison demonstrated that women could assume leadership roles in matters of local government, transportation and tourism. Many of these women assumed these leadership roles years before women won the right to vote

Make plans to attend the opening of the new Fort Myers Founding Females portrait show on March 6, and come back to Art Southwest Florida frequently as ARTSWFL will also be paying tribute to the women who have shaped Fort Myers’ history and its future through their past public service and government leadership.

Female Pioneers of Fort Myers is available at the Edison Ford Winter Estates, as well as on Amazon and from Editorial Rx Press.

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