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Here’s what’s happening March 1-7, 2017


Wanna know what’s happening in the arts, independent film or theater here in Southwest Florida? Well, this is what’s going down March 1-7, 2017:


Why you should see ‘Women of Maidan’ during Fort Myers Film Festival (03-07-17)

Women of Maidan 01At 6:00 on Thursday, the Fort Myers Film Festival screens a 66-minute U.S. made documentary titled Women of Maidan. The film portrays the critical role that females have played and continue to play in the Ukrainian struggle for democracy and freedom. Through moving interviews and scenes that reveal the depth of Ukrainians’ desire for freedom, Women of Maidan shines a light on the emotions, empathy, and steely resolve of the heroic women who supported a movement that began as a student protest in the Fall of 2013 and became known as the “Revolution of Dignity.”

The rest of this story is here.



Naples’ Sheldon Fine Art welcomes grande dame of contemporary impressionism on March 9 (03-07-17)

ASheldon Fine Art is welcoming the “grande dame” of Contemporary Impressionist palette knife painting, Henrietta Milan, to the gallery with a meet-and-greet reception on Thursday, March 9 from 6:00-8:00 p.m. Milan’s colorful floral landscapes have been delighting collectors for over 60 years.

Sheldon Fine Art Gallery is located at 460 Fifth Avenue South, Naples, FL. For more information, please telephone 239-649-6255.



SoCo’s 2nd Saturday event continues March 11 (03-07-17)

SoCo Second Saturday 05Another artful night will be held at the SoCo cultural district on March 11. The monthly SoCo Second Saturday event began last October and continues to grow, with more cultural venues, new vendors and a redesigned map; which includes all of the night’s attractions and the details on how to win a great prize by one of the participating SoCo stops. On Saturday, March 11, patrons of the arts, collectors, art enthusiasts and all attending guests will have the chance to win another great prize, just by enjoying the SoCo Cultural Venues and SoCo Mapcollecting the very popular Golden Tickets from each location. The winner will be announced one week after the event.

This month’s participating SoCo Cultural Venues are:

  • Alliance for the Arts
  • DAAS CO-OP Art Gallery & Gifts
  • Gittleman Studios
  • SoCo Second Saturday 02Ocasiocasa
  • The Union Artist Studios and Crafted
  • Catch 22
  • Vamped Up Vintage
  • Yoga Bird
  • Living Vine Café
  • A Swedish Affair
  • SoCo Second Saturday 01Broadway Palm Dinner Theater
  • Suzanne’s Dance Fitness
  • Studio Os Urbanos

In addition, more than 10 vendors, located at various locations of the Royal Palm Square will be offering their handmade, fine crafts during the event. There will be live musicians at the Art Loft in the Alliance for the Arts campus and at various locations of the Royal Palm Square.

The event starts at 5:00 p.m. and ends at 10:00 in the evening. This is a monthly event, rain or shine. The SoCo Cultural District location encompasses the block south of Colonial Blvd, from the corner of McGregor Blvd to Summerlin Rd, to Royal Palm Square Blvd and back to McGregor Blvd. More information about the event and vendor opportunity information is available at



Naples Artcrafters celebrates 50 years with craft show in Fleischman Park (03-07-17)

Spectrum (2)On Saturday, March 11, the Naples Artcrafters Fine Art & Craft Show celebrates 50 years as an arts organization with a craft show this Saturday, March 11, in Naples’ Fleischmann Park. South. Naples Artcrafters is committed to promoting excellence in arts and crafts and to supporting established artists, craftspersons and students by providing a venue for the display and sale of their work in a beautiful setting. The fair and parking are free.

Naples Artcrafters in the Park 01The Naples Artcrafters was founded 50 years ago by a local group of artists and craftsmen who shared a vision of an organization that brought together contemporary arts and crafts. They provided a local venue to sell the work of their juried members.For more information, please visit



Art Southwest Florida providing “advances” for films to be screened during Fort Myers Film Festival (03-06-17)

2017 FMff Logo 1The 7th Annual Fort Myers Film Festival opens March 8 with a red carpet gala, the screening of a documentary about Southwest Florida’s water woes, and an VIP after-party. The festival will go on to screen more than 70 feature films, shorts, documentaries and other movies over the ensuing four days, with the festival closing with a champagne and dessert awards ceremony at the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre. But which films are “must see”? To help you decide, Art Southwest Florida is previewing as many of the films as possible between now and March 8, so come back often to check on our progress. Here’s what we’ve put together for you so far:




‘The Next Big Thing’ is dark comedy about friendship, revenge and the lust for fame (03-06-17)

TNBT 02At 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 9 the Fort Myers Film Festival will screen The Next Big Thing in the grand atrium of the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center. The feature film is a dark comedy about friendship, revenge and the lust for fame.

The protagonist is a guy named Julian. Despite immense talent, he’s never achieved the level of fame he thinks he deserves. Then, Julian’s best friend Chuck comes back into his life after years of being in rehab and off the radar. A failed film director, Chuck now careens into his former leading man’s life with a plan to make Julian famous by making a film about Julian becoming famous – and blinded by his lust for notoriety, Julian’s all in!

You can find the rest of this profile here.



German short film ‘The Aftermath’ is about the time between yesterday and today (03-06-17)

2017 FMff Logo 1The Fort Myers Film Festival will screen a block of short films in the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center at 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 9. Among the four films included in this block is Aftermath, a 10-minute comedy/romance shot in German and in Germany – with English subtitles that are easy to read.

Aftermath features a young woman who blacks out after binge drinking at a club and wakes up alone in bed in a strange apartment with no recollection of who she was with or what she might have done with him. But instead of pulling on her clothes and getting the hell out of there before her host returns, she becomes intrigued by his extensive collection of vinyl records, which are stacked on edge in floor-to-ceiling bookshelves.

Read here for the rest of this profile.



Why you should see ‘She Started It’ at Fort Myers Film Festival (03-05-17)

She Started It 01On Thursday night at 8:30, the Fort Myers Film Festival screens a 90-minute documentary directed by Nora Poggi and Insiyah Saeed. Through intimate, action-driven storytelling, She Started It explores the cultural roots of female underrepresentation in entrepreneurship—including pervasive self-doubt, fear of failure, and risk aversion among young women. It exposes, too, the structural realities women face as they become She Started It 02entrepreneurs, including lack of female role models and investors and the persistent dearth of venture capital funding made available to women-led companies.

Women usually account for less than 10 percent of founders for high growth firms, according to the Kauffman Foundation’s Sources of Economic Hope study. “Only 4 per cent of fortune 500 companies are run She Started It 13by women,” note Poggi and Saeed in their Directors’ Statement for the documentary. “In Silicon Valley, women earn only 49 cents to a man’s dollar and get less than 10% of all VC funding. According to a Babson College study, 96 percent of venture capitalists are men, and they control the majority of the money going into startups. The numbers are indeed changing, but not fast enough.”

For more, read here.



Meet ‘She Started It’ director Nora Poggi (03-05-17)

Nora Poggi 02On Thursday night at 8:30, the Fort Myers Film Festival screens a 90-minute documentary directed by Nora Poggi and Insiyah Saeed. Through intimate, action-driven storytelling, She Started It explores the cultural roots of female underrepresentation in entrepreneurship—including pervasive self-doubt, fear of failure, and risk aversion among young women. It exposes, too, the structural realities women face as they become entrepreneurs, including lack of female role models and investors and the persistent dearth of venture capital funding made available to women-led companies.

Here’s the rest of Nora Poggi’s profile.



Meet the women featured in ‘She Started It’ (03-05-17)

Thuy 01On Thursday night at 8:30, the Fort Myers Film Festival screens a 90-minute documentary directed by Nora Poggi and Insiyah Saeed. Through intimate, action-driven storytelling, She Started It explores the cultural roots of female underrepresentation in entrepreneurship—including pervasive self-doubt, fear of failure, and risk aversion among young women. It exposes, too, the structural realities women face as they become entrepreneurs, including lack of female role models and investors and Thuy 02the persistent dearth of venture capital funding made available to women-led companies.

The documentary follows five women over a period of two years as they pitch VCs, build teams, bring products to market, fail and start again, taking viewers on a global roller coaster ride from San Francisco to Mississippi, France to Vietnam.

The first of these women is Thuy Truong.

Read here for the remainder of this post.



Why you should see 641 Muriel Court (03-05-17)

Muriel Court 06641 Muriel Court is a documentary about an unsolved triple murder that occurred in Tallahassee, Florida on the night of October 22, 1965. Last year, four Florida State University students decided to probe the cold case for a 35-minute first cut they were shooting for Professor Brian Grave’s Spring semester documentary film course. The project took on a life of its own that extended well beyond the end of the semester, but the foursome vowed at the outset that if they were going to undertake the project at all, they had to follow it Muriel Court 03wherever and however long it took “because of how much the story means to a lot of people.” The result is a 61-minute documentary that has garnered Kyle Jones, Elijah Howard, Deanna Kidd and Michael Walsh rock star status on campus, considerable attention elsewhere, admission into the Fort Myers Film Festival and first place at the Broadcast Education Association (BEA) Student Documentary Competition.

Here’s the rest of this profile.



FGCU’s 19th Annual Student Juried Exhibition opens in main gallery March 23 (03-04-17)

James Futral Shark AttackArt by students working in sculpture, drawing, digital media, printmaking, painting and ceramics goes on exhibit on March 23 in FGCU’s 19th Annual Student Juried Exhibition. Demonstrating students’ accomplishments and experiments, up to 70 works of art will be featured. The jurors for the exhibition are local artists, curators and art professionals.

Brandon Kocher The Strangers 02The 19th Annual Student Juried Exhibition is ponsored by FineMark National Bank & Trust, U. Tobe, Thomas Riley Studio, the Smith Family Foundation of Estero, The Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel, and the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture.

The exhibition will be displayed in the main gallery at FGCU. It opens with a 5:00-7:00 p.m. reception, with presentations being made at 6:00 p.m. The exhibition will remain on view through April 6, 2017.



On view now in FGCU ArtLab is exhibition devoted to typography and creative writing (03-04-17)

Typo 1Typography is defined as the design and creation of type, and when it is applied to literary texts, this collaboration can result in a hybrid form of art that provides incredible visuals and summons intellectually stimulating experiences for both the artists and their audiences. On view now through March 30 in the FGCU ArtLab is Visual Language: The Art of Typography and Creative Writing, an exhibition that features the work of the Special Topics Advanced Typography course instructed by Sasha Minsky in collaboration with Jesse Millner’s Narrative Techniques creative writing class. Students from both courses worked together to bring literary narratives alive through the use of innovative typography techniques.  The ArtLab gallery is located in Library East on the Florida Gulf Coast University campus.



Naples Art Association accepting Camera USA 2017 entries (03-04-17)

Camera USA 2016 promo photo 01The Naples Art Association is inviting all photographers residing in the United States to submit one photograph taken in the United States after January 1, 2013 for Camera USA™ 2017: National Photography Exhibition and Award. The photography exhibition will be installed in the Naples Art Association’s Frederick O. Watson Gallery at The von Liebig Art Center from June 19 Camera USA 2016 promo photo 02through August 4, 2017. The Naples Art Association is located in Naples, Florida in the heart of the 5th Avenue South shopping, dining and entertainment district.

A maximum of 50 photographs will be included in the Camera USA™ 2017 exhibition. One photographer will be nominated for the $5,000 National Photography Award.

The deadline for entries is March 22. Jury results will be posted on Juried Art Services on April 17.

For more information and applications, please click here.



Exhibition celebrating island and southern culture on view at Arsenault Studio & Banyan Arts ’til March 14 (03-04-17)

Arso 1JUMP UP! A Celebration of Island & Southern Culture is on view at Arsenault Studio & Banyan Arts Gallery through March 14.

Paul’s watercolor painting, JUMP UP, was the inspiration for this show. The painting depicts spontaneous dancers Arsenault encountered on Dominca while island-hopping through the Caribbean. Similar carnivals and festivals take place Arso 6throughout the Caribbean and the world. The exhibition will feature the works of five artists, most of whom will be present.

The show contains new island landscapes, abstracts and musicians by Arsenault, James P. Kerr and Jean-Daniel Dornevil. Originally from Haiti, works portray the captivating richness of his culture.

Arso 7Paul is excited to welcome Juan Diaz to the gallery. Born in Columbia, Juan moved to Naples in 1995, where he was quickly discovered and mentored by Jonathan Green. Juan’s paintings, drawings, and live art performances explore the complexities of life and the search for freedom, respect, and equality.

Columbus, Georgia artist Brian Perrymond is making his gallery debut in JUMP UP. Brian is an Arso 2artist and an illustrator with a passion for painting historical sports figures as well as jazz musicians. Many of his incredible portraits will be showcased.

Arsenault Studio & Banyan Arts Gallery features paintings by contemporary impressionist Paul Arsenault. The name “Banyan Arts” reflects the nearly century-long history of prominent visitors who have stayed at the Arsenault enclave under the Arso 4canopy of Naples’ oldest banyan tree. Through the years, these luminaries have included Emil and Robert Gruppe, Robert Frost, John Ruthven, Richard Segalman, James P. Kerr, and many others. Just as the creative energy has been shared at their home, so does the Banyan Arts Gallery expand the artistic connection between Arsenault and visiting artists. In addition to revolving exhibits, the seven-showroom gallery is also an ideal venue for receptions, openings, lectures, and fundraisers. ​In addition to Arsenault’s work, Banyan Arts Gallery is currently representing the work of impressionist James P. Kerr and landscape photographer Clyde Butcher.

Arsenault Studios and Banyan Arts Gallery is located at 1199 Third Street South in Old Naples. For more information, please visit or telephone 239-263-1214.



Representative Francis Rooney pays tribute to Leoma Lovegrove on House floor (03-04-17)

LL in Washington 02 COn February 21, newly-elected Representative Francis J. Rooney took the floor of the United States House of Representatives to pay tribute to iconic Matlacha expressionist and Bealls artist Leoma Lovegrove. Here’s what he said on the record:

“Mr. Speaker, I rise today in honor of a creative visionary in Florida’s 19th district–Leoma Lovegrove. As an excerpt from the Fort Myers News-Press says, `Walking into Lovegrove Gallery & Gardens is like walking into a rainbow full of eye-popping neon pinks, oranges, purples, greens and blues . . . She applies her paintbrush to everything from cats to hearts to The Beatles.

Read the rest of Mr. Rooney’s statement on Lovegrove’s blog, Leoma Lovegrove’s Everyday Art Adventure.



Matlacha artist Leoma Lovegrove named a finalist for Paulette Burton Citizen of the Year Award (03-04-17)

Leoma with Red GlassesEvery year, the Lee County Commission accepts nominations for the Paulette Burton Citizen of the Year Award. The award recognizes a Lee County citizen who has provided outstanding civic contributions to Lee County Government and serves as a tribute to past and present civic activists who have devoted much of their time and energy to citizen involvement with Lee County Government.

After nominations for 2016 closed, the Board of County Commissioners appointed a Selection Advisory Committee to narrow the nominations to a list of finalists. They chose John Bunch, Alan Mandel, and Cynthia Shafer to serve on this year’s Selection Advisory Committee. The trio named ten award finalists:

  • LL AwardLarry Aguilar
  • Captain John G. Bunch
  • Trinity Hansen
  • Leoma Lovegrove
  • Alan Mandel
  • Marlene Rodak
  • Gloria Raso Tate
  • Cynthia Shafer
  • Ronald Weller

Lovegrove has worked tirelessly for many years to promote Lee County as a tourist destination. She is also an advocate for water quality in the Caloosahatchee Lovegrove Mural 1River, waters surrounding Matlacha and Pine Islands and throughout the Gulf of Mexico. In addition, she started the Matlacha Island Chamber of Commerce, created the Catch of Matlacha Island mural that serves as the gateway to the island, and is frequently interviewed by nationally and internationally syndicated journalists, which draws Old Lee County Courthouse 2013 Battention to all of Lee County.

The County Commissioners will select the winner from this group. The winner will be announced at the 9:30 a.m. meeting on Tuesday, March 7, 2017 in the Old Lee County Courthouse, 2120 Main Street, Fort Myers, FL.   Please feel free to attend if you have an interest in observing the presentation.

LL Award 2The annual Paulette Burton Citizen of the Year Award The award was created in 1991 in honor of Mrs. Burton, who died tragically in an automobile accident. A long-time Sanibel resident and government watchdog, Mrs. Burton spent many years serving as a voice of the people to the Lee County Board of County Commissioners as well as playing an active role in Sanibel politics. She devoted much of her time and energy to working with county staff in trying to improve the quality of life in Lee County.



Lovegrove’s success with Bealls benefits Lee County’s economy (03-04-17)

Lovegrove Bealls Valentine Day 12Following an appearance on Fox4 Morning Blend, Matlacha artist Leoma Lovegrove headed over to Bealls Department Store on Cleveland Ave (just north of Daniels) to paint out loud and autograph purchases for a host of fans and Valentine’s Day shoppers.

Lovegrove became associated with the Bradenton-based Lovegrove Bealls Valentine Day 02department store four years ago, in February of 2013. The department store chain saw some of her paintings and liked Lovegrove’s bold, vibrant colors and the way her images capture Southwest Florida’s active, healthy, water-based lifestyle. But being a prudent, smartly-run company, Bealls deem it prudent to test the water by doing market analysis and focus group testing.

After completing their due diligence, they started out Lovegrove Bealls Valentine Day 05slowly, introducing a limited line of casual wear bearing new images they commissioned Lovegrove to create. The designs caught on, and so the following year, Bealls expanded its Lovegrove product line, adding handbags, totes, luggage, beach towels, Tervis drinkware and more. The new products were rolled out at the same outlet in the Cypress Trace Shopping Center in Fort Myers where they’d first announced their affiliation with the artist. TLovegrove Bealls Valentine Day 04o mark the occasion, Lovegrove painted a seahorse live for a crowd of nearly 200.

Since then, Bealls has expanded its Lovegrove product line, which it offers in each of the Department Store’s 74 brick-and-mortar department stores throughout the State of Florida as well as online.

Go here for the rest of this story.

And you can visit Leoma Lovegrove’s Everyday Art Adventure for more on Leoma and her activities.



Annual Young Artists Awards’ gala and show on March 6 at Broadway Palm (03-04-17)

YAA 2017 3The 14th Annual Young Artists Awards gala and silent auction takes place Monday, March 6 at the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre. Benefiting student scholarships in the arts, the silent auction will include a cruise to Alaska, a custom designed piece of jewelry from Mark Loren, tickets to Disney and Universal Studios, a pair of JetBlue tickets and much more.

YAA 2017 2In addition to enjoying the performances judged by the professionals in attendance that evening, the program will also feature the ‘Audience Choice’ award, where tickets holders in attendance are invited to vote on their favorite performer at the event.

WINK-TV news anchor Lois Thome is serving as the stage emcee.

Thirty-five cash scholarships and other prizes will be awarded this year. There will also be a special appearance Things My Mother Taught Me Promos 2by the Cypress Lake Center for the Arts award-winning The A Cappella Group (TAG).

The not-for-profit Young Artists Awards program is now in its 14th year. On four separate auditions days during two weekends in January, seven panels of 60 professionals and educators in the performing arts adjudicated registered auditions in dance, drama, instrumental music, classical voice and contemporary voice/musical theatre. The best of performing arts students ages 8-21 from throughout Southwest Florida participated in the competition, which was held on the campus of the Alliance for the Arts/Foulds Theatre in Fort Myers.



Fort Myers Art Walk begins at 6:00 p.m. (03-03-17)

June 2016 Music Walk 01The River District comes alive at 6:00 p.m. tonight when Art Walk returns to downtown Fort Myers. Now a two-day event, Art Walk will continue Saturday, March 4, from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. With exciting new exhibits and live art demonstrations, rain or shine, this is a “must attend event,”

New exhibits include exceptional art in a variety of mediums done by a bevy of local artists and some June 2016 Music Walk 02national and international artists as well.  You can meet the artists and talk art at the self-guided Friday night event, which brings together art enthusiasts, collectors and community friends who celebrate the arts each month. The Friday night Art Walk sees First Street closed to traffic. Local artists set up in the street selling their art, and face painting is offered at several Bicycles on Parade 03locations along First Street. And at the Broadway and First Street intersection, the Fort Myers Art League will be hosting a “Make It/Take It” table for children of all ages.

Saturday Art Walk is a quieter affair with most of the galleries open for examining the art at more leisurely pace.

This new and improved version of Art Walk includes 14 galleries and art stops, including:

  • Anything GoesAmerican Legion Veterans Gallery showing Art done by Veterans
  • Art League of Fort Myers – new exhibits each month
  • Arts for ACT Gallery – features three or more art exhibits every month plus co-op members art
  • Bootlegger Alley Gallery – outdoor gallery open only during Art Walk in The Patio de Leon
  • Ford's GarageGrand Illusion Gallery – art, tee shirts and more
  • Marc Harris Wildlife Photography – on Jackson Street
  • Miville Art Gallery – art and photography in the Franklin Shops
  • Ollie Mack Gentry Photography – photography  at 2180 West First Street
  • Reverie & Rock Art Gallery – concert Hideaway Sports Bar April 2013B (3)photography and Surrealistic digital art
  • Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center – Main Gallery Exhibit and Capitol Exhibit on the 3rd Floor
  • The Barrel Room – Jazz art – on Bay Street
  • Timeless Gallery – gallery and gift shop featuring steampunk art and more
  • Two Newts Gallery – co-op gallery located off Horse Drawn Carriage 01 (4)West First Street at 2064 Bayside Parkway
  • Unit A – urban contemporary gallery of internationally-acclaimed artist Marcus Jansen located in Gardener’s Park

As this survey of participating galleries reveals, Fort Myers Art Walk spans the core of downtown Fort Myers and includes the Gardener’s Park area Trolleyand West First Street. Most of the action is located on First Street, but you can obtain a Fort Myers Art Walk map at any of the galleries that will lead you to all the art venues and Art Walk partners.  “Enjoy cultural venues, restaurants, bars and businesses, plus live music,” touts the River District Alliance. “Watch live art demos on First Street, eat amazing food, shop the unique local boutiques or just enjoy the atmosphere.”

United Cafe Under the LightsSo whether you prefer the energy of night or the calm of day, there’s something for everyone during this new-and-improved weekend of art that Fort Myers still calls Art Walk.

The best way to get to Fort Myers Art Walk:

  • off I-75 North: Exit #141 then west on Palm Lambo 2Beach Blvd
  • off I-75 South: Exit #138 then west on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.
  • From U.S. 41 Northbound: exit at Historic District McGregor Blvd., Right turn or
  • From U.S. 41 Southbound Exit before the Caloosahatchee bridge.

Sax outside Hotel IndigoThere is free street parking and $5.00 at any of the parking garages.  In season ride the free River District Trolley.

Fort Myers Art Walk is a Pet and Family Friendly free event!

Fort Myers Art Walk is hosted by The River District Alliance, a non-profit organization. For more information, please visit To become a volunteer, partner or sponsor of Fort Myers Art Walk, contact Claudia Goode via



Art in the Park returns to downtown Naples on March 4 (03-03-17)

Art in the Park 01On Saturday, March 4, Art in the Park returns to Park Street, adjacent to The von Liebig Art Center. Located just a block and a half from historic Fifth Avenue South, Art in the Park is within walking distance of trendy European boutiques, sidewalk cafes and iconic art galleries such as Sheldon Fine ArtCall of Africa’s Native Visions Gallery and Shaw Gallery of Fine Art. The show is also just Art in the Park 04three minutes by car from fabled Gallery Row and the Third Street South Gallery District and the Crayton Cove art district. Since 1957, Art in the Park has been showcasing paintings in oil and acrylics, watercolors, mixed media, photography, sculpture, ceramics, glass art, jewelry and wood-working created by members in good standing of the Naples Art Association. You can find more information on Southwest Florida’s longest running fine arts and craft fair at

Please click here for the weekend-by-weekend calendar of the art fairs and festivals remaining on the 2015-2016 schedule.



Art League of Marco Island hosts fine craft fair March 4 & 5 (03-03-17)

pastelThe Art League of Marco Island Fine Craft Fair takes place on the weekend of March 4 & 5. This fair is held at 1010 Winterberry Drive, Marco Island, Florida 34145, which is toward the southern end of acrylicthe island. This craft fair provides browsers and art enthusiasts with some of the region’s best original artwork, including paintings, watercolors, photography and digital art, ceramics, pottery, glass, clothing, children’s clothing, jewelry and mixed media work.

Please click here for the weekend-by-weekend calendar of the art fairs and festivals remaining on the 2015-2016 schedule.



Final edition of Bonita Springs National comes to Riverside Park along recently-refurbished Riverside Park (03-03-17)

Crowd Shot 02The Bonita Springs National Art Festival returns to Riverside Park in Bonita Springs for the final time in 2017 on the weekend of March 4 & 5. Like its January and February editions, this festival places a heavy emphasis on quality and originality, with the 211 artists juried into the show from across the United States, Canada, South America and even Europe exhibiting and selling Feb 2017 Bonita National Crowd 03original paintings, drawings, pastels, photography, handcrafted jewelry, clay works and ceramics, glass art, metal sculpture and more. Together with the festivals held in January and February, this show is a major fundraiser for the Center of the Arts of Bonita Springs.



Meet some of the artists taking part in Bonita Springs National Art Festival (03-03-17)

Tesla at Feb 2017 Bonita Nat 04Some of the artists taking part in Bonita Springs National Art Festival this weekend took part in the January and/or February editions. If you want to know more about them and their art, click on the hyperlinks provided below and then look them up when you get to the fair tomorrow and/or Sunday:


Square One Improv at The Lab tonight at 8 (03-03-17)

square-one-improv-01Square One Improv returns to The Lab Theater with a night of hilarious antics. Every facet of the hilarious, completely improvised show is based on the audience’s suggestions. With years of experience performing and competing nationally, Square One delivers a gut-busting, one-of-a-kind show every time. For more information, please call the theater at 239-218-0481.



More about the cast and The Lab’s production of ‘Play On!’ (03-03-17)

Play On Promo 7Playwright Rick Abbot’s side-splitting comedy Play On! opens at The Laboratory Theater of Florida on March 10. This hysterical story follows a community theater group trying desperately to put on a murder-mystery titled “Murder Most Foul” in spite of maddening interference from a haughty playwright named Phyllis Montague, who keeps revising the script even though the opening is just four days away! Act I depicts a rehearsal of the dreadful show, during which the playwright repeatedly interrupts the actors with on-the-fly revisions. Gerrie B 01Act II portrays the near-disastrous dress rehearsal. And the uproariously funny final act showcases the actual performance in which anything that can go wrong does. When the author decides to give a speech on the state of the modern theater during the curtain calls, the audience is treated to a madcap climax of a thoroughly hilarious romp. Even the sound effects garner their share of laughter.

Here’s more on the cast who will be starring in the play:



‘Fire Dance’ celebrates fifth anniversary of Centennial Park dedication (03-02-17)

Fire Dance with Caloosahatchee River in BackgroundFire Dance is the first commission awarded to an artist by the City of Fort Myers Public Art Committee. It was dedicated 5 years ago today, on March 2, 2012.

The 25-foot tall sculpture is located in a concrete circle at the eastern edge of Centennial Park West, near a playground and set of swings. Dupont red, the 25-foot-tall aluminum sculpture is a magnet FAPAP Enjoys Fire Dance 2that draws children, parents, park visitors and art lovers from far and wide. A medley of circles, spirals and counterbalances, Fire Dance represents sculptor David Black’s idea of what jazz music might look like in 3D, proto-architectural form.

Black was chosen by the Public Art Committee from a field of 162 artists who responded to the City’s RFQ, a national call to artists interested in David Black Speakssubmitting their qualifications and proposals. It is not the first time Black has won a competition for a public art commission. In fact, he’s won more than 35 national and three international sculpture competitions, one in Nagano, Japan, a second in Berlin and the third in Canada.

“When designing a sculpture,” Black observes, “you have to consider the site. Here, I wanted my piece to be taller than the surrounding palm trees. You must consider the elements as well. Because of southwest Florida’s intense sunlight, I’ve had Dupont add UV protection, like sunscreen, to the paint to retard fading.”

Jazz Notes Spiraling into the Air (2)The sculpture is open so that people can walk through it and look up. “Inside the piece are four hidden spirals that create a story for your imagination,” Black told the crowd who gathered for the March 2, 2012 dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony. “I like the idea of letting people walk around the sculpture and see it from underneath,” Black says. “I want them to enjoy the Hidden Circles 2piece from every angle.” Toward that end, Fire Dance has been encircled by a sidewalk and landscaping, and is framed by park benches so that visitors to Centennial Park can freely interact with the sculpture from every conceivable vantage.

Fire Dance also reflects the park’s energy and vitality during events. “My wife, Karlita, and I first Abby and Ava 06 (4)visited Centennial Park at night. We walked right into a jazz festival. Fire Dance incorporates the sounds of the music and the noise of the crowd. Circles within circles; it’s active, open, airy and rhythmic, just like jazz. And being originally from Gloucester [Massachusetts], I had to include some blades and sails in the design,” Black explains, making reference to the sculpture’s proximity to the banks of the Caloosahatchee River.

“Imagination is always the fire; improv the heart,” says the sculptor of his creation. “It is my hope David with Rachel Rafanelli 4that Fire Dance will lift each viewer’s spirits and deepen their sense of community with Fort Myers by engendering a sense of civic pride.”

Fire Dance is one of more than 45 artistic landmarks located in the downtown Fort Myers River District. For more information on Fire Dance and the rest of Fort Myers’ public art collection, please visit, the Public Art Archive and Art Southwest Florida.



‘Painting + Object’ opens tonight at Thomas Riley Studio (03-02-17)

TRS 1Thomas Riley Studio’s next exhibition is Painting + Object. It features the work of three esteemed artists, Pamela Sunday, Dana Roes and Terry Krumm. The opening reception takes place tonight from 5:30-8:00 p.m. The exhibition runs through April 6, 2017. Thomas Riley Studio is located in the heart of the Naples Design District at 26 10th Street South, Naples. For more information, please telephone 239-529-2633.



Side-splitting comedy ‘Play On!’ opens at The Lab on March 10 (03-02-17)

Play On Promo 4Playwright Rick Abbot’s side-splitting comedy Play On! opens at The Laboratory Theater of Florida on March 10.

This hysterical story follows a community theater group trying desperately to put on a murder-Play On Promo 2mystery titled “Murder Most Foul” in spite of maddening interference from a haughty playwright named Phyllis Montague, who keeps revising the script even though the opening is just four days away! Act I depicts a rehearsal of the dreadful show, during which the playwright repeatedly interrupts the actors with on-the-fly revisions. Act II portrays the near-disastrous dress rehearsal. And Play On Promo 1the uproariously funny final act showcases the actual performance in which anything that can go wrong does. When the author decides to give a speech on the state of the modern theater during the curtain calls, the audience is treated to a madcap climax of a thoroughly hilarious romp. Even the sound effects garner their share of New Annette 01Slaughter.

“This show is so funny, you might just fall out of your seat with laughter,” warns Artistic Director Annette Trossbach. “This is one of the funniest shows I’ve ever read and is probably the funniest thing you’ll see all season. Your face will hurt from all the smiling.”

You will find the rest of this announcement here.



You gotta catch Gerrie Benzing in The Lab’s production of ‘Play On!” (03-02-17)

Gerrie B 01Opening on March 10 at Lab Theater is Play On! Included in the large and talented cast of local actors is Gerrie Benzing, who appeared as Mabel Cantwell in Gore Vidal’s The Best Man, with which The Lab opened its 2016-2017 season.

As Mabel Cantwell, Benzing was a breath of fresh air. Unlike the original play and most revivals since then, Benzing did not portray Mabel Cantwell as a vacuous sex kitten. Nor did she play her as a lush or borderline alcoholic. Instead, Benzing’s Mabel Cantwell was the penultimate 1950s Southern Belle eager to bring Southern charm and sensibilities to the White House long before Lady Bird Johnson actually did. By infusing Mabel Cantwell with Southern belle charm and characteristics, Play On Promo 1Benzing and director Rick Sebastian provided her with depth, dimension and warmth not actually found within the four corners of the script. That’s to their credit and the audience’s overall benefit and enjoyment.

Prior to The Best Man, Lab Theater audiences enjoyed Gerrie in Miss Witherspoon, where she played the part of Maryamma. Gerrie 3Some of her favorite past roles include Sharee in Dixie Swim Club, Veta in Harvey, and Bella Manningham in Angel Street (where Charles Runnells applauded the hysterical froth she worked up in the role of a “borderline bonkers housewife … driven to the brink by a husband with sinister ulterior motives”). She was also in the cast of Jack Neary’s The Porch at Cultural Park Theatre and an extra in Curtis Collins’ locally-filmed indie Fallaway, which is due out later this year.

For more about Gerrie, read here.



Scott Carpenter in cast of Lab Theater’s ‘Play On!’ (03-02-17)

Anton Schindler 02Opening on March 10 at Lab Theater is Play On! Included in the large and talented cast of local actors is Scott Carpenter.

Scott was last on stage in Theatre Conspiracy’s production of Moises Kaufman’s 33 Variations, which featured a musicologist dying of ALS disease who is on a quest to unravel the mystery of why a seriously ill and increasingly deaf Ludwig van Beethoven would while away the last years of his life writing 33 variations of a pedestrian beer hall waltz Best Man 63Swritten by a no-account Viennese composer. Carpenter played the role or Anton Schindler, a violinist who insinuated himself in Beethoven’s personal and business affairs and ultimately became his official biographer. Determined to ensure that future generations would regard Beethoven as a God-like figure, Schindler destroyed books and records that cast the composer in an unflattering light.

Read the rest of Scott’s profile here.



Louise Wigglesworth in cast of Lab Theater’s ‘Play On!’ (03-02-17)

Play On Promo 1Opening on March 10 at Lab Theater is Play On! Included in the large and talented cast of local actors is veteran Louise Wigglesworth.

Louise was last seen on stage in Lab Theater’s production of Arthur Kopit’s Wings and before that playing the lead as Alexandra in Eric Coble’s Velocity of Autumn. Her other acting credits include Louise 01Bernarda in The House of Bernarda Alba, Mary Winrod in The Rimers of Eldridge, Ethel Thayer in On Golden Pond, Mother in Women Beware of Women, Leda Largo in her own play, Final Stage, Mrs. Trotsky in Variations on The Death of Trotsky, Mrs. Gottleib in Dead Man’s Cell Phone, Lucille in The Oldest Profession and Abby Brewster in Arsenic and Old Lace.

In addition to acting and directing, Louise is an accomplished playwright. In January, Theatre Conspiracy gave a staged reading of Louise’s play The Afterlife of the Swans and previously conducted staged readings of two other Wigglesworth plays, Louise 2Penumbra and Play Until You Win. Productions of other plays include

  • Coercion by Playwrights Round Table,
  • Seasonal Migrations at Foundation Theater,
  • her stage adaptation of Albert Camus’ The Plague for Lab Theater,
  • Final Stage, an adaptation for females of Anton Chekhov’s Swan Song called at the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center, and
  • Drawing the Human Form at Cultural Park Theatre.

Want to know more about Louise? Read here.



 ‘Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom’ at the Alliance through March 11 (03-02-17)

Ma Rainey Promo 3On stage at the Alliance for the Arts through March 11 is Theatre Conspiracy’s production of August Wilson’s Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Brilliant and explosive, this play explores the complicated world of black musicians striving to make it at the height of the classic blues recording era in a culture denoted by both prejudice and Levee, Toledo and Slow Drag Bgender bias. Directed by Sonya McCarter, the show stars Cantrella Canady, Curt Sheard, Roosevelt Stewart, Cicero McCarter III, Elvis Mortley, Charlie Sloin, Patrick Day, Shaunte Manuel (as Dussie Mac), Vladimy Bellefleur (as Sylvester) and Austin Harn (as the police officer).




‘Nice T!ts’ celebrates women and healing power of art (03-02-17)

Amy Marcs 04New York City based writer and performer Amy Marcs brings her critically acclaimed, autobiographical one-woman reconstructive comedy Nice T!ts  to southwest Florida on March 17, 18 and 19. Nice T!ts explores Amy’s diagnosis and treatment for breast cancer with humor and heart-felt honesty. The show grapples with themes of femininity, womanhood, confidence and mortality. At its core, Nice T!ts  is a celebration of women and the transformative power of art to heal.

Nince T!ts Promos 04You can read the rest of this announcement here.




‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ at Florida Rep through March 11 (03-02-17)

Mockingbird 01To Kill a Mockingbird opened at Florida Repertory Theatre for a limited run on February 14. The timeless American classic will play in the historic Arcade Theatre through March 11.

Adapted from the Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, To Kill a Mockingbird continues to inspire hope in Mockingbird 02the face of inequality. It tells the compelling story of racial injustice and loss of innocence through the eyes of six-year-old Scout, the tomboyish daughter of small-town lawyer Atticus Finch. As a tense tug of war between justice and bigotry heats up in their small town of Maycomb, Alabama, Atticus and his family must learn to temper violence and hatred with courage and compassion.

You can read the rest of this post here.




‘Savannah Sipping Society’ closes Off-Broadway on March 4 (03-02-17)

Medaevel Fair 07SThe phenomenally successful run of The Savannah Sipping Society at the Off-Broadway Palm closes on March 4. It stars Stephanie Davis, ML Graham, Donna Schulte and Kelly Legaretta. While there may not be many or any tickets left, here are the details:



Romantic comedy ‘Things My Mother Taught Me’ opens Off-Broadway Palm on March 9 (03-02-17)

Things My Mother Taught Me Promos 1Opening March 9 at the Off-Broadway Palm is Things My Mother Taught Me, a brand new romantic comedy by Katherine DiSavino, author of the smash comedy Nanaʼs Naughty Knickers.

Here’s the plot: Olivia and Gabe are moving into their first apartment together. They’ve just packed up all of their belongings and driven halfway across the country to start a new life together in Chicago. But their moving day doesn’t go exactly as planned. Imagine their surprise when both sets of parents show up unannounced to help! Can Olivia and Gabe’s two bedroom apartment hold all of the love, laughs, worry and wisdom that’s about to happen?

Read here for the rest of this announcement.


‘Things My Mother Taught Me’ play dates, times and ticket info



Cole Porter’s ‘Anything Goes’ is on Broadway Palm main stage through April 1 (03-02-17)

Dutch Apple Photos 13Is it possible for a musical written 83 years ago to still have relevancy today? With Cole Porter’s Anything Goes, Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre answers this question with an emphatic yes! The classic musical is on the main stage at Broadway Palm through April 1:



Fiber artist Amy Gross’ delicate sculptures give illusion of arresting time (03-01-17)

Amy Gross 03On view in Sanibel’s Watson MacRae Gallery until March 4 is an exhibition of work by eight artists who individually and in the aggregate express an aviary theme. One of these participants is Delray Beach fiber artist Amy Gross.

Gross creates delicate fiber sculptures teeming with birds, beads and embroidery. To create her ants-eye-view environs, Amy employs a coterie of photography, textiles, stitchery and paint. But the results are well worth the time, labor and effort. Gross has won many awards for her work, and Watson MacRae Gallery Brecognition continues to grow. She has exhibited at the Cornell Museum of Art, The Minnesota Museum of American Art, the Craft and Folk Art Museum of Los Angeles, the Racine Art Museum in Wisconsin, the Rockland Center for the Arts, Kenise Barnes Fine Art and the Boca Raton Museum of Art. Amy has been featured in Fiber Arts Magazine, Visual Overtures, American Craft Magazine, HESA Imprint, The Washington Post, and on She was featured in an article in the Spring 2016 issue of Fiber Art Now Magazine, and was the issue’s cover artist. Her work is part of the permanent collection of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

You can read the rest of this story here.



Focus on New Hampshire pastel landscape and avian artist Cindy House (03-01-17)

Cindy House 14On view in Sanibel’s Watson MacRae Gallery is an exhibition of work by eight artists who individually and in the aggregate express an aviary theme. One of the participants is Cindy House.

Cindy works in pastels. Consisting of pure pigment and just enough binder to enable them to be molded into sticks, soft pastels are perhaps the purest and simplest form of artistic medium. Pastels are considered paintings since color is applied in masses rather than in lines that form the basis of a drawing. If they are properly framed, pastels are permanent and can last Cindy House 03indefinitely.

Cindy’s motifs consist mainly of New England landscapes and coastal scenes. In rendering these motifs, she seeks to achieve two symbiotic goals – depicting the beauty of commonplace elements of the environment while capturing a particular moment in time. As a consequence, composition is a strong Cindy House 06motivating factor when Cindy chooses the subject matter she intends to paint.

You will find the rest of this review here.



‘Aviary: An Installation’ on view at Watson MacRae through March 4 (03-01-17)

Aviary 01On view through March 4 at Sanibel’s Watson MacRae Gallery is Aviary: An Installation. As the name suggests, the exhibition celebrates birds from warblers to raptors in a variety of mediums from fiber to stone.

This exciting exhibit features work by eight artists from both coasts of the U.S. and Florida. Individually and together, they have immortalized their Aviary 02love of birds in their beautiful and remarkable work.

  • Lucy Dierks’ (Asheville, NC) is known for exquisite porcelain pieces that feature her hallmark hand-sculpting, interesting textures and wonderful glazes. Aviary includes over 20 of Lucy’s pieces, many of which have a tropical theme.
  • Delray Beach’s Amy Gross continues to amaze collectors and casual viewers with her intricate fiber worlds of birds and their environs. Since Gross first Aviary 03exhibited at Watson MacRae in 2010, her work has been recognized by inclusion in museum shows and selected for the cover of Fiber Arts magazine.

The rest of this announcement can be found here.



Through her ‘Flight Series,’ encaustic artist Deborah Martin explores themes of freedom and fragility of nature (03-01-17)

Deborah Martin101On view in Sanibel’s Watson MacRae Gallery until March 4 is an exhibition of work by eight artists who individually and in the aggregate expressing an aviary theme. One of the participants is Naples’ encaustic artist Deborah Martin who has long portrayed Southwest Florida birds both as commentary regarding the fragility of nature and as an iconic symbol of freedom and flight.

“The fragility of nature is a constant theme,” states Deborah, who often incorporates birds, nests, feathers and similar found objects into her encaustic works. “But in my Flight Series, I’m more interested in birds for their symbolic connotations.” And for this purpose, Martin has conscripted a host of burrowing owls, crows, sparrows and finches.

Deborah Martin Aviary 01Both real and imagined, birds have captivated humans throughout history. They are a familiar part of everyday life, but their ability to sing and fly sets them apart from every other creature. As a result, birds are the subject of both legend and myth. In many religions, they’ve come to represent the soul. In olden days, empires and dynasties adopted birds as their symbols. In modern times, eagles, hawks, ravens and raptors decorate the helmets and jerseys of both professional and amateur sports teams and franchises.

Click here for the rest of this profile.



Sweet Art brings ‘Art of Abstraction’ to Southwest Florida in March (03-01-17)

March Sweet ArtSweet Art is bringing The Art of Abstraction to Southwest Florida for March. It will open an exhibition of work by Gisela Miller, Shirley Wilson Blake, Mary Ann Flynn and Nancy Seibert coextensively with 1st Wednesday ART ALIVE! tonight with a 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. reception. Sweet Art is located at 2054 Trade Center Way, Naples, FL 34109. You may reach the gallery by telephone at 239-597-2110 or visit



Focus on artist Gisela Miller on eve of opening of Sweet Art March show (03-01-17)

March Sweet Art 5Opening tonight at The Sweet Art Gallery in the Naples Art District is The Art of Abstraction. The show features work by four of the gallery’s artists. Among them is Gisela Miller.

“As an artist, I have to trust the process. There is no other way to create,” states Miller. “Creativity is an ecology in which all of the senses enrich one another – listening to music, being aware of different movement patterns and their vibrations directly affects rhythm, movement, and brushstrokes in a painting. I paint with my whole body, always standing in front of the canvas, moving back and forth to view each new application of paint: it is almost a dance.”

For the rest of this story, read here.



Focus on Sweet Art abstract artist Shirley Wilson Blake (03-01-17)

March Sweet Art Blake 1The Naples Art District’s Sweet Art Gallery is exhibiting new work by four abstract artists in March. The exhibition opens concurrently with 1st Wednesday ART ALIVE! this evening, with an opening reception from 5-8 p.m. One of the artists being featured in the show is Shirley Wilson Blake.

Shirley works both realistically as well as abstractly. Although she prefers acrylics on canvas, she also works in watercolor, mixed media and collage. In her abstract work, she conveys both emotion and concept to her viewers via the selective use of design elements, color and composition.

You will find the rest of this post here.



Focus on Art of Abstraction’ artist Nancy Seibert (02-28-17)

March Sweet Art See 1Work by Nancy Seibert will be exhibited by Sweet Art in March’s The Art of Abstraction show.

Seibert works in oils, pastels and acrylics, on paper, canvas and wood. Her philosophy of art has evolved synergistically though both paint and the energy created through her brush marks. Nature is her inspiration and all images created by her stem from Ohio’s woodlands, lakes and meadows and Florida’s sea, sky and inland lakes. Nancy began her art studies in Washington in 1956. She lived in Japan from 1961 to 1963, where she taught art and gained valuable experience in Japanese calligraphy. It was during this learning experience that she began to sense a feeling for space and mark-making in her artwork.



Rosen Gallery & Studios featuring ‘Randy Coleman: Coastal Tranquility’ for 1st Wednesday ART ALIVE! (03-01-17)

Inside the Gallery 01Rosen Gallery & Studios is one of the 37 art spots that takes part each month in the Naples Art District’s 1st Wednesday ART ALIVE! Rosen is featureing Randy Coleman: Coastal Tranquility, an exhibition of abstract reflections inspired by the serenity and palette of the Gulf Coast. In addition to Coleman, Rosen Gallery & Studios includes work by painter Rosita Gilsenan, painter Tracy Magen Richard Rosen 03Rosen and ceramic sculpture by Richard Rosen.

Rosen Gallery & Studios is located in the North Line Plaza, 2172 J & C Boulevard, Naples, Free. For more information, please telephone 239.821.1061.



‘Matthew Shlian: Telemetry’ entering final days in Art Gallery at FGCU (03-01-17)

FGCU ArtLab 016Matthew Shlian: Telemetry closes on March 2. It is currently on display in the main gallery at FGCU.

Matthew Shlian is an artist/designer and founder of the Initiative Artist Studio in Ann Arbor, Michigan. His work extends from drawings to large-scale installations and collaborations with leading scientists at the University of Michigan. His work for the National Science Foundation explores paper folding structures on the macro level translated to the nano-scale. His client list FGCU ArtLab 012includes Ghostly International, Apple, P&G, Facebook, Levi’s, Sesame Street and the Queen of Jordan. Matthew Shlian holds a BFA from Alfred University (2002) and an MFA from Cranbrook (2006).

For this exhibition, Shlian created new works of art including a collaborative piece with students in the Fall 2016 Alternative Printmaking class. Shlian agreed to spend a week with the students, FGCU ArtLab 021generating monotype prints that were transformed into one of his folded paper constructions that the students also helped assemble and install.

As a paper engineer, Shlian’s work is rooted in print media, book arts and commercial design. Beginning with an initial fold, a single action causes a transfer of energy to subsequent folds, which ultimately manifests in drawings and FGCU ArtLab 4three-dimensional forms. Researchers see paper engineering as a metaphor for scientific principles; Shlian sees their inquiry as a basis for artistic inspiration. 

Matthew Shlian: Telemetry represents FGCU Art Galleries’ third year of Crossroads: Art and Science Residency and Exhibition. Each year an artist is invited to FGCU to explore a different connection between Art and Sciences while working with FGCU faculty and students. Matthew Shlian was a natural fit for Crossroads as he has been collaborating with scientists throughout his FGCU ArtLab 3career. An essay in the catalogue for this exhibition provides an introduction into the variety of ways he has influenced scientists and they have influenced him.

This exhibition would not have been possible without the help and support of the donors to the exhibition as well as FGCU faculty, staff and students, especially Andy Owen, who taught Alternative Printmaking, and Matthew Shlian, FGCU ArtLab 013who so generously gave his time in the planning and execution of the exhibition. The exhibition is sponsored by Gene and Lee Seidler, Alice and Dean Fjelstul, Thomas Riley Studio, The Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel, and the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on Arts and Culture.

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