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Actors, artists, filmmakers and events in the news June 15-21, 2020


Grouped under headings that include art openings, film, outdoor art fairs and festivals and theater are advances, announcements and articles about the actors, artists, filmmakers and events making news in Southwest Florida this week:


1     ACTORS


Next up for Cantrella Canady is SoDis’ ‘Good Bad People’

Cantrella Canady is part of the cast of SoDis Theater’s next production, Rachel Lynett’s Good Bad People, a story in which an estranged woman by the name of June (Cantrella) returns home to make amends with her family following her brother’s killing at the hands of a policeman. But when they refuse to make a statement about his death, June is forced to decide between reconciliation and standing up for her brother’s life.

Cantrella Canady is one of the best young actors in Southwest Florida today. She appears regularly in productions at Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance for the Arts, Laboratory Theater of Florida, Cultural Park Theatre, The Naples Players and Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre. Go here to see her extensive resumeAnd go here to read what she has to say about taking audiences on an emotional journey.



Next up for Carmen Crussard is SoDis Theater’s ‘Good Bad People’

Carmen Crussard is part of the cast of SoDis Theater’s next production, Rachel Lynett’s Good Bad People, a story in which an estranged woman by the name of June returns home to make amends with her family following her brother’s killing at the hands of a policeman. But when they refuse to make a statement about his death, June is forced to decide between reconciliation and standing up for her brother’s life. Carmen is a uniquely insightful, stage savvy and immensely talented actor, director and instructor. She dazzled audiences as Conchita in Anna in the Tropics, but she’s made her greatest impact on the directorial side of the boards, molding and leaving her imprint on both adult, teenage and grade school casts over the past several years. At Lab Theater, she has directed Mitch Albom’s And the Winner Is …., The Musical Comedy Murders of the 1940s, The Smell of the Kill, Play On!, Scrooge TV: A Modern Christmas Carol and The Second Book of Ruth. 

Go here to access her full resume.



Next up for Melanie Payne is So Dis Theater’s ‘Good Bad People’

Melanie Payne is a member of the cast of SoDis Theater’s next production, Rachel Lynett’s Good Bad People, a story in which an estranged woman by the name of June returns home to make amends with her family following her brother’s killing at the hands of a policeman. But when they refuse to make a statement about his death, June is forced to decide between reconciliation and standing up for her brother’s life. Melanie is best known in Southwest Florida as an investigative reporter with The News-Press/USA Today Network. She is relatively new to the stage. The role of Tituba in Lab Theater’s production of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible was her first major part. She made her acting debut in Lab’s inaugural Festival of Tens. Here’s the rest of Melanie’s profile.



Next up for Caitlynn Wilde is SoDis Theater’s ‘Good Bad People’

Caitlynn Wilde is a member of the cast of SoDis Theater’s next production, Rachel Lynett’s Good Bad People, a story in which an estranged woman by the name of June (Cantrella Canady) returns home to make amends with her family following her brother’s killing at the hands of a policeman. But when they refuse to make a statement about his death, June is forced to decide between reconciliation and standing up for her brother’s life. At Lab Theater, she has appeared in A Clockwork Orange, Death of a Salesman and Charles Busch’s Psycho Beach Party, as well as three of Lab’s 24-Hour Playwriting Challenges, including last year’s piece, Bare All, by playwright Candice Sanzari (directed by Kendra Weaver) and Les Abromovitz’s 2014 Audience Choise winner One Hour Before co-starring Shelley Sanders and Charlie Greer –  in which Caitlynn played a Craigslist sugar baby escort by the name of Angel. Go here to access Caitlynn’s full acting resume.



Next up for Imani Lee Williams is SoDis Theater’s ‘Good Bad People’

Imani Lee Williams is a member of the cast of SoDis Theater’s next production, Rachel Lynett’s Good Bad People, a story in which an estranged woman by the name of June (Cantrella Canady) returns home to make amends with her family following her brother’s killing at the hands of a policeman. But when they refuse to make a statement about his death, June is forced to decide between reconciliation and standing up for her brother’s life. Raised in Atlanta, Georgia, Imani began her career as a member of Youth Ensemble of Atlanta (YE.A). She received classical training while attending DeKalb School of the Arts. Her recent credits include Elizabeth Proctor in The Crucible, Jo in Lab Theater’s Southwest Florida premiere of The Legend of Georgia McBride. Other credits include Penny Pennywise in TheatreZone’s production of Urinetown and the Vagina Monologues (“My Angry Vagina”). She also has more than a decade of improvisational experience, with the most recent being her membership in Florida State University’s No Bears Allowed. Go here for the rest of Imani’s stage credits.



Post COVID interviews you may have missed

Here are links to stories written on various local actors since the COVID-19 shut-down began:



Other interviews:  oldies but goodies

Here are some other interviews that Southwest Florida’s stage actors have given over the years:



2      THEATER


Southwest Florida’s theaters remain closed to the public. However, they may begin reopening now that the State has moved into Phase 2 of Governor Ron DeSantis’ reopening plan. Until that happens, many of Southwest Florida’s community theater companies continue to produce virtual readings and shows, and this online option may continue beyond reopening.


SoDis returning June 16 for powerful performance of ‘Good Bad People’

Join SoDis Theater at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, June 16 for a virtual reading of Rachel Lynett’s Good Bad People featuring Cantrella Canady, Carmen Crussard, Melanie Payne, Daydra Smith, Caitlynn Wilde and Imani Lee Williams. Annette Trossbach directs.

Here’s the set up: After her brother Amiri is shot by a police officer, June (Cantrella Canady) returns home in an attempt to make amends with her family. But when they refuse to make a statement and her personal beliefs are questioned, June is forced into the spotlight and must decide which is more important: making amends with her family or standing up for her brother’s life.

The production will be streamed on Facebook and YouTube. It’s free, but donations are deeply appreciated. You may donate directly here: or by calling our box office at 239-218-0481.



Broadway Palm reopening June 24 with ‘Sound of Music’

Broadway Palm is re-opening June 24! And what better show to do that with than The Sound of Music?

In adherence with the CDC recommendations, the theater will be operating at a 50% capacity with social distancing being encouraged throughout the theatre. The seating arrangement has been altered to appropriately space the tables and all tables will be private. For the time being, all meals will be plated and guests will choose from a menu that includes soup, salad, a selection of five entrees and desserts.

Broadway Palm has always had a rigorous sanitation process in place, but they have implemented new cleaning and sanitizing procedures. In addition, temperature checks will be performed on everyone that enters the building and admittance will not be allowed to anyone with a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher. Employees and cast members went through an extensive evaluation before being able to return to work and employees are required to wear protective gear and practice frequent hand washing.

“We are thrilled to be able to raise our curtain again and welcome our employees and customers back to the theatre,” says Owner and Executive Producer William T. Prather. “My team and I have been working hard to ensure that even with the modifications to our operations, our customers will still get the same great experience they have come to expect at Broadway Palm.”

To make certain the theatre is ready for their big summer musical and reopening, Broadway Palm is currently undergoing a soft opening and operating at a reduced capacity of 25% with the comedy Love, Sex and the IRS, which will play through June 21.

The Sound Of Music is based on the book The Story of the Trapp Family Singers and the 1965 film starring Julie Andrews. This Rodgers and Hammerstein musical has touched the hearts of audiences around the world for decades. Follow Maria, the high-spirited, aspiring nun who is sent from her convent to be the governess to seven unruly children of a strict father, Captain von Trapp. The children eventually come to like Maria and she finds herself falling in love with the captain. The timeless score includes Do-Re-Mi, My Favorite Things, Climb Every Mountain, Sixteen Going on Seventeen, Edelweiss and The Sound of Music.

The Sound of Music plays June 25 through August 8, 2020. Performances are Wednesday through Sunday evenings with selected matinees. Tickets are $48 to $73 with group discounts available. There is a summer special and tickets for anyone 18 and under are just $20 for the meal and the show! Tickets are now on sale and can be reserved by calling (239) 278-4422, visiting or in person at 1380 Colonial Boulevard in Fort Myers.



Broadway Palm set to open 2020-21 season with Dean Martin Variety Hour

Broadway Palm has announced that it will open its 2020-2021 main stage season on August 20 with the Dean Martin Variety Hour. Written by Broadway Palm’s own Victor Legarreta and featuring Dean Martin Impersonator Seth Abrahms, it is a throwback to the old Dean Martin Variety Show. Featuring great music, hilarious comedic skits and more, you just never know who is going to knock on the front door of Dino’s place next.  This production is sure to have you singing and laughing the night away!

The Dean Martin Variety Hour is the first of eight main stage productions, five Off Broadway shows and five concerts. Individual tickets are on sale now. Show prices range from $48 to $73 with group and children’s prices available. Performances are Tuesday through Sunday evenings (no Tuesday evening performances May through October) with selected matinees. For more information visit, call (239) 278-4422 or stop by the box office at 1380 Colonial Boulevard in Fort Myers.



Studio Players reopening with ‘Walter Cronkite is Dead’ on September 4

The Studio Players is planning to resume live performances on September 4 – assuming, of course, that theaters have opened and remained open by then. The Players plan to reopen with Joe Calarco’s Walter Cronkite is Dead. Directed by Hollis Galman, the show will star Bonnie Knapp and Cindy Hile as Patty and Margaret, two “funny, difficult, deeply revealing and astonishingly frank” women.

“As you know, our venue at the Golden Gate Community Center’s Joan Jenks Auditorium is a very large open space which will allow us to be able to social distant very easily,” states Scott Lilly. “We are ready to set up our chairs following the social distancing guidelines [in effect at that time].”

Disposable masks, gloves and hand sanitizer will be provided if needed.”

The Golden Gate Community Center will also take extra steps to provide a safe place once the facility is back open.

Walter Cronkite is Dead will run through September 20.

The rest of The Studio Players’ 2020-2021 schedule is:

  • A Nice Family Christmas by Phil Olson – December 4-20, 2020;
  • The Waverly Gallery by Kenneth Lonergan – January 15-31, 2021; and
  • On Golden Pond by Ernest Thompson – March 12-April 14, 2021.

For more information about the theater or Walter Cronkite is Dead, visit or telephone 239-398-9192.



Players Circle targeting an October 20 re-opening

Players Circle Theatre is planning to reopen on October 20, 2020 with a season that includes Ho! Ho! Ho! The Christmas Show, Curious Incident Of The Dog Inthe Night-Time and Miracle On South Division Street, three shows that never made it to the stage this past season, plus two exciting new shows soon to be announced.

The theater company’s first season encountered permit problems, delays and  the Coronavirus shut-down, but with its certificate of occupancy in hand and hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of lights, risers, comfortable seats, curtains, computers and box office software, Players Circle anticipates a glitch-free second season.

“We are rebuilding our website and will let you know when and our box office 239 800-9232 will be ready to take orders,” reports Robert Cacioppo. “Donations of any kind, large or small, will be greatly appreciated until we get up in full swing.”

And Players Theatre has more treats in store than its theatrical productions. In between shows, there will be evenings of stand-up comedy and improv, musical cabaret, flamenco, opera, country music, jazz, one person shows and burlesque. Va Va Voom! It’s going to be very exciting. Also, extremely reasonably priced dinner theatre packages will be available.



Broadway’s reopening could be delayed until after first of year

Broadway World reports that Broadway’s reopening could be delayed until after the first of the year, and maybe even as late as Spring – based on an interview conducted by The Daily Beast with Broadway League President Charlotte St. Martin. Everyone involved has a keen financial interest in seeing Broadway reopen, from theater owners, production companies, actors and the public. Broadway attendance tops those of the ten professional New York and New Jersey sports teams combined, surpassing their total attendance last year by 4.6 million people and contributing $14.7 billion to the city’s economy and supporting 96,900 jobs. But given what NYC has been through in the past three months, the theater industry refuses to risk an earlier reopening if it means risking a resurgence of the virus.



Hamilton coming to Disney+ on July 3

The Hamilton film is coming to Disney+ on July 3. Combining the best elements of live theater, film, and streaming, the film is described as a “leap forward in the art of ‘live capture,’” which transports viewers into the world of the Broadway show in a uniquely intimate way. “No other artistic work in the last decade has had the cultural impact of Hamilton-an inspiring and captivating tale told and performed in a powerfully creative way,” observes The Walt Disney Company Executive Chair Robert A. Iger. “In light of the extraordinary challenges facing our world, this story about leadership, tenacity, hope, love and the power of people to unite against the forces of adversity is both relevant and impactful.”

Original Broadway cast members Lin-Manuel Miranda (as Alexander Hamilton), Daveed Diggs (Marquis de Lafayette/Thomas Jefferson), Renée Elise Goldsberry (Angelica Schuyler), Leslie Odom, Jr. (Aaron Burr), Christopher Jackson (George Washington), Jonathan Groff (King George), Phillipa Soo (Eliza Hamilton), Jasmine Cephas Jones (Peggy Schuyler/Maria Reynolds), Okieriete Onaodowan (Hercules Mulligan/James Madison) and Anthony Ramos (John Laurens/Philip Hamilton) are joined in the film by Carleigh Bettiol, Ariana DeBose, Hope Easterbrook, Sydney James Harcourt, Sasha Hutchings, Thayne Jasperson, Elizabeth Judd, Jon Rua, Austin Smith, Seth Stewart and Ephraim Sykes.

Hamilton premiered Off-Broadway at the Public Theatre on February 17, 2015, winning 8 Drama Desk Awards, including Outstanding Musical. It opened on Broadway in the Richard Rodgers Theatre on August 6, 2015, going on to receive a record-setting 16 nominations at the 2016 Tony Awards, eventually winning 11, including Best Musical. It received the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The West End production of Hamilton opened at the Victoria Palace Theatre in London in December 2017, winning seven Olivier Awards in 2018, including Best New Musical. The first U.S. national tour of the show began performances in March 2017. A second U.S. tour opened in February 2018. Hamilton’s third U.S. tour began January 11, 2019, with a three-week engagement in Puerto Rico featuring Miranda in the lead role.



Past SoDis virtual readings

Here are links to SoDis Theater’s prior virtual readings, but know this. These titles are only available for a limited time before they will be archived forever:

Link to watch MACBETH
Link to watch THE TEMPEST
Link to watch CHARM
Link to watch INVITING MARIE
Link to watch Bob Hilliard’s INQUISITION




According to a U.S. Census Bureau Small Business Pulse Survey, two-thirds of the nation’s artists are now unemployed, as jobs in the “Arts, Entertainment & Recreation” sector have shrunk by 54.5%.


Collins light projection on view at Alliance through June 16

June 16 is the last night to see Pat Collins’ stencil-on-dura-lar light projection Freedom to Run, Freedom to Breath, Freedom to Be at the Alliance for the Arts. The image is a homage to Ahmaud Arbery, “who was hunted down while he was out running – a daily activity for many people, a freedom taken for granted,” Collins points out. “So much has happened since then! The murder of George Floyd inspired the title, and a movement to motivate those of us who take those freedoms for granted to change the system that denies them to all.”

The projection can be viewed on the arts projection wall at the Alliance between 6:00 p.m. and midnight.



Acevedo introducing new work at Davis Art Center solo show ‘Introspection’

David Acevedo has new work to exhibit! Exploring new and past mediums, Introspection contains paintings created in the last year that use human interactions, experiences and perceptions as inspiration. This solo show opens to the public on Friday, July 3, 2020 in the Grand Atrium of the Sidney Berne Davis Art Center in conjunction with the return of Fort Myers Art Walk.

The general opening reception starts at 6:00 p.m., but guests have the opportunity for a more intimate, social distancing-conscious reception by reserving for one of three VIP parties hosted by the artist. Reservations are accepted on the artist’s website at

With the launching of a new website and the Introspection exhibition, Acevedo has reinvented and restructured his artistic approach. His new pieces evidence stronger subject matter and presence; his composition and symbolism are more focused and relevant to his environment. Taking the combination of mediums to a higher level of expertise, his new work incorporates silkscreen printing, spray acrylic paint and stencils with traditional acrylic painting on large scale canvases. The larger size of the pieces in this collection is also a change in the artist’s production.

A 24-page full color limited edition catalog will be available for sale during the opening reception on July 3 and available online on the artist’s website following the reception.

Acevedo arrived in Southwest Florida in 2000, quickly immersing himself in the art scene of Fort Myers and surrounding cities by collaborating in a multitude of projects, including co-founding Fort Myers Art Walk, the Union Artist Studios and the very popular DAAS CO-OP Art Gallery. He was awarded an Angel of the Arts award in 2009 and a FACE Award in 2016. He is also the recipient of two City of Fort Myers Individual Artist Grants. Throughout his career, he has supported, sponsored and promoted other local artists, some of whom got their first exhibition at one of Acevedo’s venues. The artist has been featured in several publications, both locally and internationally, and has exhibited his work in Europe and Asia.

The Sidney Berne Davis Art Center is located at 2301 First Street, Fort Myers, FL 33901. Regular exhibition hours are 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. More information about the venue is available at Additional information about David Acevedo is available at



Belan’s ‘ERA Now’ makes cover of ART tour International

Everyone is dealing with the pandemic in their own way. Cape Coral artist, author and academic Kyra Belan is creating art in quarantine in preparation for her next exhibition when galleries reopen. She has had work from her American Beauty Series featured in the March and April issues of House and Garden – Conde Nast, a London-based publication distributed internationally. And her painting, ERA Now, has made the cover of ART tour International Magazine. Belan is the magazine’s featured artist for its Spring 2020 issue, “Sacred Waters,” which is now available online and in bookstores. The 6-page article is found inside that issue contains a sampling of Belan’s drawings, paintings and installations.

Go here for the rest of this post.



James Futral installs three sculptures in Alliance’s new site-specific outdoor show

James Futral is one of three artists participating in a series of new outdoor site-specific art installations on view at the campus of the Alliance for the Arts. Futral’s installation consists of three steel sculptures from his animal series, Panda (3x3x4 foot), Panther (3x6x2 foot) and Elephant (10x15x5 foot), all made from recycled materials. James Futral is a sculptor who works in a variety of materials including metal, wood and ceramics. Some of the pieces used to assemble the creatures of Futral’s works are recognizable as old dryer drums, car parts and old furniture.  His skill and sensitivity to the anatomy of each creature is fun and inviting.



Nick Masiello installs mural as part of new site-specific outdoor show at Alliance

Nick Masiello is one of three artists participating in a series of new outdoor site-specific art installations on view at the campus of the Alliance for the Arts. His contribution, titled Vibrancy Mural, measures 12x40x8 feet and is made of Aerosol Acrylic, Lacquer and Enamel. For this project, Masiello created a large-scale custom mural on a storage trailer located on the Alliance campus.  He used words of inspiration from the Alliance for the Arts mission statement and painted them on the surface of the trailer in various handstyle techniques.  Masiello took the mission statement’s core ideas of community, compassion, guidance, exploration, trust, friendship, self-expression, connection, inspiration, imagination, performance, individuality, and equality, and put those words directly onto the surface of the building. Interestingly, the text is unrecognizable which allows all of the words to blend together as one.  The colors are bright, cheery, and tropical with a welcoming Floridian flare.

Masiello is a mixed media artist who specializes in abstract expressionist works in aerosol acrylic.



Roseline Young installs two pieces in Alliance’s new site-specific show

Roseline Young is one of three artists participating in a series of new outdoor site-specific art installations on view at the campus of the Alliance for the Arts. Her pieces are titled Currents of Destruction, a 2019 mixed media fiber on fishnet work, and River of Decay, made from found objects, fiber and chain link fence. These collaborative installations come from her “Art Speaks for the Earth” project, which engages viewers by their beauty and powerful environmental statements. Currents of Destruction involved the fiber art community in the creation of crochet rings to represent cyano-bacteria, green algae and red tide clogging the Caloosahatchee River, canals and beaches. River of Decay was created at Art Fest Fort Myers and the S.T.A.R.S Community Center with help from children calling attention to pollution in the Caloosahatchee which drains into the Gulf of Mexico.

Roseline Young is a fiber artist who works in hand weaving, art quilting, fabric dyeing and painting.  Young collaborates with various groups of artists to fight for Mother Earth and the growing problems of climate change and water quality.



Winter Park’s Cornell Fine Arts Museum to exhibit Jansen’s first U.S. museum solo show

The Cornell Fine Arts Museum is exhibiting a solo show of work by Marcus Jansen September 18, 2020 through January 3, 2021. Titled E Pluribus Unum, the exhibition represents the first ever solo museum exhibition of Jansen’s work in the United States.

This exhibition will focus on works Jansen created in the last 15 years and will be comprised of both large scale paintings and a selection of works on paper (among them a select number of new pieces on view for the first time) that examine Jansen’s visual explorations of structures of power and the struggle to grapple with the nuanced reality of our time. The exhibition is being organized by the Cornell Fine Arts Museum in collaboration with the artist and will be accompanied by an illustrated catalogue.

While E Pluribus Unum may represent Jansen’s first solo museum show in the United States, the Bronx/Fort Myers artist has enjoyed a number of solo shows abroad, including shows at La Triennale di Milano Museum in Milan and the Museum Zitadelle  in Berlin, and he participated in the 12th International Print and Drawing Biennial in Taiwan at the National Taiwan Museum of Fine Art. Works by Jansen are in collections of the Moscow Museum of Modern Art (MMOMA), The University of Michigan Museum of Art, The New Britain Museum of American Art, The Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, The National Taiwan Museum of Fine Art, The Housatonic Museum of Art and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C.

Jansen is known for powerful, monumental canvases that address poignant social and political themes. Through the use of an arresting visual language characterized by colorful and expressive brushwork, and references to contemporary and historical issues, Jansen invites viewers to engage in a reflection about the human condition. Jansen continues to explore surveillance and social divides in society and will place his iconic 2010 piece Obscure Line Between Fact and Fiction (3rd photo) to the museum for the show.



Kickin’ it with artist Marcus Jansen on June 1 virtual TGIM

On June 1, artist Marcus Jansen was Eric Raddatz’s guest on his weekly edition of virtual TGIM. The two covered a wide range of topics, including his upcoming solo show at the Cornell Fine Arts Museum at Rollins College in Winter Park, the impact that the pandemic has had on Jansen, the meaning and import of his statement that “art is the most intimate act of war” and the message he seeks to convey through his urban landscape and Faceless paintings. More, the discussion provided a glimpse into the heart and soul of the artist who’s been called the most important American painter of his generation.

The Cornell museum show is a very big deal for Jansen. Although he has enjoyed solo museum shows in Europe, the Cornell exhibition represents the first solo museum exhibition of Jansen’s career in the United States.

Go here for the rest of this article.



Revisiting Dorothy’s gas mask in tornadic aftermath of COVID and nationwide protests

During last night’s virtual TGIM, Lane Cook called in to ask artist Marcus Jansen how he felt about seeing people in COVID-19 face masks and gas masks as they protest the killing of George Floyd given that he painted Dorothy wearing an olive green gas mask in his iconic painting Creeping Obstacles in Kansas.

“Ironic,” was Jansen’s first reaction. Marcus painted the piece almost ten years ago to the day!

Reflecting further, he modified his assessment. “Eerie. That’s exactly where we are today.”

Go here for the rest of this article.



Sheldon Fine Arts’ William Hobbs continues tradition of Hudson River School

One of the artists represented by Sheldon Fine Art Gallery in Naples is seascape specialist William Hobbs.

Hobbs grounds his painting style on the powerful realism that became the trademark of the Hudson River School. He sees his artistic style as a continuation and extension of their endeavors. Following in the traditions of Frederick Church and Albert Bierstadt, his paintings explore the power of the natural world.

Known for the detail in his paintings, Hobbs thrives on exploring the intricacies of the natural world in his compositions. Finding nature to be fascinating at every level, he seeks to create paintings that can be appreciated up close as well as from a distance. He renders these scenes in oils on canvas. He appreciates the permanence of oils and finds this time-tested media to be the best method to capture the facets of nature that intrigue him.

As an avid hiker, backpacker, and water-sport enthusiast, his art grows out of countless hours observing in the field. Further, his graduate level education and research in biology and ecology informs his art. His paintings are both scientific studies and artistic renderings. Hobbs sees no difference between the two.

Moving water is a common theme in his paintings. From crashing surf and the rolling waves of the sea, to the flow of forest streams and waterfalls, his paintings often explore the patterns of water in motion.

It is his desire that these studies impress upon the viewer a wonder for nature and the God who developed it. Hobbs believes wonder is the heart motivation for productive admiration and protection of the natural world.

Hobbs studied and painted for a number of years along the coast of New England, where he was active in the Seacoast Art Association of New Hampshire. He now paints from his home in northeastern Pennsylvania where he is associated with the Pocono Mountains Arts Council.

His art is represented in a wide range of private and corporate collections throughout the United States as well as in Germany and France, including the collections of Sanofi Pasteur, Portland Steel, and the Weiler Corporation. Hobbs paintings have won many awards and he exhibits in a growing number of shows and galleries. It is the artist’s hope that the viewer will discover in his paintings the bright optimism of a world full of the life and motion.

Sheldon Fine Art is located at 460 Fifth Avenue South in Naples. For more information about the artist or the gallery, please call 239-649-6255.




Southwest Florida’s museums, galleries and art centers are beginning to re-open as Florida and its individual counties move into Phase 2 of Governor Ron DeSantis’ reopening plan. Large venues such as movie theaters, concert halls, arcades, playhouses and presumably museums, galleries and art centers are nevertheless subject to certain requirements, including (1) groups are limited to 10 or fewer people with six feet of space maintained between each party and the overall limitation restricting social gatherings to no more than 50 people; (2) regular cleaning and disinfecting is required; (3) owners are encouraged to conduct health screenings of employees; and (4) masks are recommended for both patrons and staff. In the meantime, some of Southwest Florida’s museums, galleries and art centers are producing shows, and this online option may continue beyond reopening.


Davis Art Center re-opened June 5 with ‘Rumors or Reality?’

After great deliberation and extensive considerations, the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center re-opened on June 5 with its annual June juried art exhibition – albeit at reduced capacity. Appropriately themed “Rumors or Reality?,” the show features 70 artworks by 50 different artists.

“We will be following CDC reopening guidelines and taking a gradual approach in reopening which allows us to prioritize health and safety while taking progressive steps to restore regular operations,” states SBDAC President & CEO Jim Griffith in making the announcement. “Our people (patrons, volunteers, supporters, artists, and staff) are our biggest assets, and we want to make sure that you’re safe.”

Inside, signs were in evidence asking people to come in very small groups, wash their hands, be mindful about who and what they touch, remain at least six feet apart, and observe the one way traffic designs while inside the building.

Curated by Cesar Aguilera, “Rumors or Reality?” will be on view in the grand atrium through 3:00 p.m. on June 25.



‘Frida’s Flowers’ finally ready to bloom in July at DAAS

A few months ago, DAAS CO-OP Gallery issued a challenge to area artists to create artworks inspired by iconic surrealist painter Frida Kahlo. The work submitted was going to be exhibited in April, but then the COVID-19 wash-out intervened. Well, that was then and this is now. The April Showers, Firda’s Flowers Invitational Exhibition will finally open on Friday, July 3 in conjunction with Fort Myers Art Walk.

“I do not know or fully understand my connection to this woman and how I feel when I contemplate her paintings,” says David Acevedo, for whom Kahlo was not only an incredible inspiration, but an idol. “She persevered through the heartaches, ailments and so many other circumstances, but never gave up. She was resilient and always found a way to continue painting and that, I think, it’s very much how I am. Frida lives in my heart and that is why we wanted to dedicate this exhibition to her.”

July 3 promises to be a busy night for Acevedo. Not only does he have work in April Showers, Frida’s Flowers. He is also presenting a major solo exhibition at the Sydney Berne Davis Art Center in on the same night.

A social distancing-conscious after-party event will follow at 9:30 p.m. in the outdoor bar space nestled between DAAS CO-OP and Thrifty Garden at the Butterfly Estates.

Christened Atala Wine & Beer Bar, this space provides a nature-inspired experience among the butterflies and flowers abundant around the complex. The Atala Wine & Beer Bar is a collaborative project between the shops and a great alternative to the hustle and buzzle of other parts of downtown Fort Myers.

DAAS CO-OP is located at 1815 Fowler Street, Unit 3, in Fort Myers, FL 33901. Temporary business hours are from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Friday to Sunday. More information about gallery and/or how to become a member can be found at or by calling 239-590-8645.



Alliance receives transformative gift from Meisenberg Family Trust

The Alliance for the Arts has received a gift totaling $190,000 from the Meisenberg Family Trust that will enable it to maintain arts and culture as a vital part of Southwest Florida.

A past president and longtime supporter of the Alliance for the Arts, Deborah E. Meisenberg had an eye for beauty and appreciation of culture which she cultivated through her travels. With its lavender fields and good wine, Italy especially captured her heart. Meisenberg, who received a BA in criminal justice from St. John’s University in 1979 followed by a JD from Bridgeport Law School in 1982, was committed to social justice and investing in her community. She passed away in 2019.

“Art is an escape from reality, and that couldn’t be more needed than now,” says Deborah’s son, Jeremy Meisenberg about the gift.

“We are excited and honored to be able continue our mom’s legacy and support an organization that is committed to facilitating creativity,” adds Deborah’s son, Paul Meisenberg.

In addition to helping support Alliance operations, the donation will support the future of the Southwest Florida creative community through the Arts are Vital Grant, an emergency relief program for Lee County’s arts organizations and individual artists formed by the Alliance in partnership with the Meisenberg Family Trust to ensure the impact of the arts is not lost during a time when we need it most. (More information about the Arts Are Vital Grant will be released on June 22, 2020.)

As part of the transformative gift, the Alliance is commemorating the life and legacy of Deborah E. Meisenberg with a new outdoor piazza space. The piazza overlooks the Alliance ArtsPark, which features new landscaping and will be home to the Caloosahatchee Water Wall by internationally acclaimed artist Michael Singer.

“Deb’s thoughtfulness, generosity of spirit and passion for the arts will live on at the Alliance and in all who will benefit from her gift. We are grateful to Deb’s sons, Jeremy and Paul, for continuing the good works of their mom and for making sure the arts remain relevant during this time of uncertainty,” says Alliance for the Arts executive director, Lydia Black.

For more information on the Alliance for the Arts, visit or call 239-939-2787.



Exhibitors have until July 1 to submit for Alliance’s ‘Pain, Process and Promise’ show

The Alliance for the Arts is seeking artists to submit work for its July show, Pain, Process and Promise. In an attempt to process the multilayered issues facing our society and culture, this exhibition asks artists to submit traditional works of art in painting, drawing, mixed media, photography and sculpture but is also open to proposals in installation or alternative mediums such a video, projection, memorials and community-based projects.

“In this extended moment, we find ourselves navigating crisis upon crisis that has further underscored the deep inequities in our society,” states the Alliance in its call to artists. “How are you holding the pain and promise of this moment? As we continue to navigate the deep waters of injustice and a global pandemic, share your voice and story through art.”

The deadline to submit is Wednesday, July 1. This call is open to all artists residing in Florida.  Only original artwork will be accepted. There is no entry fee for this show, but an optional donation supports the Alliance for the Arts mission and programming.

The exhibit runs from July 10 through August 20 at 10091 McGregor Blvd. Fort Myers, FL.

There will not be a traditional opening reception for this exhibition as during the exhibition timeline, the Alliance for the Arts will be operating by appointment only – scheduling designated viewing hours, specific gallery tours, artist interviews, a digital viewing room and video spotlights throughout the month.

More information in regards to this programming will be announced when scheduled.

For more information about this exhibit, visit or call 239-939-2787.



Alliance introduces outdoor site-specific installation on 10-acre campus

There’s a lot going on at the Alliance for the Arts’ ten acre campus. The art park along McGregor Boulevard is done. The long-anticipated Water Wall is coming. Light projection murals can be seen after dark. And now you can also enjoy a series of outdoor site-specific artwork installations by local artists.

The artwork can all be viewed from the safety and comfort of your own vehicle by driving through the Alliance for the Arts parking lot.  Visitors can also get out of their cars and explore the artwork more closely on foot.  The artists featured in this project are James Futral, Nick Masiello, and Rosealine Young.

“We wanted to create a safe place for people to enjoy the visual arts,” says Gallery Director Ehren Gerhardt. “Visitors can take the opportunity to get outside, out from behind a screen or device and interact with artwork in an outdoor setting.”

For more information call 239-939-2787 or visit



Light projection murals illuminate Alliance after dark 

Each night, the Alliance for the Arts is illuminated with light projection murals. Drive by and you’ll see one of the following:

  • Heroes Behind the Mask (Spray Paint on Dura-Lar Acetate) by Pat Collins (3rd photo);
  • Tree of Love (Cut Paper) by Shirley Hales;
  • Coronavirus Ninja (Cut Paper) by Sharon Isern (2nd photo);
  • Breathing Life Into Our Estuaries (Cut Paper) by Kelsey Lang;
  • Disconnected From Our Song (Cut Paper) by Carolyn Sommers;
  • Butterfly (Cut Paper) by Alyssa Stoff (1st photo);
  • Light at the End of the Tunnel (Cut Paper) by Africa Valdez; and
  • Thank You to Our Heroes (Cut Paper) by Lorraine Weiss.

Each artist’s work is only being projected for approximately one week from dusk until midnight, so you need to drive by each week to see what’s on display. Unfortunately, you’ve already missed Sharon Isern’s Coronavirus Ninja, which opened the installation, and June 16 is the last night to see Pat Collins’ work.

“It is our hope that by bringing messages of compassion, creativity and hope that we may empower and uplift our community through the arts,” says Gallery Director, Ehren Gerhard. The projection murals the community will see include:



DAAS re-opening with ‘Pieces from the Vault’ and clearance sale

It has been a minute since the last opening reception at one of the few cooperative art galleries in town, DAAS CO-OP. The month of June will serve as the much-needed bridge towards restructuring and normalcy, starting with an exhibition of pieces from older collections from artists David Acevedo and Xavier a Brignoni and a clearance sale. Entitled “Pieces from the Vault,” the exhibition will be on display through June 27, 2020.

Just like most businesses, DAAS CO-OP has felt the impact of this pandemic. “It has been a few very difficult months, but we are too resilient and hardheaded to give up – so here we are and we hope the community continues to support us as they have done in the past,” says president and co-owner David Acevedo, who is excited about the future of the venue.

Currently, DAAS CO-OP is operating on a limited schedule, opening only Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. More hours will be added during the month of June. Up-to-date information can be found at

DAAS CO-OP is located at 1815 Fowler Street, inside the Butterfly Estates in Fort Myers, FL. For additional information, please call 239-590-8645 during business hours.





Dates announced for Fort Myers Beach International Film Festival

The Fort Myers Beach Film Festival will be back for its 14th year from September 22-27. With events for all ages, this five-day event attracts independent film fans, filmmakers, and distributors to the beaches of Fort Myers Beach. Attendees come from all over the world to exchange ideas, make new contacts, and enjoy some compelling and interesting films encompassing a wide range of tastes. Th festival screens at the Beach Theater, 6425 Estero Blvd. Fort Myers Beach, Florida 33931.



Spotlight on film actor, writer and producer Theresa Ireland

Theresa Ireland is an SAG/AFTRA film and stage actor, casting director, choreographer and film producer who made her appearance in Fort Myers during the 9th Annual Fort Myers Film Festival in conjunction with the Mariya Pyter short film On the Way to Lovetown, in which Theresa played a Marilyn Monroe look-alike. While she is known nationally for her Marilyn Monroe impersonations, she attracted the attention of sports fans across the country as the host/interviewer of Esports Update for Chicago-based Midnight Esports Network.

Go here for more.



Filmmaker Theresa Ireland ‘Hungry’ to have you see her new short

The last time Theresa Ireland was in Fort Myers, she was a cast member in the indie short film On the Way to Lovetown, written and directed by filmmaker Mariya Pyter. Since then, she transitioned into writing and producing her own films, and just before the COVID-19 shut-down, she completed filming Hungry, a short film that she co-wrote with Kristyn Sammons.

A drama, Hungry features Eddie Steeples (The Guest Book (2017-2018), I Know Who Killed Me (2007), My Name is Earl (2005)), Peter Kwong (Big Trouble in Little China, Eddie Murphy’s Golden Child, The Presidio) and James Quattrochi (In the Kingdom of the Blind, True Friends (for which he was named Best Up and Coming Director by the Laifa Film Awards). Ireland and Sammons also appear in the film, Ireland in the role of Susan Johnson, Sammons as Tami Prato.

Go here for more.



Marilyn came to Ireland, and life’s been sweet ever since

On any given day, Hollywood Boulevard is crammed with retailers, shoppers, diners and tourists, and mingling with them are dozens of celebrity impersonators who dress up as Hollywood icons and pose with tourists for tips. The buzz they create is aptly captured in Fred Durst’s 2019 American psychological thriller, The Fanatic, in which John Travolta plays an autistic man named Moose who’s not only a street performer, but a man obsessed with an action film star. And to lend a dose of realism to the film’s streets scenes, Durst and fellow filmmakers feature a host of street performers, including a Marilyn Monroe impersonator played by Theresa Ireland.

Ireland is known in Southwest Florida for playing a Marilyn Monroe look-a-like in On the Way to Lovetown, an independent short film that filmmaker Mariya Pyter submitted to last year’s Fort Myers Film Festival. But in addition to The Fanatic and Lovetown, she’s actually portrayed the ‘50s blond bombshell or a Monroe impersonator  a number of other time,s, including the feature films How to be a Latin Lover (2017) and Actor for Hire (2015), short film Anger Anonymous (2016), and on television in Actress: Another Word for Waitress (“Showtime” (2018) and “Acting 101” (2017)) and Geoffrey Malibu (2016).

Go here for the rest of this story.



Filmmaker Jordan Axelrod cultivating the uncontrollable

Last year, Jordan Axelrod’s documentary Coach screened twice at the 9th Annual Fort Myers Film Festival – once inside the grand atrium of the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center and again on the lawn outside of Henry Ford’s former winter home at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates. Last week, Axelrod was FMFF Director Eric Raddatz’s guest on virtual TGIM, and today is the filmmaker’s birthday.

Axelrod is renowed for creating content through the lens of social impact. He was motivated to make Coach by the desire that children be able to grow up in a world where it’s normal to see women in sports not just as athletes, but in positions of authority. Whoever, to achieve this goal, women routinely encounter arcane rules that have been written, however unconsciously, in a way that keeps women from reaching those upper echelons.

Go here for the rest of this story.



Spotlight on TGIM Guest and Filmmaker Jordan Axelrod

Jordan Axelrod is a filmmaker known for Seven Ten Split, Carol’s Last Chance and, most recently, Coach.

Axelrod possesses numerous ties to the Fort Myers Film Festival. He cut his filmmaking teeth at FMff as a volunteer while he was still in junior high. After earning a degree in film from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, the Fort Myers native’s 20-minute short film, Seven Ten Split was juried into the Sixth Annual Fort Myers Film Festival. The film went on to received honor as best in the Student Film category. Last year, Jordan had another film, Carol’s Last Chance, juried into the Fort Myers Film Festival, and this year his documentary, Coach, is an official FMff selection.



Erin Beute investing now for future outcome

For Erin Beute, there’s little discernible difference between life before, during and after the COVID-19 shut-down. A writer’s writer, she gets fresh ideas during her daily run and then hammers out screenplays and other content at her PC the rest of the day and into the night. She pursues both endeavors alone, so it’s exactly the same for Erin whether she’s under quarantine or not.

“I do miss human interaction,” she laughs. “But if you stretch out, you can still interact with people in meaningful ways.”

Her lonesome pursuits are a necessary trade-off.

A poster girl for delayed gratification, Erin understands that she’s investing now for a future outcome – such as seeing one of her stories appear on the silver screen or livestreamed into millions of homes across the country via Netflix or Hulu.

Perhaps one day she’ll even direct, if not a story she’s written then maybe one created by somebody else.

“It’s inevitable for anyone who acts and writes to ultimately have that vision in their head,” she remarks.

Go here for the rest of this interview.



Erin Beute taking ‘Bird’s Eye’ from short to feature

In March of 2019, actor, screenwriter and filmmaker Erin Beute burst upon the Southwest Florida film festival scene with Bird’s Eye, a spellbinding 13-minute drama that tells the story of an officious music professor who loses her sight only to unexpectedly find perfect clarity within the walls of an at-risk urban high school. In addition to screening at the 9th Annual Fort Myers Film Festival last April, Bird’s Eye was chosen as Best Short Narrative by the Bonita Springs International Film Festival and Best Florida Made Film by the Fort Myers Beach International Film Festival. The short closed out its film festival run this past weekend with another win (10 total together with five other nominations), with Beute winning Best Performing Artist for “Alleluia,” the song that ends the film. But Bird’s Eye is far from done!

“I’ve been underground for most of the past year,” reports Beute by phone from the paddock of the horse farm where her youngest daughter takes jumping lessons a couple of times a week. “But Bird’s Eye is finished. It’s completed. Ten drafts, and it’s as ready as I can make it until it reaches the hands of the producers, who will make the adjustments producers make.”

You will find the rest of this interview here.



Setting sights on film, Kinley Gomez going places

Kinley Gomez is going places. Just not to Southern California in June. That had been the plan. The incoming senior at Canterbury School is among a handful of talented applicants who’ve been accepted into the University of Southern California’s vaunted advanced summer screenwriting program. But due to COVID-19 concerns, the four-credit course has been moved online. And for now, so has Kinley’s attention and focus.

While she won’t be able to meet people in person or network face-to-face, KG nonetheless expects to learn invaluable tools, techniques and tips in screenwriting once the six-week course starts in the last week in June.

Go here for the rest of this interview.



Film actor Cassidy Reyes working on craft with deliberate practice

When the pandemic struck, Cassidy Reyes was filming Love Song and Power. Written by Stevie Kinchen and directed by Erik Krefeld and Eddel Martinez, the picture is about finding the courage to be oneself. Reyes couldn’t be more perfect for the part of Alex. That’s because Cassidy Reyes exemplifies the film’s theme.

After graduating college magna cum laude, Reyes followed her parents’ footsteps into medical school. Both Christine Dee-Reyes and Joseph Reyes are board certified optometrists who have been practicing locally for more than 20 years. But within six weeks, Cassidy realized that being a doctor was more her parents’ dream than hers. She longed to be a film actor. So she telephoned her folks and broke the news that she was leaving medical school for the silver screen. She had to follow her dream.

Not surprisingly, her parents were less than thrilled. Cassidy had but one gig lined up at the time, and her parents assayed to impress upon their daughter how difficult and rare it is to make a living as a film actor.

“Mom’s a realist,” Cassidy acknowledges with a chuckle. “Dad’s the ultimate optimist. But he is also involved in the local film community.”

Go here for the rest of this interview.

Go here to see all of Cassidy’s film credits.


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