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Actors, artists, filmmakers and events in the news June 8-14, 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 resume. And 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 (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. 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 (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. 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 the 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.



Dena Galyean part of special Best Seats in Your House production on June 11

On Thursday, June 11, Dena Galyean will be part of a special production of The Best Seats in Your House that deals theatrically with the subjects of systemic racism, implicit bias, equity and access. She’ll play Maryann, the white wife of an African-American man who feels he must participate in the protests in Ferguson, Missouri following the shooting of Michael Brown in spite of Maryann’s fears and trepidation. Since relocating to Southwest Florida from Chicagoland, Dena seems to have a penchant for landing fascinating roles. Among her most memorable are Susan B. Anthony in Theatre Conspiracy’s production of The Agitators, Nora Helmer in Henrik Ibsen’s A Doll House (also for Theatre Conspiracy) and Stella Kowalski in The Studio Players’ production of Tennessee William’s A Streetcar Named Desire at the Golden Gate Community Center.

You will find Dena’s full resume here.

And go here to read how acting feeds Dena’s soul.



Nuniez Philor finds  himself at crossroads in ‘Hands Up’ on June 11

On Thursday, June 11, Nuniez Philor will be part of a special production of The Best Seats in Your House that deals theatrically with the subjects of systemic racism, implicit bias, equity and access. He’ll be in Hands Up, playing the part of a man who finds himself at a crossroads as protests mount in Ferguson, Missouri in the aftermath of Michael Brown’s slaying by a white police officer. He needs to stand against injustice, but his wife is afraid. Will he show up or cave to his wife’s fears and reservations? Nemo’s stage credits include the roles of Ali and PJ in the Alliance for the Arts’ production of Charles Busch’s Vampire Lesbians of Sodom, Theatre Conspiracy’s production of Steven Dietz’s Rancho Mirage and as Seth Holly in August Wilson’s Joe Turner’s Come and Gone.



Sonya McCarter plays grieving mother in For Black Women Who Experienced Genocide

Sonya McCarter delivers emotional performance in Keith A. Wallace’s For Black Women Who Experienced Genocide When The Police Murders of Their Sons Was Too Much for The Best Seats in Your House on June 11. She plays a grieving mother needs you to understand. Southwest Florida is still talking about her performance as Camae opposite Derek Lively in Katori Hall’s The Mountaintop. But she is as well known for her achievements in direction as she is for her acting credits. Go here to access her profile.



Spotlight on ‘Remembrance’ actor Lemec Bernard

On Thursday, June 11, local actor Lemec Bernard will appear for The Best Seats in Your House as Robert in Aja Houston’s one-act play Remembrance. Robert and Holly are back in Florida for their ritualistic trip of mourning. These trips have taken a toll on their marriage, their sanity, and their happiness. This year threatens to break their marriage forever or save it. Lemec is relatively new to acting. Since responding to an ad for a free acting class by Marcus Colon a few years ago, he has appeared in a number of shows at Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance for the Arts. Go here to find out which ones. And go here to find out why Lemec considers acting to be a blood sport.



Spotlight on ‘Remembrance’ actor Tijuanna Clemons

On Thursday, June 11, local actor Tijuanna Clemons will appear for The Best Seats in Your House as Holly in Aja Houston’s one-act play Remembrance. Robert and Holly are back in Florida for their ritualistic trip of mourning. These trips have taken a toll on their marriage, their sanity, and their happiness. This year threatens to break their marriage forever or save it. Clemons is an aspiring young Southwest Florida actor whose stage credits include Ruby in August Wilson’s King Hedley II, Diana Dahner in Steven Dietz’s Rancho Mirage, Bertha Holly in August Wilson’s Joe Turner’s Come and Gone and Louise in August Wilson’s Seven Guitars, all for Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance for the Arts.



Rachael Endrizzi doing what she can with what she has as ‘Medora Musical’ stage manager

Earlier this year, Rachael Endrizzi was lighting up the Off Broadway Palm in A Christmas Carol: A Live Radio Show and Weekend Comedy. To fill in her spare time, she was also directing Rob Green, Madelaine Wright, Shelley Sanders, Thomas Marsh and Jordan Wilson in Baskerville: A Sherlock Holmes Mystery for Bill Taylor and Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance for the Arts.  When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, she had just opened Harriett Tubman & the Underground Railroad, a travelling show performed at assemblies in middle schools throughout the state of Ohio and had two other touring shows (one in Atlanta and the other in Ohio) in pre-production. But fret not for this mega-talented theater professional. Rachael not only landed on her feet. She’s stage managing the rootin’-tootinest, boot-scootinest show in all the Midwest, the Medora Musical.

The roughly two-hour show is performed every night in an outdoor amphitheater in the little town of Medora on the southwestern edge of North Dakota. Roughly four hours south of the Canadian border and four and a half hours due west of Fargo, the town sits on the edge of the Badlands and the Theodore Roosevelt National Park. With less than 200 permanent residents, it’s so tiny that it doesn’t even show up on most maps of North Dakota. But that doesn’t deter more than 120,000 visitors from making the pilgrimmage to Medora each summer to see the extravaganza which features live music, fireworks, horses on stage and a charge up San Juan hill.

Go here for the rest of this story.



Online options don’t offer escapism that theater traditionally provides

Rachael Endrizzi has a long history in touring theater. As the former Director of Education for the Florida Repertory Theatre, she ran Southwest Florida’s leading performing arts training program and a professional touring theater. When the pandemic struck, her Ohio-based non-profit had just opened a production of Harriet Tubman & the Underground Railroad, a traveling show performed at assemblies in middle schools throughout the state. Plus she had two more traveling shows in pre-production, one in the Atlanta area and the other in Ohio. Now she’s considering the possibility that it may be necessary for her to replace live theater shows with virtual productions, a prospect she considers as anathema.

While elementary, middle and high schools will undoubtedly be in session during the 2020-2021 school year, its uncertain whether social distancing considerations will force a suspension of assemblies and field trips. If so, Endrizzi’s non-profits may have little choice but to switch to virtual shows.

The rest of this article is here.



For Rachael Endrizzi, directing is all about storytelling and personal connections

Rachael Endrizzi fashions herself as a storyteller. Her medium, however, is not putting words on a page. Rather, it is breathing life into words that a playwright has written. Sometimes she gives impetus to the story from the vantage of director. At other times, it’s as an actor.

“I prefer directing over acting because I love seeing stories come together,” Rachael remarks. “As an actor, you’re a piece of the story, a piece of the puzzle, but so much of your energy has to go into your character that you don’t always get to enjoy the whole story. You don’t have the luxury in the middle of a play of sitting back and enjoying it because you’re busy [portraying your character]. But as a director, you get to be the audience every day. So I love seeing it come together.”

The rest of this interview can be found here.



Cicero McCarter uses inner conflict to infuse characters with depth and believability

A few years ago, Producing Artistic Director Bill Taylor and Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance decided to showcase more plays written by both black and female playwrights. Since then, they’ve not only produced Mountaintop by Katori Hall, A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry and For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow is Enuf by the  late Ntozake Shange, but four plays from August Wilson’s Pittsburgh or Century Cycle, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, Seven Guitars, Joe Turner’s Come and Gone and King Hedley II. Cicero McCarter’s been in each of those last four, and it hasn’t been easy.

“Of all the August Wilson’s that I’ve done, Slow Drag [in Ma Rainey] was the only character I could possibly be [in real life]. He enjoyed life. He played base fiddle. He was a cool dude,” McCarter muses.

In Seven Guitars, McCarter played Hedley, an old man with tuberculosis, a religious fetish and a big knife with which he kills chickens for the sandwiches he sells. Having turned his back on the white world he loathes, he’s a believer in saints, spirits, prophets and the ghost of Charles (Buddy) Bolden, the legendary New Orleans trumpeter who died in an insane asylum.

Go here for the rest of this interview.



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, Caitlynn Crawford, Carmen Crussard, Melanie Payne, Daydra Smith and Imani Lee Williams. Annette Trossbach directs.

Here’s the set up: After her brother Amiri is shot by a police officer, June 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.



Special Best Seats in Your House on June 11 tackles systemic racism and implicit bias

The Best Seats in Your House returns June 11 for three short, powerful and relevant one-act plays featuring Nemo Philor, Dena Galyean, Sonya McCarter, Lemec Bernard and Tijuana Clemons.

“The arts expose us to different viewpoints, expand our knowledge and help explain difficult situations in an approachable and universal way,” notes the Alliance. “Artists play a vital role in the ongoing conversation about systemic racism, implicit bias, equity and access.”

These are the topics explored on Thursday, June 11 when The Best Seats in Your House screens online:

  • Hands Up by Kristy Thomas, starring Nemo Philor and Dena Galyean and directed by Bill Taylor:  On the day of the Michael Brown shooting, Mason, an African American man, arrives home to see his white wife, Maryann, watching the news as it unfolds. Mason wants to take action and stand with the people protesting. He sees this as his time to stand for what he believes is an injustice. Maryann doesn’t understand why this is so important. Mason desperately wants Maryann to support his decision and Maryann wants Mason to follow what he believes is right while seeing the dangers of his decision.
  • For Black Women Who Experienced Genocide When The Police Murders of Their Sons Was Too Much by Keith A. Wallace, starring Sonya McCarter and directed by Bill Taylor: A grieving mother needs you to understand.
  • Remembrance by Aja Houston,starring Lemec Bernard and Tijuana Clemons and directed by Bill Taylor: Holly and Robert are back in Florida for their ritualistic trip of mourning. These trips have taken a toll on their marriage, their sanity, and their happiness. This year threatens to break their marriage forever or save it.

Experience and enjoy live theatre from your own home and from the best seats in your house during this special performance. All are welcome. All we ask is that you RSVP so we can provide you with the access link and information. You will receive an email with access information on Thursday, June 11 at 6:00 p.m. Performance begins at 7:30 p.m. and is 45 minutes.



Broadway Palm set to reopen August 20 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.



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



Studio Players reopening with ‘Walter Cronkite is Dead’ once Phase 2 begins

The Studio Players is planning to resume live performances once Florida enters Phase 2 of Governor Ron DeSantis’ “Safe. Smart. Step-by-Step” reopening plan. While no timeline has been given for when that will happen, The Studio Players plans to reopen with Joe Calarco’s Walter Cronkite is Dead. Directed by Hollis Galman, the show stars 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 with the 75% capacity following the recommended strict social distancing guidelines as soon as we get the word! Disposable masks, gloves and hand sanitizer will be provided if needed.”

Under the guidelines, movie theaters, concert halls, auditoriums, bowling alleys, casinos, arcades and playhouses can open in Phase 2 with strict distancing in place and 75% capacity. Groups should be limited to 10 or fewer people and there should be six feet of space between each party. Cleaning and disinfecting should be done regularly and owners should consider conducting health screenings for employees. Masks are also encouraged.

The Golden Gate Community Center has taken extra steps to provide a safe place to be once the facility is back open, Lilly adds. “Your safety will be our priority!”

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





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%.


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. Introspection 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 plans on reinventing and restructuring his artistic self. His new pieces are stronger in subject matter and presence. His composition and symbolism is more focused and relevant to his environment. In addition, his approach to the mixing of mediums has reached a higher level of expertise. He has incorporated 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 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 virtual TGIM last Monday night

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.





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 issues call for ‘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



Alliance’s ‘Light Projection Mural’ artists named

The inaugural lineup of artists participating in the Alliance for the Arts’ Light Projection Mural Rotating Exhibit are Pat Collins, Shirley Hales, Sharon Isern, Kelsey Lang, Carolyn Sommers, Alyssa Stoff, Africa Valdez, and Lorraine Weiss.

Artists were asked to produce an 8.5 x 11 inch hand cut stencil depicting various themes such as messages of hope, beauty, the power of the arts in healing, healthcare workers and community. Each artist’s work will be projected for approximately one week from dusk until midnight in a newly developed installation space that is visible to pedestrian and vehicle traffic along McGregor Blvd. The project will continue as part of the Alliance exhibition schedule for the next month, with the projection  artwork beginning at dusk on Monday, May 25.

“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:

  • 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.

Now celebrating its 45th anniversary year, the Alliance for the Arts is a nonprofit community visual and performing arts center located in the heart of Fort Myers, Florida. Since 1975, the Alliance has been committed to transforming lives and improving community through the arts.  For more information, please call 239-939-2787, visit us at, find the Alliance on Facebook (,  Instagram (@AlliancefortheArts) or follow it on Twitter (@ArtInLee).



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.



Virtual TGIM featuring filmmaker Jordan Axelrod on June 8

Join Eric Raddatz tonight (June 1) from 7:00-7:30 p.m. as he celebrates T.G.I.M. with special guest Jordan Axelrod, a Brooklyn-based filmmakers whose work has been featured on Short of the Week and at film festivals across the country, including the Fort Myers Film Festival. His latest documentary, Coach, was invited to play at the Equal Playing Field World Cup Symposium in Lyon, France on the eve of the Women’s World Cup Semifinals in 2019. As an editor, he recently cut a feature length doc for NHK that has since been broadcast nationally in Japan. It has just been released to stream this week.



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.


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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