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Spotlight on Biennial Grant Recipient visual artist Roland Ruocco


Roland Ruocco is one of five visual artists who is exhibiting work in the City of Fort Myers 2024 Biennial Grant Recipient Show on view in the main gallery of the Alliance for the Arts in the months of May. He has a number of works on display, but at the exhibition’s opening night reception, it was his depiction of former President Donald J. Trump surrounded by some two dozen political figures that drew the greatest attention. Part of the fun for viewers is seeing how many of the people included in the painting they can name.

Ruocco is a realist painter whose work has been influenced by comic book illustration, graffiti and old masters from the Romantic period. Since relocating to Southwest Florida in 2018 and joining the Fort Myers Mural Society, Ruocco has added public art mural projects to his fine art pursuits, completing to date more than thirty mural projects in Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Bokeelia, Pine Island and Estero. Among the most notable are the large “Gesturing Hand,” “Dunbar Strong,” “Captain CJ Fishing Boat,” “City of Cape Coral Tribute” and several panels of the Buck’s Backyard Mural at historic McCollum Hall in the Dunbar neighborhood of Fort Myers.

A Brooklyn native, Ruocco attended The High School of Art and Design in Manhattan followed by the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. After moving to South Florida, Roland established a working studio in Lauderdale by the Sea in 2001 and an open studio in Miami’s Wynwood Art District in 2010.  At Wynwood, Ruocco took an active role in the vibrant neighborhood art scene, which included Art Basel each December.

On the East Coast of Florida, Ruocco has exhibited at Miami Art Basel in 2023, in three shows at Rolando Barrero’s Box Gallery in West Palm Beach (2022, 2018), Art Spectrum (where he exhibited paintings from his Sub Tropic series), Art Fest in West Palm Beach, RW Art Gallery in Miami (2015 & 2016) and LED-illuminated wall sculptures at Art Palm Beach at the Palm Beach Convention Center in both 2013 and 2015 as well as the biennial International Kinetic Art Exhibition in Boynton Beach, FL (where he displayed his LED, audio/video driven machines Digital Deity and Silicone Oracle. In addition, Roland received a Broward County, FL Cultural Division grant in 2013 to fund his Earth Counterpart Exhibition, an interactive exploration of a virtual Earth-like planet visualized through highly-detailed digitally-rendered terrain and weather maps with theoretical scientific data, together with large paintings depicting planetary conditions of various locations.

Ruocco is a 2022 and 2023 City of Fort Myers Arts & Culture-Grant recipient and participated in group shows at the Sidney and Bern Davis Art Center in 2018 and 2019. His Southwest Florida studio serves as home for the New Light Foundation, Inc., a nonprofit 501(c)(3) charitable organization where Ruocco and his wife, artist Wendy White, conduct grant driven art based community outreach programs.

For more and to see examples of his body of work, please visit


Artist Statement

“I convey my perception of the world around me through artworks that involve diverse subject matter, artistic styles and media. Sometimes, depending on my mood and inspiration, identifying problems and offering solutions, other times, focusing on the beauty of nature, or perhaps industrial design. For example, my “Sub Tropic” series of paintings are an expression of the natural beauty of South Florida’s light, form, and color . My “Modern Times” series speaks of provocative social and political issues often through satire, while the “New Earth” series of artworks describes creating heaven on earth by achieving a state of higher consciousness, or, travel with me to “Earth Counterpart” a virtual world that I describe through, detailed maps, paintings, and drawings.”

You can see the City of Fort Myers 2024 Biennial Grant Recipient Show and Roland Rucco’s Donald J. Trump painting at the Alliance for the Arts through June 1st.

April 12, 2024; updated May 8, 2024.

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