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Spotlight on visual artist Carolyn Gora’s exhibit in Theatre Lobby Gallery during Biennial Show


Carolyn Gora’s Birds of Paradise from Paradise is on view in the Theatre Lobby outside the Foulds Theatre at the Alliance through June 1st. The collection is technically not part of the City of Fort Myers 2024 Biennial Grant Recipient Show. Carolyn was not a grant recipient in either 2022 or 2023. But she is a long-standing member and past Chair of the City’s Public Art Committee. So there is that nexus or connection.

But Birds of Paradise from Paradise stands on its own. The whimsical series draws the eye, and a smile. You can almost hear her Birds of Paradise chittering and chirping from their perches in her paintings. No matter their mood when they enter the exhibit, viewers are sure to leave the space uplifted, upbeat and energized. There’s a good chance you’ll feel that way just from the photos embedded in this story.

Originally, the idea for Birds of Paradise from Paradise came from the birds of paradise in the yard outside her home. After being dormant for years, they finally came into bloom. Staring at the plants’ exotic, crested, iridescent orange-and-blue flowers, images of colorful birds in flight popped into the artist’s mind. Seizing on the flowers’ similarity to tropical birds, Carolyn created bird of paradise characters to illustrate clever sayings that mention birds, birds of paradise and gardens. All the plants in Gora’s paintings are plants found in Florida, with most actually coming from her garden.

The colors in Gora’s paintings are bright and colorful, very Floridian. Her birds are painted in watercolors and tempera paint. Her Birds in Paradise from Paradise are intended to be fun, wistful and make viewers smile.

Carolyn is a native Floridian and has lived in Fort Myers since 1977. She raised two wonderful, creative daughters, helped her late husband, Bruce, open an architectural firm, and taught art for a total of 30 years in local elementaries, middle schools, high school, USF, FGCU and ECC(FSW).

Carolyn’s artistic endeavors include designing jewelry (and teaching Jewelry Design classes at ECC for 5 years) and fused glass (which she taught at a National Art Education Conference). Currently she works in many mediums including fiber (embroidery and embroidery) and glass lamp work.

Carolyn Gora’s Birds of Paradise from Paradise paintings will be on display along with the entire City of Fort Myers Biennial Grant Recipient Show at the Alliance for the Arts through June 1st.

April 17, 2024; updated May 9, 2024.

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