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Sunday, April 14, 2024 at 1:53 PM

THERE’S NO SHORTAGE OF GREAT PLACES TO SEE AND MAKE GREAT ART

Whether your interest in art is merely passive appreciation or you’re an active participant — you know: clay in the hair, paint on the dog — Southwest Florida offers oodles of adventure in art.
THERE’S NO SHORTAGE OF GREAT PLACES TO SEE AND MAKE GREAT ART
CENTERS FOR THE ARTS BONITA SPRINGS / COURTESY PHOTO

Author: CENTERS FOR THE ARTS BONITA SPRINGS / COURTESY PHOTO

Art organizations throughout the region present homespun exhibitions featuring works by local artists as well as major international traveling shows. They also provide a plethora of single-night or multiweek classes to suit your schedule, skill level and location.
Oh, the places you’ll go!


Alliance for the Arts

See: The alliance offers year-round exhibitions and full art immersion beginning right outside. The 25-foot “Caloosahatchee Water Wall” by artist Michael Singer was installed two years ago along Fort Myers’ McGregor Boulevard as part of the Alliance ArtPark.

Inside, art lovers will find “Feedback Loop” (through Nov. 27), an exhibit for which visual artists Anne Stagg and Laura Tanner pull from their experiences  growing up in the South. Ms. Stagg creates densely layered abstract works, while Ms. Tanner combines invented imagery derived from oral history together with images borrowed from wallpaper patterns, cookbooks and Americana advertisements. Later in the season, all 65,758 square miles of the Sunshine State will be represented in the 37th annual all-Florida exhibit, a juried show covering the gamut of mediums from drawing and painting to metalsmithing, glass, textiles, digital media, video and printmaking. Admission to alliance shows is free, although donations are always welcome.

Do: For budding and experienced artists, the alliance offers one-day and two-week classes throughout the year. Courses cover the basics of drawing, acrylic, oil and watercolor painting as well as alcohol ink, collage and mixed media, larger-than-life watercolor, and monthly “happy little” paintings a la beloved Bob Ross. 

— 10091 McGregor Blvd., Fort Myers
239-939-2787, www.artinlee.org

“Caloosahatchee Water Wall” by Michael Singer, part of Alliance ArtPark
“Caloosahatchee Water Wall” by Michael Singer, part of Alliance ArtPark


The Baker Museum

Work your way to the third floor of this museum on the Artis—Naples campus and don’t be surprised if patrons are lying on the floor. Many say it’s the optimal way to study the prisms of light cascading through the mesmerizing “Persian Seaform,” the permanent ceiling installation by renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly. If you haven’t been to Artis in the past year, go see the recently donated Chihuly “Red Reeds,” an alfresco installation of 145 6- to 10-foot spikelike blown-glass forms in the Norris Garden. With a permanent collection of more than 3,500 pieces, many of them representing 20th and 21st century American and Mexican modern movements, plus a 18,000-square-foot expansion in 2020, the Baker is considered the grand dame of Southwest Florida’s arts scene.
 

See: Ongoing exhibitions include six surrealistic paintings by Belgian artist Rene Magritte that haven’t been viewed publicly for nearly 50 years, and “Dawn’s Forest,” a monumental sculpture by pre-eminent American artist Louise Nevelson that is one of the most iconic works in the museum’s permanent collection. Through the 2022-23 season also see “Extension and Half Sphere,” Jesus Rafael Soto’s outdoor sculpture of aluminum and acrylic that dominates the north lawn.

Limited-run exhibits this season include Ran Hwang’s “Becoming Again” (through Jan. 8). The largest presentation of the Korean artist’s work to date in the Southeastern United States, it showcases her stunning multimedia installation as well as her iconic silhouettes of Buddhas and plum blossoms. “Love Stories” from the National Portrait Gallery in London (Feb. 4-May 7) presents works by Joshua Reynolds, Angelica Kaufmann, Man Ray, David Hockney and others.

The Baker Museum also celebrates the Sunshine State with “Florida Contemporary 2022-23.” The 10th annual exhibition highlights visual artists Edouard Duval-Carrie, Miami; Ya Levy La’ford, Tampa; and Robert Rivers, Maitland (through July 16).

— 5833 Pelican Bay Blvd., Naples
239-597-1111, www.artisnaples.org


BIG ARTS Sanibel

The arts are BIG on Sanibel and Captiva and so, too, is the islands’ main arts venue. BIG ARTS unveiled its newly renovated and expanded performance, gallery and classroom spaces in early 2020, just as COVID reared its ugly head. Two years later, the facility next to Sanibel City Hall is among the few buildings on the island that were not devastated by Hurricane Ian.

Check the website for updates on the 2022-23 season.

— 900 Dunlop Road, Sanibel
239-395-0900, www.bigarts.org

CENTERS FOR THE ARTS BONITA SPRINGS / COURTESY PHOTO
CENTERS FOR THE ARTS BONITA SPRINGS / COURTESY PHOTO


Centers for the Arts Bonita Springs

Do and do some more: With more than 50 different four- and five-week classes and multiple sessions offered each quarter at its two locations, the Centers for the Arts Bonita Springs are the holy grail for aspiring and practiced artists.

This season’s curriculum covers just about every medium, including stone-carving, coiled basketmaking, wax-to-bronze casting, metalworking, mosaics, stained glass and even “extreme functional pottery.” The center hosts single-night events (supplies included, BYOB) in glass and pottery arts, abstract painting, raku, mosaics and offsite glass-blowing. Its syllabus for teens and children is equally impressive with classes in the fine arts, dance and theater.

Some seasoned instructors are so popular, their classes sell out immediately. New classes are continually introduced, including a figure study of everyday people who pose fully clothed — perfect for those who may be a little bashful when confronted with a nude model (hey, it happens). Classes are taught at the Visual Arts Center and the Performing Arts Center; the latter is the venue for in-demand dance classes. Center members save $50 on classes.

See: The center’s exhibit schedule is also packed with plenty of artistic inspiration sans an admission fee. “Noteworthy” (through Dec. 1) is an open call exhibition that highlights a person, place, thing or thought considered noteworthy. Works by master artist and instructor Mary Parkman are also on display through November. “Black and White” (Dec. 9-Jan. 13) is an open call exhibition of works emphasizing texture, line and composition.

The center also hosts Monday Night Movies at the Moe throughout the season, screening documentaries, classics and art films and encouraging thoughtful discussion afterward.

— Visual Arts Center, 26100 Old 41 Road
Performing Arts Center
10150 Bonita Beach Road, Bonita Springs
239-495-8989, www.artcenterbonita.org

CENTERS FOR THE ARTS BONITA SPRINGS / COURTESY PHOTO
CENTERS FOR THE ARTS BONITA SPRINGS / COURTESY PHOTO


Marco Island Center for the Arts

Do: The center offers an impressive array of two- and four-day classes, including more than two dozen dedicated to clay alone, among them: naked raku, totemic sculpture, a hand-building boot camp and throwing (you’ll take home goblets, a teapot or birdhouse with the latter). In addition to painting, drawing, stone sculpting and pastels, the organization offers specialty classes in alcohol ink painting, mosaics, stained glass jewelry and paper quilling, plus themed single-day watercolor workshops for those wanting to master palm trees, seascapes, golf courses and more. There are also monthly online oil painting classes. The annual Festival of Trees takes place Nov. 28-Dec. 1.

See: Exhibits at the center that celebrate Hispanic arts and culture include: a display of ethnic bags by Barbara Parisi (through Jan. 3), “Viva la Ceramica” (Dec. 5-Jan. 3) and a members-only show of works reflecting Dali, Kahlo, Picasso and Rivera (March 6-April 4).

Other exhibitions on tap include “Abstraction” (through Nov. 22), featuring works by Cam Kowalski, Jean Campisano, Terry Carter, Cindy Colligan, Shawn Kelly, Maggie DeMarco, Ginny Mueller, Eric Streeter and Gary Scott Wheeler; works by members of the Pastel Society (Jan. 9-Feb. 28); “The Artist’s Question Answered in Fiber” (May 8-July 3), showcasing works by members of the Southern Art Quilters Association and “Sticks and Stones and 1 Painter” (July 10-Aug. 1), featuring works by Christine Noonan and Corey Craciun.

— 1010 Winterberry Drive, Marco Island
239-394-4221, www.marcoislandart.org


Naples Art

Do: Want to draw monsters and dragons, fairies, gnomes and their homes? Sorry, adults need not apply. Naples Art offers kid-centric classes featuring fantastical themes as well as introductory courses in clay, painting and head/face proportions for youngsters. There are also plenty of multiweek classes for older artists, including drawing, painting, portraiture, paint pouring and pottery wheel throwing as well as sessions delving into color theory and classes for painters interested in mastering Monet and emulating Vermeer. Members receive a $50 discount.

See: Check the website for 2023 exhibitions. Previous exhibits include celebrations of Toulouse-Lautrec and Keith Haring, along with selections from the William Louis-Dreyfus Foundation.

— 585 Park St., Naples
239-262-6517, www.naplesart.org

 

Visual Art Center

Do: The downtown Punta Gorda center offers classes, art socials, open studios for members and children’s programs exploring everything from D-to-P — drawing and pottery, with glass, jewelry, painting and photography in between. VAC members get a discount.

See: “Off the Wall” (Nov. 30-Dec. 29) is a non-juried show with nothing priced higher than $200. “New Beginnings” (Jan. 11-Feb. 9) is a nonthemed exhibit of 2-D and 3-D works. “Call of the Wild” (Feb. 15-March 9) calls for artists’ interpretations of wild (animal or otherwsie). And “Fresh” (March 15-April 25) will showcase artists’ representations of fresh. “New Beginnings,” “Call of the Wild” and “Fresh” are juried shows.

— 210 Maud St., Punta Gorda
941-639-8810, www.visualartcenter.org 

CENTERS FOR THE ARTS BONITA SPRINGS / COURTESY PHOTO
CENTERS FOR THE ARTS BONITA SPRINGS / COURTESY PHOTO

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