On Friday, the Individual Artist Grant Recipients Exhibition opened at the Alliance for the Arts. The exhibition includes 55 works of art by 29 different artists in media ranging from oil on canvas and panel, acrylic on canvas and wood, mixed media, collage, watercolor, charcoal, mixed tricolor pencil, fused glass, photography and digital photography on die-infused metal to wood and fiber.
Each of the artists exhibiting work in the show received a grant from the City of Fort Myers in 2012. The City of Fort Myers has long recognized the importance of the arts to the cultural, educational, and economic well-being of its diverse and growing population, and has been supporting the arts and cultural organizations since 1990.
In 2004, Mayor James T. Humphrey, with the approval and support of the City Council, established the Fort Myers Public Art Committee and the Art and Cultural Grant Program to formally recognize this long-standing policy of support.
The City’s investment in the arts has been handsomely repaid. A study released last year by the Americans for the Arts revealed that in 2010 alone, Lee County’s nonprofit arts and cultural organizations contributed more than $68 million to the local economy and supported in excess of 2,000 full-time jobs. In addition, the exhibitions and events they put on attracted more than 500,000 out-of-towners. The Lee County Visitors and Convention Bureau paid homage to the contribution the arts make in attracting cultural tourists and other visitors by featuring seven plein air artists in the Team Tourism Travel Rally Day it held at the river basin just prior to the opening of the Individual Artist Grant Exhibition.
Individual Artist Grants help Fort Myers’ emerging and established artists develop their wide-ranging talents. To foster their continued growth and contributions to the community, the Public Art Committee annually reviews applications and selects grant recipients based on artistic merit, community outreach and the educational value for Fort Myers residents.
“The artists displaying their work demonstrate a wide range of style, technique and purpose,” notes Public Art Committee Chair Ava Roeder, who conducted a walking tour of the show on Saturday morning. “Impressive are the large format works of art that explore movement and pure design, convey social messages and illustrate the Atelier representational study of anatomy.”
Also notable are the artists who use natural materials such as wood and soft fibers, thereby conveying an earthly aura to viewers. “The combination of found objects, cast wax, metals and plexiglass, the twisting and meandering of recycled plastics, the textural effects created by manipulation of paint, and the use of new technological processes reveal the creative impulse of artistic representation,” notes the syllabus for the show.
Special thanks go to Mayor Randy Henderson, City Manager Billy Mitchell, Councilman Mike Flanders, Councilwoman Teresa Watkins Brown, Councilman Levon Simms, Councilman Johnny Streets, Councilman Tom Leonardo and Councilman Forest Banks for their continued support of the Arts and Cultural Grants program.
The exhibit runs through May 25, and artwork by members of the Pan American Alliance for Art, Culture & Industry will be on display in the Member Gallery throughout the exhibit.
The Alliance for the Arts proudly supports artists and arts organizations in our area as the state designated Local Arts Agency for Lee County. The Alliance for the Arts galleries and gift shop are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 1:00 on Saturdays.
The Alliance is located at 10091 McGregor Boulevard, just south of Colonial Boulevard. To become a member, please visit http://www.artinlee.org/JoinUs/membership.html or telephone 239-939-2787.