Saturday, July 6, 2013

After the Fireworks, a Night of Culture is just the Ticket

Ira Nason's painting done in Epoxy
Friday night was “Art Walk” in downtown Fort Myers. The rain had been beating down over dinner, but we were able to walk around a bit afterward.

Crowds were sparse, so shopping was a snap. The galleries were more inhabited, but far from their usual bustle of buyers and onlookers. A brave artist sat outside and painted a street scene plein air from under a protective awning.

I purchased a pen for my son’s birthday made from a piece of walnut that was once firewood. I had given his brother a pen made from an old fence post. Conversation pieces, I call them; or is it conservation? Polished wood salvaged by an artist and made into something else is a grand idea, at any rate!

In Arts for ACT, a gallery that uses art to raise funds for abused women and children, a storybook theme decorated the plaster walls: princes and princesses, dungeons and dragons, make-believe characters in fanciful scenes, a splash of glitter and pizazz glistening from paint and collage.

Wine and beverages were on sale for $1.00 encouraging customers to linger as they nursed their drinks. Alcohol on the streets is prohibited. Restaurants were filling up as the rain abated. Outdoor tables allowed drinking outside, but only if you stayed within the bounds of the restaurant of purchase. The tipsy require a tug and a pull from friends to keep them in compliance.

I don’t know if any art was sold, but I do know that the people who participated had a good time. The fact that art can bring people together is a good thing. The Art Council of Southwest Florida, a cooperative Art Gallery, had their opening reception for July on the same night. It is not unusual for several paintings to be sold over a glass of wine.

Night Lights
The Fort Myers Art League on Monroe Street is under repair for improvements and updating. They received another two year contract with the City of Fort Myers, and will be ready to roll by the next Art Walk on August 2nd

Southwest Florida is a thriving art community, not just in the winter time (We call winter “Season.”).  Theater, symphony, concerts, and clubs provide a rich array of culture and fun that draws fine restaurants to the area.

I live here year round and find the hot humid summers are a small price to pay for the freedom from ice, snow and blowing cold that requires shoveling. Our winters are the  coup de grâce of Tropical living and deserve the title: “Paradise.”