The Alliance for the Arts is celebrating a major milestone this month — reaching 1000 Members for the first time in its nearly 40 year existence! Thousands of people have been Alliance members over the decades, but never all at once and the staff and Board couldn’t be prouder of the achievement. Alliance Board President Pamela Beckman says “This milestone drives home the fact that families and businesses ‘get’ the value that the arts bring to our culture and comprehend how it elevates the quality of life in our community.” As a member-driven non-profit organization, the Alliance connects people to their community and to the many forms of art that enriches Southwest Florida.
An art-centric gathering place, on the corner of McGregor & Colonial in Fort Myers, the Alliance presents a diverse range of programming on its campus including monthly exhibits, concerts, festivals, plays, poetry readings, movies, book clubs as well as a weekly GreenMarket. The Alliance offers more than 50 classes and workshops annually for adults and youth. There are conventional visual arts classes in drawing and painting and a wide variety of other options from photography and music lessons to weaving and yoga.
Advocacy for the arts plays a crucial role in the Alliance’s fulfillment of its cultural mission. The 2011 Arts & Economic Prosperity Study, which would not have occurred but for Alliance staff, showed that Lee County’s non-profit arts organizations created more than 2,000 jobs and generated more than $68 million dollars in economic activity in 2010. The study’s results have changed the conversation from the arts as entertainment to the arts as a substantially contributing force to a healthy economy. Alliance members and arts patrons, Robert & Anne Arnall, understand that and say “The Alliance is a significant contributor to the quality of life in our community and its continued expansion is important to the economic and social growth of the area.” From an advocacy perspective, the Alliance succeeds when it can act as the catalyst for these types of conversations about the arts. And an ever-expanding membership base is crucial to the continued delivery of the Alliance’s message about the impact of the arts on our local community.
The Alliance staff, Board, and countless volunteers truly believe that succeeding in their mission to enrich lives through art creates a better Southwest Florida for everyone. Benefits of membership include discounts on classes and workshops, summer camp, event tickets, gift shop purchases and member-only events. Alliance volunteer Sandra Stone says membership benefits are great, but that for her it’s really about forging new relationships. “You meet the most interesting and exciting people in Southwest Florida at the Alliance. It is a place where real connections are made and a real sense of community is being formed.”
The Alliance simply could not do it without the support of its 1000+ members.