Art enthusiasts are used to seeing artwork in galleries and shops, but rarely do they get the chance to peak into the other side of the art world: the places where creation occurs. That’s not the case during the Alliance for the Arts’ Second Annual Artists Studio Tour on Saturday, April 13, when guests will have the opportunity to get up close and personal with seven Cape Coral Artists in their studios and homes. This daylong, self-guided tour is an educational, inspirational and FUN way to get to know local artists, while helping to support cultural and educational programming at the same time.

DSC_0226a1The day begins at the Alliance’s 10-acre campus on the corner of McGregor & Colonial in Fort Myers, where ticket holders will enjoy a complimentary breakfast from 10–11AM and get their map to the artists’ studios. While they’re at the Alliance, they can also check out all of the new studios in the Edwards Building on the north end of campus, including the Logan Studio, Gulf Coast Atelier, Studio 201 & Union Artist Studios, all of which will be open.

Participants will then spend the day choosing the order and the amount of time they wish spend at each location on the studio tour. They’ll see a variety of artistic mediums, including painting, fiber, glass, wood & wire work.  This year’s featured artists are:  Paul Adamick, Paula Eckerty, Petra Kaiser, Phil Krym, Shirley Hales, Alicia Schmidt & Rose Young.  They day will conclude at the Cape Coral Arts Studio on Coronado Parkway with an Arty Hour hors d’oeuvres and wine tasting reception from 3-4PM, while several more artists demonstrate silversmithing & stone work!

Don’t miss this fantastic opportunity to watch local artists work in their own spaces and discuss their creative processes. Tickets are $50 and include breakfast, self-guided tour & program and Arty Hour reception. Artists’ Studio Tour sponsorship provided by Whitten Technical and Total Wine & More. Visit the Alliance Facebook page’s photo gallery to see pictures from last year’s tour, which was greatly and attended and warmly received.

Jeff Murphy & Heather Freeman are both digital & mixed media artists with long, successful careers. They are both art professors at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, they are married to each other, and their newest collaborative exhibition Dig & Momma’s Boy opens Friday, March 1 at the Alliance for the Arts with an open reception from 5-7:30PM.

19_Tree_Scab_2010Jeff Murphy has been working with digital media for more than a decade, exploring a wide range of production and publication techniques in a quickly advancing and dynamic field. He has exhibited online in curated exhibits such as @art (the University of Illinois) and Digitally Born (the Alternative Museum, NY), developed interactive multimedia projects for both the Web and CD ROM,  and has also shown works in traditional gallery and museum settings with solo exhibitions at such places as The Mint Museum of Art, The University of Notre Dame, and The University of Colorado. His work has been published in publications including WIRED Magazine, World Art Magazine, and the textbook Exploring Color Photography.  Murphy is currently an Associate Professor of Art at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte where he teaches digital imaging, interactive design, photography, video, and animation.  He received his BFA from the Ohio State University in 1989 and his MFA from the University of Florida in 1995.

05_BottleBottleAxolotl_2010Heather D. Freeman
is Associate Professor of Digital Media at the University of North Carolina – Charlotte where she teaches digital print, animation, video, installation and drawing. She grew up in Skillman, New Jersey and was heavily influenced by her parents’ careers in the sciences. She holds a B.A. in Fine Art and German Studies from Oberlin College and an MFA in Studio Art from Rutgers University.  Freeman has worked as an art director, graphic designer, editor and animator in New York and New Jersey.  She has also taught art, graphic design and visual rhetoric since 2001 at various institutions including the University of Kentucky and Clemson University. Her work is regularly exhibited regionally and nationally and has appeared in international exhibitions in Canada, China, Cuba, Germany, Hungary, New Zealand, Sweden and Thailand.

The opening reception for Dig & Momma’s Boy is Friday, March 1 from 5-7:30pm.  It will remain on display until March 28.  Jeff Murphy & Heather Freeman will hold a Gallery Walk & Talk on Saturday, March 2 from 10-11:00AM.  Young Artists Awards artwork will be on display in the Member Gallery during the exhibit.  Award winning vocalists from the Young Artists Awards will perform live during the reception. Artwork by Jason McDonald will be on display in the Theatre Lobby.

artpoems_logoThe unique and collaborative “ArtPoems” returns to the Alliance for the Arts on Thursday, March 7 at 7:30PM. The trans-media poet and artist project is celebrating its seventh year. A group of 12 visual artists was paired with 12 poets, each receiving inspiration from the other to create new works to be presented on the night of the event. Poets will perform their poems, sonnets, ballads, villanelle and free verse while the paired paintings, sculptures, photography and mixed media artwork are exhibited on stage and on the screen. Local musicians and Dance Alliance will accompany several of the ArtPoems presentations.

This year visual artists Lucas Century (spiritual photography), Lawrence Voytek (sonic sculpture), Alicia Koyanis (fantasies in 3d), Mary Ann Devos (jewelry) and Jan Palmer (photography) will join last year’s collaborating artists, Peg Cullen, Cheryl Fausel, Sheila Hoen, Hollis Jeffcoat, David King, Andi McCarter and J.R. Roberts. New poets j.d. Daniels, Jim Gustafson and Pat Washington will join last year’s poet team of Jim Brock, Dorothy Brooks, Carol Drummond, Sandy Greco, Joseph Pacheco, Marsha Perlman, Sid Simon, Larry Stiles and Lorraine Walker Williams.

The event begins at 7:30PM. It is preceded by a reception at 6:45PM. Tickets are $10 at the door. Visit for more information. The ArtPoems event will also be presented at BIG ARTS on Sanibel on Thursday, February 28 at 7:00PM.

dance allianceDance Alliance, the resident dance company of the Alliance for the Arts, explores life’s physical, spiritual and emotional sojourns on Saturday, March 9 as choreographers share personal stories of healing, friendship and discovery in works ranging from classically inspired to contemporary movement.  “Journeys” will mark the passage of time in “The Four Seasons,” inspired by composer Max Richter’s dramatic new version of Vivaldi’s classic, and celebrate the journey they have taken together in their four years as a dance company.

Dance Alliance welcomes several guest contributors. Cesar Miguel Rivera, formerly of Mexico’s State Classical Ballet Company and founder of the Joven Ballet, introduces his “Where No One Sees You,” a contemporary piece made magic through innovative lighting design.  Dancers will interpret poet Lorraine Walker Williams’ “Healers” and Cypress Lake Middle School’s Ovations Dance Company will perform “Fish Out of Water,” by Dance Alliance’s Lydia Frantz.

“Journeys” will be performed one night only on March 9 at 8PM in the Foulds Theatre at the Alliance.  A $10 donation is requested at the door.

Dance Alliance was founded in summer 2009 by a group of four women who wanted to create more opportunities for adult dancers and increase the prominence of dance in Southwest Florida. The ten-member troupe serves as the resident company for the Lee County Alliance for the Arts and is dedicated to dance education, performance and to inspiring younger dancers to maintain dance as an integral part of their lives.