The Fort Myers Film Festival, in partnership with the Alliance for the Arts, present a screening of the new film Last Stop, Flamingo on Saturday, March 22 at 2PM in the Foulds Theatre at the Alliance. The one hour documentary explores early visions of Florida, from the early 20th-century Koreshan utopian community, to the world’s largest planned subdivision—Golden Gate Estates—which projected a population of more than 400,000 residents. Imagined landscapes give way to mythological creatures, from the Skunk Ape to the mermaids at Weeki Wachi Springs. Before reaching the coastline at Flamingo—one of the last coastal regions of Florida to remain undeveloped upon—Koszulinski stops in Miami to visit his grandfather’s eclectic tropical garden. The garden presents a utopian vision of landscape in the microcosm and intersects with Koszulinski’s own personal histories and memories of Florida. Exactly 500 years after Ponce de Leon’s European discovery of Florida the film reflects on the many ways in which Florida’s landscapes have been irreversibly shaped by human desires. Last Stop, Flamingo is the third and final installment in Koszulinski’s trilogy of Florida-focused films. The previous two, Immokalee U.S.A. (2008) and Cracker Crazy (2007, both received wide acclaim.

Georg Koszulinski is an award-winning filmmaker and educator who has directed more than 25 films, ranging from documentary and narrative features to avant-garde films and videos. The documentary, Cracker Crazy, explores the history of slavery and exploitation in Florida from first European contact to the present day. The film earned numerous festival awards and was nominated for a Notable Video of the Year by the American Library Association. Immokalee U.S.A. documents the experiences of migrant farm laborers working in the U.S.A. and was widely programmed at film festivals and universities. The Documentary Channel acquired both films in 2009.

Space is limited so arrive early to guarantee a seat in the Foulds Theatre at the Alliance. Seating is open and there is a $5 suggested donation at the door. The Fort Myers Film Festival runs March 20-23 with screenings at the Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall, Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center and Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre.  More information is available at

earthwormsThe Alliance GreenMarket will host a free workshop on vermiculture and composting on Saturday, Feb 22 at 10:30AM. Vermiculture is the art and science of using beneficial earthworms the garden. Composting refers to the practice of recycling biomass like kitchen scraps and dead leaves in the garden to optimize production and reduce waste.

The presenter, Ed Wilson, has been gardening in Fort Myers since 1973. He says he enjoys growing vegetables and propagating rare fruit trees and has been a member of the Caloosa Rare Fruit Exchange for more than 20 years.

The Alliance GreenMarket supports efforts to make our area more sustainable through gardening workshops, environmental activities, and active involvement in the community. Its mission is to support local growers, bakers and artisans, and to provide a space for the community to explore different ways to become more sustainable.

The GreenMarket’s Fall & Winter Growing Season Workshop Series continues every 1st and 3rd Saturday of the month through March.

1000 members graphic final_sm

sandi saulsThe 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.

1000 members strong