The Alliance for the Arts Youth Theatre is proud to announce its 2017-2018 Season, which includes beloved classics and comedic favorites such as Heathers, Junie B. Jones, Freckleface Strawberry, Spamalot and Almost, Maine. Performances are Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Sundays at 3 p.m. Seating is general admission and ticket prices range from $10-$20.

“I believe the arts inspire a sense of purpose in children that follows them as they grow up,” says youth theatre director Carmen Crussard. “I understand the importance of math and science and other subjects that promote industry. But the arts promote humanity, kindness, and relationships. This is where kids learn how to be team players, problem solvers, a collaborators and good friends.”

Auditions for Heathers and Junie B. Jones are Aug. 26 with callbacks on Aug. 31. Heathers is open to performers in 9th grade or older (age 14 and older). Be advised that this show contains controversial themes that may not be suitable for some families. A permission slip is required for each auditioner. Junie B. Jones is open to performers in 3rd through 8th grade. Spring audition information will be released late 2017.

2017 Fall Productions Include:

Almost, Maine by John Cariani
Performances are Sept. 15 & 16 at 8 p.m. and Sept. 17 at 3 p.m.

On a cold, clear, moonless night in the middle of winter, all is not quite what it seems in the remote, mythical town of Almost, Maine. As the northern lights hover in the star-filled sky above, Almost’s residents find themselves falling in and out of love in unexpected and often hilarious ways. Knees are bruised. Hearts are broken. But the bruises heal, and the hearts mend—almost—in this delightful midwinter night’s dream. The play, a series of nine vignettes about love, is knee-deep in whimsy.

Heathers the Musical (High School Edition) by Laurence O’Keefe and Kevin Murphy
Performances are Dec. 8 at 8 p.m., Dec. 9 at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. and 10 at 3 p.m.

Based on the classic 1989 film, Westerberg High is ruled by a shoulder-padded, scrunchie-wearing junta: Heather, Heather, and Heather, the most powerful and ruthless clique in all of Ohio. But misfit Veronica Sawyer rejects their evil regime for a new boyfriend, the dark and sexy stranger J.D., who plans to put the Heathers in their place – six feet under.

Junie B. Jones by Marcy Heisler and Zina Goldrich
Performances are December 1 at 8 p.m., Dec. 2 at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. and Dec. 3 at 3 p.m.

It’s Junie B.’s first day of first grade, and a lot of things have changed for her: Junie’s friend, Lucille, doesn’t want to be her best pal anymore and, on the bus, Junie B. makes friends with Herb, the new kid at school. Also, Junie has trouble reading the blackboard and her teacher, Mr. Scary, thinks she may need glasses. Throw in a friendly cafeteria lady, a kickball tournament and a “Top-Secret Personal Beeswax Journal,” and first grade has never been more exciting.

2018 Spring Productions Include:

Freckleface Strawberry by Julianne Moore

Performances are April 13 at 8 p.m., April 14 at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. and April 15 at 3 p.m.

Freckleface Strawberry will do anything to get rid of her freckles – from scrubbing them with soap to caking on makeup… and even wearing a ski mask to school! Will her schoolmates realize that it’s her under the mask? Will Freckleface be brave enough to finally face her complexion in the mirror? With the help of her loveable schoolmates, including an amazingly talented ballerina, a cutie jock, a charming ditz and a totally kooky teacher, Freckleface learns that everyone is different – and that’s what makes everyone special.

Spamalot School Edition by Eric Idle and John Du Prez

Performances are April 20 at 8 p.m., April 21 at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. and April 22 at 3 p.m.

England 932 A.D. A Kingdom divided. To the West the Anglo-Saxons, to the East the French. Above nothing but Celts and some people from Scotland. In Gwynned, Powys, and Dyfed – Plague. In the kingdoms of Wessex, Sussex, Essex and Kent – Plague. In Mercia and the two Anglias – Plague. With a 50% chance of pestilence and famine coming out of the Northeast at twelve miles per hour. Legend tells us of an extraordinary leader, who arose from the chaos, to unite a troubled kingdom. A man with a vision who gathered Knights together in a Holy Quest. This man was Arthur, King of the Britons. For this was England!

The Alliance for the Arts is seeking artists to submit their work to Fired Up: A Juried Exhibit.  The exhibit will feature works inspired by fire or in some way use flames and heat in their creation, including ceramics, glass and welded pieces.

An entry may consist of 1 to 3 artworks. All entries must be submitted online no later than Aug. 12. Artists can download the prospectus and submit work at

This year’s juror is Lee Brotherton. Lee’s fine arts career included serving as an elementary art teacher, art museum work, art gallery manager and sales consultant. During this time, she constantly dreamt of being a full-time artist. In her free time she continued to work in the arts, especially with clay.

Brotherton has over 20 years of creating, marketing and selling pottery recreations and original sculpture and paintings. Her sculptures are in private, corporate and museum collections throughout the world.

The opening celebration will be held on Sept. 8 from 5 – 7 p.m. Brotherton will be on hand to present awards including $300 for Best In Show, $125 for second place and $75 for third place. Meet exhibiting artists and juror Lee Brotherton during a conversational walk and talk as they discuss their works on Sept. 9 at 6 p.m. during SoCo Second Saturday Art Crawl. This exhibit runs until Sept. 30.

FREE urban farming workshops

The Alliance for the Arts GreenMarket will host free backyard farming workshops every Saturday morning in June and July at 10:30 a.m. Workshops will cover topics about food security, backyard vegetable gardening, cheese making, pickling and canning, backyard beekeeping and seed saving.

This year’s workshop series is titled “When the Shelves Go Bare” and deals with increased concerns about a potential future food shortage. Presenters include organic farmers, master gardeners, artisans and business owners, either a local or a transplant from places as diverse as Cuba, Switzerland, Russia or Brazil.

Although workshops are free, small donations are welcomed. The Alliance for the Arts GreenMarket strives to support local growers, bakers and artisans. There will be a Q&A session following each presentation. The goal is for participants to walk away with basic knowledge of a given topic, and the resources and contacts to learn more, in order to put these skills to good use within our community.

The Alliance for the Arts GreenMarket supports local growers, bakers and artisans every Saturday morning in Fort Myers

While this year’s workshops have focused on a bare shelves scenario to impart a sense of urgency, the GreenMarket has been introducing residents to sustainable practices through free summer workshops for eight years, as a hobby, and a healthy activity as a way to reduce our carbon footprint and have a lesser impact on the environment. This June and July, the presentations will focus on strategies to produce the most nutritious food in the least space, as well as processing and preserving it. Local growers currently at the market include SOL Urban Farm, Green Paradise Eco Farm, Brittain Farms, Pine Manor Community Garden and The Unruly Gardener.

“Having grown up in America, most of us almost take plentiful, affordable supply of food for granted,” says organic farmer and GreenMarket Manager Santiago De Choch. “Lulled into complacency by decades of remarkable stability, we have lost touch with the knowledge of the backyard gardener, the beekeeper, the cheesemaker. However, those are useful skills to have when one is going through personal financial hard times, or the shelves go bare for any reason.”

What: “When the Shelves Go Bare” – urban farming workshops
When: Every Saturday morning in June and July at 10:30 a.m.
Where: Alliance for the Arts GreenMarket, 10091 McGregor Blvd, Ft Myers FL 33919
Cost: Free

Saturday, June 3 at 10 a.m.
Bare Shelves and What to Do About It presented by Santiago De Choch – local farmer, world traveler, GreenMarket manager

Saturday, June 10 at 10:30 a.m.
Healthy Soil, Abundant Crop presented by Alex Perez, who sold his landscaping business in Miami to move to southwest Florida and farm organically

Saturday, June 17 at 10:30 a.m.
Propagating the Future: Seed Saving in the 21st Century presented by Millisa Bell, homestead farmer and organic gardener

Tatiana Logvinova

Saturday, June 24 at 10:30 a.m.
Growing Medicinal Herbs presented by Tatiana Logvinova, from Russia to Cuba to southwest Florida, a lifetime of loving nature

Saturday, July 1 at 10:30 a.m.
Growing Edible Mushrooms Indoors presented by Ken Ryan, award winning specialty grower and business owner

Saturday, July 8 at 10:30 a.m.
Pickling and Canning presented by Robert Pascuzzi, restaurant owner, executive chef and pitmaster

Saturday, July 15 at 10:30 a.m.
Raising Small Animals for Eggs & Meat presented by Millisa Bell, homestead farmer and organic gardener

Saturday, July 22 at 10:30 a.m.
An Introduction to Cheese Making presented by Caroline Hostettler, cheese connoisseur, business owner and world traveler

Saturday, July 29 at 10:30 a.m.
Backyard Beekeeping presented by Claudia Silveira, beekeeper, environmentalist and candlemaker

Two is Company Three a Crowd by Nancy Terrell

The Alliance for the Arts June exhibition, All Florida, will exhibit from June 2 until June 30 with an opening reception on June 2 from 5 – 7 p.m. This exhibition features pieces created by artists working in a wide variety of media from all over the state of Florida. The juried entries come together for an exciting exhibition representing today’s Florida artists.

“It’s exciting to host artists from across all the pockets of Florida,” says exhibitions coordinator Krista Johnson. “The submissions truly showcase the breadth and creative talent of Florida’s independent artists.”

This year’s juror is Kimberly Riner. Riner is the visual arts director at the Averitt Center for the Arts in Georgia. She received her Master of Fine Art from Georgia Southern University in 3D art with an emphasis in ceramics. Riner has held faculty positions at Georgia Southern University and Ogeechee Technical College. Her artwork has been exhibited both nationally and internationally and is held in private collections. Reiner previously exhibited at the Alliance for the Arts in January’s Changing States exhibition.

“It was an honor to select artwork to represent All Florida artists,” says Riner. “With almost 400 pieces to choose from, this was a difficult task. I feel confident that the exhibition consists of a great representation of different media, while showcasing high caliber artwork.”

From 392 entries, 37 artists and 46 pieces were selected by the juror. Artists include: Adriana Flores, Anna Rac, Betsy DJamoos, Buck Ward, Carla Wormington Messerli, Daniel Venditti, David Belling, Deborah Martin, Ed Takacs, Grayson Stoff, J.T. Phillippe, Janet George, Jim Stewart, JoAnn LaPadula, Joanna Coke, Joel Shapses, John O’Brien, Jose Pardo, Katy Danca Galli, Marc Harris, Mary Klunk, Mary Voytek, Melissa Miller Nece, Mike Kiniry, Muffy Clark Gill, Nancy Terrell, Penelope Breen, Roger Sherman, Sherry Rohl, Simon Huebler, Stephen Bufter, Steve Conley, Sue Higgins, Susanne Brown, Terry Lynn Spry, Tracy Owen-Cullimore and Whit Robbins.

Maritime Northwest by Steve Conley

All Florida is sponsored in part by Elemental Stone and Waterworks.

The opening celebration will be June 2 from 5 – 7 p.m. Riner will be on hand to present awards including $1,000 cash for Best In Show, a 2nd place $250 gift certificate for Golden Artists Colors, $100 cash for 3rd place and Jurors Choice Award(s) of Alliance for the Arts membership(s). There will be a conversational gallery walk and talk with the juror Saturday, June 3 at 10 a.m. Hope to see you there!

The Alliance for the Arts, in partnership with Family Initiative Inc., continues weekly art classes for young artists with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) this summer with three different sessions. The program, ArtPlay, is designed to engage children with ASD in the arts while focusing on identity development, self-awareness, self-esteem, social communication and building positive coping skills.  The project is supported by Suncoast Credit Union, Cape Coral Community Foundation, and the Sylvia Meisenberg Trust.

“We are proud to partner with our friends at Family Initiative to expand art opportunities and promote mental and emotional growth for young artists with autism,” says Alliance for the Arts executive director Lydia Black.  “Through the creative process, we allow people to explore and express themselves while building valuable life skills.”

ArtPlay classes, designed for young artists under 18, are taught by a certified art therapist and supported by an Accredited Behavioral Analyst.

“We are thrilled to collaborate with the Alliance for the Arts to offer this program for children on the autism spectrum,” says Family Initiative Inc. president David Brown. “This program offers a unique opportunity that would otherwise not be available for children with autism in southwest Florida to develop friendships and engage in creative fun activities in a supportive environment.”

ArtPlay classes are Thursdays from 4:30 – 6 p.m.

  • Session one runs June 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29
  • Session two runs July 6, 13, 20 and 27
  • Session three runs August 3, 10, 17 and 24

The cost is $10 per class, which includes art supplies. Pre-registration is required. Students must respond to verbal direction, independently toilet, and not require one-on-one supervision.