he Alliance for the Arts’ February exhibit, Southwest Florida Pastel Show, will feature works from artists of the Southwest Florida Pastel Society. Paula Eckery and Susan Oehl will show in the member galleries. The show runs from Feb. 9 to March 3 at the Alliance for the Arts, 10091 McGregor Blvd. Fort Myers, FL 33919.

Founded on the leading edge of a resurgence of interest in the soft pastel medium, the Southwest Florida Pastel Society (SWFPS) was established in January 2003. Pastels are best known for their superior quality of color and light achieved through the use of pure pigment with reflective qualities not found in other mediums.

An organization representing more than 95 active pastel artists of all skill levels, SWFPS has expanded to include national as well as southwest Florida residents.

The opening reception will be held on Feb. 9 from 5 – 7 p.m. and is open to the public. A conversational walk and talk with the exhibiting artists will be held on Feb. 10 at 6 p.m. during SoCo Second Saturday. Admission to the gallery is free, but a $5 suggested donation helps keep arts programming accessible The gallery is open to the public Monday – Friday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and on Saturdays fr

Storyteller Bil Lepp returns to southwest Florida on Feb. 24 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. at the Alliance for the Arts located 10091 McGregor Blvd. Fort Myers FL 33919. Tickets are $20 for Alliance members or $25 for non-members. His matinee and evening performances will be full of outrageous, humorous tall-tales and witty stories for listeners from all walks of life.

Bil Lepp is a nationally renowned storyteller and five time champion of the West Virginia Liars’ Contest. Lepp is the author of six books and sixteen audio collections. His first children’s book, The King of Little Things, won the PEN Steven Kroll Award for Picture Book Writing, received a Kirkus Starred review, and favorable reviews from The Wall Street Journal, Publishers Weekly, The School Library Journal and other publications. It also won the Zena Sutherland Award, the Parent’s Choice Gold Award, was a finalist for the Irma Black Award, and was chosen to be West Virginia’s book at the National Book Festival.

“Lepp is a side-splittingly funny man.” — The Smithsonian Center for Folk Life

An exclusive workshop, “Storytelling: Expanding the Idea (Ages 16+),” will take place on Feb. 23 from 6 – 8 p.m. Lepp will share ways to combine several stories or snippets of varying length, and often diverse subject matter, into one relatively coherent, interlocking piece. This allows the teller to tell several short stories within the body of a larger tale without all the stops and starts. The workshop is $15 for Alliance members or $20 for non-members.

 

These events are sponsored by Briers CPA.

The Alliance for the Arts offers special extended hours during SoCo Second Saturday on Feb. 10. The evening features a conversational walk and talk with exhibiting artists from its February Southwest Florida Pastel Show and a performance of Gidion’s Knot by Johnna Adams.

Join exhibiting artists in the gallery at 6 p.m. for a conversational walk and talk  as they discuss their works and inspirations. This exhibit features some of the best pastel artists in southwest Florida. Founded on the leading edge of a resurgence of interest in the soft pastel medium, the Southwest Florida Pastel Society was established in January 2003. Pastels are best known for their superior quality of color and light achieved through the use of pure pigment with reflective qualities not found in other mediums.

Admission to the gallery is free, but a suggested $10 family donation helps the Alliance continue offering affordable and accessible programming. Donations may be made onsite the event or in advance at ArtInLee.org/Donate.

Gidion’s Knot by Johnna Adams on begins at 8 p.m. in the theatre. Amidst the fallout from her 5th grade son’s suspension from school, a mother demands answers. What begins as a highly charged parent/teacher conference with Gidion’s reticent teacher soon develops into a revelatory confrontation. A thought-provoking exploration that keeps us guessing about where to lay blame when children go astray. A suspenseful drama that is as elegant as it is chilling.

The production stars Sonya McCarter as Corryn Fell and Lauren Drexler as Heather Clark. Gidion’s Knot is directed by Rachel Endrizzi and with assistant director Sima Robbins.

There is no intermission. Individual tickets to each show are $25, $11 for students or $22 for Alliance members.

To learn more about this event, visit www.ArtInLee.or/SoCo or call 239-939-2787.

About SoCo Second Saturday

SoCo Second Saturday is a burgeoning partnership of arts, cultural and business organizations bordered by Colonial and McGregor boulevards. SoCo, which is short for “south of Colonial,” was originally introduced in the 1990s as a bohemian village of upcoming artists. Today, SoCo is being reestablished as the southwest Florida’s newest arts and cultural district and features scheduled performances, talks, short plays, open houses, artist demonstrations, gallery openings, wine tastings and other activities the second Saturday of each month.

Participating venues include:

  • Alliance for the Arts
  • Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre
  • Catch 22 Sports Bar
  • DAAS CO-OP Art Gallery & Gifts
  • The Union Artist Studios at the Art Loft
  • Ocasiocasa at the Art Loft
  • Luciano Deandrade’s Studio Os Urbanos
  • City of Palms Studio
  • DM Paper & Designs
  • Suzanne’s Dance Fitness
  • A Swedish Affair

Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance for the Arts presents Gidion’s Knot by Johnna Adams Feb. 8 – 18 at 10091 McGregor Blvd. Fort Myers, FL. The production stars Sonya McCarter as Corryn Fell and Lauren Drexler as Heather Clark. Gidion’s Knot is directed by Rachael Endrizzi and with assistant director Sima Robbins. Gidion’s Knot takes place in true time — the play takes 90 minutes, so does this remarkable parent-teacher conference.

Amidst the fallout from her 5th grade son’s suspension from school, a mother demands answers. What begins as a highly charged parent/teacher conference with Gidion’s reticent teacher soon develops into a revelatory confrontation that burrows under the surface of bullying, failures of the education system, and freedom of expression.

“I am thrilled to work on such a female-driven project,” says Endrizzi in a director’s note. “This play is written by a female playwright Johnna Adams, stars two amazing female actresses playing two strong, well-developed characters and is directed, assistant directed and stage managed by females.”

“I am fascinated at Ms. Adams ability to layer so much power, emotion, suspense and subtext into so few words,” says Endrizzi. “The play itself is short, but loaded with so many thought provoking questions. The script eloquently addresses the issues of guilt, artistic censorship, and maternal loyalty set against the backdrop of today’s education system.”

There is no intermission. Individual tickets to each show are $25, $11 for students or $22 for Alliance members. Performances run February 8-10 and 15-17 at 8 p.m. and February 11 and 18 at 2 p.m.

What the Critics Say:

“…resonant…[a] particularly eloquent study of people caught between the competing demands of reason, morality and family…harrowing…a narrative that is as elegant as it is chilling.” —Washington Post

“…a riveting, explosive drama.” – Chicago Critic

“Gidion’s Knot is is as sad as life itself, and as funny and startling as well…a beautiful, disturbing story.” —DCTheatreScene.com

About Lauren Drexler

Lauren Drexler was most recently seen in 33 VARIATIONS and KAYAK.  Lauren has long created memorable roles in Theatre Conspiracy’s new plays and world premieres, including Becoming Eleanor, The Dunes, Here Lie the Demons, and Virgin Tears on Wyoming Avenue. Among her other favorite productions are The Kathy & Mo Show, Medea, Romance in D, Romantic Fools, No Exit, Dancing at Lughnasa, Frankie & Johnnie at the Clair de Lune, and The Eight: Reindeer Monologues.

About Sonya McCarter

Sonya McCarter is a native of Fort Myers and the Community Engagement Coordinator at the Alliance for the Arts.  Sonya’s directing credits include The Bluest Eye, Seven Guitars and Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom. Sonya has been seen performing locally in For Colored Girls (Theatre Conspiracy), Good People (Naples Players), and Doubt, A Parable (Naples Players).

About Rachael Endrizzi (Director)

Endrizzi is thrilled to return to Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance for the Arts with this show and this cast. Previous Theatre Conspiracy directing credits include: 33 Variations, The Bible: Complete Word of God (Abridged), Red Herring, Mr. Burns, The Complete Works of Shakespeare (Abridged), All the Great Books (Abridged) and Shipwrecked!. Rachael has also been on the Theatre Conspiracy stage as an actor in Almost, Maine, First Time, Love Loves a Pornographer and others. She is a graduate of the American Musical & Dramatic Academy in NYC and the former Education Director for Florida Repertory Theatre. Currently, she works as an actor and director throughout the Southeast and resides outside Cleveland, OH where she has opened her own company, Spark Theatre.

About Sima Robbins (Assistant Director)

Robbins could not have chosen a better play, director, cast and theater than Gidion’s Knot to get her feet wet in Fort Myers.  In Pennsylvania, she performed in community theater, and as an English and Theater teacher, she directed many high school plays, including Don’t Drink the Water, Enter Laughing, Dracula, and JB. When she relocated to Delaware, she performed in and directed several community theater productions, including You Know I Can’t Hear You When the Water’s Running, Talking With, and Hold Me, a cutting of which went on to the state one act play festival to win her the director’s award.  In the early 90s, she transitioned from writing fiction and poetry to playwriting.  Then, as associate creative director for First Stage Theater Company, she joined with her mentor, playwright and novelist, Drury Pifer, in directing the premiere of his play Strindberg in Hollywood, which was then produced at Woolly Mammoth Theater Company in D.C. before being picked up in Norway, England, and Germany. First Stage also produced two of her plays, Man Imperfect and Athena at the Rittenhouse, in various venues throughout Delaware. She and her husband Gary are active in the Pachamama Alliance of Southwest Florida and feel fortunate to have relocated to Fort Myers, for its warm weather, wonderful beaches, welcoming people, and wide array of quality live theater. Their 20-year old cat, Zen, seems quite content as well.

The Alliance for the Arts is bringing the Stardust Memories Big Band to its amphitheater stage for an outdoor concert on Feb. 13 at 7 p.m. While the concert is open to the general public, a $10 donation per person is suggested to help keep Alliance programming affordable and accessible.

Coolers, blankets and lawn chairs are encouraged as concert-goers enjoy some of the greatest hits of Glenn Miller, Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Duke Ellington, Count Basie, Tommy Dorsey and many, many more.

The Stardust Memories Big Band is a professional 17 piece jazz ensemble led by Craig Christman.  A significant part of its mission is to support the development of young, aspiring musicians from the local southwest Florida area.