The Alliance for the Arts April exhibition, The Future of Art: Student Exhibits, will be on display from April 3 – April 26 at 10091 McGregor Blvd. Fort Myers, FL. This is the 27th year the Alliance has partnered with Lee Arts Educators Association (LAEA) to display student work in a formal exhibit. The show features more than 40 schools and hundreds of works in a variety of mediums.

The elementary and middle school students opening reception will be on April 3 from 5 – 7 p.m. and the show will remain on display until April 12. High school works will be exhibited with a second opening reception on April 17 from 5 – 7 p.m. and will remain on display until April 26. Winners will be selected in several categories and Best in Show will be rewarded. Pizza for the high school reception will be provided by Downtown House of Pizza in Fort Myers.

LAEA is a group of art teachers who recognize and promote students who show interest and aptitude in visual arts. This exhibit is sponsored by Florida SouthWestern State College and Pediatric Dentistry of Fort Myers.

“This is an important opportunity for school age artists,” says exhibition coordinator Krista Johnson. “When we encourage young artists, we’re encouraging them to have confidence in their ideas. Bring your families and explore the imaginations of students in Lee County – every piece of art is a piece from our future artists, engineers, scientists, celebrities and senators!”

For more information, call 239-939-2787 or visit

The Alliance for the Arts GreenMarket Celebrates 10 Years as a Community Hub

by Santiago De Choch

When a furious storm breaks out on the first day of an outdoor market, you would think the future doesn’t bode well for it.

But, you’d be wrong.

As an old hippie would say, what a long, strange trip it’s been…

The secret of our beauty! Fresh, locally grown GreenMarket veggies, of course!
The secret of our beauty! Fresh, locally grown GreenMarket veggies, of course!

In the Spring of 2009, a founding group consisting of farmer Ken Ryan, the late Sally Maitland of Matlacha, cheese connoisseur Caroline Hostettler, veteran and activist Dee Hohimer and Alliance for the Arts executive director Lydia Black envisioned a market that would take advantage of the beautiful Alliance grounds and bring the community together, while supporting local growers and businesses. Santiago De Choch was drafted as the market manger and has maintained the focus on sustainability and community ever since.

The community responded superbly after that first, stormy Saturday. With little more than word of mouth, a website, and mentions in the local press, the GreenMarket weathered its first year. A dozen visitors on the first few weekends turned into 50, 100, 500 and every year the numbers kept growing.

Early on, a strategic decision was made to keep the market small and carefully vet new vendors. Arts and crafts on offer must be created by the vendor, no reselling. Fruit, produce and seafood are preferably local. Any imported food stuffs, such as coffee, tea, cheeses and nuts, must be sourced responsibly, respecting fair trade practices. Non-food imports are banned, especially if they come from known polluters and human rights abusers.

So many years of Saturday morning fun… filled with good food, good friends, good times!

Friends told friends and neighbors told neighbors. People would make a Saturday morning stop to check out what’s fresh and what new vendors were there that week. Families with children loved the space, where kids could run around, climb trees, laugh at the ducks and squirrels, and participate in arts workshops offered by Alliance educators as the parents shopped.

Neighbors walked and rode bicycles to the market, encouraged by longtime bike and pedestrian activist Dan Moser of BikeWalkLee and his team, who’d set up a booth to collect signatures and offer info about sustainability and safety issues often. Many folks brought their dogs on their market treks. Others had more unusual pets: iguanas, parrots, and memorably, a goat on a leash.

Soon, the GreenMarket started offering free urban farming workshops. Growers and experts have provided crash courses on everything from backyard gardening to organic pest control, hydroponics, rooftop beekeeping and raising chickens. It wouldn’t be unusual to visit the market and hear a rooster crowing from his cage, nervous about all the attention, or a swarm of mellow honeybees buzzing around their demo hive.

Like yoga, live acoustic music is another Green Market tradition!

All this wouldn’t be so unusual in progressive bastions of the Northeast, or the West Coast; in Fort Myers, it was unheard of. The market manager kept scouting for interesting growers, helping start community gardens, even encouraging neighbors to bring mangoes and avocados from their trees to the market.

Unlike other places in the country, southwest Florida doesn’t have a lot of small farms. In time, a decision was made to let small growers, backyard gardeners and community gardens attend the market as vendors for free. This encouraged more small-time growers to bring their crop to the community without committing to a certain period of time at the market. To this day, neighbors, organic growers and community gardens just show up. You never know who will be there on a given Saturday, but it’s a safe bet that you’ll find blueberries in blueberry season, mangoes on mango season, okra in okra season.

Activities kept coming each year. Local chefs, like Gloria Jordan, give a few hours of their time and expertise to the community for cooking local demos, so visitors would know exactly how to use those mangoes and okra. Local musicians, organized by Chip Withrow, play at the market, and be rewarded with bags of fresh produce, homemade soaps, jars of honey, and a lunch of tamales. Local yoga studio Yoga Bird offers free yoga classes under the enormous mango tree at the Alliance campus.

Support your neighbors and small growers.

The GreenMarket hosts everything from voter registrations to recycling drives, drum circles to children’s choirs.

It never engaged in partisan politics, but one of the proudest moments of the GreenMarket was a Save Our Water rally which featured speakers like legendary nature photographer Clyde Butcher, then-commissioner Ray Judah, Alliance director Lydia Black, and local mayors and representatives. Hundreds of locals came to support it, and environmental efforts continue to this day at the market.

The Alliance for the Arts GreenMarket motto is supporting local and building community; and its’ inspiration is the famous Mahatma Gandhi quote, “be the change you wish to see in the world.”

It has had good days and bad days, days terribly hot, stormy days. Hurricanes have toppled trees and blocked access, and when that happened, the whole neighborhood and beyond showed up with rakes and chainsaws to help in the clean up. That’s the community that the GreenMarket relies upon: it helps neighbors, and neighbors, in turn, help it, support and nurture it, ensuring local growers, beekeepers, bakers, cooks, artists, musicians, and artisans have a venue to offer their wares.

The Alliance for the Arts GreenMarket is grateful to the community that supports it every Saturday morning. We raise a glass of hibiscus tea, craft beer or lemonade and offer Fort Myers and Lee County a toast: “Here’s to the next decade! Thank you! Salud!”

The Alliance for the Arts is excited to announce David Seitz and Steven Fetterhoff as mystery “dirt pile” artists who draped the eyesore with googly-eyes spray painted on plywood.
The Alliance for the Arts is excited to announce David Seitz and Steven Fetterhoff as mystery “dirt pile” artists who draped the eyesore with googly-eyes spray painted on plywood.

The Alliance for the Arts is excited to announce David Seitz and Steven Fetterhoff as mystery “dirt pile” artists who draped the eyesore with googly-eyes spray painted on plywood. Earlier this month, the duo decorated the dirt mound, which is a result of the Alliance’s multiphase campus enrichment project planned for the 2.2 acres along McGregor Blvd.

Fetterhoff is a Fort Myers native and Digital Design teacher at Fort Myers High School. He has been painting street art for over 15 years across the country and draws inspiration from Bill Watterson’s historic Calvin & Hobbes comic strip, using faces and expressions to augment his personalized letterform style to bring smiles to a public art form.

Seitz is also a Fort Myers native who handles operations at Aloia, Roland, Lubell & Morgan, a full service law firm in downtown Fort Myers. He’s an avid woodworker and an active member of the Rotary Club of Fort Myers South.

“The Rotary Club of Fort Myers South has been working closely with the Alliance for the Arts, supporting their vision for an ArtsPark and WaterWall representing the local culture of our water ways,” says Seitz. “The massive dirt pile had me thinking of a way to improve the eyesore by giving it some personality.”

Using leftover plywood from Hurricane Irma, Seitz and Fetterhoff set about cutting out googly eyes and painting faces and expressions using MTN Colors Spray Paint for its vibrancy and high visibility. They installed the pieces over a weekend as passing drivers slowed down to see their work.

For more information, call 239-939-2787 or visit

Prominent and emerging Florida artists submitted more than 660 pieces for consideration in the Alliance for the Arts’ 33rd Annual All Florida Juried Exhibit. After consideration from juror R. Lynn Whitelaw, 60 pieces were unveiled to the public during an opening reception on March 8. The exhibit will continue through March 30 at 10091 McGregor Blvd. Fort Myers, FL 33919.

Christina Wyatt was awarded $1,000 Best in Show for Two Young Girls. Karen Tucker Kuyendall won a Golden Colors Gift Certificate for 2nd Place Shout Hallelujah Come on Get Happy, Geoffrey Hamel won $100 for 3rd place on Untitled 2. Lynn Foskett won Honorable Mention and a Gift Certificate from Frameworks for Succulents(Garden Chair). Glen DePasse and Carve Stone were awarded Juror’s Choice Awards.

Full list of exhibiting artists include:  Jeff Abbott, Jaime Aelavanthara, Brooke Anderson, Joanne Barrett, Penelope Breen, Melissa Carcamo, Hilda Champion, Steven Chayt, Muffy Clark, Sammy Cottrell, Alison Curtis, Vic Delnore, Glen DePasse, Christine Di Staola, Jessie Dilich, Sharon Eng, Cheryl Fausel, Lynn Foskett, Julie Gauthier, Janet George, Geoffrey Hamel, Judith Harthorn, John Ippensen, Ameena Khan, Ann Kozeliski, Yvonne Krystman, Karen Kuykendall, Jay Lana, JoAnn LaPadula, Pat Leggett, Diane Lublinski, Olivier Lutaud, Bruce MacKechnie, Inna Malostovker, Claire Melli, Robert Moore, Carol Murphy, Melissa Nece, Elizabeth Ogata, Jose Pardo, Katrina Parker, June Powell, Gregory Presley, Christine Reichow, Lynne Renzenberger, Robert Richard, Paula Rucket, Carol Schmidt, Carolyn Steele, Carve Stone, Nancy Terrell, Guy Tieman, Rachel Ulrich, Havelyn Villar, Laura Waller, James Woodfield, LouAnn Wukitsch, Christian Wyatt, Patricia Zalisko and MANO.

This year’s juror is R. Lynn Whitelaw. Whitelaw was the founding Director and Curator of the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art, located on the Tarpon Springs Campus of St. Petersburg College (SPC), and held that position for 17 years. Over the years, Mr. Whitelaw’s curatorial efforts have resulted in over 140 exhibitions shown at Hillsborough Community College, the Tampa Museum of Art and the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art.

“My overlying interest was to showcase exciting examples of contemporary art in Florida that reflect artistic talent and innovative work that respect, or experiment with, materials,” says juror R. Lynn Whitelaw. “My only regret is that there were a large number of wonderful works that fit my criteria, but I had to make hard decisions to cull the show to 60 pieces. “

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

For more information, call 239-939-2787 or visit