Our Member Margaret Sylvester has embraced adventure, visiting 10 museums in 6 different states with her Traveler card! Learn about her experiences, her inspirations and why she loves the Alliance for the Arts!

Why did you choose to become a Traveler member with the Alliance?

I knew I would be in Colorado and Connecticut this past spring for both grandsons’ graduations so visiting museums and art galleries would be a bonus.

My reason for renewing this season is to continue to support the Alliance, to discover new treasures, and to keep me inspired to continue painting.

How many museums/arts organizations have you visited using your NARM benefits?

  • I visited 10 museums in 6 different states including:
  • Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, Boulder, CO
  • New Britain Museum of American Art, New Britain, CT
  • The Preservation Society of Newport County, Newport, RI

Where was your most memorable NARM museum/arts organization experience?

The Dali Museum in St. Petersburg visit was a perfectly unplanned day. Both indoors and outdoors the museum provided me with visual inspiration, “hold my breath” moments of awe and quiet areas to meditate and absorb.

What inspires you?

As I age, the more simple, the more inspired I become. I see everything as art, the shapes of things, vibrant color, soft color, movement, textures, and sounds, anything created by God or man. Could be the sheen of a perfectly ripe tomato, the juice of a just cut peach, the shape of a butterfly, the sound of wind through the trees, the song of a bird nearby, the placement of dinner on my plate, the sound of a child’s giggle, the sunrise, the sunset…..

If you had intro music, what song would it be? Why?

Imagine by John Lennon.  I like its timeless and soulful lyrics.  Every time I hear it, it puts me back in Phoenix at MIM, Musical Instrument Museum and Lennon’s piano he used when writing this song.

What would the title of your memoir be?

…there could be many titles. I’ve had an interesting life. “Appearance When Needed”.  “Continued Learning My Way”  “Reality Once Thoughts”  “Short Stories of Forever Friends”

What would you say to encourage others to become Traveler Level members with the Alliance?

To pay $70.00 more annually for this upgrade is equal to 2 dinners out with wine. That meal will be long forgotten.  The joy, inspiration, the opportunity to see works of the Masters…. cannot compare.

Want to learn more about the Traveler level? Click here.

The Alliance is a vibrant arts center driven by one desire: to transform lives and improve our community through the arts. Now meet the newest people at the helm of that vision, our GreenMarket Manager Whitney, Guest Services Coordinator Brianna and Gallery Director Ehren.

Brianna Day – Guest Services Coordinator

What’s one of the most interesting aspects of working at the Alliance?

Brianna– I love learning about everyone’s backgrounds, specifically how they found the arts and how they found the Alliance. It is so interesting to see how we all came together by such different routes.

Whitney– The people-Everyone is so kind and different. Different backgrounds, and cultures that all come together for the love of art.

Ehren– The variety of our programming and communities served.  We work collaboratively on everything from quality art exhibitions, innovative theater, community building events, adult and youth education all with diversity and accessibility, and inclusion in mind.

What’s the best thing about your job?

Brianna- My chance to interact with literally everyone that comes in. I speak directly to all of the employees, instructors, students, and gallery guests since I am right at the front door. I’m glad that I am able to be a part of everyone’s day, even in just a small way.

Whitney- Making people happy- I love when a customer is able to find exactly what they were looking for, or they tell me that the Alliance GreenMarket is their happy place.

Ehren- Creating opportunities for artists in any shape or form.  It could be the challenge of an exhibition theme, seeing the growth of an artist over the years, or fostering the creative possibilities in others.  What’s most exciting is that it’s a mutually beneficial process with unlimited potential.

Why are the arts important to you?

Brianna– The arts have always been important to me because they have been my way of expressing myself. I have been acting since a young age and it has always helped me to put all my emotions into the character I am creating. I’m so lucky to have found the arts because it’s my way of sharing a little part of myself with others.

Ehren Gerhard – Gallery Director

Whitney– Because they bring people of many walks of life together, and gives those people an opportunity to share their cultures, histories, and what’s close to their hearts.

Ehren– The arts are a vital part of human existence.  In visual art, it is a way to interpret our world and communicate the unspeakable to others.  In the performing arts, we can hold a mirror to ourselves, be released from the constraints of daily life and lifted into realms unimagined.

Which author, playwright or artist has influenced you the most and why?

Brianna– Tennessee Williams is my favorite playwright and I relate so deeply to his female characters. He creates seemingly broken women, but they have an incredible strength behind them. Williams’ multi-faceted characters are so beautiful to me and on top of it, his stories are incredible.

Whitney– Thich Nhat Hanh- I’m always really busy, but reading Mr. Hanh’s books on mindfulness reminds me to stop every now and then to enjoy life and be mindful of relaxation and the good it does for the soul.

Ehren- Two very different people that inspire me are the writings of Edward Abbey and the paintings of Charles Burchfield.  Both are spiritually moved by nature and seek to express it with the fullest of respect.  In Abbey’s writing I found a kindred spirit who could put into words what I was seeking to say with my artwork.  Burchfield’s paintings revealed to me that other people saw what I saw and showed me a way to represent it visually.

What would the title of your memoir be?

Brianna–  “Sweet Tea and Big Dreams.” I’m from South Carolina so I hold my Southern roots very close to me and it has always been a large part of my identity. And although I come from a relatively small town, I’ve always had big dreams when it comes to theatre and performing.

Whitney–  “Always Workin.” I’ve always had a strong work ethic and over time it has become what defines me. All of my friends and family often point out how I’m always workin’.

Ehren– “Ramblings of the Wolf Man: Excerpts and Passages of Illustrative Moments.”  The text would strive to find decipherable truths from random daily experiences: nothing too serious but deep with context (and funny).

What inspires you?

Brianna- Helping other people. I’ve always felt that if I create art out of my struggles, then maybe one day someone will see it and be encouraged to continue to fight against whatever they feel is in their way. That little imaginary person is always in the back of my head and they inspire me more than anything.

Whitney- Making the world a better and happier place one interaction at a time. The change is within all of us, live the way you want to see the world.

Whitney Tucker – Market Manager

Ehren– Being around art and working with artists daily is the best job ever but it can create a bit of separation from the process of making things for myself.  I can be creative in building an artist installation or making a call for artists but I find myself seeking to refuel my personal creative ambitions regularly. I find the most reward from working in my garden, hiking, camping in the wilderness, or paddling in a canoe, kayak or paddleboard.  My artistic goals are to share the energy, power, and healing properties of the natural world with others.  I have to keep my soul fueled with those emotions in order to share them.

What would you say to encourage others to get connected with the Alliance?

Brianna- You have to start somewhere. In my short time here, I’ve already had newcomers tell me they are worried about taking classes because they don’t have much experience. But what I love about the Alliance is that our classes are made for everyone, from beginning to expert.

Whitney– I would say, just come out. See the art, the people, hear the children singing, and enjoy the Saturday GreenMarkets. There is something here that speaks to the hearts of all people.

Ehren– Come on down!  If you’re not an artist, start by coming to some of our free events.  If you are an artist, what are you waiting for!  Say hello to people and ask them questions.  You’ll have new friends before you know it!  Once you feel inspired, take a class and get your feet wet.  We are here to help you grow and learn new things!

Want to learn more about the Alliance staff? Click here.

Rob Green and Cantrella Canady
Rob Green and Cantrella Canady

On Saturday, Nov. 9, 2019, the Alliance for the Arts welcomed more than 300 artists, arts supporters, beer lovers and cultural philanthropists to its Arts On Tap Fundraiser. Arts On Tap, now in its third year, is a lively fundraiser for the Alliance for the Arts featuring the craft of local brewers and culinary artists.

Shattering internal goals, the event raised over $64,000. All funds directly support the Alliance’s mission to transform lives and improve our community through the arts. Since 1975, the Alliance’s year-round schedule of events have become a staple for the community through engaging gallery exhibitions, inspiring art classes from fine art life drawing to the art of beer-making and stimulating theatre productions that range from the classics to the cutting edge. Proceeds support a creative hub that spurs and supports self-expression, access and equity, imagination and individuality by connecting our community through the arts.

Partygoers enjoyed spectacular live entertainment from musician Jenny Ve as well as unlimited tastings from participating breweries and restaurants, Ciro Quintana’s Confessions of a Cuban Artist gallery exhibition, twisted pub games, a silent auction and a raffle.

Participating crafters include Big Blue Brewing, Coastal Dayz Brewery, Eight Foot Brewing, Fort Myers Brewing CompanyMillennial Brewing Company, Momentum Brewhouse, Palm City Brewing, and  Point Ybel Brewing Company.

This year included tasty treats from culinary favorites The American Grilled Cheese Kitchen, Downtown House of Pizza, KiKi’s Desserts, Kings Kitchen, Nice Guys Pizza, Seminole Casino Hotel and The Standard.

Arts on Tap is sponsored by Briers CPA, Custom Packaging and Products , Dorcey Law Firm, EnSite, GMA Architects & Planner, Owen-Ames-Kimball Company, Priority Business Solutions, Megan & Jon Romine, Seminole Casino Hotel and Winged Foot Title.

WHEN: Saturday, November 9, 2019 from 7 – 10 p.m.

WHERE:  Alliance for the Arts located at 10091 McGregor Blvd. Fort Myers, FL 33919

The Alliance for the Arts, in partnership with the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre, will present the first ever Fringe Fort Myers Festival April 22 – 26, 2020. Festival tickets go on sale January 2020.

Fringe Fort Myers is the newest Fringe theatre festival in the United States and maintains long-standing Fringe traditions of being 100 percent uncensored, 100 percent unjuried and 100 percent inclusive. Even better, 100 percent of ticket sales go directly to the artists.

Fringe Fort Myers kicks off on April 22, 2020 with the fun and frenetic Teaser Show. The teaser show is a great opportunity for audiences to learn what the shows in the festival are about. Each performance group gets 2 minutes to sell their show to the audience, and how they do it is up to them (as long as they don’t go over 2 minutes).

Over the next 4 days we will play host to 48 performances on 4 different stages at the Alliance for the Arts and Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre. After the final curtain, Fringe Fort Myers will host our first Fringe awards ceremony celebrating the artists that make Fringe an incredible experience. Florida Rep Education will also offer Kids Fringe, which will operate a family-friendly festival within Fringe Fort Myers.

“Fringe offers an incredible diversity of high quality work with the goal of being as affordable and accessible as possible to all members of the community,” says Producing Artistic Director of Theatre Conspiracy at the Alliance for the Arts, Bill Taylor. “This event will enhance our area both culturally and economically.”

Artist applications are now open at ArtInLee.org/Fringe. Applications must be submitted no later than Thursday, November 15, 2019 at 5 p.m. EST.

Sponsorship opportunities are available at ArtInLee.org/Fringe or by contacting Jessica Wisdom at Jessica@ArtInLee.org.

For more information, call 239-939-2787 or visit ArtInLee.org/Fringe.