Power of Example: Fort Myers’ Alliance for the Arts

Fort Myers, Florida, with a population of just under 90,000, isn’t where I thought I’d encounter a  world-class Arts consortium, but I was pleasantly and completely surprised. With a year-round program of events, services, education, and exhibitions, the Alliance for the Arts in Fort Myers indeed provides a “creative space that spurs and supports self-expression, imagination and equity” in its mission “to transform lives and improve our community through the arts”.

An Alliance for the Arts commitment

Beginning in 1975, when founders David Robinson and Barbara B. Mann articulated the need to organize the arts across southwest Florida, the group now comprises “50+ area arts and cultural organizations and over 1200 artists and individual members”.

With an initial land donation made by attorney Charles B. Edwards and architect William R.  Frizzell, the physical campus has grown from a farmhouse and some outbuildings to include two theaters, three gallery spaces, classrooms, and rental and conference space available to artists and local businesses.

In addition to its schedule of art exhibits and education, the alliance presents theater, music, and dance performances and engages in outreach to underserved and at-risk community residents. And — as I said to a fellow Artistic Fuel Team member — the website so impressed me with its comprehensive and clear overview that it made me want to visit Fort Myers. In a  world racing for the clicks of digital attention and dollars, here was a straightforward internet helping of commitment to a mission bent on nurturing and expanding creative community.

BRAVO Alliance for the Arts! Your 47 years of focus and dedication are clearly evident in your Love and Service. Our world can learn from your power of example.

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