Two cool art venues, finding your muse, Cape's tall dolphins
Different from one another, Cape Coral Art League and the Cape Coral Arts Studio offer opportunities to discover or to confirm the artist lurking in your heart.
CAPE CORAL ARTS STUDIO
Rounding the bend … and there it is. On Coronado Parkway between Cape Coral Parkway and Del Prado Boulevard in the southwest Cape is a lively collection of buildings and outdoor sculptures that constitute the Cape Coral Arts Studio, a supply shop, gallery and gift store in Rubicond Park that is administered by Cape Parks & Recreation. Clay artist Sue Housler has been in the Cape Coral Arts Studio for more than a decade. “Because there are many types of artists working together, side by side,” says Housler, who is also a member of the Hirdie Girdie Art Gallery cooperative on Sanibel, “I’m able to see their work in progress. Secondly, it’s inspiring to me.” What artists like most about the Cape Coral Arts Studio is that the atmosphere is welcoming and provides excellent working conditions, Housler says. There are children’s classes at the venue that include cartooning, clay, drawing/painting, for instance. There are also summer camps and classes just for kids. Child classes, Housler says, “allow young people a chance to think independently.”
Cher Bell, the studio’s longtime director, says, “Creativity, at its base function, is the process where something valuable is brought into existence.” For more than 40 years, the Cape Coral Arts Studio has been nestled in the same corner pocket, “providing people, of all ages, a space and the tools to experiment and explore that [creative] process,” Bell says. CAPE CORAL ART LEAGUE
You may have seen tall and colorful dolphin sculptures in certain spots around Cape Coral. There are some half dozen―Vincent, Scrubby and Splash, for instance― positioned at Cape businesses. “Dancing With Dolphins” was created in 2016, a public arts project sponsored by the Cape Coral Art League. Proceeds from the sponsored sculptures benefit art in the Cape. It is the first such project for the Cape Coral Art League. In addition to making a splash with public art, the nonprofit offers year-round classes for adults and kids, hosts art shows in the league’s gallery―a variety of other shows―holds an annual art fair and offers workshops with artists from around the world. Plus, Cape Coral Art League awards scholarships. A final art show of the season was in May. “Fish and Ships” focused on boats, all things water and beaches. Exhibit walls showed many interpretations and mediums, was “extremely well received,” says Pat Gilbert, a Cape Coral Art League board member. League president Barbara Magner says there are opportunities to enjoy and to make art at the venue on Cultural Park Boulevard. “We offer a variety of classes for adults and children, as well as high school students,” explains Magner. Those classes, she says, range from acrylic to bamboo
“We offer a variety of classes for adults and children, as well as high school students.”
—Barbara Magner, Cape Coral Art League president pen and ink drawing, art journaling, watercolor, digital photography to sculpture and more. There are also summer art camps for children. And Wednesday afternoons there is an open painting session―artists are invited to work on their masterpieces. “Bring your own art project and supplies,” says Magner. “It’s a great opportunity to meet other fellow artists.”
Freelance writer Ann Marie O’Phelan is a regular contributor to TOTI Media.
Cape Coral Arts Studio is an outlet for such crafts as raku (below), an ancient pottery technique.
The "Fish and Ships" exhibit (below) was about water, beaches and boats. Cape Coral Art League, formed in 1965, is near City Hall at 516 Cultural Park Blvd.