A Place for All Things Creative
The Art League of Fort Myers is a hub for arts and community
Art centers and organizations are paramount entities for any city. They enrich our culture and provide a platform for all sorts of creative expression. And one of the most important art groups in our area is the Art League of Fort Myers. Its members work tirelessly to continue the league’s mission—and bring even more color to our world.
Established in 1956, the league transcended from an idea to a nonprofit organization, moving from one location to another—accommodating its growth and solidifying its reputation within the community. Settling in its current downtown space in 2003, the group was essential in the establishment of the Fort Myers Art Walk in 2008, along with other community leaders.
The league’s River District location provides members with great accessibility and participation in multiple events throughout the year. And the members remain as active as ever, conducting charitable and educational outreach programs and collaborating with other nonprofit organizations. Its main gallery is filled with the beautiful artworks that range from paintings in various mediums, to sculptures, custom jewelry and fine crafts.
Barbara Gage Mulford is one of the league’s most dedicated members. After moving to Southwest Florida in July of 2017, she decided to join several art associations in the area. However, the welcoming and supportive members of the league made it her first choice.
“The association is close to home, has a great space, robust website and is very supportive of teachers,” says the artist, who teaches classes and hosts paint gatherings regularly at the venue. “The depth of experience, talent and knowledge of the members is fantastic and, best of all, I feel like I’ve made a new family here.”
It is precisely that warm and welcoming atmosphere that makes the Art League of Fort Myers so special. The open studio hours are fun, as are the creative gatherings, in which beginner, intermediate and professional artists share space and create. Every Wednesday and Saturday, artists, students and friends are at the league—beading, sketching, collaging and painting.
The league is a haven for the muses, Zen for most—and a retreat for all. Best of all, these sessions are entirely free and open to the public. This is just one more example of how much the organization gives to our community.
The Art League of Fort Myers offers a variety of classes and workshops, including the following: drawing, watercolors, acrylics, oil painting, paint pouring, mixed media, stained glass, resin, photography, children’s classes and paint parties. Artworks created by members are available for purchase.
Because of its active schedule, membership has recently increased by 10 percent. League members automatically become Art Council of Southwest Florida (ACSWF) members. It is composed of several art leagues and associations and has exhibition opportunities, calls for artists and other events. The prospect of showing and selling works in area art galleries and centers is very important for emerging and established artists. Information on the ACSWF is available at acswf.org.
The year 2019 starts with many exciting events at the league. In January, it hosts a judged members-only show, “Celebration,” with cash prizes going to selected ribbon winners. The “Best in Show” artist enters the Southwest Florida Winner’s Circle. The show’s opening reception is Friday, Jan. 4, starting at 6 p.m.—in conjunction with the night’s Art Walk event.
February brings “Edison Parade of Art,” a juried show that
The league offers a variety of classes and workshops, including the following: drawing, watercolors, acrylics, oil painting, paint pouring, mixed media, stained glass, resin, photography, children’s classes and paint parties.
is open to ACSWF members. The show awards cash prizes and its opening reception is Friday, Feb. 1, from 6 to 9 p.m. Also in February, the league hosts a student art showcase with work created during their various classes. And each month, an artist is featured in the gallery. Wilma “Dolly” Dempsey and Brooke Anderson are January’s and February’s featured members.
Art patrons, artists and enthusiasts of the arts are encouraged to visit, promote and support the efforts of the Art League of Fort Myers. Smiling faces are sure to welcome you at the door of the organization’s home, at 1451 Monroe St., beneath the City of Palms Garage. Find out more at artleagueoffortmyers.org or by calling 239-275-3970. David Acevedo is an award-winning visual artist, arts writer, gallery owner and curator living in Cape Coral, Florida. He has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez campus. Acevedo is the founder and president of the DAAS CO-OP Art Gallery & Gifts, located in Royal Palm Square in Fort Myers.
From left: Ode to Ned, acrylic by Barbara Gage Mulford; Screaming Bromeliad, acrylic by February’s featured artist Brooke Anderson; Rock & Roll Heart , acrylic by January’s featured artist Wilma “Dolly” Dempsey.