PUB­LISHER’S LET­TER

Times of the Islands - - Departments -

It’s al­most im­pos­si­ble not to no­tice how South­west Florida’s arts scene is flour­ish­ing. Whether we’re talk­ing about the lat­est theater pro­duc­tion in the world of per­form­ing arts or a mind-bog­gling sculp­ture that sud­denly popped up at a botan­i­cal gar­den, the in­spi­ra­tion and creativ­ity that we are en­joy­ing in just about ev­ery neigh­bor­hood is re­ally amaz­ing. But more im­por­tant to me is rec­og­niz­ing the peo­ple who are the force be­hind these pro­jects.

The Florida Reper­tory The­atre in down­town Fort My­ers has been called “one of Amer­ica’s top reper­tory com­pa­nies” by The Wall Street Jour­nal. Now that’s some­thing to ap­plaud—or bet­ter yet give a stand­ing ova­tion! Be­hind the scenes at the theater is a guy who we don’t re­ally see of­ten, but with­out him the show won’t go on. Meet Tim Bill­man ( Let’s Put on a Show, page 27), the pro­duc­tion man­ager, who de­scribes his job as: “I’m ba­si­cally in charge of ev­ery­thing on stage that’s not an ac­tor.”

If you take a stroll through the Peace River Botan­i­cal & Sculp­ture Gar­dens in Punta Gorda ( A Bloom­ing Beauty, page 46), you may mis­take one of the life-like sculp­tures by artist Carole A. Feuer­man for a real per­son. Avid art col­lec­tors with a pen­chant for hyperrealism, Roger and Linda Te­trault are build­ing the gar­dens through their Te­trault Fam­ily Foun­da­tion and fill­ing it with amaz­ing sculp­tures and blooms. It’s a place where creativ­ity— gar­den­ing and art—can truly blos­som.

In ad­di­tion to ma­jor pro­jects such as the theater and the gar­dens, small busi­nesses are play­ing a part in the arts scene. Case in point: Denise Ahlstrom, the owner of Karma & Co­conuts in Cape Coral ( Kids and the Arts, page 60). For her, art is cru­cial for chil­dren and she backs it up by of­fer­ing classes and work­shops for young­sters as well as their par­ents.

We also host big events that re­in­force SWFL’s com­mit­ment to the arts. In Septem­ber, the Is­land Hop­per Song­writer Fest (Cal­en­dar, page 100) brings the tal­ent be­hind the lyrics to stages on Cap­tiva and Fort My­ers. Wannabe song­writ­ers mix with the pros at this mu­si­cal event in which every­one is wel­come to come and en­joy. Then in Novem­ber, the scribes come to town as au­thors from var­i­ous gen­res present at the Sani­bel Is­land Writ­ers Con­fer­ence ( Writ­ing Some­thing That Mat­ters, Page 12).

There are many more peo­ple in the com­mu­nity in­flu­enc­ing our grow­ing arts scene, and I want to thank every­one from ac­tors to artists, pro­duc­tion man­agers to pub­li­cists, who make it their mis­sion to pro­mote the arts. I en­cour­age the com­mu­nity to show its sup­port by at­tend­ing shows, con­certs, art ex­hibits and more. May our artis­tic spirit con­tinue to flour­ish. Daniela J. Jaeger Daniela J. Jaeger Group Pub­lisher, TOTI Me­dia

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