From 6-10 p.m. tonight, downtown Fort Myers celebrates Art Walk, a monthly self-guided tour of new art exhibits and streetside craft demonstrations taking place in the River District’s 12 art galleries and boutiques, the Art League of Fort Myers on Monroe, Art of the Olympians in the City Pier Building at the end of Hendry Street, Arts for ACT Gallery, Coloring the World on Dean Street, daas Gallery, Enjewel, HOWL Gallery/Tattoo, In One Instant Gallery of Photography, Savvy on First, Space 39, Syzygy Gallery, and the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center. In addition, ArtFest Fort Myers adds to this month’s festivities by allowing the Art Walk crowd access to 50 of the festival’s finest artists from 5 until 10 p.m.
Here’s more of what there is to see and do in the River District this Friday night:
2o. When you arrive at the Art Center, notice the dual drum bronze light sculpture. It’s called Lux by the sculptor, Jim Sanborn, and Caloosahatchee Manuscripts by just about everyone else. The drums throw off circles of lighted letters that illuminate the sidewalk and facades of surrounding buildings, including the Ionic-columned neoclassical revival edifice that once served as first the U.S. Post Office and later as the federal courthouse. Sanborn is an internationally-acclaimed sculptor. He made this one at the request of Florida Power & Light Co., which donated the scored cylinders to the City of Fort Myers in 2001.
21. And while you’re enjoying Lux, be sure to participate in the raddest, baddest art experience on the planet, Dr. Sketchy SWFL.
Locally organized and promoted by Heathyre Perara, Dr. Sketchy affords artists of all levels and genres the opportunity to hone their quick draw skills by providing models in unusual settings, colorful costumes and exaggerated poses they only hold for several minutes at a time. This forces participants to work quickly, placing the focus on capturing the mood, character and spirit of the muse or model rather than getting bogged down in painstaking process of trying to draw figures or body parts with accurate detail.
It’s definitely big-picture art reminiscent of the way in which a plein air impressionist works at lightning speed to portray his or her impressions of color and shadow under quickly-changing light conditions.
The concept is the brainchild of New York artist Molly Crabapple, who was looking for a way to re-energize the staid and often parochial art school experience that sometimes squelches the creative spirit of too many art students. The idea has caught on, and today there are more than 100 Dr. Sketchy branches worldwide. Southwest Florida is lucky to have one of its own, Dr. Sketchy SWFL.
Last month, the Dr. provided muses Alexandra Holmes and Cat Smith, who assumed the roles of Alice and the Red Queen from Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass. On Friday night, Desdemona Liang will be the model, and she has selected “African Queen” as the theme for the February Fort Myers Art Walk at The Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center.
It’s not just a reference to the classic movie, but to Desdemona’s ongoing quest to discover her cultural heritage. “My mother was adopted, and she didn’t really like talking about our history… She would just say we are from Africa and left it at that. My father’s family is from Jamaica and I knew I was multiple things on his side.” One of those influences appears to be Arawok, a people indigenous to the West Indies that Christopher Columbus encountered when he first arrived in the Americas in 1492.
The 17-year old is an aspiring model and actress who, despite her tender age, has been working in theater for five years and modeling for roughly a year. Desdemona plans to pursue a career in theater along with acting, and then later, expects to start her own theater company.