“Off the Walls” fundraiser to benefit Children’s Art Education Programs

This time of year there is always excitement in the air. There are parties to attend, charity events to organize and always the quest to find the perfect gift.

The Art League of Bonita combines all three of these goals during Off the Walls, their annual fundraiser to benefit the Art League’s children’s education scholarships.

Mark Brown painting for Off the Walls
"Still Life with Fruit" by Mark H. Brown part of Off the Walls December 2009. Vlaue $275

For those who have never attended, here’s how it works. Tickets are purchased for $150 for the event which begins at 6 p.m. on Dec. 4. Guests arrive, mingle, enjoy catered hors d’oeuvres, wine and punch and at 6:30 ticket numbers begin being called. When a guest’s number is called, they select a piece of artwork to take home. The artwork is valued from $275 to $6000. So everyone goes home with a piece of artwork worth far more than their ticket price. The evening finished with the very popular coffee and dessert bar.

"Day Dreaming" by Ludmila Curilova part of Off the Walls December 2009. Value with Frame $1009.85

While the evening ends at 8:30pm, Off the Walls actually continues throughout the year. All of the money raised goes to scholarships for students in the children’s education program at the Art League.

In 2008 the Art League of Bonita Springs awarded $36,000 in scholarships. In 2009 the Art League has already awarded $49,000.

“Twice as many parents requested financial aid for their children this summer and fall,” said Susan Bridges, Executive Director of the Art League. “Some lost their jobs or took pay cuts to keep their jobs. The point is they wanted to provide their children with our wonderful programs, and needed our help.”

More than 60 percent of students enrolled in Art League classes receive some type of scholarship. All classes in the Children’s Education program are available to scholarship students. Classes include painting, pottery, clay animation, drama, movie making, photography, dance and more. Pricing for a 5-week semester ranges from $45 to $112  (dance semesters are 19 weeks and range from $158.50 to $201 for the semester). Part, or all, of the tuition can be covered by a scholarship. Most students are eligible for some type of scholarship.

“Studies show children who participate in arts are more likely to succeed as adults,” Bridges said. “We work closely with each family, carefully crafting every scholarship. This year we chose not to turn anyone in need away.”

David Gordon painting for Off the Walls
Untitled by David E. Gordon part of Off the Walls December 2009. Value $600

Attendees of Off the Walls are giving a life-long gift of art to a child, while also taking home a beautiful and entirely unique piece of art for themselves, or a cherished friend.

For a complete listing of Art League programming and events call 495-8989; visit the Center for the Arts at 26100 Old 41 Road, Bonita Springs; follow on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/Artleague; or visit on-line at www.artcenterbonita.org.

Advertisements

Another successful Arts Worldwide

Kellyn Celtic Arts Dance Academy
Members of the Kellyn Celtic Arts Dance Academy perform traditional Celtic dances at the Saturday, Nov. 21 Arts Worldwide event presented by the Art League of Bonita Springs. Jason Easterly

Artists from four continents and a dozen countries filled the Promenade at Bonita Bay with dance, music and visual art on Saturday, Nov. 21 at Arts Worldwide.

Arts Worldwide is arranged by the Art League of Bonita Springs each year as a day of art by performance and visual artists of all cultures.

Delou Africa Dance Ensemble
Members of the Delou Africa Dance Ensemble perform at traditional African music and dance at the 10th annual Arts Worldwide event at the Promenade at Bonita Bay on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2009. Jason Easterly

The family event had live performances on stage throughout the day, visual artists giving demonstrations and creation stations for children and adults to create artwork of their own.

At the watercolor creation station adults and children sat down together to create paintings.

“That is the great thing about stations like watercolor,” said Jordan Smith, Director of Children’s Education at the Art League. “An adult or a child can sit down and create a simple or complex painting. It can be whatever you make of it.”

Art League instructor Patty Kane volunteered to run the adult watercolor station where she gave artists the choice of painting a pre-sketched piece of watercolor paper, or a blank page.

“Look at that beautiful color you have created,” Kane said, holding one artist’s painting up so they could see if from a different perspective. “Now is the time to step away and let it dry, then come back to it later. That is the thing about watercolor.”

Arts Worldwide
Maya Senecharles, 7, of Miami works at sculpting a snowman from clay at the Arts Worldwide event sponsored by The Art League of Bonita Springs held at The Promenade on Saturday. Jason Easterly

Similar lessons in art were being conducted at stations in clay, printmaking, jewelry and other mediums.

On stage the Delou Africa Dancers brought tribal histories alive through music and dance. Audience members even got a lesson in dance as they were pulled up on stage during the final performance.

Other attendees were delighted by the art of Masaji Terasawa as he roamed about the Promenade performing his traditional Japanese arts. He created creatures out of rice syrup toffee, with a technique similar to glass blowing, and kept people laughing with his unique brand of humor. But above all, he says his message is “about peace.”

Alpha Omega Performance Troupe
Dancers of the Alpha Omega Performance Troupe perform traditional Greek dance in costume at the Saturday, Nov. 21 Arts Worldwide event. Meghan Easterly

This is the 10th year that Arts Worldwide has been held. Traditionally it is held on the Center for the Arts Campus of the Art League of Bonita Springs. This year the venue was moved to the Promenade.

The Art League of Bonita Springs and the Promenade have been working together to bring several art events, including Arts Worldwide, to the people of Bonita Springs.

The Artist Studios at the promenade have visual artists creating and selling artwork Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. Each month an Art Walk is held for the public to walk through the 10 studios on the last Thursday of each month. There will not be an Art Walk on Thanksgiving and the December Art Walk will be held early, on Dec. 17 due to the Christmas holiday.

The Art League also has a live performance space at the Promenade where musical, dance and theatrical productions are held several times each month.

Members of the Angela Hicks & Bohemian Geisha Belly Dance Troupe perform on stage at the Art League of Bonita Springs Saturday, Nov. 21 Arts Worldwide event held at The Promenade at Bonita Bay. Jason Easterly

All of the spaces are donated by the Promenade at Bonita Bay.

A full listing of Art League of Bonita Springs events is available on line at www.artcenterbonita.org or by calling 239.895.8989.

Alpha Omega Performance Troupe
Dancers of the Alpha Omega Performance Troupe perform traditional Greek dance in costume at the Saturday, Nov. 21 Arts Worldwide event. Meghan Easterly
Delou Africa Dance Ensemble
A dancer with the Delou Africa Dance Ensemble plays a traditional African percussion instrument while chanting and dancing at Arts Worldwide on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2009. Meghan Easterly
Delou Africa Dance Ensemble
A member of the Delou Africa Dance Ensemble plays a traditional African percussion instrument at the cultural event Arts Worldwide on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2009. Jason Easterly
Angela Hicks & Bohemian Geish Belly Dance Troupe
Angela Hicks performs with the Bohemian Geisha Belly Dance Troupe at Arts Worldwide on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2009. Jason Easterly

Arts Worldwide

Now in its 10th year, Arts Worldwide has a new venue this year at the Promenade at Bonita Bay. Presented by the Art League of Bonita Springs, Arts Worldwide gives performance and visual artists from many cultures a platform to share their art with the public. The event will take place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 21. Admission is free, with an optional $2 donation to benefit Art League community projects.

Children can create clay sculptures at one of 15 art Creation Stations.

Those in attendance will have the chance to observe, and create art. While in the past the event has been geared specifically for children, this year adults will find an abundance of visual and performing arts for them as well and will have the chance to create art.

“The event has grown each year right along with its popularity,” said Susan Bridges, Executive Director of the Art League of Bonita Springs. “In this modern age, we can access information from around the world with a click of a button, but there’s still something really exciting about meeting an artist personally, exploring the arts of another culture yourself, or actually trying to create the art form.”

Performers from cultures throughout the world — Japan, Africa, China, Greece and more — will take the stage continuously to perform traditional dances, music and theater from their countries.

Masaji Terasawa
Masaji's infuses puppets, humor and traditional Japanese arts into his one-of-a-kind act.

In the past, one of the most popular performers has been Masaji Terasawa, also known as the Candy Man.

Terasawa has been performing at Walt Disney World’s Epcot theme park for more than a decade. Terasawa’s art resembles glass blowing.

Masaji Terasawa
Masaji Terasawa creates fantastical creatures out of a ball of rice syrup toffee. The traditional Japanese art is similar to glass blowing.

He begins with a simple piece of rice syrup toffee, and magically transforms it into winged dragons, dolphins and other creatures. He has adapted this tradition Japanese art into a humorous, theatrical show that dazzles those watching. Terasawa will be on stage at 11 a.m., 1:15 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. He will be strolling the Promenade throughout the day performing his art.

Other live performances will take place continuously throughout the day from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The Delou African Dance Ensemble from Africa will convey stories of arid plains, and tribal histories through the rhythm of dance.

Delou Africa Dance Ensemble

Kellyn Celtic Arts Dance Academy will bring the traditions of centuries of Irish and Scottish social dancing. ShiMei, a performer from China, will play the Guzheng, an ancient 21-string instrument.

In other parts of the Promenade, visual artists will be creating arts of all mediums, and with influences from all cultures and time periods. Live demonstrations will take place throughout the day, and pieces will be on display and for sale throughout the Promenade in the Art League’s Artists Studios and outdoors.

For those wishing to try their own hand at art, creation stations for both children and adults will be set up throughout the Promenade. The art projects are suitable for all ages, and adults will find projects geared especially for them. All skill levels are welcome to create.

Others may enjoy getting a free caricature, having their face painted by an Art League artist or watching Magician John Roberts create sleight of hand illusions.

Lunch will be available at the refreshment stands, or one of the restaurants at the Promenade. The event is free (optional $2 donation).

“You just can’t beat the personal experience of live dance, painting, drawing and sculpture — we all want to try it; we all want to be there to experience it,” Bridges said. “It’s fun and a great experience to share with a friend or family member. The arts are perfect tools with which to build great memories and experiences.”

For more information on performers, artists, art projects or for high resolution photos, please contact the Art League of Bonita Springs.