Local art creates unique gifts

With the turkey purchased and the pantry stocked, my mind is now free to move on to holiday shopping. I like original gifts that match the personalities of my friends and family. As I walked around the Artist Studios at the Promenade this week I found unique gift ideas, with prices that I could manage.

With 13 studios filled with artists creating paintings, jewelry, pottery, outdoor art and more, there was a plethora of options.

I like pottery in the kitchen. For some reason early morning tea just tastes better in a hand made mug. It lends more scope to the imagination. In the studio of Dusty Holmes and Sandy Lawson I found mugs, bowls, colanders, fountains and much more. Holmes also creates living art: brightly decorated palms with living bromeliads growing in them.

Around the corner Sandi Brickley’s imaginatively painted step stools spoke loudly to the little ones on my list. Every side of the stool is painted with fairies, dragons, castles and other creatures from make believe worlds. She says her grandchildren enjoy flipping the stools over and spend hours studying every angle of the stools.

For the jewelry lovers on my list, the options are endless. There is big chunky jewelry by Dot Lingren, soft, sea glass jewelry by Lee Butera, colorful dichroic glass jewelry by Renata Vigoda. The original jewelry designs of all the artists fit all gift budgets and all styles, from simple to outrageous.

For the women on my list, the fiber artists struck a chord. The wall tapestries by Maryanne Olson showcase colors and patterns in their imaginative scenes. Studio 154 is filled with colorful fabric, baskets and fabulous gift ideas from Pat Cookson, Paula Lenahan and Cynthia Wismann.

As for paintings, there is every type from miniature paintings to large-scale canvas. Paintings range from realistic to abstract, watercolor to oil and pen and ink drawings. For those who stop by the shops regularly, it is fun to see what the artists are working on.

That is one of the things that sets the artist studios apart. The people who create the paintings, pottery, jewelry and other pieces are there working and selling their art. They are there to talk to patrons and tell them the inspiration that went into a certain piece.

The studios bring back that feeling that is sometimes missed in the modern world. When a person makes something, loves it and sells it to someone else, the item seems to carry more with it. It gains character somehow.

Artists are in the studios Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Thursday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. A monthly artwalk is held the last Thursday of each month with live music, hors d’oeuvres, drinks and more. The studio spaces are donated to the Center for the Arts artists by The Promenade at Bonita Bay. The artists work the spaces with help from the Center for the Arts and 35 percent of their proceeds support programming and community outreach efforts at the Center for the Arts. Information is available at http://www.artcenterbonita.org.


Films for Film Lovers Kicks off this Week

WHAT: Films for Film Lovers, “Billy Elliot”
WHEN: 7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 8
WHERE: Promenade at Bonita Bay, 26821 South Bay Drive, Space 114, Bonita Springs
COST: $8
INFORMATION: www.artcenterbonita.org or 495-8989

To say that I love movies is a bit of an understatement. I actually plan evenings around which movie I am going to watch with my family, and create our meal around the evening.. When my husband works late I know I can treat myself to a foreign film because I enjoy reading subtitles and he does not. On those nights, a platter of cheese, wine and fruit will be my perfect companion.

To me, the invention of the new series “Films for Film Lovers” by two Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs Members, Tom Falciglia and Roger Tachuk, gives me something to look forward to this season.

Not only did the Film Society Co-Chairs (Tom Falciglia and Roger Tachuk) choose films that I love (and a few new titles), but also they will gather in a cozy, silent, space to watch the films and then discuss afterward. For a woman with a full time job, a husband, a two year old and a large list of volunteer commitments, this evening creates the perfect escape. If that were not enough to engage me, the discussion following the film is. Imagine having the time to sit and discuss films that I love with fellow film lovers, without the interruption of a two-year-old that wants a snack, a potty or a different movie after 20 minutes. Priceless.

The series kicks off next week on Monday, Nov. 8 with “Billy Elliot”. This film captured me the first time I saw it. It takes place in a small, working-class town in England. Billy is the son of a miner. His brother is a miner. Most of the men in the town are miners. Here comes a large understatement: It is a bit of a manly man town. When Billy’s dad drops him off to boxing class, everyone expects him to follow suit and become what all of the men in town become. This would not be much of a film. Fortunately for us film-lovers, the boxing class is held at a local gym where a ballet class occurs concurrently.

Have you ever had something that chose you? It wasn’t that you chose to do it; it was that you were called? That is what ballet does to Billy. And so, we are given a beautiful story in which a boy does not follow the trail that was blazed for him. Along with the funny and poignant story come laughter, beautiful acting and delivery of lines and all of those wonderful pieces that hand you an unforgettable film.

Some people watch movies for entertainment. Others watch films not only for entertainment, but for the ability a film has to produce thoughts, feeling and discussion. This is where the film series was born.

Tom Falciglia and Roger Tachuk decided that in addition to the three-film art series that is part of Affairs of the Arts, they also wanted to create a film society that could come together once or twice each month to watch and discuss world films.

“The Film Society’s initial season spans a wide range of themes, languages and time frames,” said Tom Falciglia, Film Society Co-Chair.

For the inaugural year, the society co-chairs chose a variety of films. They range from popular foreign films such as “Bread and Tulips” and “Ma Vie en Rose” to more commonly loved films such as “Love Actually” and “Mamma Mia!”.

“Our intent is not only to exhibit interesting and thought provoking films but also to determine the types of films our audience enjoys,” Falciglia said. “In the future this information will enable us to present film series highlighting and exploring those areas of interest.”

The films will be held the second Monday of the month in November and May and the second and fourth Mondays of the month December through April. Films begin at 7 p.m. and are followed by a film discussion led by a Film Society Chairman and a Film Society Member.

The films will be held at the Center for the Arts performance space at the Promenade at Bonita Bay. The space has been fitted with a large 9’x12’ screen and a projector.

“The Promenade performance space with its large screen is an excellent venue to not only view these films but to enjoy a glass of wine or soft drink,” Falciglia said. “More importantly at the conclusion of each film a member of the Film Society will lead a discussion about the film. This is another way for us to learn where our member interests lie.”

Tickets are $8 per person, $70 to become a member of the Film Society and see all 12 films, or $40 for six films (if purchased by Dec. 1). Refreshments such as wine and non-alcoholic beverages and snacks will be available.

A full list of films and Center for the Arts events and programs is available at www.artcenterbonita.org or by calling 495-8989.