Meghan Easterly

What is it about a piece of art that makes it compelling? Is it a study of technique and execution, or is it the simple evocation of emotion? For an example look at the work of Viviana Santamarina. She has taken a common item (paper), and woven it into something truly amazing. It is a sculpture. It is a statement. It is a story. Perhaps it is a bit of the artist herself.

"Wondering" Viviana Santamarina
"Wondering" Viviana Santamarina

Santamarina knits paper into sculpture, using pencils as her knitting
needles. When you look at a piece up close you see traces of graphite,
which adds a subtle change to the look of the piece. Her figures are all
doing something, whether it be climbing a ladder to look into a mind, rowing a boat of paper, or climbing out of the pages of a book. It is fun to just stare at the pieces and try to figure out what is happening. Find more examples of her work here:
Santamarina will be one of 211 artists participating in the March Bonita
Springs National Art Festival on March 12 and 13 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The festival is to be held at The Promenade at Bonita Bay located at 26821 South Bay Drive.

Some familiar artists will be returning and attendees will see many new faces as well. The January festival ranked number 10 in the United States.

The January and March festivals have always ranked in the top 20 in the
United States out of thousands of art festivals that are held each year.
The event typically draws 20,000 people or more. The Art Fair Source Book, which is one of the main sources for festival rankings, ranked Bonita Springs as Number 10 in the Nation for the January festival. The Bonita Springs National Art Festival is entirely a volunteer effort because this allows the Center for the Arts to keep the cost of the festival extremely low. This allows the Center to use all of the proceeds to fund programming for more than 6,000 at risk youths in the community.

In 2010 the Center for the Arts gave more than $70,000 in scholarships to area youth to participate in dance, painting, photography, clay, theater and more. The amount of scholarships doubled in 2010 due to the state of the economy. The Center for the Arts makes scholarships available to not only low-income families, but also the middle class.
The Center for the Arts offers one of the only free youth theater programs in the area. Students are currently in rehearsals and busy designing sets and costumes for their upcoming play “Not-So-Grimm-Tales” that will take place in May. This is one of many programs that remains free because of proceeds from the festival.

The Bonita Springs National Art Festival benefits the Center for the Arts and is one of the largest fund raisers. Proceeds from the festival help provide scholarships, exhibitions, classes, Live! performances and keep the lights on. There is an optional $5 donation at the door. All of the money raised stays in Bonita Springs and enables the Center for the Arts to offer community programs, low-cost youth and adult art programming and community events.

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


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