Art Happens Here…Thursday July 28 4-7pm Art Walk at the Promenade

Eileen Walden Johnson Art Walk the Artist Studios at the Promenade in Bonita Bay
Eileen Walden Johnson Shows a visitor Her Technique at Art Walk

On the last Thursday evening of every month something beautiful happens inBonitaSprings.  The glistening glass doors of the retail spaces of the Promenade atBonitaBayare propped open, musicians begin tuning their instruments, plates of hors d’oeuvres are set out and bottles of wine are uncorked.  Beginning at 4:00 p.m. the Promenade becomes awash with color as over 30 of the areas most talented artists set to work on their craft during the Artist Studios Art Walk at the Promenade.  Artist Ed Takacs painstakingly adds fine feathers with his brush to an egret’s wing while Dot Lingren adds a pearl to a necklace she is working on.  InBonitaSprings, this is where art happens. Thanks, to the partnership of the Promenade and the Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs, over 30 juried artists are scheduled on a rotating basis to work alongside the great retail merchants in the lovely tropical setting of the Promenade at Bonita Bay. 

Artists have transformed retail storefronts into studio and gallery spaces infusing them with artistic energy and creativity; and the result is an exciting blend of potters, jewelers, painters, sculptors, glass artists, mixed-media artists, photographers and more. The artists have created a studio environment in each location, providing visitors an opportunity to observe them creating art.

“Synergy is what I enjoy most about making art and jewelry,” offers Dot Lingren, mixed media artist, painter and jewelry artist who shares studio #116 at the Promenade.  “My jewelry focuses on the use of fine silver handcrafted into rings, necklace clasp, and beads.  I create natural shapes by hand and by using molds that I make myself from natural and found objects.”  Dot’s work wins award at local exhibitions including taking fifth place at the Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs July Exhibition, with her painting titled “Unforgettable – Nat ‘King’ Cole.”  Dot is a resident of Estero, but her inspiration for her jewelry came from her childhood inBelmont,Massachusettswhere she lived on a wooded hill overlookingBoston, which to Dot looked like a jewel box at night.

“There is a wonderful camaraderie between the artists at the Promenade,” offers Jordan Smith, Youth Education Director for the Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs.  Jordan, who is also a ceramic artist began working and exhibiting in Studio #164 at the Promenade in June.  “Artists from the other studios just stopped in to welcome me and offer assistance.  I was really impressed with how polished the space was.”

German born artist, Ursula Cappelletti studied Fiber Art at the Ecole des Beaux Arts inBelgium, working with diverse materials including fabrics, rope, wire, plastics and aluminum.  The study of color was an equally important element inspiring Ursula to concentrate on combining colors on canvas and other supports.  Now a resident ofBonitaSprings, Ursula works out of Studio #156 at the Promenade.  “My inspiration is influenced by embracing past experiences, living everyday’s events and focus on the uniqueness of the life that surrounds us,” explains Ursula of her process.

The Studio’s are open to the public Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.  Mark your calendar for the last Thursday of each month from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. when you can visit the Artists Studios, view their art, demonstrations and enjoy a live musical concert, light refreshments, and visit other great merchants of the beautiful Promenade.

Who:   Artist Studios Art Walk at the Promenade

When:  Thursday, July 28, 2011; 4:00 p.m to 7:00 p.m. (The last Thursday Evening of every month) 

Where: Promenade atBonitaBay,26811 S Bay Dr,BonitaSprings,Florida

Cost:    Free

Join the Center for the Arts for the first time between May 1 and September 30, 2011 and receive a free 4-, 5-, or 6-week class (including theater classes) to be used by December 31, 2011.  The Center for the Arts offers this promotion for first time members.  Call the Center for the Arts at 239-495-8989 for more information.

A full list of Center for the Arts classes is available online at http://www.artcenterbonita.orgor by calling 495-8989.


Angela Hicks Teaches Fairy Princesses How to Write their Own Happy Endings…

Angela Hicks Visual Performance ArtistPhotograph by Shelly Salter

“I can’t,” laments a four-year old girl in a pink tutu.  “Yes, you can,” answers Angela Hicks resolutely.  “You just need to bend at the knees.”  On this Tuesday afternoon, Visual and Performing Artist, Angela Hicks is teaching more than just ballet to a group of three year old girls attending a “Ballet Fairytales” class at the Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs.  Angela is teaching seven tiny dancers that they are the choreographers of their lives story.

“Through dance I have achieved self-discipline as the greatest lesson to guiding me through life. When I practice I am literally looking into a mirror to see where my body moves and imagining where it needs to be.  I apply that to my career and personal life; constantly reviewing where I am today and think what can I do to bring myself where I want to be, need to be,” offers Angela.

“Angela is such a unique talent and teacher,” explains Craig Price Performing Arts Director at the Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs.  “She is accomplished in so many disciplines of dance and is able to teach all of these styles to such a broad range of age groups, from young children to adults.”

Angela Hicks teaches Ballet Fairytales at the Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs

Angela has been dancing since she could walk. “The house I grew up in and my parent’s jewelry store were my first studios. Just counting training in dance schools, I have been dancing a total of seventeen years. At age five I started ballet in a dance academy. I then continued into Pointe, jazz, hip-hop, modern, ballroom, Latin, and Polynesian. Along side of that, I also practiced belly dance from the instruction of my grandmother. She was a belly dance performer and instructor at a belly dance school that was next to her etiquette school in Michigan in the 70’s,” explains Angela.  “When I was thirteen years old, I was dancing behind my instructor in ballet, closely following her steps and thought, “This is what I want to do for the rest of my life, be a professional dancer.”

When Angela is not teaching dance she is performing at cultural fairs, Zorba’s Greek Restaurant inBonitaSprings, and special events through outFloridaandLos Angeles.  Angela has performed her sword balancing act at an exclusive vintner dinner for the Naples Winter Wine Festival, where attendees paid a minimum of $8,500 per couple to enjoy the festivities.  Angela’s captivating sword balancing dance, performed with her sister Jessica, mesmerizes crowds and was born from her desire to overcome aichmophobia, the fear of sharp objects.   While studying the different styles of belly dance and the props used for shows, she came across the idea of dancing with a sword. Initially Angela dismissed the idea due to her fear, however, one week later Angela had a sharp double edge Turkish Scimitar Sword in her hands and she was ready to break free from her fear. In 2001 Angela began the self-training process of sword balancing, using her grandmother’s old school etiquette technique of balancing books on her head for posture and grace.

 Angela places golden tiaras on the heads of the seven tiny ballerinas sitting cross-legged in a circle around her.  “Now what was that story we were telling?” Angela asks the group.  “Rapunzel,” the tiny voices echo in chorus.  Rapunzel was saved by a prince, however the lesson Angela imparts on her ballerinas is a different one learned from her sword dancing, “You are the most important person you can depend on…make that person strong.”

To lean more about the dance classes Angela Hicks teaches at the Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs call: 239-495-8989 or visit:  You can learn more about Angela on her website:

For those who join the Center for the Arts for the first time between May 1 and September 30, 2011 will receive a free 4-, 5-, or 6-week class to be used by December 31, 2011.  The Center for the Arts offers this promotion for first time members.  Call the Center for the Arts at 239-495-8989 for more information.

“Eccouterre” Greens the Runway at the Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs

Lyrica Parker Trashing Fashion Show at the Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs
Lyrica Parker Trashing Fashion Show Designer

What do old magazines, bottle tops, tinsel from last season’s Christmas tree and empty juice cartons have in common?  Those recycled materials are the components of high fashion to students attending “Trashing Fashion” camp at the Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs.  Summer campers ranging in ages from nine to eleven spent a week of summer afternoons, creating “Ecouterre” masterpieces that would make Jean Paul Gaultier chartreuse with envy.

 Bonita Charter School art teacher Stacey Strell created the idea for “Trashing Fashion” while leading a peer counseling leadership class for eighth grade students.   “The students really wanted to promote recycling at their school and Project Runway happened to be running an episode on using recycled materials,” offers Stacey.  “The project just took off from there.”

 Fourteen campers spent their first day brainstorming with Stacey on their design concepts.  “I asked them to think about what they had at home and what materials we had on hand,” explains Stacey.  “I wanted them to think about fashion as another way to express their individuality.  I also wanted them be conscious that great fashion did not have to cost a lot of money or have a negative effect on the environment.”   

 A pillbox hat made from an orange juice carton fashioned to a headband and a dress made completely from paint sample swatches were a direct result of Stacey’s ability to draw out the individual vision and style from each of her students.  “The girls never wanted to take a break, they were so excited about the process,” adds Stacey.  “The students were completely responsible for every aspect of the creative process, including designing their outfits and picking the music and theme for their fashion show at the end of the class.”

 Chairs full of excited parents and campers lined the lighted runway that ran down the center of the main gallery at Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs.   Attendees were greeted by CFABS performing Arts Director Craig Price, dressed in a garbage can and acting as the MC for the “Trashing Fashion” show.  Smoke billowed onto the stage as the first of fourteen Designer/Models strutted her recycled individuality down the catwalk.  “They came up with the smoke machine and using the garbage cans and recycle bins as stage props,” explains Stacey.  Each of the students also wrote the descriptions of their recycled masterpieces on a cue card for the MC to read. As Amanda Oleska strode down the runway Craig Price read her design description to the audience, “My name is Amanda, and I’m eleven-years old.  My dress is made out of duck tape, recycled fabric and paint samples.  My bracelet is made out of straws.”

“The really nice thing about the class is that the girls gain so much confidence about who they are because they really have to make a commitment to their vision,” offers Jordan Smith, Youth Education Director at the Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs.  “One student actually collected 1,500 can tabs to create her outfit.”  Jordan suggests that students check out similar classes that are being held throughout the summer at CFABS.   Eco is Green and Over the Top and Under Construction are both courses that explore using recycled and alternative materials in art.  The not to be missed Steamroller Art Week begins on July 25, 2011 offering print making classes for children six and up as well as adults.  The Culmination of this week is the ridiculously cool, print making in the parking lot with the help of an actual Steamroller driven by Jordan Smith. 

 For a full list of summer camp classes call 239-495-8989 or visit on-line at

 You don’t have to be a member to enjoy all of the activities at the Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs.  Those who want to become members receive discounts on classes, shows and other events.  Those who join the Center for the Arts for the first time between May 1 and September 30, 2011 will receive a free 4-, 5-, or 6-week class to be used by December 31, 2011.  The Center for the Arts offers this promotion for first time members.  Call the Center for the Arts at 239-495-8989 for more information.

 WHAT:  Trashing Fashion – Summer Camps at the Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs

WHEN: 9am -4pm now through August 19, 2011

WHERE: The Center for the Arts of BonitaSprings, 26100 Old 41 Road, Bonita Springs,Florida

FEE: Varies by Camp Class

INFORMATION: 239-495-8989 or

What’s So Funny About the Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs

Who:   Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs Youth Theater

What:  “School House Rock Live Jr.” Performed by the Center for the Arts Youth Theater Department

When:  Friday, August 5, 2011; 7:00 p.m.: Saturday, August 6, 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

Where: Promenade at Bonita Bay, 26811 S Bay Dr, Bonita Springs,Florida

Cost:    $5 all tickets

Information:  239-495-8989 or

What’s so funny about the Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs?   Some would say it’s their Performing Arts Director, Craig Price. On a recent Tuesday morning Craig and a group of children attending his Improv class at CFABS played a game of Zip, Zap, Zop.  This well-known game, often used as a theatre preparation exercise had everyone in the circle engaged and grinning sending “zips”, “zaps” and ultimately “zops” to each other.

“When I am teaching acting to kids, the main focus for me is building self-esteem, establishing confidence and teaching teamwork,” offers Craig.

“Once they gain that confidence and they see they can do it, they just explode with pride and that light comes on in their eyes.  That is the most rewarding experience forme.” explains Price.

Price brings a “SecondCity” full of experience to the classes he teaches at the Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs.  After graduating fromWhittenbergUniversitywith a B.A. in Theatre and English he moved on to train at the famousSecondCityand Improv Olympic and with the renowned teacher Del Close. Craig learned his craft from the same teacher who turned out talent like Tina Fey, Dan Akroyd, Bill Murray and Gilda Radner.

Price lights up when he talks about teaching children.  His enthusiasm landed him in the roll of Assistant Director on WGCU’s “Curious Kids”.  Parent’s from St. Anne’s School inNaples, where he taught acting for five years suggested him for the project. 

“Taking theater to the next level with a television show starring children is an amazing opportunity,” adds Price. “If I could offer any advice to parents who think they have budding stars in their homes, it is to enroll them in a theater class.  They will gain so much confidence and learn how to work with others and not have to be the one in center stage all of the time.”  Price is currently auditioning children age 10 and up for The Center for the Arts Youth Theater production of “School House Rock Live! Jr.”

Craig teaches and coordinates all of the theater classes for adults and children in addition to coordinating all of the talent that performs at the Live! at the Promenade events CFABS puts on each month.   Price books an array of talent including Jay Taylor, Country Western singer/songwriter who will be performing on July to virtuoso pianist Naomi Niskala.

“I feel so fortunate that at 46 years old I am able to do what I love and I get paid for it,” Craig explains about his position with the Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs.  Craig’s adult classes at CFABS include Improv Workshop I which is starting up the week of July 5, 2011.  Price suggests this class to anyone who wants to be more comfortable speaking in front of people or to gain an introduction to acting. Craig Price will teach you to perform improv games and scenes all based on audience suggestions.  Readers Theater is another class offered in July at CFABS.  Price guarantees that in just two-hours a week for six-weeks you’ll learn how to prepare a role for a staged reading, and then perform it on stage with others first time actors.

Craig’s favorite theater exercise is a game called Freeze.  In Freeze, two actors start an improvised scene. At any point in time another player can call Freeze. This player then tags out one of the two actors, and takes his place. Both players then start a new scene, justifying the often unusual positions they are in.

“Freeze is a great way to teach, ‘Yes – And,’” adds Price.  “If there is one thing I would want students to walk away from class with it is the concept of ‘yes-And.’  Yes, what you did was great…And now how can I enhance it.”

“Yes,” the Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs offers great theater classes “And” taking a class from Craig Price would be a once in a lifetime experience.

Don’t miss the Center for the Arts Youth Theater production of School House Rock Live Jr. at the Promenade on August 5 and 6, 2011.

Who:   Center for the Arts ofBonitaSpringsWhat:  “School House Rock Live Jr.” Performed by the Center for the Arts Youth Theater Department

When:  Friday, August 5, 2011; 7 p.m.: Saturday, August 6, 32and 7 p.m.

Where: Promenade atBonitaBay,26811 S Bay Dr,BonitaSprings,FloridaCost:    $5 all tickets

School bells are ringing and students are singing! “Live At the Promenade!” The Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs is proud to present School House Rock Live! Jr. As summer winds down and the school year starts again, it’s time to head back to the classroom. In School House Rock Live! Jr. audiences meet Tom Mizer, a young teacher, as he anxiously prepares for his first day of school. Attempting to calm his fears, he turns on the television to find the educational cartoon show everyone knows and loves, Schoolhouse Rock, playing. Tom gets drawn in and soon the teacher is sucked into the television show. We meet a slew of colorful personalities as the entire company tries to comfort him and prepare him for his first day. Featuring many crowd-pleasing favorites, such as “Conjunction Junction” and “Interplanet Janet”, this musical is sure to entertain the entire community.

Information 495-8989 or

Join the Center for the Arts for the first time between May 1 and September 30, 2001 and receive a free 4-, 5-, or 6-week class (including theater classes) to be used by December 31, 2011.  The Center for the Arts offers this promotion for first time members.  Call the Center for the Arts at 239-495-8989 for more information.

Maps to the Soul- The Art of Shelly Salter

Demeter by Shelly Salter
Demeter by Shelly Salter

“I have always felt a little like a square peg trying to fit into a round hole,” admits artist Shelly Salter.  “People seem to expect an artist to be a little different, and accept it!”

 Shelly Salter is a little different and that difference is the unique perspective she brings to each piece she creates, telling her stories in strokes of paint.   Shelly has been painting in oil since she was nine years old, when her parents bought her a set of oil paints and some lessons.  Her oil on linen piece, “Iphigenia” brought her one of the top awards at the Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs June Exhibition, “Well, Hello Summer.”

 Salter’s mystical stories on canvas are inspired by artists like John Singer Sargent and Joaquin Sorolla, both of whom were portrait and figurative painters.  Salter most easily relates to the work of the old illustrators such as Norman Rockwell, “Who was a master at narrative art,” offers Salter.  Salter’s work includes both commissioned portraits and original art.  “Faces are my specialty,” says Salter.  “I have always studied faces and find them fascinating, like road maps to the inside of a person.  I find it irresistible that there are no two alike.”

 Salter’s iridescent smile lights up when she talks about art.  Shelly’s face and entire presence offer a clear map to the depth and radiance behind her art.  Salter, whose hair is the color of ocean spray, personifies her passion for the environment.  “I am passionate about two things; my art, and our endangered environment,” says Salter.  Respect for the environment is a consistent theme in Salter’s work.   Shelly’s concern for the environment includes the effects of chemicals on us and our world, supporting green investments and the use of GMO’s in our foods.  Salter uses her ability to write to effect change in these areas.

 “I love to write and have a journalism degree from the University of Miami, so I love it when people come in and actually read the stories that accompany some of my paintings,” says Salter.  “The Demeter is a favorite painting of mine.  I love Greek mythology.  Those stories can be interpreted so many different ways and encompass so many subjects like jealousy, greed, love and war.”

 The many subjects and stories of Shelly Salter can be seen in her working studio at the Promenade in Bonita Bay.  Her studio at the Promenade is in conjunction with The Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs Art in Public Places program.  This program allows painters, sculptors, photographers and glass artists to regularly display their work in various storefront locations at the Promenade at Bonita Bay. Artists Studios are open Thursday-Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. New exhibitions, and artists, occupy the studios every 30 to 60 days. The last Thursday of each month kicks off a new group of artists and exhibitions in an evening Art Walk, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., accompanied by musical entertainment.

 Salter offers a last thought, “The best thing about being an artist is that when you are with other artists you really feel like you finally fit in and that is why I love being at the Promenade!  It is the best thing that has ever happened to me.”

Shelly Salter will be teaching two 5-week classes this fall at the Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs.  1.  Fundamentals of Drawing begins on Monday August 22, from 1:00-4:00pm and runs for five consecutive Mondays and 2. Intermediate Drawing begins on Monday November 14, from 1:00-4:00pm and runs for five consecutive Mondays.  If you would like to take one of Shelly’s classes, call 239-495-8989 or on line at

  Who:    Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs

What:   Center for the Arts Studios at the Promenade at Bonita Bay, Art Walk

When:  Thursday, July 28, 2011; 4-7 p.m.

Where: Promenade at Bonita Bay, 26811 S Bay Dr, Bonita Springs, Florida

Cost:    FREE and open to the public