Some Holiday Ideas

Raku pieces during the firing process at a Raku and You! One-Night Event.

By Mickey Lacroix

Prior to working for the Centers for the Arts Bonita Springs, I always struggled during the holiday season to come up with fun and meaningful gifts to share with my loved ones. Last year, I ended up being able to give a number of my family members tickets to see the folk musician Jonathan Edwards, who performed at the Center for Performing Arts last spring.  My sisters and I had not seen him in concert prior to that event, though we had grown up listening to his songs.  My mom and stepdad, who also attended, had seen him perform, but not for many years.  Altogether, it ended up being a wonderful evening that we each look back upon fondly.

There are probably a good many people on your holiday “shopping” list who would also be more touched by a great experience than a cleverly selected item. As such, there are many interesting services, classes and performances held at the Centers for the Arts Bonita Springs that might make a great holiday gift, especially as a group gift to an event or class that you can attend together.

One night events and mini workshops often make great group gifts, because they take place in a relaxed environment and allow people to make a work of art over the span of just a few hours. These events are especially fun if you get a group of people together to attend, as there is something magically intimate about sharing in the creative process. Then, at the end of the session, you each get to bring home the art you made, which will serve as a continuing reminder of the shared experience.

CFABS also offers a full series of top-notch performances, varying from improvisational theater, to concerts in a variety of musical genres, foreign films, one man theater productions, and traditional theater. If you might be interested in giving a gift of this nature to someone you know, but are not sure of their schedule, the Centers for the Arts Bonita Springs has gift certificates available at any denomination.

One of the other interesting gift possibilities is a ticket to the annual OFF THE WALLS! fundraiser. Everyone is a winner in this amazing ‘lottery’ event and each person selected gets to choose from any number of artworks and collectibles donated for the event.   A fabulous buffet, soft drinks, beer and wine are all included in the $150 ticket price.  Each prize item is valued at a minimum of $275.  Proceeds from this fundraiser are used to give scholarships for youth programming at CFABS.  This year’s off the walls will be on Friday, January 20, 2017 and doors will open at 6:00pm.

Information about any of the programs available through the Centers for the Arts Bonita Springs is available online at, or by phone at 239-495-8989. You are also cordially invited to drop in to either center, where you may pick up literature, buy tickets, sign up for classes, view the exhibitions in the galleries, and get more information in general.  The Center for Visual Arts is located at 26100 Old 41 Rd. and the Center for Performing Arts is located at 10150 Bonita Beach Rd.  Please consider coming out to see or contacting us to give someone you love the opportunity to enrich their lives through the arts.




For as long as I can remember, I have been curious about the printmaking process. I have always thought that there is something mysterious and magical about being able to go from an idea or a sketch to producing hundreds, if not thousands of copies of the same work.  So, I was naturally excited when I found out that, as an employee of the Centers for the Arts, I was invited to a special test-run of the new one night event called “MonoPRINTmania,” in which people will get the opportunity to explore making monotype prints.  Berry van Boekel is the instructor, and the first MonoPRINTmania one night event will be this coming Thursday, November 17, 2016.

During the ‘test run’ I learned that Monotype printing is a process in which each print is unique, but the process lends itself to making a number of similar prints. Five of us went through the test run with Berry, and each of us produced a set of four related prints based on the (very different) images we each wanted to explore.  Two of us made landscapes.  Another person worked from a geometric pattern.  One of us worked from a photograph of a stand of cypress.  I worked on a portrait, and Barry, in his demonstration of the process, made an abstract print.  I was glad to see the variety of “genres” in the session, because I learned more than I would have if we had all been working on portraits.

In a nutshell, here is what we did. We each started by using a Sharpie to sketch an image onto a plate of plexiglass.  The sketch could be as rough or as detailed as we wanted, (and was there only to serve as a guide), because the next step in the process was to flip the glass over and paint the other side.  We discussed and used several different tools/techniques for laying out the paint that would ultimately get transferred to the printmaking paper via the press.

The fact that paint “handles differently” on glass than it does on paper or canvas is a big part of what distinguishes it from more traditional painting techniques in which we apply paint directly to the surface of the painting. Much like driving on ice, glass is less forgiving than paper and canvas, in that it doesn’t grip the paint the way the other surfaces do.  This, in itself, makes for interesting results, accentuating the texture of each brush stroke and allowing the artist to remove paint from the plate with just a swipe.

Making the print itself was easy-peasy once your plate was decorated. The painted glass plate and a piece of printmaking paper were placed in the press, which ran over the images, mashing one onto the other.  Thirty seconds later, a monotype print had been born!  We were then set loose to decorate the plate again, with the options of trying different colors, textures and tools.

If you think you might be interested in trying your hand at making monotype prints, Mr. van Boekel will be offering his one night event, “MonoPRINTmania” from 5:30pm – 8:30pm on the following dates:

November 17, 2016

January 19, 2017

February 23, 2017

March 23, 2017

April 13, 2017

May 11, 2017

These one night events cost only $55 per person, and include all of the materials necessary for making the prints. The setting is comfortably informal, and wine, soft drinks and a light meal will be served.

An Improv Experience

Bonita City Improv: (Left to Right) Leigh Shein, Margot Escott, Craig Price, Francis Briggs, Bill Owens, Marilu Holmes, Marian Horgan and Steve Cobb


By Mickey Lacroix

I was lucky enough to be in attendance at Improv Tonight this past Saturday, November 5th where I got to see Bonita City Improv perform with special guest Stacey Smith.  It was an interesting show, to say the least.  The show was comprised of a number of different skits, most of which involved input from the audience, if not direct audience participation.  (Upon entering the theater, patrons are given a questionnaire, and the audience’s answers to this questionnaire then become material the performers work into their skits.)

In my opinion, the skits ranged from being very strange (imagine a song set in a pizza parlor where a pizza chef is professing his love to his boss, who has a propensity for wearing escargot on her shoe), to being riotously funny.  My favorite skit of the night was “Sideline Karaoke.”  In this skit Stacey Smith was sent out of the room while the audience provided three song suggestions to the other performers.  Once the songs were established, Stacey was called back to the stage, and it became her job to guess the three mystery songs, while the members of Bonita City Improv pantomimed clues to the song names. The audience was prompted to give Stacey feedback by giving her a polite “golf” clap so she would know when she was “getting warmer.”

To make the challenge tougher, Stacy wasn’t allowed to simply guess the songs, she was responsible for singing lyrics to correspond with what she was seeing as the other actors rotated across the stage two at a time miming things they thought would help her.  She got the first two songs relatively quickly, garnering several laughs as she worked her way into singing “Beat It,” then “Sixteen Candles.”  She did this despite the fact that, while Francis Briggs played brilliantly on the piano, he played music that had no relation whatsoever to the songs that had been suggested.    The third song was another matter.

Someone had suggested “Battle Hymn of the Republic” and that’s where the true magic started to happen.  Stacey began to shine as she fished around for the right answers, often poking fun at the pantomimes, and making the audience riotously aware of how easy it was to see other things going on in the gyrations of the other performers, and riffing for several minutes as she worked out the first two words to the title of the song.  As she struggled to put it together, she asked, “Dear God please” let the other performers break the final bit down into syllables, which was a funny moment in itself.  By the time she got it figured out, those of us in the audience were so invested in her getting to the correct song title that we were cheering like the Cubs had finally won game seven of the world series…  in extra innings.  (Like that could ever happen).

Bonita City Improv performs monthly at Improv Tonight, at 8:00pm on the first Saturday of the Month. Tickets are available through, and are modestly priced at $15 each, (10% off for current CFABS members.)