Films for Film Lovers Open for the Holidays

By Mickey Lacroix

As you are probably well aware, Christmas and New Years are right around the corner. Both holidays fall on a Sunday this year, so many locations are closed on the following Mondays.  As such, it might be easy to think that our Film for Film Lovers series would pack up its popcorn maker, and roll up the red carpet for these two weeks.  This, however, is not the case.  Not only will The Robert and Karin Moe Auditorium and Film Center be open on these two Mondays, but the movies selected for these weeks are timely choices reflective of the season.

For Monday, December 26th, the film committee has selected a powerful tale from Hong Kong, entitled “A Simple Life.”  In a nutshell, the movie is about an older woman who has worked as a servant (an amah) who, upon having a stroke, decides she wants to move into a nursing home, so as not to become a burden on the family she has been caring for for over sixty years, and her relationship with the youngest son of the family.  The film is ultimately a somber exploration of love, selflessness and finding contentment.  The films message might just be particularly poignant right after the bustle of the Christmas holiday.

Whether or not you end up suffering a bit from toasting “auld lang syne” with one too many “good-will draughts” – CFABS will be presenting the 2004 French film “Changing Times” on Monday, January 2nd.  In this film, two of Frances greatest modern actors, Gerard Depardeau and Catherine Deneuve team up to bring us a story about how a love from days gone by, (which is what “auld lang syne” means) never truly dies.   In addition to being a fine love story, the movie might provide a little motivation to those of us who make New Year’s resolutions, but might need a little extra push to fight for those changes we want to make going forward.

We hope you’ll join us at one or both of these exceptional films. We’ll have the popcorn ready, a selection of beverages to help wash them down, and even if the carpets in our film center aren’t red, our staff and volunteers will be ready to give you the red carpet treatment when you arrive.  Even if we don’t see you, all of us at the Centers for the Arts Bonita Springs hope you have a Festive Holiday Season and a Happy New Year.

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.)

Be SuperHero, Volunteer!

There is no secret that today’s super heroes are seen on TV as characters with super strength, laser vision, that can fly and even leap tall buildings with a single bound, but we never see a super hero with the best super power… The power of Volunteering!!!

Yes, volunteering is in fact a super power and here at the Centesr for the Arts we have a league of super heroes using their super powers every day.

They use it to help our staff with daily tasks that have to be done in a flash, they help with stage and lighting production with amazing strength and precision. They help our instructors with super hearing and anticipating all the little summer camper’s wants and needs.

Yes, being a volunteer for the Centers for the Arts is a SUPER and POWerful way to dedicate your time. Volunteering promotes positive leadership skills for our teen volunteers, offering everyone the opportunity to learn amazing new skills, and get the chance to make a difference in our community and in doing so, inspire others to also volunteer.


So, if you want to be seen as a community super hero, consider volunteering at the Centers for the Arts Bonita Springs.

For more information on becoming a volunteer and other CFABS community events, please visit

Who: Local Community
What: Volunteering
Where: Centers for the Arts Bonita Springs
Visual Arts Center – 26100 Old 41 Rd.
Performing Arts Center – 10150 Bonita Beach Rd. SE
When: All Year Around



On Display through July 28, 2016 at the Center for Visual Arts Bonita Springs

Marrale_Pick Me Up PickupBy Patrice Shields

In the spirit of this month’s 4th of July celebrations, the Centers for the Arts of Bonita Springs hosts its Town and Country Exhibition at the Center for Visual Arts Bonita Springs through July 28. This exhibition showcases artwork from artists working in a variety of media with over 50 pieces of art declaring what makes this country great through depictions of rolling fields and urban streets.

“This exhibition is a reflection of what makes our country special,” says Ehren Gerhard, Shows and Exhibitions Director of the Centers for the Arts Bonita Springs. “Artists sunk deep into their roots and took pride in the beauty that is their nation through their art.”

The Town and Country Exhibition was judged by Scott Snyder who has worked in the field of visual arts as a museum curator at Rockford Art Museum and Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center and as an educator at Florida Gulf Coast University. Snyder chose the eight winning artists based on the artists adherence to the exhibit theme, the technical and aesthetic quality of the work, creativity and the works subjective value.

“Thematically, this show was open to a wide range of interpretations by the creative and talented artists who participated. Many works portray appreciation for the natural environment of Florida, while other artists present works that bring to mind, memory of home, travel and family,” says Snyder. “It is fitting with the July 4th holiday at hand that we reflect upon the things that define us; our individuality, our families, our community and our country.”

Town and Country Exhibition Award Winners:

Best of Show Award – “4th of July Dreaming” by Ed Ryman
First Place – “The View” by Anne Chaddock

Second Place – “Quit Strength” by Maggie Hofmann

Third Place
“Park in the Village – Happehatchee” by Patricia Abosch

Fourth Place – “Mother” by Rinny Ryan

Fifth Place – “13 miles to Cheyenne” by Don Jones

Sixth Place – “Let’s Get Fruity” by Louise Soderlund

Award of Merit – “Grandmothers Against the War” by Kathleen Bridget

Included in the exhibition are two pieces by artist Ed Ryman (Salop,) with his acrylic painting “4th of July Dreaming” winning Best of Show. Salop has lived most of his life in Europe and attended the French Luminasitier of Aix en Provence, and Nice. While in Europe, Salop became influenced by Matisse, Derain, Ulaminck, Dufy, and the Fauvist School of Painting. Salop’s work is recognized for its sophisticated use of color, pattern and composition with concentration on the female form.

Naples artist Anne Chaddock’s oil painting “The View,” which offers a unique sightline of the Naples Pier from the shore, won the First Place award at the Town and Country Exhibition. Chaddock has been painting, teaching and exhibiting her entire life and sees each of her paintings as an opportunity to make a visual statement. Chaddock will be teaching several classes and workshops at the Centers for the Arts Bonita Springs beginning in the fall and include instruction in watercolor, acrylic and oil.

The Town and Country Exhibition is on display through July 28, 2016 at the Center for Visual Arts Bonita Springs, 26100 Old 41 Road, Bonita Springs, FL 34135 For more information, please call the Centers for the Arts at 239-495-8989 or visit them on-line at

Join the Centers for the Arts for the first time as an individual member receive a free 4-, 5-, or 6- week class, or join for the first time as a family member receive a free 4-, 5-, or 6- week class and two free tickets to a Live! Performance. The Centers for the Arts offers this benefit for first time members and it is for a limited time only. The class and performance must be used before December 31, 2016.

If You Go:
Who: Centers for the Arts Bonita Springs
What: Town and Country Exhibition
When: On display July 1-28, 2016
Where: Center for Visual Arts Bonita Springs, 26100 Old 41 Road, Bonita Springs, FL 34135
Cost: Free










Center for Performing Arts Exhibition: The Art of Ballotti, Merchant and Unwin
Opening Reception Thursday, June 30, 2016; 6:00-8:00pm at the CPABS

Ballotti_TriColoredHeronBy Patrice Shields

The Centers for the Arts Bonita Springs (CFABS) invites art lovers to join them at their new Center for Performing Arts Bonita Springs (CPABS) exhibition space for their Center for Performing Arts Exhibition: The Art of Ballotti, Merchant and Unwin Opening Reception On Thursday, June 30, 2016; 6:00-8:00pm. This exhibition includes the varied mediums of artists Jennifer Unwin, James Ballotti and John Merchant. The opening reception offers guests the opportunity to explore the CPABS campus filled with intriguing artwork in this curated exhibition.

The Opening Reception offers the public the opportunity to meet three of the area’s leading artists and to view a wide variety of their original artworks while enjoying light hors d’oeuvres and wine at the Center for Performing Arts Bonita Springs at 10150 Bonita Beach Road, Bonita Springs, FL 34135.

“These three artists possess an astounding complexity and variety in their work,” says Ehren Gerhard, Shows & Exhibitions Director of the Centers for the Arts Bonita Springs. “This promises to be a very interesting exhibition.”

Artist, Jennifer Unwin studied commercial art, layout design, and fashion illustration at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh. She led a successful career as an advertising designer and fashion illustrator in Connecticut before moving to Florida. Her earliest artistic memories are sketching on a plastic covering over a television screen following along with John Gnagy’s television show “You are an Artist” in the 1950’s. This exhibition will display both her realist and abstract work revealing the breadth and range of her vision.

James D Ballotti started photography in 1968 at the age of seventeen. Over the following years his camera went almost everywhere with him. He is self-taught and has studied everything he could find on the subject. On a limited budget, his goal was to make every shot count. The images on display for this exhibition are part of a series of original photographs taken from the back door of his condominium in Bonita Springs. You will be surprised by the intensity and variety provided by his intentionally limited vantage point.

John Merchant has drawn and painted since childhood. He studied art for five years at the College of Art in Sheffield, England. Nothing engages John Merchant as intensively as stone carving. The rock tells him how it wants to be carved. His intuitive process leads to phenomenally emotional and engaging work. Attempting to reveal indescribable thoughts and emotions, his task of shaping the stone to serve his vision is complemented by the cataclysmic forces that shaped the rock’s origin.

The Exhibition is on display from June 30 – August 24, 2016 at The Center for Performing Arts of Bonita Springs, 10150 Bonita Beach Road, Bonita Springs, FL 34135. Hours are Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Exhibition Opening Reception Admission is free.  Future Center for Performing Arts Exhibition Opening Receptions are scheduled for August 25, and October 27 from 6-8pm, and will showcase three CFABS faculty or member artists and selected through a curation process.

For more information, please call the Centers for the Arts at 239-495-8989 or visit them on-line at

Join the Centers for the Arts for the first time as an individual member receive a free 4-, 5-, or 6- week class, or join for the first time as a family member receive a free 4-, 5-, or 6- week class and two free tickets to a Live! Performance. The Centers for the Arts offers this benefit for first time members and it is for a limited time only. The class and performance must be used before December 31, 2016.

If You Go:
Who: Centers for the Arts Bonita Springs
What: Center for Performing Arts Exhibition: The Art of Ballotti, Merchant and Unwin
When: Thursday June 30, 2016; 6:00-8:00pm (On display June 30 – August 24, 2016)
Where: Center for Performing Arts Bonita Springs, 10150 Bonita Beach Road, Bonita Springs, FL 34135
Cost: Free