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



The 26th Bonita Springs National Art Festival

The 26th Bonita Springs National Art Festival
10:00am-5:00pm January 12-13

By Patrice Shields

February Bonita Springs National Art FestivalJanuary marks the Bonita Springs National Art Festival’s 26th festival at the Promenade, rated one of the top Fine Art Festivals in America by The Harris List and ranked 11th nationally by Sunshine Artist Magazine. Artists are chosen by a highly selective jury to ensure the highest quality craftsmanship in paintings, glass, jewelry, clay works, photography, sculpture, wood and more. The January festival is bringing a number of fresh new artists to join returning award winners.

Master of kiln formed glass, artist Scott Amrhein returns to the January festival where he won best in show in 2012. His glass sculptures show the hands-on care of an artist who has painstakingly created these timeless works of art. Scott fashions striking pedestals to complement his luminescent glass bowls. The result is Scott’s fine reputation for unique and exceptional handcrafted artwork that is known throughout the United States.

GL-005 Scott Amrhein EBLAST“It has been said that ‘man cannot duplicate nature but merely represent it.’ I hope that every piece I create, combining natural and man-made materials, is a reflection of that statement,” says Amrhein in speaking of the inspiration behind his work.

“Is it a painting or a photograph?” This is the most asked question about the larger than life oil paintings of Jeannie Maddox that have been capturing the attention of art festival crowds for over 33 years. Maddox work took Best in Show at the January 2011 Bonita Springs National Art Festival.

“To the viewer, my paintings appear to focus on photo realism. As an artist, my journey is through small abstract areas of shape, color and contrast, that, when completed and taken as a whole constantly surprise me by becoming hyper-real. I often say that I am a photo realistic painter who paints abstractly,” says Maddox.


In 1976 Maddox took some photographs of one of her young art students in a pool. The painting sold immediately and soon art show patrons were signing up on a two-year waiting list for a commissioned painting by Maddox, which took an average of 425 hours to create. In 1977 at Burdines of Florida bought her complete display during a festival show and continued buying for several years reproducing Maddox’s work to hang in the large atrium areas of the stores that were opening every six months across Florida. Maddox became one of the most recognized artists in South Florida.

“I believe there are many ways to express the art form known as jewelry,” says Jewelry Artist Kim Koch, winner of Best of 3D at the January 2012 Bonita Springs National Art Festival. “I choose quiet refinement, in which splashes of color radiate from my design through precise goldsmithing. My craftsmanship is a process; over three decades of working metals to fulfill my artist mission, while keeping sight of the enjoyment jewelry brings us.”

Koch is recognized nationally for innovative award winning design and craftsmanship, which he maintains by personally designing and creating each piece. His techniques include: casting, forging, fabrication, and multiple surface treatments, often all utilized in a single piece. Koch specializes in rare, color gemstones set in gold and platinum.

In addition to the Bonita Springs National Art Festival, Koch is three-time winner of Wisconsin Jewelers Association, AGTA Spectrum, Signity, and The Niche Award.

If Amrhein’s glass, Maddox’s photo realistic larger than life oil paintings, or Koch’s finely crafted gold jewelry are not intriguing enough, the 208 additional artists who passed the discriminating jury process for January’s festival will certainly offer fine art to make this a festival you will remember.

All proceeds from the festival support the Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs programming and its mission to provide opportunities for education and artistic expression for everyone—regardless of economic ability.

“Hundreds of thousands of people have attended our 25 festivals at the Promenade. They come back each year because they know the art is great and there is something for everyone. It is like a walking tour of high quality art galleries, but this one is set up outside in sunny Florida,” said Susan Bridges, President of Center for the Arts.

The Bonita Springs National Art Festivals offer ample free parking on site with food and beverages available for purchase. While there is no admission fee for this event, the Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs volunteers will be asking for an optional $5 donation, directly supporting the Center for the Arts programming.

The 26th Bonita Springs National Art Festival will be held at The Promenade located at 26805 South Bay Drive in BonitaSprings. It will run on January 12-13, 2013 from 10am-5pm. For more information, call 495-8989.

Those who join the Center for the Arts for the first time receive two tickets to one of this season’s Live at the Promenade events. The Center for the Arts offers this benefit for first time members only.

If You Go:
Who: Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs
What: 26th Bonita Springs National Art Festival
When: 10:00am-5:00pm, Saturday January 12 and Sunday January 13, 2013
Where: Promenade at Bonita Bay, 26821 S. Bay Drive, Bonita Springs, FL
Cost: Free ($5 optional donation for admission to support the Center for the Arts of

Bonita Springs’ Cultural Jewel Continues to Shine Brightly on February 11 & 12

IF YOU GO: TheBonitaSpringsNational Art Festival
WHEN: Saturday and Sunday from 10am -5pm.  February 11 & 12, 2012
NEXT FESTIVAL: March 10 & 11, 2012
Information: 495-8989 or
: Optional $5 Donation

 If a city is lucky, it finds its sweet spot with a cultural gem.  Bostonowns the 4th of July with the Boston Pops concert on the Esplanade and firework show rivaled only byHong Kong’s celebration on Chinese New Year.  Jazz lovers flock to Newport Rhode Island for the Jazz Festival that continues to draw music legends who play to growing crowds that arrive a week early to stake out their spot on the lawn. BonitaSprings found its Sweet Spot with the Bonita Springs National Art Festival.   The festival, which began 13 years ago, not only continues to draw record crowds and top national rankings, but also maintains its place as the key festival many of the nations best artists apply to each year.

 Southwest Florida’s cultural jewel shines again the weekend of February 11 and 12, when 211 national and international artists travel toBonita Springsto showcase their talent at the Promenade inBonita Springs. This acclaimed collection of fine arts and crafts draws thousands of local and out of state art collectors who visit the Festivals in search of the newest addition for their home, office or client’s collection.  It is this commitment to excellence that has earned the Bonita Springs National Art Festivals the distinction of #1 in the Southwest Floridaand #4 in the nation.

“It is one of my best shows where I meet some of my collectors and potential buyers, also I feel that my work is greatly appreciated here,” offers award winning textile artist Viviana Santamarina on the Bonita Springs National Art Festival. Originally fromBuenos Aires, Viviana lives inSan Franciscowhere she creates her crowd stopping tales told in curled paper and pencil. Santamarina’s unique art combines common elements and transforms them into elegant woven objects. 

 Wisconsin artist, Monika Fairchild’s individually hand-crafted sterling silver jewelry, embellished with natural stones and fossils turn heads at the festival. “The Bonita Springs National Festival is one of my favorite each year,” adds Monika.  “The setting of the show is beautiful and relaxing, patrons are educated and pleasant and the festival is very well organized. I always look forward to participating.” 

 Center for the Arts President, Susan Bridges explains the success of the festivals as a natural extension of the Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs mission. “There’s a genuine buzz around our Festivals,” offers Bridges.   “It goes to the heart of things, a defining impact both on our community and the artists.  Every single year artists tell us our patrons don’t just stroll by their booth, they stop and talk with them.  They ask them about their work, they’re interested and appreciate the creative process.  And, of course, they often buy.  What a concept!   Yet, think about it, it makes sense. Our artists do well because our Festivals are strongly supported by our residents and visitors.  Our residents and visitors rely on our commitment to originality and excellence, and we deliver.  We pair our excellence in art with the focus on two areas of human activity, which in my view, are the most important expressions of our humanity – curiosity and imagination. The result is phenomenal.” said President Susan Bridges

While the festival continues to please crowds of attendees and bring collectors to talented artists, the true value of this cultural gem is measured by what it gives back to Bonita Springs 365 days a year. “We never thought of ourselves as creating a local legacy until our 50th Anniversary, when we celebrated our service to our community. At our celebration Mayor Ben Nelson spoke about all we’ve accomplished, including our Festivals. We realized just how remarkable our legacy is and what the Festivals and our organization has given to our community.” said President, Susan Bridges.

The Bonita Springs National Art Festival has directly funded visual and performing arts programs for local Elementary Schools, Community theater programs for youth and adults, national and local art exhibitions that are free to residents, and scholarships for local youth to participate in performing arts programming.

So if you find yourself inPark City,Utah next January, be sure to stop in to the Sundance Film Festival.  But if you are in Southwest Florida this weekend, the Bonita Springs National Art Festival at the Promenade is the place to be.  For more information call 495-8989 or visit on line at

Those who join the Center for the Arts for the first time receive 2 tickets to one of this season’s Live at the Promenade Performances.  The Center for the Arts offers this promotion for first time members.

Bonita Springs National Art Festival Jan. 15-16

   The buzz around the Center for the Arts during festival week is always filled with excitement. Everyone secretly checks the weather report for the weekend, hoping it is warm, but not too warm. It should be sunny, not too windy, and basically that perfect Southwest Florida winter day.

"Sheets" 4ftx5ft oil on canvas by Don Plumridge of Wimauma, Florida.
"Sheets" 4ftx5ft oil on canvas by Don Plumridge of Wimauma, Florida.

    The goal is for the artists and the public to enjoy the perfect festival day. In it’s 12th year, the Bonita Springs National Art Festival is a local, and national, favorite. The festival has always ranked in the top 20 in the nation. Considering how many festivals there are each year, this distinction is quite an accomplishment.

    Festival director Barry Witt would attribute this to two major factors. One the public knows that this show will feature the best of the best artists from around the nation. Two, artists know that this show is highly respected by the public, highly attended and very competitive to get into so the best artists apply. With this formula you get the perfect festival. With a lot of competition to get into the festival, only the top are chosen. And so, the public is able to enjoy the cream of the crop.

     On Saturday morning, the gates will open at 10 a.m. and the public will flow through for the next two days. It’s really a magical transition to watch. You begin with an empty parking lot, you end with an empty parking lot, but in between you have the opportunity to visit 211 art galleries.

     The festival will take place Saturday and Sunday, January 15-16 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Promenade at Bonita Bay. There is an optional $5 at the gate. This money goes back into Center for the Arts programming. This ranges from adult classes to children’s scholarships, Live! performances to artistic public outreach programs. Each year the festival raises about $120,000 to support the Center for the Arts. All of that money stays in Bonita Springs. The festival is run entirely by the Center, with 12 staff members and hundreds of volunteers.

     A complete list of Center for the Arts events, programming and volunteer opportunities is available at or by calling 495-8989