If You Are Looking For Some Good Old Fashioned Fun in the New Year…

Night Train Band-Fifties ShowIf You Are Looking For Some Good Old Fashioned Fun in the New Year…
The Night Train Band May be Just the Ticket!

By Patrice Shields 

The Night Train takes the stage for the Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs’ Live at the Promenade performance Series at 7:00pm, Thursday January 10, 2013. With a local reputation for putting on a great show, the Night Train has earned a reputation for consistently selling out performances. So polish up your dancing shoes and get ready to hit the dance floor because the Night Train is bringing the fun and music of the 1950’s to their show at the Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs café theater at the Promenade at Bonita Bay.  

Come dance to the hits of the 1950’s with Vic Tommarchi and the Night Train Band.  Tommarchi has been in the music business since 1959 when as a sixteen-year-old student he worked as a lead guitar player in the small recording studios in New York’s now famous BrillBuilding. 

“We usually worked on Sundays, since that’s when studio time was less expensive. Sometimes we’d do up to 17 takes, and I’d get home via subway at 3:30am with my Fender guitar in one hand and amp in the other, says Tommarchi.  “Who knew that a half a century later that we’d call that music Doo -Wop, Rock a Billy, or simply ‘Those Oldies, but Goodies’. There is something timeless about the music of the fifties. It seems to be loved by young and old alike. The fifties were just a time that frankly, people wouldn’t mind going back to.”  

The band has changed since Tommarchi began in 1959, but the passion for the music of Elvis Presley, Fats Domino, B.B. King and the Platters is the same for Tommarchi today as it was back then.  The Night Train Band is comprised of Bernie Panto who sings and fronts the band, Pat Bracy on vocals and keyboard, Kenny Mariano on Bass and Joey T on drums. Tommarchi plays lead guitar and acts as the bandleader. 

The dance floor will be open at the Center for the Arts cozy café theater where every table offers a great view of the performance.  So ‘Bop,’ ‘Twist,’ ‘Bunny Hop’ or ‘Swing’ your way down to the Promenade for the most fun you will have this side of the 1950’s. 

The Night Train Band performs their 1950’s Tribute at 7:00pm, Thursday January 10 at the Promenade at BonitaBay. The Promenade is located at the intersection of U.S. 41 and South Bay Drive, approximately 1.5 miles north of Bonita Beach Road. The performance space is located at the northwest corner of the Promenade, space #114. Tickets are $15 for members or $20 for non-members. Refreshments, including beer and wine, will be available. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and open seating is available.  Advance reservations are suggested and tables can be reserved for groups of four or more.

To purchase tickets or for more information regarding this performance, please call the Center for the Arts at (239) 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: 50’s Night with The Night Train Band Live! At the Promenade 
When: 7:00pm, Thursday January 10, 2013  
Where: Promenade at Bonita Bay, 26821 S. Bay Drive, Bonita Springs, FL 
Cost: $15 Members/ $20 non-members 


Claire Lynch Brings Bluegrass to BonitaSprings

Claire Lynch Brings Bluegrass to BonitaSprings
Thursday, November 15, 2012 


By Patrice Shields

Long recognized and praised as a creative force in acoustic music, Claire Lynch is a pioneer who continually pushes the boundaries of the bluegrass genre. The current Claire Lynch Band is a powerful juggernaut, a quartet that has the innate ability to perfectly interpret the beauty, subtlety, and genre-defying sophistication of Claire’s music.

Claire grew up in Kingston, N.Y. until the age of 12, when the family moved to Huntsville, Alabama. There she began her education in country music and became immersed in the bluegrass revival of the 1970’s, joining a band called Hickory Wind.  The band later changed its name to the Front Porch String Band with Claire’s vocals as its centerpiece.

As a songwriter, her tunes have been recorded by such luminaries as Patty Loveless, The Seldom Scene, Cherryholmes, Kathy Mattea, the Whites and Stephanie Davis.  Lynch’s first album, “Friends for a Lifetime” was released in 1993 followed by “Moonlighter” in 1995 for which she received her first Grammy. “Silver and Gold” from 1997 was also nominated for Grammy glory.  She was named the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) Female Vocalist of the Year in 1997 and enjoyed many chart successes. 

Lynch sang harmony on “The Grass is Blue” and “Little Sparrow,” which led to promotional tours as a backup vocalist for Dolly Parton, who has described Lynch as “one of the sweetest, purest and best lead voices in the music business today.”  Lynch has graced other artists’ albums with her background vocals, including Emmylou Harris, Linda Ronstadt, Pam Tillis, Alison Brown, Patty Loveless, Kathy Mattea and Ralph Stanley.  Lynch’s current list of guest appearances continues including spots on albums by Donna the Buffalo, Sara Watkins, the Gibson Brothers, Jonathan Edwards and Jesse Winchester.

Lynch struck out on her own in 2005, forming the Claire Lynch Band and releasing the aptly named “New Day” CD. It was a hit on the bluegrass charts and earned her IBMA nominations for Song of the Year and Female Vocalist of the Year as well as an induction into the Alabama Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame.  In 2010 Lynch won the trophy for Female Vocalist of the Year from the IBMA.

The Claire Lynch Band will be making one appearance in Southwest Florida during their 2012 tour.  The band will perform live at the Promenade in BonitaSprings, at 7:00pm on Thursday, November 15, 2012 at 7:00pm.  Tickets are $20 for Center for the Arts members, and $25 for non-members. Advance reservations are suggested by calling 239-495-8989. 

Join the Center for the Arts for the first time and receive two free tickets to a Live! performance, including this performance by The Claire Lynch Band.  Call the Center for the Arts at 239-495-8989 for more information. * One membership per household.

“Her original songs display her gifts as a songwriter of uncommon skill, and her outside song choices reinforce her artistic self, one who feels deeply about home, family, strength, resilience and courage.”

Mary Chapin Carpenter  


If You Go:

Who: Center for the Arts of BonitaSprings
What: Live! Bluegrass with The Claire Lynch Band
When: Thursday, November 15, 2012; 7:00 pm
Where: Promenade at BonitaBay, 26821 S. Bay Dr, BonitaSprings, FL
Cost:  $20 Members, $25 Non-Members


Global Dance Comes to the Local Stage

Angela_and_Jessica_Hicks_with_Mixed_AcompanyGlobal Dance Comes to the Local Stage
“Dance around the World” with Angela & Jessica Hicks Live! at the Promenade

Patrice Shields

Since the beginning of time and across the globe, dance has been used as a form of expression and communication. Using both graceful and strong movements, the dancer can convey the abstract emotions and ideas that lie deep within the soul. It is a universal form of communication that can bridge social, economic and cultural barriers since everyone, regardless of race and social status, can experience the power of dance on the same level.  On October 11, 2012, locally renowned dancers Angela and Jessica Hicks transfer their multi-cultural expertise in dance to the local stage for “Dance around the World,” at the Promenade.

The performance offers the audience the opportunity to experience a night of traditions showcased by the passion and excitement of flamenco, belly dance, tango, salsa, sword balancing and more. Angela and Jessica captivate and mesmerize audiences as they take them through a journey around the world. The global dance experience is enriched with a mixture of live jazz and various cultural melodies sung by the Hicks sisters.  In their physical expression of dance lies the understanding of many cultures.  Angela and Jessica bring a lifetime of passion and practice in ballet, jazz, contemporary, hip-hop, modern, ballroom and Latin dance to their “Dance around the World Performance.”  

“It’s not often that we see or meet an artist who has extraordinary capabilities that move across disciplines in such a powerful way,” says Susan Bridges, President of the Center for the Arts, of Angela Hicks.  “When we do, we’re often struck with awe that a single person can attain such a high level of craftsmanship whether they’re in dance, theater, or visual arts.  Angela is one of those unique individuals.  Her abilities stretch successfully across many disciplines.  A focused and dedicated performer, Angela is an accomplished visual artist, and a successful educator.   I have had the great pleasure to see Angela perform hundreds of times, and each time I walk away knowing I have experienced something truly wonderful.” 

The Hicks sisters have been honing their craft since they 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.”

As the Hicks sisters grew older, their passion for dance, music and theater grew stronger. Angela earned her B.A. in Art from FloridaGulfCoastUniversity and Jessica earned her B.A. in Theater.  Angela traveled in Florida, California and New York, performing with a Polynesian dance troupe, performing belly dance and sword balancing.  Jessica performed throughout Florida and toured Turkey with a flamenco fusion band as a vocalist and flamenco dancer.  Most recently Jessica performed throughout Argentina with her new band, “A Persuasive Reason.”

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.

The Hicks Sisters’ performance at the Promenade on Thursday night will incorporate the many styles of dance they have mastered.  Tickets are $15 for Center for the Arts Members’ and $20 for non-members. For more information and to purchase tickets contact the Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs at 239-495-8989 or visit them on line at www.artcenterbonita.org.

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 and it is for a limited time only.

 If You Go

What:   “Dance Around the World” with Angela and Jessica Hicks
When:  Thursday, October 11, 2012; 7:00p.m.
Where: The Promenade at BonitaBay, Suite 114, 26821 SouthBay drive, BonitaSprings, Florida
Cost:    $15 members/ $20 non-members


Just Plain Fun Mudbone Live! at the Promenade September 20 2012

FunkBoneTxtWhen you ask someone to describe a performance by the Southwest Florida “Super Group” Mudbone, the response will likely include, “it is just plain fun.”  Thursday night, September 20, 2012 at 7:00pm, Mudbone will bring their bluesy brand of fun to the Center for the Arts café theater at the Promenade. 

Comprised of some of the area’s most notorious musicians including Rick Howard, David Johnson, Bill E. Peterson and Mario Infante , Mudbone brings together a vast collective musical experience with an eclectic take on The Blues, adding elements of Funk, Jazz, Latin, Zydeco, Reggae and everything in between! The Blues will never be the same when Mudbone hits the stage.

“Blues is a music that affects the listener cerebrally, emotionally and physically on a very simple level. It’s easy to feel, easy to relate to,” offers guitarist Rick Howard. Howard’s forty five years of guitar playing and vocalizing have put him into every situation and every musical genre. At age fourteen Rick was performing at local functions and by seventeen playing parties and weddings. By nineteen he was getting his Jazz legs playing nightclubs while teaching guitar in a Brooklyn music school.

Rick first attended college in his twenties. The local 802 program for professional musicians at KingsboroughCollege gave him a chance to hone his arranging, composing and orchestration skills. The late seventies saw Rick form a group called “Whapp.” This Zappa influenced ensemble mixed intricate music with a humorous theatrical approach.
In the eighties, Rick applied his talents to doing session work, playing guitar on movie scores and jingles. He contributed to recordings by King Sunny Ade, Betty Wright, Bob Marley, and Shania Twain to name a few.

Rick toured extensively with artists such as the Drifters and Chuck Berry, and he has shared the stage with Keith Emerson, Birelli Legrene, Jeff Baxter, John Entwhistle and others. Rick was heavily involved in the jazz and blues scene, performing with his group “The Wolfpack.” Rick recorded two albums with his Latin Jazz group IGUAZU…the first self titled “Iguazu” in 1998, and the second, “All You Need” in 2003. “All You Need” featured guests Paquito D’Rivera, Slide Hampton and Antonio Hart. Iguazu played at many Jazz festivals sharing the bill with Acoustic Alchemy, Alex Bugnon and David Valentin, to name a few.

Rick Howard is known by his peers to be one of the most diversified and eclectic guitarists on the scene. He plays every musical style with authenticity and taste. Rick considers his style to be the culmination of all his musical experience and influences. These influences include Kenny Burrell, Larry Carlton, Carlos Santana, Frank Zappa, Herb Ellis,Tal Farlow, David Gilmour, Alvin Lee, Wes Montgomery, Jimi Hendrix and Joe Pass.

Rick now resides in Southwest Florida, enjoying the tropical climate and playing and singing as much Jazz and Blues as possible.  The first set of Mudbone’s show at the Promenade on Thursday will feature all acoustic instruments performing authentic old time Delta Blues, Country Blues and Zydeco.  The second set will take you on a journey through Chicago, New Orleans, Texas and other areas of The Blues….funky, gritty down and dirty Blues, Mudbone style! Refreshments including beer and wine will be available at the show.

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, 2012 will receive a free 4-, 5-, or 6-week class to be used by December 31, 2012.  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:  Live! at the Promenade “Blues with Mudbone”
WHEN: September 20, 2012; 7:00pm
WHERE: The Promenade at BonitaBay, Suite 114, 26821 South Bay Drive, BonitaSprings, Florida
FEE: $15 members/ $20 non-members
INFORMATION: 239-495-8989 or www.artcenterbonita.org

Take the Uptown Express for a Night of Motown and Doo Wop Magic April 12 Live at the Promenade

by Krystal Butherus

Uptown Express takes the stage in the Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs’ Live at the Promenade Performance Series on Thursday, April 12th. Uptown Express has quite the reputation in theSouthwest Florida area and frequently sell out performances. This latest show will bring them to theBonitaSprings area in a one night only concert. Since 1985, Uptown Express has been performing in a variety of venues and have fine tuned their sound. With over 27 years of gigs, audience members are wowed by the polished sound of this ensemble.

             Ten musicians make up Uptown Express, which is a premier Doo Wop group, and they happen to be the oldest continuously performing oldies act inFlorida. Playing Chicago Rhythm & Blues, New York Doo Wop & Motown Soul, this dynamic stage show will even have a dance floor available at their performance at The Promenade.

             Not only do they perform doo wop, but Uptown Express sings your favorite Motown songs from the 50s and 60s. Uptown Express’ five vocalists are Tommy DeSantis, Tony Squitieri, Robert Atmore, Bob Stewart, and Nick Ticich. DeSantis founded the group and is a former member of The Enchantments fromNew York City. Squitieri is a former member of The Cameos, while Stewart was an original member of The Cordials in the 60s.

             Backing up the vocalists is Uptown Express’ band which rounds out the sound of their performances. John Cortese is on the drums, Ron Casella plays guitar, Rick Polce plays the saxophone, and Robby Cutler is on keyboard while Mike Marciano mans the bass guitar.  Cortese was a member of The Rogues and recorded with The Barons and The Crowns. Casella has performed with many groups such as Bo Diddley, The Chimes, and The Crests.

             “This is our 27th year of performing together. We play music from The Crests, The Temptations, and more,” DeSantis said.

             Uptown Express plays Thursday, April 12 at 7 p.m. at the Promenade atBonitaBay. The Promenade is located at the intersection of U.S. 41 andSouth Bay Drive, approximately 1.5 miles north ofBonita Beach Road. The performance space is located at the northwest corner of the Promenade, space #114. Tickets are $15 for members or $20 for non-members. Refreshments, including beer and wine, will be available. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and open seating is available.

             To purchase tickets or for more information regarding this performance, please call the Center for the Arts at (239) 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. Uptown Express does qualify for this promotion. The Center for the Arts offers this benefit for first time members and it is for a limited time only.

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 www.artcenterbonita.org
: 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 http://www.artcenterbonita.org.

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.

Smooth out your Thursday Night with some Cool Jazz

Insider tip for all of the husbands and boyfriends out there, there is not a woman alive who would not love to throw on her little black dress, some pearls and heals, sip a glass of wine and enjoy a night out listening to jazz with you.  So how do you keep your better half happy without taking a hit to your wallet? The Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs has got you covered this Thursday, October 27 at 7:00pm with an affordable night of smooth Jazz at their intimate café theater at the Promenade in Bonita Springs.

Local Jazz legends, vocalist Rebecca Richardson and guitar and bassist Dan Heck, present, “An Evening of Jazz, Live at the Promenade!”  Rebecca and Dan offer a night of jazz music from the great American songbook including tunes from Cole Porter, George Gershwin, Duke Ellington, Jerome Kern, Rogers and Hart, and Irving Berlin.  Ron Hefner and Stu Shelton will accompany Rebecca and Dan on this journey into the music that not only shaped Broadway and Jazz, but also the entire musical landscape of the 20th century.

Richardson’s smooth melodic vocal style has been compared to popular jazz vocalist Diana Krall.  Rebecca earned her Bachelor’s of Vocal Jazz Performance from Cornish College of the Arts and went on to study in New York, with esteemed jazz musician David Budway and attending master classes at the Juilliard School. Richardson’s career has spanned ten years, beginning in Seattle, where she performed jazz in popular venues including Tula’s, The Space Needle, and the Sorrento Hotel. It was in Seattle that Richardson met professional jazz Guitarist and Bassist Dan Heck, who would become her husband and musical partner.

Recording artist, composer and educator Heck, graduated from the Berklee College of Music in Boston.  A move to Seattle in 1993, offered Heck the perfect opportunity to establish his professional jazz reputation. As a founding member of the band “Bebop and Destruction”, he experienced national success and recognition for his efforts, winning several awards and recording four critically acclaimed CD’s with the group.

After Seattle, Richardson and Heck spent five years pursuing their musical dreams in fabulous New York City, working in famous venues such as the blue Note, the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, Kavehaz, Flute, The Pierre Hotel, Cleopatra’s Needle, and the French Consulate with a wealth of incredible musicians.  Lured away from the grey skies of New York by the sun and surf of Naples, Richardson and Heck relocated where they continued to play together, solo and with larger groups.

After moving to Naples, the two The Jazz Forum is a relaxed evening for lovers of jazz. The Live at the Promenade performance space creates an intimate venue where the audience and the performers can relax together. Wine and hors d’oeuvres will be served before the performance and during intermission. The performance begins at 7:00 p.m., with the doors opening at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 for Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs members and  $25 for non-members.

A full calendar of upcoming events, programming and classes at the Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs is available online at www.artcenterbonita.org or by calling 495.8989

Join the Center for the Arts for the first time and receive 2 free tickets to a Live at the Promenade performance, including this performance by Dan Heck and Rebecca Richardson.  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. * One membership per household.

“Affairs of the Arts”

The Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs 2011-2012 Affairs of the Arts Series

The Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs “Affairs of the Arts,” are under way bringing you thirteen-entertaining and memorable events that help support the Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs.  From November through May, attending any or all of CFABS Affairs of the Arts will make this a season of affairs you will always remember.

Join the Center for the Arts this Wednesday, October 19, as they “Tee off for Kids” at their first annual golf tournament at Copperleaf Country Club. Gather up your most philanthropic foursome of friends for 18 holes of golf, prizes, lunch and lots of fun. Contests will include longest drive, closest to the hole and closest to the line. This event is limited to 120 guests.  Tickets are $100 per person includes golf and cart, lunch and prizes

On November 9, treat yourself to “Afternoon Tea with Gertrude Bell.” Hosted by Northern trust, this affair features a phenomenal performance by actress, Janina Birtolo, as Gertrude Bell, the brilliant scholar, archaeologist, mountaineer and linguist.  Beautiful red hair, fine features and piercing green eyes,Bellwas the first woman to get a degree in modern history atOxford; first woman ever to travel theSyrian Desertalone, and the first female officer in British Military Intelligence. The afternoon includes; a fun and entertaining raffle auction filled with collectibles, gift certificates and art.

On November 30, meet Doug MacGregor, book author, and cartoonist with the News-Press and enjoy a light hearted look at his process for creating cartoons that are both pointed and funny.   Author and illustrator of a number of creative books, in addition to his newspaper cartoons, Doug will explore his creative process, highlight his particularly Southwest Florida art and humor; and share insights into his published books. 

On February 6, meet Robert Wittman, the man who the ‘Wall Street Journal’ called a ‘Living Legend.’ Founder of the FBI’s Art Crime Team, this real-life James Bond of the art world, pulls back the curtain on his remarkable career working undercover to catch art thieves, scammers and black-market traders. Rising from humble roots as the son of an antiques dealer, Wittman built a twenty-one year law enforcement career that was nothing short of extraordinary.  Armed with a scholar’s passion, a con man’s smile, and a daredevil’s nerves, he worked undercover to catch art thieves, scammers, and black-market traders inParis,Philadelphia, Rio,Santa FeandMadrid.

On March 7, Ellen Prager, Marine Scientist, president of Earth2Ocean and author of “Sex, Drugs, and Sea Slime,” brings you deep into the sea to introduce an astonishing cast of fascinating and bizarre creatures that make the salty depths their home. 

With affairs from an evening with Judy Garland to a Murder Mystery Dinner Theater, fun and unique entertainment is yours for the reserving all season long.  Space is limited and the Center for the Arts of Bonita Spring’s “Affairs” sell out fast. Contact CFABS at 495-8989 to reserve your space.  Learn more on line at www.artcenterbonita.org.

 Join the Center for the Arts for the first time between and receive 2 tickets to one of our Live at the Promenade performances.  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.

Full Calendar of 2011-2012 Affairs of the Arts Series:

 November 9, 2011

“Afternoon Tea with Gertrude Bell”

 November 30, 2011

“Inside the Mind of a Cartoonist” –Doug MacGregor

January 11, 2012

“The Art of Food and Wine”

February 6, 2012

“Go Undercover With Robert Wittman”

February 17, 2012

“Art of Dressing Well” –Haute Looks

February 19, 2012

“Amazing Race”- Road Rally Scavenger Hunt and Urban Sleuthing Adventure

February 25, 2012

“Bonita’s Best Bridge Game!”

February 28, 2012

“An Evening with Garland & Gershwin” – American Musical Theater

March 7, 2012

“Sex, Drugs & Sea Slime”-Ellen Prager

March 14, 2012

“Lunch with Cleopatra”

April 27-28, 2012

“Who Killed the Director?” – Mystery Dinner Theatre Extraordinaire

May 12, 2012

“Up Close, Personal & Wild”

Moving Beyond Boundaries…The Art of Alan Pimentel

“Surrealism is destructive, but it destroys only what it considers to be shackles limiting our vision.”

Salvador Dalí

If you ask a successful artist, actor or musician what the key to success is, they will likely give you the same advice, “be yourself.”  The advice is sound, but difficult to follow unless you know who “you” are.  Artist Alan Pimentel has bravely externalized his journey of self-awareness in oil on canvas for over twenty years and through that journey he has met with success.

Pimentel’s most recent encounter with success was taking “Best in Show” at the Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs “Portrait and Figure” exhibition.  Pimentel’s oil on shaped canvas piece “Wrestling with Myself Again,” impressed Jack Thompson, author and artist who judged the show.  “I have always been drawn to artists whose artworks take a bit of a chance,” offered Thompson about Pimentel’s piece and the Portrait and Figure Exhibition.  “Certainly I’m schooled in the traditional sense of art and techniques, but there’s something about a person who, once really perfecting his or her craft, decides to step outside the box.”

The first of Alan Pimentel’s shaped canvases emerged over twenty years ago, as his journey into the observations of his emotional nature became the subject matter of his art. For Pimentel, the geometric boundaries of the traditional canvas became limiting as his personal awareness expanded. Moving beyond the constraints normally prescribed to painters, Alan’s work took a giant step towards altering the personal boundaries he felt were imposed upon him by the demands of modern culture.  Pimentel describes his style as “my own,” explains Alan.  “I think of it as a psychological, metaphysical, spiritual portrayal of growth.  My painting style is deeply rooted in realism, with the addition of variations in textural quality through intended or casual application.”

Pimentel’s unconstrained perspective is evident in his current works where the canvases continually get shapelier and the surfaces range from utter smoothness to rich dimensional application of paint and wax medium.  The luminous lighting and savory blends of color allow us to safely venture into a realm beyond the reach of the ordinary to observe emotions that reside in the shadows. 

Alan credits his creative gifts to his father’s drawing skills and musical talents, his grandmother’s aptness with a needle, and his maternal aunts’ dressmaking and culinary skills.  At the age of ten, Alan lost his father to a tragic car accident.  A neighbor who was aware of Alan’s interest in art suggested a class in oil painting offered by a renowned portrait artist and illustrator, Carroll Jones.  At the age of fourteen Pimentel began his formal training in oil painting.

Salvador Dali was the first artist to inspire Pimentel.  “I was eleven or twelve years old when I first visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art,” offers Alan.  “There I viewed the ‘Persistence of Memory.’  This painting reached me on so many levels that it affected my thought process in general, and I think that is the genius of Dali.”

When asked what advice he would give to aspiring artists, Alan responded, “Peruse, persist and listen to your own inner voice.”  Be yourself.

Pimentel’s work can be seen at his studio # 166 at the promenade inBonitaSprings.  The artist studios are currently open Thursday through Saturday from 10am – 3pm.  You can view Alan’s work and the work of over 30 artists at their studios at the Promenade during Art Walk on Thursday, September 29, 2011 from 4:00pm – 7:00pm.

Join the Center for the Arts for the first time and 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.  Call the Center for the Arts at 239-495-8989 for more information.

The kids may be back in school, but the summer fun continues at the Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs.

Education Art Bonita

The kids may be back in school, but the summer fun continues at the Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs. 

 Now through August 25, 2011 the Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs’ August exhibition, “Mix It Up”, is open to the public during regular business hours at CFABS. The transition from summer to fall offers the perfect opportunity to “Mix it Up.”.  “Mix it Up” is an exhibition of mixed media and multimedia artworks created by regional artists.  The exhibition is open to all artists and all media, this exhibition features artworks that combine more than one medium.  This can be a combination of pencil and paint, or possibly clay, wire, wood, metal, etc.  It can be 2D or 3D.  This exhibition offered area artists the opportunity use collage materials that have been tucked away, dried tea bags, old love letters kept in a beautiful box in the garage, natural found objects or reuse items that have been discarded.  Come see what the artists have created!

 Now that the kids are back in school, it is time to treat yourself to the creative outlet you deserve.  On August 22, adult art classes begin.  So don’t forget to pick up a full list of workshops and classes.  Classes include Oil and Acrylic Painting as well as Mastering the Potter’s Wheel.  If your children need an after school activity, then look no further than the Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs for fun things to do.  After School and Saturday classes for children ages 4 and up begin on September 6, 2011 and include fun activities like, Print Making & Silk-Screening, Cookonomics, Acting for TV & Film, Wheel Throwing Pottery, Movie Makers, Cartooning and every type of Dance you can imagine.  There is even a class called “Mommy & Me” for children ages 18 months through 3 years.  So don’t allow the words “I’m bored,” in your house this fall, send them to CFABS for afternoons filled with the word “fun.”

 “Cinemaistas” can find a haven with like minded movie buffs by attending the Center for the Arts Film Society’s “Films for Film Lovers” at the Promenade atBonitaBaybeginning on Monday August 15 at 7:00pm.  The series offers 22 films and runs through June of 2012.  Don’t sit at home alone waiting for your next Netflix movie to arrive, enjoy great films at CFABS cozy space at the Promenade to watch films on their giant 9’ by 12’ screen.  This year’s series brings you the best in films from around the world.  August 15, kicks off the series with “Black Book” a film from theNetherlandsabout a young Jewish woman who becomes a spy for the resistance during WWII.  “Ginger and Fred,” a film fromItalyfollows on August 22, 2011. CFABS Promenade Theater is furnished with comfortable chairs and tables.  Wine, non-alcoholic beverages and snacks are available to enhance your movie viewing experience.  Bring a group of friends or come alone and make some new friends.  You can join in the lively, fun and entertaining discussion after each film, led by a Film Society Chairman and a Film Society Member.  General admission is $8 per person.  You can become a member of the Center for the Art’s Film Society and chose from any of the following packages that offer great savings and VIP seating as well as advance notice of film events, screenings and schedule:  22 Films (the full series) for $126.50, 11 Films (half-series) for $66 or 5 Films (starter-pack) for $35.

 Learn an ancient art while having fun on August 16, 2011 from 5:30-8:30pm at “Raku and You.”  Raku is a centuries old pottery glazing and firing process. The technique produces a lustrous, often metallic, finish. Raku & You is an evening devoted to this ancient process.Attendees choose from a number of bisque fired pots and are introduced to the history of Raku while glazing their pot in a simple or extravagant manner.

While the outdoor kiln heats up to the correct temperature; attendees enjoy a picnic-style meal. Then the fun begins as red hot pottery is plunged into metal containers filled with combustible material. The containers are lidded and the pots rest for a few moments before being quickly cooled with water. The results are spectacular and everyone is invited back into the studio to view each piece. Everyone goes home with their very own raku masterpiece.  The cost is $40 per person.

 Budding actors and actresses are in for a treat this fall with the Youth Theater Department of the Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs.  If a Mime gets murdered at a fancy bed and breakfast, does he make a sound?  What if there is no murder at all, just a lot of laughter. Auditions for this “Who didn’t do it” comedy will be held September 7 & 8 by appointment. Auditions are open to ages 12+. The Youth Theater Department is free. Those who are selected to be in the performance will rehearse throughout the fall and will perform on November 4 & 5. Join director Craig Price for this fun musical theater production where students learn not only how to act and sing but also the basics of set and costume design and show promotion.

 Thursday, August 25, 2011 from 4:00p.m.-7:00 p.m., catch an evening summer breeze as you stroll through the Center for the Arts Studios at the Promenade viewing Center for the Arts Member artists at work in their studios.  Painters, sculptors, photographers and glass artists, display their work in various storefront locations at the Promenade atBonitaBay. 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 Studio Walk, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., accompanied by musical entertainment, light hors d’ oeuvres and wine.  This event is free and open to the public.

 Friday, September 2, 2011; join fellow art lovers from 6 to 8 p.m. for The Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs’ “Portrait and Figure Exhibition,” opening reception.  Come see what area artists have been creating as they seek to capture the complex and amazing human form.  Peruse works in abstract and realism; enjoy paintings, photography, sculpture and more. Join the artists for hors d’oeuvres, wine and conversation at the opening reception as we learn what inspires them. The exhibition is open to the public during regular business hours at CFABS from September 2 – 29, 2011.  Admission is free.

 Thursday, September 15, 2011; 5:30-8:30 p.m., grab a group of friends and join artist Patty Kane at “Alla Prima, Alla Fun.”   Learn to paint in one sitting and have fun with friends at the same time. At Alla Prima, Alla Fun, painter Patty Kane will walk guests step by step through the painting process. Join friends for pizza, wine and painting. Since Alla Prima is a style of completing a painting in one session, guests will have a masterpiece to take home with them at the end of the evening. The cost for the evening is $42 per person and includes paint, brushes, canvas, aprons, wine, pizza and guidance. This month the painting selection is Flip Flops.

 AsSouthwest Floridaheads into fall, find a date and head to Live! at the Promenade.  The Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs is proud to present internationally acclaimed singer/songwriter Kelvin Fischer of Love Hunter for an evening of acoustic music from his new CD “Drawn to The Light”, as well as other favorites from the band Love Hunter.  The show takes place Thursday, September15 at 7 p.m. and tickets are $15 for members of the Center for the Arts and $20 for non-members.

 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.

 For more information on any of these events call us at 239-495-8989 or visit us www.artcenterbonita.org or join us on Facebook at Center for theArtsBonitaSprings.  The Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs is located at 26100 Old 41 Road,BonitaSprings.