December's Fort Myers Art Walk and the Saturday Art Fair will offer some great holiday shopping options for local residents and tourists alike.
The first weekend of December will see new art exhibits, the official Christmas tree lighting, and a growing art fair in downtown Fort Myers.
The next monthly Art Walk will take place on Friday, Dec. 2, with local art galleries and art stops featuring new exhibits and shows. This regular cultural event draws between 1,500 and 2,500 people each month to the downtown River District.
Then on Saturday, Dec. 3, the organizers of Art Walk present the seasonal Saturday Art Fair. A new twist this year is the art fair is a juried event, showcasing individual artists at tables along the sidewalks of First Street. The Saturday Art Fair runs from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and is free to attend. Thirty-nine artists and art vendors are scheduled to be at December's Saturday Art Fair.
The monthly Art Walk runs from 6 to 10 p.m. on the first Fridays of every month. The December Art Walk will include a dozen art galleries and art stops and will feature new art shows, live music, and the traditional after party.
An added bonus on Friday, Dec. 2 will be the annual Holiday Stroll and Christmas tree lighting starting at 7 p.m. Mayor Randy Henderson (in a horse-drawn carriage) will lead the Holiday Stroll procession along First Street starting at Monroe Street. As the stroll heads east, the lights along First Street will be illuminated for the season. The carriage will head to Hendry Street, turn north and stop just north of Bay Street. The mayor will light the official downtown Christmas tree in the grassy median of Hendry Street. He will then travel to the Art of the Olympians at the river's edge where fake snow will fall on strollers. The procession will turn around and head south on Hendry Street back to First. Turning east on First, the Mayor's carriage will proceed to the Goodwill Festival of Trees at the Sidney and Berne Davis Art Center. First and Hendry streets will be closed temporarily during the stroll and tree lighting.
Some art highlights of the Friday, Dec. 2 Art Walk:
- Art of the Olympians: Showing an exhibition, Legends of '68, featuring artwork from four dynamic USA Olympians from the 1968 Olympic Games (Rink Babka, Bob Beamon, Peggy Fleming, and Al Oerter), and a collection of works by Olympic Artist Steve Allen. Vocalists from the Young Artists Awards program will be performing holiday songs starting at 6:30 p.m.
- Art League of Fort Myers: Opening reception for Small Packages exhibit.
- Arts for ACT Gallery: Opening reception for new show featuring artists Cheryl Fausel, Honey Costa, and Ron Evans.
- Coloring The World: Holiday art sale to include medal sculptures by Mac Worthington, paintings by Stephen Gray Blancett, jewelry by Raven, and pottery by Sandy Pond.
- daas Gallery: Opening reception for Earth: A Cry for Deliverance, a juried group exhibition.
- Gallery Showcase and Information Center at IberiaBank (Bayview Court at First Street). Art Walk T-shirts are available at this location as well as buttons, maps and brochures.
- HOWL Gallery: Kash N Karry X-mas Show offers big savings on many art pieces including original art, framed art, T-shirts, and unframed posters & prints, available for immediate take home.
- In One Instant: Holiday Salon: Photography and Gifts for the Season, with more than 20 different local and regional photographers represented.
- Market America Realty & Investments: Reception for exhibit by cris'creation photography called Lost in the '50s.
- Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center: Final night of Goodwill Festival of Trees.
- Savvy on First: Featuring artists Bekki Shanklin and Trudy Hylant.
- Space 39 Gallery: Group art show.
Nearly 50 participants make Art Walk successful each month and they include the Alliance for the Arts, AmeriDry, Art League of Fort Myers, Art of the Olympians, Arts for ACT Gallery and Boutique, Browtopia, Cigar Bar, Coloring The World, Cool Hand Luc's, daas Gallery, Downtown House of Pizza, Enjewel, First United Methodist Church, Florida Repertory Theatre, Fort Myers Community Redevelopment Agency, The Franklin Shops, French Connection Cafe, Hampton Inn & Suites, Happenings A&E Magazine, Hideaway Sports Bar, Hotel Indigo, HOWL Gallery/Tattoo, Ichiban Japanese & Chinese Restaurant, IberiaBank, In One Instant Gallery of Photography, Legacy Harbour Hotel & Suites, Leoma Lovegrove Gallery, Linen Cottage, Lush French Bakery, Mad Hatter Galleries, Main Street Antiques, Market America Realty & Investments, Morgan House Restaurant, The Oasis Luxury Condos, Potomac Bead Company, Red Door Studio, Renaissance Creativity Center, River District Alliance, Rock Lake Resort, Savvy on First, Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center, Select Transportation, SKS PhotoShoot, Space 39 Gallery, Spirits of Bacchus, Twisted Vine Bistro, United Caf, Bar & Bistro, The Veranda Restaurant, What's Up Dogs?, Yanos Restaurant, and the Young Artists Awards Program.
Held the first Friday of every month from 6 to 10 p.m., Art Walk features local and national artwork in the downtown art galleries and several art stops in the Fort Myers River District. The evening culminates with an after party at 10 p.m. The December after party will be held at Spirits of Bacchus on Hendry Street.
Always a collector's item, new Art Walk buttons will be available at galleries that night. Art Walk has its own T-shirt (in red or black). Shirts are available for a $12 donation at the IberiaBank gallery showcase during Art Walk.
A free shuttle service courtesy of Select Transportation Inc., with stops planned near the art venues, and parking at the Harborside Event Center will be available for Art Walk patrons. Shuttle stops include The Oasis Condominiums, Art of the Olympians, and the Patio de Leon entrance at First Street.
A map of Art Walk, showing transportation and parking will be distributed by participating galleries. Art Walk is a rain or shine event. Art Walk was started by a group of art galleries and art enthusiasts and debuted in October of 2008. Art Walk is a River District Alliance event. For more information on Art Walk, participating galleries and links to gallery websites, visit www.fortmyersartwalk.com.
FOR EVENT INFORMATION CALL 1-855-RDA-EVENTS.