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Culture Watch

Your Artistic Touch is Welcomed 

I love the idea of interactive art, so I was excited to hear about the plans for the 40th anniversary celebration of the Art League of Marco Island this month.

Do you remember those little plastic games we had as kids, with squares you moved around to make a picture? Those simple games were just fun, and that kind of pure joy is what art league member Jo-Ann Sanborn must have had in mind when she conceived of tapping other member artists to create a "quilt" of paintings. She and colleague Tara O’Neill designed 40 12-inch-square panels that had blocks of colors interrupted by white stripes. Artists picked the block they wanted and then painted the white areas in their own particular styles.

Such collaborative works have been done before, but what makes this one really neat is that interactive aspect. Each of the panels has Velcro tape on the back, so all of them can be rearranged to create a different overall look and design.

That’s exactly what guests at the league’s anniversary party will be encouraged to do. They’ll also enjoy a buffet dinner, music and the first chance to view a retrospective of paintings by Charles M. Wetzel, the league’s first president, who was known for his portraits of Seminoles. It all sounds like a unique arty-party and one too good to miss.

Gulfshore Playhouse will also offer a promising difference this month, as it turns the Norris Center into a cabaret. Tables and chairs will be set up Vegas-style in front of the stage, and attendees can sip wine and nibble on snacks while enjoying The Sedaka Show.

The program celebrates the music of pop legend Neil Sedaka, as performed by noted cabaret singer Jim Van Slyke. According to Kristen Coury, founding artistic director of Gulfshore Playhouse, Van Slyke’s been touring the country with this show. At one performance, Sedaka was in the audience—and afterward told Van Slyke that the show blew him away. High praise indeed.

Coury first tried the cabaret seating style last year, and the audiences loved it. Kudos to the Norris, too, for the willingness to accommodate something different.

The Art League of Marco Island 40th Anniversary Party is celebrated at the Center for the Arts starting at 6 p.m. on Nov. 7. The accompanying Charles Wetzel retrospective continues through Nov. 24. (239) 394-4221 or www.marcoislandart.com. Gulfshore Playhouse presents

The Sedaka Show at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 18-19 at the Norris Center. (239) 213-3058, www.gulfshoreplayhouse.org.


• Opera Naples hosts its third annual Opera Stars Under the Stars, Nov. 13-14 at 7:30 p.m. at Cambier Park Bandshell. (239) 514-7464, www.operanaples.com.

• The Naples Players performs Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, through Nov. 21, at the Sugden Community Theatre. (239) 263-7990, www.naplesplayers.org.

• The Alliance for the Arts in Fort Myers presents its annual Walk Through the Arts, a daylong festival, on Nov. 21. (239) 2939-2787, www.artinlee.org.

• The Marco Players presents Jake’s Women, a comedy by Neil Simon, from Nov. 4-23. (239) 642-7270, www.themarcoplayers.com.


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