The centerpiece of this issue, as it is every May, is our annual look back at the best things we’ve discovered this past year.
Here are some things we are looking forward to seeing in the coming year.
Captain Brien’s big new adventure
It’s taken a lot longer than expected, with plans being put together and scrapped and redesigned. Still, if it comes out as Marco’s comedy impresario has indicated, the new center at the corner of Imperial and Bonita Beach roads will be something unlike anything else in our area. For one, it’s going to provide some much-needed convention, meeting and party space in the middle of two counties. Second, it will greatly expand the seating capacity for the captain’s Off The Hook Comedy Club, which should, in turn, lead to even bigger names than he’s already reeling in. And finally, with two restaurants, performance space and a host of other big ideas (podcast studio, etc.), it could add another must-visit space to Bonita Springs.
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Shorter, bolder, more local exhibitions from the Naples Art Association
After years of working to bring in long-running exhibitions to The von Liebig Art Center, the NAA is changing up its programming a bit. The goal is to have shows that run for five weeks at most, that are filled with exciting art and that have more local ties. As Executive Director Aimee Schlehr put it, “We shouldn’t be doing anything that would be at Artis—Naples.” Instead, she hopes to be empowering local artists of all stripes, from the hobbyists to the serious collection-worthy stars of the local art world.
Visual artists promoting each other
There is a fun trend popping up amongst a certain set of local artists/gallery owners. They are creating community. It’s been happening for a while in some parts, where a loose group of artists with studios in close proximity would band together. But now we are seeing artists opening up their gallery spaces to fellow locals, and to the occasional interesting outsider. Arturo Samaniego has been doing this for a couple of years at his studio/gallery space in Naples, and now Veron Ennis has launched a similar idea in Fort Myers. It’s not a coincidence that the two have worked on shows together. Here’s hoping that they now, in turn, collaborate with artists who will do the same with others. It just makes for a more vibrant arts scene.