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Venture ‘Under the Sea’ for Shell Museum’s 7th annual fundraiser

By Staff | Jan 19, 2011

Members of the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum board and staff gear up for the seventh annual Under the Sea Fundraiser, taking place Sunday, Jan. 30. Pictured from left to right in the back row are Darlene Grossman, Rodger Bunnel, Kathleen Hoover and Clair Beckman. In front are Betty English and Dr. Jose Leal.

Grab your scuba gear and your wallets — it’s time once again for islanders to dive head first into the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum’s 7th annual Under the Sea fundraiser.

“The purpose of this event is to raise funds for all of the education programs that the Shell Museum provides,” said Shell Museum Board Member Evelyn Stewart. “Every year we have literally hundreds of kids from underprivileged homes that are bused into the museum to learn all about where shells come from. Many children — and adults — don’t realize that shells have little creatures inside them. The Museum also offers daily education on marine life and mollusks and they also have an extensive library and research facilities.”

But beyond supporting the Museum’s educational endeavors, the fundraiser also serves as a way for the community to connect with the Museum, and vice versa.

In other words, there’s more to this fundraiser than just, well, raising funds.

“We originally started this event to raise money for the Museum, but also to get ourselves into the community, so that we, like every other organization on the islands, could have a fundraiser that was synonymous with the organization,” said Shell Museum Board President Anne Joffe. “We’ve succeeded in making it an annual event and we hope everyone comes! We love that the Shell Museum is part of the island community.”

Artist Leoma Lovegrove will share her talents on the canvas — with her special “Painting Out Loud” presentation — and on the dance floor as a member of The Hot Flashz, a high-energy dance group known throughout Southwest Florida.

Shell Museum Director, Dr. Jose Leal, agrees.

“This fundraiser yet another way to interact with our community. It’s a way of putting the Museum out there and a way of bringing old and new friends to the Museum,” Dr. Leal said. “And I really enjoy the fact that we have the fundraiser here in the museum. Having the event in-house makes all the difference. We’re glad to be doing it again, and we’re so grateful for all the support from businesses and individuals from our island community.”

The 7th annual Under the Sea Fundraiser will begin with cocktails and appetizers and, of course, a fabulous silent auction.

“In our silent auction, we have everything from decorative items to sailor’s valentines, services — like Sanibel Air, who’s giving a $250 gift certificate, weekend vacations, retail items, a boat cruise for 45 people and some beautiful jewelry from Lily & Co. Jewelers,” Stewart said.

After guests have placed their bids, they’ll enjoy a meal catered by Elias Brothers, accompanied by a live multi-media performance, “Painting Out Loud,” by Leoma Lovegrove.

Throughout her presentation — which lasts only an hour but includes music, lights and special effects — Lovegrove will complete a work of art on a large museum-quality canvas, sign the piece and sell it later in the evening during the live auction to benefit the museum.

After dinner, The Hot Flashz — known throughout Southwest Florida for their high-energy shows, complex choreography and fantastic costumes — will perform.

The evening will end with a live auction — hosted by Jean Baer and ventriloquist Brenda Steltzer, music and dancing.

“We’re going to have a lot of fun this year,” Stewart said.

The Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum’s 7th annual Under the Sea Fundraiser will take place on Sunday, Jan. 30, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. at the Shell Museum, 3075 Sanibel-Captiva Drive.

Tickets are $100 per person.

Call the Bailey-Matthews Shell Museum, 395-2233, for more information and reservations. Parking will be available at the Sanibel School, and a free trolley service will shuttle attendants to and from the event.

The Grand Sponsor for this event is the Sanibel Captiva Trust Company.

More information about the Shell Museum is available online at www.ShellMuseum.org.