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Commissioner Hall supports local artists with chance to have art seen

By Staff | Jan 30, 2013

Look inside the office of Lee County Commissioner Tammy Hall and you see items you might see at an art gallery – paintings, sculptures, unusual works using exotic items.

It’s been pretty much like this since she took office in 2004. Hall, whose District 4 covers most of Cape Coral, and North Fort Myers, has been a champion to local artists and to the added culture and beauty such work brings to the community.

Hall is supporting these local artists by giving them an opportunity to display their artwork in her Fort Myers office.

Two downtown Fort Myers galleries, Ocasiocasa and The Shoppes at Broadway, will display their work and those of local artists in the office at the Old County Courthouse in downtown Fort Myers.

The latest artist efforts will be on display until Feb. 22.

Hall was out unavailable for comment, but said in a statement “The arts are an important part of the cultural development of our communityGovernment can play an important role in public awareness, developing the use of public spaces for display and interaction of art, and for the encouragement and commitment of continued financial support both public and private of all the arts.”

Carmen Salome, Hall’s assistant and originator of the program, said the arts have been a priority for her since taking office.

“When she first came on the commission, I presented her with this idea that I was involved in while in upstate New York, and she said he was interested,” Salome said. “We’ve been successful ever since and it’s been a fun project to do.”

Some of the works include sculptures of fish and toys from Dale and Jeff Ocasio of Ocasiocasa, an art studio on Broadway downtown that features their work almost exclusively.

Dale Ocasio appreciates Hall’s involvement, which has been a winner for the art community.

“All the artists in the area know about it and it’s nice to be chosen to display your artwork,” Ocasio said. “It’s a great support for the artist to get that exposure.”

Next door, the Shoppe at Broadway, which only opened last month, offers exotic works from artists from around Lee County.

Among the pieces is a piece of art made from a frayed pair of denim shorts and a wiener dog sculpture made from copper.

The owner, Elijah Massati, learned about the program after running the political campaign of Matt Miller, who ran for county commissioner during the last election.

“It’s rare to have someone who is in politics who takes the initiative to promote art or any kind of culture. Usually those worlds are separate,” Massati said. “She’s been good building bridges between those in politics and the art world.”

Among the other works of art include paintings from De’quan and from a local father-son team, Dan and Ryan Linehan.

The public is welcome to stop by and view the work and learn more about the artists. Please call 533-2226 to confirm office hours for viewing the artwork.