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ArtPoems returns for ninth season

By Staff | Feb 18, 2015

ArtPoems returns Feb. 27 to the BIG ARTS Schein Performance Hall. Cover artwork is Vic Delnore’s “Two Weeks,” which inspired island poet Joe Pacheco to write “Two Weeks Each Year.” The event features 11 writers, 11 artists, dance and music. A second event is scheduled for April 8 in Fort Myers. Tickets are $10. PHOTO PROVIDED

A fun mix of art and artistry returns Feb. 27 to the BIG ARTS Schein Performance Hall.

ArtPoems, the collaborative multimedia poet and artist project of southwest Florida, will celebrate its ninth year with performances by southwest Florida poets and artists. In all, 11 writers and 11 artists will participate in this year’s program. The event in 2006 started with five artists. Visual artists Myra Roberts and David Acevedo were included in the 2014 program.

A second performance is scheduled for April 8 at the Alliance for the Arts complex in Fort Myers. The BIG ARTS event begins with a 7 p.m. reception, with the presentation to follow at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $10.

Ranging from Peace River to Sanibel, from Cape Coral to Fort Myers and Naples, the group of 11 artists and 11 poets has collaborated to produce poems inspired by artworks and artworks inspired by poems. Poets will perform their poems while the paired paintings, sculptures, photography and mixed media artwork are exhibited on stage and on the screen. Dance, music and artist talks are part of the 90-minute program. The event will draw a large turnout.

Island poet Joe Pacheco is a co-founder of ArtPoems with Lorraine Walker Williams. He describes the initial movement in 2006 as an ekstasis, a Greek term for different perspectives, or one art form inspiring another. Writers pen poems sparked by the artwork, the artists create their work inspired by poems.

“But we had to drop that word (ekstasis) because it scared everyone,” said Pacheco, a poet/contributor to the Islander/Island Reporter. “I think we’re all very excited with how (ArtPoems) has evolved.”

This year’s event will introduce eight new artists — Honey Costa, Megan Davis, Vic Delnore, Paula Eckerty, Kellen Beck Mills, Roy Rodriguez, Berry Van Boekel and Christina Wyatt. They will join Jan Palmer, Paul Rodino and Jonas Stirner as collaborative artists.

New collaborating poets Dan England, Joyce Berrian Ferrari and Holly McEntyre, will join poets Dorothy Brooks, Carol Drummond, Gary McClouth, Joe Pacheco, Sid Simon, Larry Stiles, Lorraine Walker Williams and Pat Washington in the poetry collaborations. The artists are invited by an ArtPoems committee, or are recommended to join. The process begins in November.

Local musicians and Dance Alliance of Fort Myers will accompany some ArtPoems presentations.

The process is pairing off artists and poets, each feeding off the other’s works. Lehigh poet Larry Stiles, for instance, wrote “Brooklyn, back when” based on the photography of artist/participant Jan Palmer, the new chairperson. Palmer’s artwork is of a boy wearing sneakers with orange laces. Stiles has other work in the program. He wrote love poems in early adulthood, returned to the artform following a professional career. He wrote in early adulthood with blossoming love, resumed in grief some four decades later, he said. Most of his work is influenced by his wife’s dying. Poetry helped in voicing the pain, he said. Stiles also said work in electrical engineering correlates with the clipped writing of poems.

“Engineers are known for not being able to write complete sentences,” he said.

Stiles said poets in the event are instructed to not necessarily write descriptive verse about the artwork, rather to interpret.

“And if it happens to effectively describe (the artwork), fine,” Stiles said. “You certainly want the artist to be happy.”

Staging of the event will include a screen to project images of artwork, with poets reading. Music and dance will accompany some readings. Writers and artists will describe the thinking process in creating their works, Stiles said.

Pacheco is heavily involved in southwest Florida’s creative community, coordinating PoetryFest at the Sanibel Library in April, the Broadsides: Poetry off the Shelf event in Fort Myers, writing contests and involvement in Road Scholar stopovers in Sanibel. Many creative events in southwest Florida correlate with National Poetry Month in April, he said. He and Lorraine Walker Williams sensed a bottled demand for an expressive outlet with the initial ArtPoems event.

“It worked out well,” he said.