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Cape Coral Art League celebrates 50 years

By Staff | Dec 31, 2015

The Cape Coral Art League is kicking off its year-long celebration of its 50th anniversary with big events in January, including a reception, major exhibition showcasing two local artists with national and international reputations.

The month will be capped by the league’s annual arts & crafts festival and sale on Jan. 30-31, according to publicist Naldyne Light.

“This is the official start to our 50th year celebration for the next 12 months,” said publicist Naldyne Light.

The kickoff reception is 5-8 p.m. on Jan. 7 at the Art League, 516 Cultural Park Blvd. Light said guests should RSVP with the Cape Coral Community Foundation, which is sponsoring the refreshments and light hors d’oeuvres while they enjoy music by a live orchestra.

The reception is being held in conjunction with the league’s Art Thru The Lens show as well as a 21-day exhibition of the work of Gale Bennett and Alicia Schmidt, both with residential ties to Cape Coral. Their multimedia works come in abstract styles, some of which have never been shown in an exhibition.

The exhibition runs from Jan. 7 through 27 from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Mondays through Thursdays and includes the debut of the league’s Dancing with Dolphins fundraising project. The first dolphin to be displayed was painted by Betsy Koscher and sponsored by the veterinarians at Kindness Animal Hospital.

Bennett (1939-2008) lived in the city for the final two decades of his life. He ran an award-winning advertising agency and was an instructor at BIG ARTS on Sanibel, Alliance for the Arts, Cape Coral Arts Studio and the Center for the Arts in Bonita Springs. His works are in collections around the United States, Europe, Canada, Japan and Australia.

Schmidt has been a Cape resident since 1966. She relocated from Dunkirk, N.Y., and worked for the Cape Coral Parks & Recreation department at the Arts Studio for 17 years until retiring in 2008. The exhibit includes multimedia works of hers never before on exhibit, including paintings with a uniqueness created over 25 years.

“We are expecting more than 200 people at the reception,” said Light.

The arts & crafts festival and sale will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily with indoor and outdoor exhibits. Parking and admission are free. On display are original artworks, photography, crafts, jewelry, pottery items and more. Guests will see demonstrations, kids’ activities and prizes as well as ice cream and cookie sales.

Aspiring artists of all skill levels are encouraged to take advantage of the Art League’s instructional painting and photography classes offered throughout the year, including the only known portraiture sessions in Lee County.

A costumed model is used as the subject for open portrait sessions held on Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to noon. Each session costs $10 for members and $15 for non-members. Sessions are not designed for instruction. Artists can work in any medium and should bring all of their own supplies and easel.

The winter season is the peak time for attendance at the league’s sessions, but a session can be canceled if fewer than three artists show up.

The Art League is self sufficient, raising its own funds through memberships, gift shop and art sales, classes and other special events like the Art Through the Lens exhibit. It receives no funding from the city.

RSVPs for the reception should be emailed to jacque@capecoralcf.org or by calling 239-542-5594. For more information on league activities, classes and exhibits visit www.capecoralartleague.org or call 239-772-5657.