Exhibit showcases Arts & Culture Grant recipients and runs from May 3 – June 1, 2024

The Alliance for the Arts invites the public to its opening reception for the Biennial Artist Grant Recipient Exhibition on May 3 from 5 p.m.-7:00 p.m. The free event features the works of visual artists Linda Benson, Stacey Brown, Martha De La Cruz, Lily Hatchett, and Roland Ruocco. as well as light refreshments provided by Jayne Baker. The exhibit will be on display from May 3 – June 1, 2024 at 10091 McGregor Blvd., Fort Myers.

There will be performances during the opening reception in the Alliance’s Foulds Theatre. Each featured visual artist and performance group received an Arts & Culture Grant from the City in 2022, 2023 or both grant cycles. The City of Fort Myers Arts & Culture Grant program is designed to support and foster the arts organizations and individual artists who contribute to the flourishing arts and culture scene that distinguishes the City.

About the Artists

Linda Benson is a seasoned artist here in Southwest Florida and has always surrounded herself with art. Benson worked for over 20 years as a professional creative artist, working on the mainland and the islands. As a retired commercial artist, she now channels her creative energies into teaching art. For the last 10 years she has been teaching all ages and levels in Punta Gorda, Naples, Cape Coral, Fort Myers and on Sanibel and Captiva.

Stacey Brown is a native Southwest Florida artist who works primarily in mixed media paintings and collage art on canvas and paper. Combining acrylic paint with ink, pencil, pen, marker, ephemera, painted papers, stamping and etchings, Brown creates many layers to help the viewer’s eye keep searching and discovering new aspects with each viewing.

Martha De la Cruz is an Afro-Taino artist who utilizes videos, installations and sculpture to investigate issues of coloniality, decolonization, identity, race, and power. Her practice is guided by her colonial wound and the desire to change the realities of the global south. She received her BFA in sculpture in 2020 from the University of South Florida and her MFA in 2023 from the University of Oxford.

Roland Ruocco conveys his perception of the world around him through artworks that involve diverse subject matter, artistic styles, and media. Sometimes, depending on his mood and inspiration, identifying problems and offering solutions, other times focusing on the beauty of nature, or perhaps industrial design.

Theatre Gallery Artist: Birds of Paradise from Paradise by Carolyn Gora

Carolyn Gora is a native Floridian who has lived in Fort Myers since 1977. She raised two wonderful and creative daughters, helped her late husband, Bruce, open an architectural firm, and taught art for a total of 30 years in local elementaries, middle and high schools, as well as University South Florida (USF), Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) and at the former Edison Community College (now FSW).

Carolyn’s artistic endeavors include designing jewelry and creating fused glass pieces.  Currently she works in many mediums including fiber and glass lamp work. Her latest venture is her Birds of Paradise from Paradise. Originally, the idea came from her birds of paradise that finally bloomed after being dormant for years. She created bird of paradise characters to illustrate clever sayings that mention birds, birds of paradise, or gardens.

All the plants in the paintings are plants found in Florida and are mostly from her garden. The vibrant hues exude a distinct Floridian charm. Her birds are painted in watercolors and tempera paint. Gora’s Birds in Paradise from Paradise collection is created to d bring a smile to the face of everyone who views it.

Members Gallery Artist: LAEA Art Educator Exhibition

The Lee Art Education Association (LAEA) is an organization of art teachers from both public and private institutions throughout Lee County. This group of talented artists and educators are excited to share some of their personal and professional artwork with the community. A wide variety of mediums and subject matters will be represented in this show, but the common theme will be the love and passion of educating and inspiring our local youth to take pride in the arts.

About Alliance for the Arts

The Alliance for the Arts is a nonprofit community visual and performing arts center located in the heart of Fort Myers, Florida. Since 1975, the Alliance has been committed to transforming lives and improving community through the arts. The Alliance campus and galleries are open to the public from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays. Located at 10091 McGregor Boulevard just south of Colonial Boulevard in Fort Myers. For more information, please call 239-939-2787, visit us at www.ArtInLee.org, find us on Facebook and Instagram.