Arts and Culture
Southwest Florida has a rich history of arts and culture. Current organizations including the Art League of Fort Myers and the Arts and Humanities Council of Charlotte County have been promoting the arts in the region for decades. Within the region there are live theater performances, award-winning symphonies, gallery exhibits, and annual festivals that have been celebrated since 1938. The following is a list of the art and culture that the region has to offer:
Alliance for the Arts
The Alliance for the Arts is Lee County’s “officially-designated arts organization and is dedicated to the creation, development, promotion, and education of the arts and culture within the county”. The Alliance for the Arts has gallery exhibits, education programs, the Bruce T. Gora Concert series, and every Saturday it hosts locally grown food at the Green Market. The Alliance for the Arts has many other programs to offer.
Art League of Fort Myers
Started in 1956, the Art League of Fort Myers had dedicated themselves to the promotion of artists and fine art throughout the community. The league is non-exclusive and hosts many art events.
Artis-Naples is home to the Baker Museum and the Naples Philharmonic. It is a visual and performing arts center within the region. Artis-Naples “creates and presents world-class visual and performing arts through performances, exhibitions, and education events”.
Arts Council of Southwest Florida
Founded in 1963, The Arts Council of Southwest Florida consists of 19 organizations from every county within the region and has over 6,800 artists. Members are provided with opportunities to display their works, take educational classes, and are entitled to reduced rates for special events.
The Arts and Humanities Council of Charlotte County
“The Arts and Humanities Council of Charlotte County is dedicated to advocating, promoting, and developing for the cultural climate within Charlotte County”. The council offers many educational and training programs for the community and is supported by many public and private organizations.
Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall
The Barbara B. Mann Performing Arts Hall seats over 1,500 enthusiasts and hosts performing arts, concerts, events, Broadway plays, ballets, and is the main venue for the Southwest Florida Symphony.
BIG ARTS, A Home for All the Arts
BIG ARTS is considered the home for all of Sanibel and Captiva’s arts. Since 1979, BIG ARTS (Barrier Island Group ARTS) has promoted a cultural of arts for its residents and its visitors. Members and participants enjoy a variety of visual and performing art events, educational classes, and workshops.
Center for the Arts Bonita Springs
The Center for the Arts Bonita Springs has a proud 52 year history of executing the vision of “Arts for Everyone,” in Bonita Springs.
Chalo Nitka Festival and Frontier Days
The Chalo Nitka Festival is an annual week-long festival in March that has music, arts and crafts, entertainment, rodeos, as well as a youth livestock show and auction.
Charlotte Performing Arts Center (PAC)
PAC seats 900, and has regular rehearsals and concerts from both the Charlotte Symphony Orchestra and the Charlotte Choral.
Churches Lee County
Lee County has over 200 local churches representing nearly all religious denominations.
Churches Collier County
Collier County has 82 local churches representing over seven denominations.
Churches Charlotte County
Charlotte County has 22 local churches representing seven denominations.
Churches Hendry County
Hendry County has 23 churches which are primarily Christian.
Churches Glades County
Glades County lists nine churches which are primarily Christian.
Edison Festival of Light
Since 1938, Fort Myers has held a festival in Thomas Edison’s honor. The festival features a Junior Fun Run, Junior Parade, Grand Parade, Celtic Fair, Crafts on the River, antique and classic car shows, and a Mutt Strutt. The highlight of the festival is the Grande Parade which draws over 100,000 in attendance from the community and the events are held in January and February.
Firehouse Community Theatre Inc.
For the past 22 years, the Firehouse Community Theater has been providing performing arts in LaBelle. The theater also provides an education program for children who are interested in the performing arts.
Florida Repertory Theatre
“Florida Repertory Theater has had 16 years of award-winning regional theater that the Wall Street Journal called “One of America’s Top Repertory Companies!”” The Florida Rep is located in the 1908 Historic Arcade Theatre in downtown Fort Myers and produces comedies, dramas, and musicals. The Florida Rep also conducts education programs for children as well as “Camp Florida Rep”.
The Herb Strauss Schoolhouse Theatre
“The BIG ARTS Herb Strauss Theater is the only professional theater on Sanibel Island and provides Broadway talent and an intimate atmosphere. The theater offers family-oriented entertainment and makes a great destination place”.
Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center
The Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center’s mission is to nurture innovation and excellence in the Arts through exhibitions, performances, education, outreach, and preservation in Southwest Florida.
The Lee County Fair has been an annual tradition since 1924 and is held on the grounds of the Lee Civic Center. The fair features different types of agriculture, horticulture, home made goods, farm animals, and of course, many carnival rides, games, and food booths.
Southwest Florida Symphony
Since 1961, The Southwest Florida Symphony Orchestra has been sharing performances and concert series with the community while raising awareness of how the arts contribute to the culture of Southwest Florida. The Symphony also provides educational programs for all ages.
Swamp Cabbage Festival
Hendry county’s largest parade and festival brings thousands of visitors each February. The festival features a car show, bike show, fishing tournament, rodeo and live music. Bring the family and friends for a weekend of enjoyment.
Public Library Lee County
The Lee County Public Library System is the largest library system in Southwest Florida and consists of 17 locations county-wide.
Public Library Collier County
The Collier County Public Library System consists of ten libraries. The library system is headquartered at 2385 Orange Blossom Dr. in Naples.
Public Library Charlotte County
The Charlotte County Library System consists of four library locations: Englewood, Mid-County, Port Charlotte and Punta Gorda.
Public Library Hendry County
The Hendry County Public Library System consists of three libraries: Clewiston Public Library, Barron Library, and Harlem Community Public Library.
United Arts Council of Collier County (UAC)
The UAC is a catalyst to bring artists, art organizations and galleries together with residents and visitors alike. The UAC also provides education and outreach for at-risk children.