How The Community Foundation Helps The Arts

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(By Kim Ryan) Continuing our series highlighting not-profits The Community Foundation supports, I recently visited the FMB Art Association and Gallery and spoke with Star Sherwood, the President, about the organization and how donations benefit those in the community.

The FMB Art Association and Gallery has been in existence for a long time, having recently celebrated its 75th anniversary just last year. The group has been in the same building the entire time, on a large corner lot at 3030 Shell Mound Blvd. According to Art Association website, “It’s where member artists go to create, teach, learn and share their art. We like to say ‘A working Gallery that works’.”

There are two galleries and Sherwood exclaimed “the walls are never bare.” I can attest to that statement. On the day I visited, the walls were covered with attractively displayed amazing works of art and there were a handful of members busily working on projects.

They warmly greeted me and politely took time to show me around, answer my questions, and after some persistence (because they are so modest) were cajoled into allowing me to take a few pictures of the fantastic works of art they were creating.

Helen Kinkin

Helen Kinkin, a member, shared with me that she typically carpools with 3 other members from Lehigh. She went on to explain she comes multiple times a week because she loves it there so much.

The Art Association hosts 3 major shows throughout the year which are judged and juried. One of those shows which is near and dear to the group is the student show “ we really wrap our arms around the kids in the community,” says Sherwood. The show features local high school students who present their original artwork in hopes of winning a prize. The prizes are scholarships which can be used to further their education in the arts. Sherwood explained that they award up to $3000 in scholarships. They also host a variety of workshops, classes and painting groups, to further their mission to provide education in the cultural aspects of life on Fort. Myers Beach and promote the study, practice and appreciation of art.

For funding, the organization relies on the membership dues from approximately 150 members, commissions of art sales, donations and fundraising. Donations can come in the form of art supplies, which are sold during their indoor garage sale or passed onto high schools for kids to use in class. Monetary donations like the one from the Community Foundation are earmarked via a sponsor form. Most recently the money went to support the awards and scholarships.

The Art Association encourages everyone to stop by. If you’re interested in joining they offer three levels of membership. Think you have to be an accomplished artist to join not at all, as Sherwood explained she had barely held a brush in her hand before joining and through her participation in classes she now has won a few awards! For more information on all they have to offer CLICK HERE. 

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