The Franklin Shops on First Street will celebrate the arts during the 5th anniversary of Art Walk on October 4. Fort Myers-based painter Jerry McGreens will stage a live art performance at the shops that night, and visitors will be able to take an original work of art home when the shops raffle off sculptures and paintings of five well-known local artists.
“This is meant as a thank you to all customers and Art Walkers who helped to make this event a success,” says Rene Miville, owner of The Franklin Shops. “Supporting the arts in Fort Myers is traditionally our noblest mission.”
Jerry McGreens is known for his fantastic and funny paintings. Each invites the viewer on a journey to unknown magical places. McGreens, who calls himself an illustpaintor, re-purposer and conservationist, offers a truly unique and imaginative look at a world where spook and humor meet.
During Art Walk on Friday night (6 to 10 p.m.), Jerry McGreens will join his artistic forces with the virtual fantasies of Game Nation. This video game company will organize an adventurous interactive party in the River District during the first days of November. “At The Franklin Shops, Game Nation allows a sneak preview into their video game wonderland. Art Walkers are invited to participate in the creative process and to play along,” Miville adds.
Sculptors Steven Swenor (a/k/a The Dragonfly-Guy) and James “Spiderman” Sauter and painters George Settos, Julien Miville and Jerry McGreens have donated original artworks for a raffle at the shops. Each well-known artist has a long affiliation with The Franklin Shops, and “the idea is to give art lovers the opportunity to take a piece of art home from the anniversary event,” says Miville.
The Franklin Shops have a tradition of supporting the arts at the River District. Even before he opened the shops, Miville made the building available for art shows. At the time of the first Art Walks and continuing through 2009 and 2010, the windows at Broadway were established as a prominent location for downtown art exhibits. Dan Calvert, who was strongly involved with the revitalization of the River District and who now works as a city planner and designer in Atlanta, curated the Broadway Art Displays. These monthly changing exhibits presented the works of over fifty artists, many of whom are internationally renowned like Mary Voytek, Veron Ennis and Jeffrey Scott Lewis.
This year, The Franklin Shops launched ARTlocale, a summer program of art events meant to support local artists and at the same time stimulate the artistic scene in the River District. Special exhibits, live art performances, entertainment and art talk took place at The Franklin Shops during Art Walk nights all summer long.
The Franklin Shops on First are located at 2200 First Street, in the heart of the downtown Fort Myers River District. Built in 1937 by Walter P. Franklin, The Franklin Shops is one of two streamline moderne buildings in Fort Myers’ downtown historic district.