River District galleries are ramping up for an artful Fourth of July weekend bookended by Art Walk on Friday, July 1 and Freedom Fest on Monday, July 4.
New art exhibitions are the order of the day for each Art Walk, but on July 1, several new group and solo shows will push the avant-garde envelope that is River District art scene.
Skin 2011 opens on Broadway at daas Gallery. Two years ago, the show was considered controversial, with many Art Walkers turning a heel and storming back out of the gallery as their eyes fell across the nudes hanging on daas’ rich stuccoed walls. This year’s exhibition promises to be downright salacious as artists push beyond mere nudes to explore erotica in art, but the risque nature of Skin 2011 is wholly consistent with the commitment of David Acevedo and Xavier Brignoni to bring art to the River District that is fresh, new and out of the box.
Around the corner and down First Street, Arts for ACT will be thinking inside the box. “Think Inside the Box” is one of two themes that artists may choose for entries into Arts for ACT’s Fourth Annual Open Theme Group Exhibition. The other theme is “Out of MY Mind,” which became the rallying cry of Jennifer Ayotte’s School of Technology and Design students at Rasmussen College. The pieces they’ve created for this year’s show will amaze, dazzle and inspire viewers to lose their own minds too.
Across the street, recent FGCU art grad and MIG welder extraordinare Tracy Hoogervorst debuts at Enjewel with a solo exhibition featuring gestural abstract expressionism in the tradion of de Kooning and Jackson Pollock. While most artists struggle to perfect one or two mediums, this talented young artist’s first solo show combines mixed media pieces on canvas and galvanized steel with remarkably adept wall and free standing sculptures composed of reclaimed and recycled steel and MIG splatter on galvanized steel. With this exhibit, Enjewel is serving notice that it intends to be included as one of the elite art stops on the Art Walk map.
A remarkable event will take place during Art Walk down at the Franklin Shops at First. That’s where Leoma Lovegrove will be assisting Art Walkers paint the names of those who died at the World Trade Center on an immense 10 foot tall by 18 foot long canvas on its first stop through Southwest Florida en route to the Broadway Palm Dinner Theatre on September 11 where Lovegrove will engraft an American bald eagle over the names of all the 9/11 victims in a tribute that Remembers 9-11’s Tenth Year.
The other River District galleries will be offering new artists and new exhibitions too, and all of this new work will still be on display when revelers descend on the downtown for Fort Myers Freedom Fest, a block party that starts at 2 p.m. on Monday, July 4th, and continues into the night, well past the fireworks that will light up the sky over the Caloosahatchee River beginning at 9:30.