A Tradition of Creativity – Naples Art Association

artschoolWe are entering into a time of year that for most of us is steeped in traditions. For generations, our families gathered together to celebrate in different ways. Tradition is a powerful concept. It roots us, makes us comfortable through reenactment and ritual and centers us on the important relationships between us and our kin and the human family.

In much the same way art allows individual expression through the creation of novel and original works, tradition allows collective expression through repetition and togetherness.

The Naples Art Association is a unique purveyor of expression, because throughout 60 years of history in support of personal expression The NAA inspires creative art
through tradition.

Readers who are lifelong residents of Naples have more than likely been impacted by some of the programming provided through The Naples Art Association. A sixty
year old native of our idyllic community may have been taught art by one of our founding members back in the late fifties. They might have been inspired by the art lessons and made their way to Art in the Park, Naples’s oldest outdoor art fair.



After browsing many works laid out on easels and hanging from wooden fences, they may have become inspired to create themselves. It probably would’ve started with sketches during grammar lessons or after school but squeezed in before chores. Eventually, perhaps the art teacher, volunteering on behalf of The NAA, would’ve noticed the students interest and invited them to take some private classes or tutoring. The student, inspired by the generosity and creativity of her tutor would’ve saved up and become a member of The Naples Art Association. That membership would’ve been a point of pride as it represents being a part of something greater: a creative community, a tradition of artistic expression and an artistic altruism.

Years later, our native Neapolitan might have had a child. Perhaps that child grew up and enjoyed the opening of the von Liebig Art Center in 1998. Parent and child
would’ve walked down 5th Ave South and approaching the von Liebig the parent would’ve been filled with pride and the child with awe. Before long the child enrolled in ARTScool and received high-quality art education from expert art instructors, some the children of founding members of The NAA. Because of a tradition of art, the child excelled and enjoyed her time at ARTScool, eventually graduating from student to intern and beginning the process of learning the value of giving back. At the completion of high school, the student was disappointed to leave the ARTScool program, but excited at the prospect of moving forward into a career of graphic design.

painterShe took a photo and edited it using Design and Photoshop skills earned through ARTScool classes. She submitted it to Naples Art Association’s Jade Riedel Scholarship and earned a scholarship to a collegiate art education program when her piece was selected by a professional artist/juror, a token of encouragement and a help to her parents.

Now, our second generation Neapolitan has graduated from Ringling or SCAD or another art school and has returned to Naples for the beauty of it all and to raise her family. She sells her artwork at Art in the Park, the very same festival that inspired her mother. She also enters into the twoday festivals that happen throughout January – March.

Although she often makes it in, she doesn’t always and when she doesn’t make it in to a festival it inspires her to buckle down, take some classes, improve her skills and blast open her creativity. She enjoys attending the preview receptions for each new set of exhibitions and often revels in the feeling of belonging and togetherness she enjoys when her mother, her brother, and her daughter are all standing with her in the von Liebig Art Center: three generations of local artists and community members. Her daughter attends ARTScool.

christmas decorationsSometimes, when the stars align and she can manage to find a day when her and her friends all have time at the same time, they gather together for a Dinner with Artists gourmet evening of art and food, or a Wine and Dezine evening of painting and wine and being with friends.

As our original member, who was inspired by Art in the Park so long ago, has grown even more mature she has begun volunteering her time to service the community through The Naples Art Association. Today, in 2014, she has been a member for most of her life and has been constantly invigorated by her participation. She takes classes and workshops to keep her skills tuned and her social life revving. Her husband recently passed.

He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. The whole family was delighted to see him come vibrantly alive in those last years, when he became a participant in the Creative Expressions: Alzheimer’s group. Although he had never been particularly artistic in his earlier years, Creative Expressions seemed to give him an anchor point to explore and create in new worlds, worlds where he was free from the concern of the shame of not remembering.

The Naples Art Association and the von Liebig Art Center are here to stay, doggedly committed to the tradition of bringing art to everyone and advocating for the importance of art and artistic expression in our community – there’s only one condition: they need your support. The Naples Art Association has reached a threshold as an organization. In order to guarantee sustainability into the future, they need your support. Their organizational goal for the year is to identify investors and volunteers from within the community who are willing to come together in support of a sustainable future for the visual arts in our community.



From $5 to $500,000, every bit of support counts and adds your voice to the membership of voices advocating for a more artistic future. For sixty years, The Naples Art Association has been operating like a start-up, with tight budgets and no significant endowment.

In time, investors and supporters will allow for the creation of a significant endowment to cover operating costs and free up the money raised through fundraising events such as Goddess Night and For the Love of Art Gala to go to higher-quality programming, more accessible educational programming and more effective community advocacy.

There are so many ways to become involved or increase your involvement with The Naples Art Association. December is full of win-win opportunities to voice your support of art culture and creativity in your Naples community. Visit The Sugar Plum Shop at the von Liebig Art Center anytime between now and January 2nd to browse and shop handmade in the USA, one-of-a-kind, gifts. Each piece was selected by our gift shop manager. Come early, before your ideal gift is sold out. On Tuesday, December 2nd
The Naples Art Association will participate for the first time in #GivingTuesday. #GivingTuesday is a day created to promote the holiday season as a time not only of getting, but also of giving.

In the US we have a day to give thanks, followed by two days of all out consumerism (Black Friday and Cyber Monday) and now we also have a day of giving: #GivingTuesday. Help us reach our goal of raising $5000 through online donations for educational programming for children, such as ARTScool Summer Arts Program.

Just visit NaplesArt.org/Donate and choose Annual Appeal.

On December 6th, get out and enjoy the beautiful Florida weather while you shop for unique art by local artists at Art in the Park.

Stroll down Park Street and enjoy the oldest outdoor art festival in Naples. Bring your family for First Family Fun Activities including music, artist demonstrations, and make & take art projects. Then on Saturday and Sunday January 3rd and 4th come downtown for the 18th annual Downtown Naples New Year’s Art Fair. Start the New Year off in style along 5th Avenue South in downtown Naples at this well established art festival. Shoppers will have the opportunity to mingle with about 230 professional artists from around the country with work in a vast array of artistic mediums.

Attendees can chat with artists and learn about their inspiration and craft. From home décor to jewelry, collectors and festival goers will discover thousands of items that they simply cannot find elsewhere.


Come see why The Naples Art Association at The von Liebig Art Center has been voted one of the best galleries in Naples with more local art for sale by a wider variety of local artists than anywhere else in Naples. There are many ways to engage in creativity offered by NAA: enjoy one day workshops and art fusion events, take a class with a master instructor or find the perfect gift in our one of a kind gift shop.

Admission is free and opens the door to a greater participation in arts and our community. Tour the galleries, shop, take a class or volunteer.

The Naples Art Association works to support your creative evolution. Visit Naplesart.org for information on upcoming events and schedule of classes and workshops. The Naples Art Association is built from the resources and passion of our community to serve the members of our community. Come be a part of the art: Imagine! Discover! Create

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