The Art of Living in Paradise

Claudia Polzin
Consultant to Nonprofits

January – and your friends and neighbors who are not fortunate enough to be Southwest Florida are very envious of the warm weather, the ability to get in your car without scraping off the snow and ice and not having  to bundle up in multiple layers of clothes. So plan to make the most of everything the arts have to offer in our little slice of Paradise.

January 2 – you have recovered from staying in or going out on New Year’s Eve and all of the football games  on New Year’s Day – so now is the time to get out for a walk. So get your walking shoes and head to the Naples Art District – every first Wednesday from 5-8 p.m. and every third Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. see professional artists showcasing their works. Have the opportunity to meet the artist and find unique treasurers.

Cluster Pluckin’ Bluegrass – ever been to Nashville and the Grand Ole Opry – well on January 5 at the Norris Center you can enjoy everything from Bluegrass to Jazz to Folk – packed into three hours structured like the live broadcast radio shows from the Grand Ole Opry (without the radio broadcast).

The Grand Piano Series has found a home at Vanderbilt Presbyterian Church and the artists will enjoy performing on the 10’2” Fazioli Concert Grand Piano. If you have not heard of the Fazioli piano – perhaps all we need to tell you is that the soundboards are made of the same type of wood chosen by Antonio Stradivari for his
legendary violins. Fazioli’s sound philosophy comes from the Italian “bel canto” tradition, allowing artists to enjoy the singing quality of the instrument as well as exploring a wide range of colors and dynamics.

On January 7 at 7:30 p.m. you can hear Lera Auerbach perform the monumental work by M. Mussorgsky “Pictures at an Exhibition”. As I noted there is something for everyone in Naples – and on January 13  – you can enjoy the Gulf Coast Big Band Jazz Concert at 2 p.m. in Cambier Park. This group has been performing since 1991 and all of the members of the band perform without pay for the love of music and the opportunity to raise money for scholarships for high school students. This group is lead by the legendary trumpeter, Dan Miller – who has played around the world with all of the major names of jazz.

The finest vocal artists come together as Seraphic Fire performs on January 15 at Vanderbilt Presbyterian Church at 7 p.m. – the top vocalists in the country join together to present music from the African-American tradition in a concert titled: “I have a Dream”. The concert highlights both solemn melodies and exhilarating

Naples art scene does not neglect the art of theatre – a unique play will open on January 16 at the Sugden Theatre – “Don’t Dress for Dinner” – a comedy adapted from a French play – featuring mistresses, love, affairs, and caterers. The play will continue through February 10 with both evening and matinee performances.

Move from comedy and theatre to Grand Opera on January 18 – the Fifth Anniversary concert for Gulfshore Opera will feature the great moments of grand opera beautifully performed by nationally recognized artists. The concert will be held at North Naples Church at 7 p.m. Gulfshore Opera is a regional opera company bringing
opera to all of the areas of Collier, Lee and Charlotte counties and focusing on education for all ages.

Lest we forget – the special art of photography – two unique opportunities during this month – opening on January 1 – “DPI-SIG Photography” exhibit at the West Wing Art Gallery of the Naples Regional Library on Central Avenue. If you did not know that an art gallery exists, this is the time to explore this unique venue for
interesting art exhibits.

The second exhibit opens on January 15 at the Rookery Bay Environmental Learning Center and features the
Southwest Florida Annual Juried Photography Exhibit. So enjoy the warmth of the climate, the warmth of family and friends and all of the warmth that the arts bring to our lives.

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