by Laurel Meny
In Naples, where hundreds of new residents and visitors arrive daily, the Naples Art Association (NAA) is proud to serve as the heart of the community. It is a place where people can gather, meet new friends, enjoy art at no cost, and ultimately feel an attachment to this wonderful community we call home.
And, we’re not just saying that because we are the Naples Art Association. We have the data to back it up. As a matter of fact, the Community initiative Knight Soul of the Community (SOTC) – a three-year study conducted by Gallup of the 26 communities across the country to determine the factors that attach residents to their communities – surveyed some 43,000 people in 43 cities and found that “social offerings, openness and welcome-ness,” and, significantly, the “aesthetics of a place – its art, parks, and green spaces,” ranked higher than education, safety, and the local economy as a “driver of attachment.” Viewing public art was the second most popular activity, ranking above hiking and biking. These findings are significant and confirm the importance of the Naples Art Association in our community.
For some, it is a place to grab friends – and a glass of wine – to let off steam after work and be creative. We have three-hour workshops designed with these people in mind. For others, it is a place to feel included. We work with a wide variety of local non-profit organizations whose missions are to provide social and emotional support programs for the underprivileged, underserved members of our community. One example is a partnership with Lighthouse of Collier, where classes are held specifically for the organization’s vision impaired students. In one particular class, eight students learned all about clay – including how to feel edges with their fingers, placement of patterns using touch, and adding glaze color by very descriptive language. Some of the students’ final projects included a serving tray, a serving bowl, a sculpted building shaped into a wind chime, and more. According to the instructor Donna Torrance, “I learned so much from these students. They were wonderful listeners. They were very artistic. They had wonderful senses of humor. And, some were even quite mischievous. It was an honor to be their teacher.”
And still for others, it is a place to display their talents. With over 16 exhibits featuring everything from established to up-and-coming amateur artists to
nationally-known artists and three nationally-ranked outdoor art shows, the NAA is the place to put your work in front of local – and national – art collectors. We work closely with the artists to determine where their work might fit and how we can help promote it. And, with a stunning space that overlooks beautiful Cambier Park and is located in the heart of our vibrant downtown community, we can’t keep it all to ourselves. Hundreds of people, organizations, clubs, and businesses rent space within the Naples Art Association each year. It is the perfect spot for a meeting, corporate event, or wedding.
We’re booking holiday parties now! And, while you are in the holiday mood, don’t forget the Naples Art Association during this season of giving. Support small business by buying local art from the gift shop. The NAA’s famous Sugar Plum Shop is open throughout the season and features an unparalleled array of handcrafted ornaments, paintings, sculptures, accessories, decorations, and much more. Stop in to find a unique gift for each person on your list.
For more information about the Naples Art Association and its many programs, please visit www.NaplesArt.org