Alliance for the Arts announces artists for 2020 billboard campaign

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The Alliance for the Arts is thrilled to announce the participating artists of Art Lives Here. The campaign transforms billboard space throughout Lee County into public art. It is made possible by Alliance season sponsor Carter Outdoor.

Of the submitted works, the Art Lives Here committee juried in local artists Tania Begg, Donna Chase, Stephen Hayford, Bruce Mackechnie, Nance Marsden, Leila Mesdaghi, Eric Riemenschneider, Whit Robbins, Myra Roberts, Carolyn Steele, Alyssa Stoff and Barbara Weems.

“Our vision is to bring artwork outside of the traditional context of museum and gallery walls, while bringing attention to emerging local artists’ work,” says gallery director Ehren Gerhard.

About the Artworks

Where the Heart Is by Tania Begg 

Acrylic – 48 x 24 in

With music playing in the background, my black ink pen dances across the canvas: the movement creating line, and shapes…that interconnect…bright colors define each area and perform a Symphony. And within this Symphony…is my heart.

Touch by Donna Chase

Acrylic – 16 x 40 in

A simple touch can calm a tortured soul, convey emotions… even heal.  Our hands are an extension of our humanity, regardless of color, age, strength or ethnicity.  In our new world of social distancing, we long for a real hug, a kiss or a simple handshake.  Touch is part of the basic human experience.


Stephen Hayford

You Never Know What You’re Going to Get by Stephen Hayford

Diorama and Photography – 25 x 15 in

When I was in photojournalism I frequently covered tarpon fishing tournaments off of Boca Grande, FL. In every tournament, without fail, some unlucky angler would be reeling in a prize-contender only for it to be snatched by a shark before it got to the boat. I also would often witness casual anglers who let their rods sit while they took a nap. “You Never Know What You’re Going To Get” is what I imagine when both those scenarios collide.

Jazz Dreamscape by Bruce MacKechnie

Acrylic – 20 x 16 in

Going to jazz clubs and listening to recordings of various greats like Billy Holiday, Thelonious Monk, and many others I wanted to create an image that captured the dreamy rhythms, the varied and colorful abstract quality of the musical notes, and the range of feelings the music and the artists inspire. My composition is sort of a dream team of jazz greats who have given me, and millions of others, hours of pleasure and entertainment over the years.

Summer Practice by Nance Marsden

Oil and Pastel on Canvas – 30 x 40 in

Some of my fondest memories of when I was young are of playing instruments and singing with my friends. It took practice to make beautiful music together. And now, it still takes a lot of practice to make beautiful music together, whatever kind of music we are making.

Leila Mesdaghi

What Color is Your Sky by Leila Mesdaghi

Digital Collage – 12 x 24 in

I asked my friends around the world to look up at the sky, capture it, and send it to me. There is a Persian proverb that says: wherever you go the sky is the same color! Through these photos I am able to see what they see, and by sharing it in an art form others can see it too. 

Eric Riemenschneider

No Snitches by Eric Riemenschneider

Oil – 78 x 36 in

As an Art & Design teacher, every day I attempt to open my students’ senses to new experiences and challenge their way of thinking. These three young men are former students that challenged me quite a bit as a new instructor.  Their pose represents the potential obstacles in communication but also celebrates the breakthrough and permanent bond of teacher and student.

Greening of Florida by Whit Robbins

Acrylic Painting – 30 x 40 in

When I put my brush to the canvas to paint for this project about Florida, what came to mind was GREEN!  Having grown up in snow-belt areas, that’s what I hungered for during the long winters. Now, here I am in Florida which is a non-stop green paradise.  Thank you Florida!

Dive In by Myra Roberts

Acrylic on Canvas – 24 x 36 in

Dive in was painted at a challenging transition time in my life.  The diver represents that inner strength to take the leap of faith when life feels uncertain.

Bejeweled by Carolyn Steele

Acrylic – 30 x 22 in

The combination of fascinating detail, texture, and color are what inspired me to paint this iguana portrait. I was especially intrigued by the beauty of the large sub tympanic shield on his lower jowl that reminded me of an Ethiopian opal, my favorite gemstone.

Water and Stone by Alyssa Stoff

Acrylic on Canvas – 72 x 42 in

The inspiration for this painting comes from having artists block. At the time, I didn’t like anything I was making and really needed to do something fresh. It actually started out very different and I wasn’t enjoying the process. Once I stopped overthinking it and just focused on my movements and feelings it really came forward on its own. For me, it’s nice to know that even when I get stuck I can still find my way back. I think this painting represents that realization.

Orient Express by Barbara Weems

Mixed Media – 34 x 36 in

This abstract painting began with mark making and my ubiquitous circles. I noticed what looked like olives and eggs on a plate and then followed tablecloths and the thought of luxurious dining on the Orient Express.

For more information call 239-939-2787 or visit


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SWFHappenings Magazine is the best news source for local arts, music, theater and all around entertainment events.

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