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Natural Awakenings Naples and Fort Myers

New Center Offers Arts, Classes and Special Events

May 31, 2012 08:43PM

Summer greets us with a brand-new venue for local and visiting artists to showcase their works while giving back to the community: the Art Is The Heart of Naples Center for Community Arts. The brainchild of Kimberly Cavalier and Bill Ricigliano, the center, located at 12336 Tamiami Trail East, is also interested in hearing from the community for input and ideas for its offerings.

As a longtime resident, business owner and the president-elect of the Naples Northside Kiwanis Club, Ricigliano has volunteered for many projects and charities in Collier County and nearby. Cavalier, founder of the Local Food Enthusiasts Meetup group, a past American Red Cross volunteer, Rotary Club member and local organic farm volunteer and advocate, has participated in several initiatives spreading awareness of organic gardening, assisted in environmental cleanups and contributed other community assistance.

The duo’s vision combines the love each has for children, the environment and the community. “Creating a place with a friendly and exciting atmosphere that contributes towards great projects has always been a desire of both of us,” says Cavalier.

Ricigliano’s current business, which occupies a small part of the center, comprises a collection of antique golf artifacts that he has photographed and enlarged; they will be displayed and for sale, along with pieces from other golf collectors in the currently evolving gallery space. While the total conversion of the 5,000-square-foot former business office into a gallery and community center will continue throughout the summer, art works can be shown now.

Current plans include an environmental art exhibition and a golden anniversary celebration of The Beatles, featuring the original works of artist John Gowdy. Meanwhile, the center is launching instructional classes. Erica Klopf and Taylor Walker, co-owners of Florida Edible Landscaping, will lead an Introduction to Tropical Fruits of Florida from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., June 16 and a Tropical Fruit Intensive from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., July 14 and 15. They will conduct organic gardening and permaculture certification courses in August and September, respectively.

Class fees: $65 and $130. For more information or to get involved, call 239-732-6740 or visit Facebook.com/NaplesCenterforCommunityArts or Meetup.com/Local-Food-Enthusiasts.

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