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Gulf & Main Magazine

Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center Celebrates 10 Years This Season

Nov 13, 2017 10:34AM ● By Kevin
The Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center, run by nonprofit organization Florida Arts, Inc., is a must-see attraction with a colorful history. The center celebrates its 10th anniversary during the 2017-18 season, and is dedicated to bringing world-class art events to the Southwest Florida community.

"Within our restored, state-of-the-art facility, we present a wide range of events to the public," said marketing event coordinator Angela Patane. "From concerts to art exhibitions, galas to lectures, and providing educational arts experiences for children and adults alike– we promise excellence!"

Coming up, the center will kick off its Jazzy Nights Series, the Chamber Series, and its newest series, Vinyl Vibes.

According to the center's website, the Jazzy Nights Series features some of today’s most acclaimed performers. Each concert showcases timeless jazz songs alongside contemporary hits. "This season’s performances will have you swinging, dancing, and singing all night long!"

The Chamber Music series features performances in "the acoustically intimate Grand Atrium" at the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center, the website says. This season’s Chamber Series features four concerts from some of the genre’s most renowned musicians.

Vinyl Vibes is a brand new retro records music series, featuring "some of the best tribute and cover acts in the nation," the website says. "Vinyl Vibes is sure to bring you back to some of the most inspiring times in popular music. Enjoy this nostalgic three-concert series!"

We also have a new way to purchase series tickets: flex tickets. Patrons can choose any 4 concerts between the Jazzy Nights and Chamber Series to build their own set and receive a discount on each ticket. All the ticket links and prices are on the event pages.

There are also monthly art shows, as well as two outdoor festivals: Taps and Tunes Craft Beer and Music Festival (January) and Smoke on the Water Barbecue Competition and Music Festival (April), which are both held on Fort Myers River Basin. Both events feature food, drink and live music downtown.

The annual fundraiser, Art Walks the Runway is "the only international haute couture fashion in Fort Myers," Patane said.

Additionally, the center just opened a brand new recording studio inside called Six Fingers Studios. The Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center teamed with a Spanish company, StudioBricks, to create the in-house recording studio, which opened in the middle of October, and is open to the public to rent out.

Patane doubles as the studio manager and fronts The Young Dead, a local punk band, according to an article on the opening of the studio in Gulfshore Life. She reported the studio is soundproof "to the point where you wouldn't know a band is recording down the hall," the article continued.

The history of the center is rich, as the building itself dates back to 1933. It has been home to the U.S. Post Office and a federal courthouse, before being abandoned in 1998. In 2003, Jim Griffith and Florida Arts, Inc. acquired a 99-year lease from the city of Fort Myers on the building, according to the center's website. "Florida Arts, Inc. agreed to meld the past with the future by restoring the building to its original magnificence, while creating a modern arts facility."

In 2007, Berne Davis pledged $1 million to Florida Arts, Inc. for the building’s restoration, the website continues. The building reopened to the public in September 2008 after Phase 1 of the renovations were completed. All renovations were finished by the summer 2014, and the center has been active in the community ever since.

Hurricane Irma did not impact the center severely; however, it did lose power for two weeks. It reopened immediately after. Monthly art shows are free to view and open tot he public Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and during the First Fridays Art Walk from 6 to 10 p.m.

"Our goals are to remain committed to our mission of bringing world class arts programming and education to all Southwest Florida communities," Patane said. "This season begins construction on our Rooftop Garden and Reception Area which keeps us committed to expanding downtown Fort Myers cultural impact.

"Every season, we strive to provide premiere arts programming for Southwest Florida, and we hope guests enjoy what we have planned this season!"

For more information visit,


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