[In the spirit of full disclosure I tell you now that the following subject touches me personally as I am not only president of the GAA board of directors, but am also on its festival committee.]
The Goodland Arts Alliance is spreading its wings. A fledgling – but a mighty fledging – this newly formed non-profit is dedicating itself to the mission of “preserving, promoting, and advancing, the cultural presence in the Village of Goodland, through art, history, and education.”
Towards that end (end?), the GAA is sponsoring its inaugural outdoor Harbor Arts & Music Festival, at MarGood Harbor Park in Goodland on Sunday, March10, 10:00 to 4:00. The festival is open to all artists of Collier and Lee Counties, either full-time or seasonal. The booth fees for this event are uncommonly reasonable, $25 for members, $50 for non-members, but that doesn’t mean the quality of accepted work will pay the price. A selection committee of professional artists, all members of the GAA, will oversee submissions in jpeg format. All work must be originally created; fine crafts are encouraged, but no buy-sell items will be accepted.
The venue, MarGood Harbor Park, is the latest jewel in the crown of Collier Parks and Recreation. Because of it’s historic and environmental significance, the property was purchased with Florida Forever funds in 2005. Today native landscaping and lovely walkways wrap around a charming harbor-front, the park also boasts a large open-air pavilion, and a museum/exhibition hall.
Marco Island may be the big oyster of the 10,000 Islands, but Goodland is definitely the pearl. While residents are extremely proud of it’s unique beauty and off-beat style, the good news is Collier County officials feel the same way and are working with the GAA towards providing a future site that will accommodate a working artists colony. Think Cedar Key. Think Matlaiche. Better yet, think Goodland.
The Alliance came into being last September when a dozen intrepid artists gathered together to discuss the lack of a professional exhibition venue in Goodland (current zoning prohibits artists from operating home galleries) and the potential that lay in combining their considerable talent, experience, and knowledge. The group sought the insights of Collier County Commissioner Donna Fiala who, enthused about the prospects, facilitated a meeting between GAA representatives, County Parks and Recreation officials Steve Carnell and Nancy Olson, and attorney Craig Woodward – who also is Board member of the Collier County Historical and Archaeological Preservation Board. Not only did all in attendance give their full support to the GAA, but they also came ready with suggestions and information on how best to expedite procurement of a cultural venue for the historic fishing village. A definitive case of county leaders at their best.
The GAA obtained its non-profit (501(c)3) status in late November and is now busy introducing itself to the area and setting up fundraising events to reach it’s ultimate (ultimate?) goal of a permanent home. Membership is open to the public and donations are most welcomed.
Interested artists should send inquiries to [email protected], or call 239-642-0528. Deadline for applications is February 15.
Tara O’Neill, a lifelong, award-winning, artist has been an area resident since 1967. She holds degrees in Fine Arts and English from the University of South Florida and is currently represented by Blue Mangrove Gallery on Marco Island. Visit her at www.taraogallery.com.