760 North Collier Blvd, Marco
The pleasures of Marco Island’s Esplanade on North Collier Boulevard are about to be even more pleasurable for Islanders out for a good time and for motivated artists here.
In short, one of the best things to happen to the arts on Marco Island in years, maybe ever, is just a few details away from becoming a reality.
It’s a confluence of artists who need exposure for their work and business people who can help make that happen. It’s a win-win situation in the views of all concerned.
The owners–operators of the Esplanade are making free space available to Marco artists where they can work on their art and show it to the public in a beautiful setting.
Visitors to the Esplanade can walk along the promenades and watch artists at work, painting, potting, sculpting, etc. The venues will be the several unleased storefront units, where the artists will be available to work on a regular schedule. They’ll interact with the public and be able to have their art on display for sale.
It’s a cooperative arrangement between Summit Management and A&N Corporation at the Esplanade and the combined efforts of The Art League, Marco Island’s Center for the Arts, and MIFA, the Marco Island Foundation for the Arts. Both arts organizations’ boards of directors have approved the project.
This truly is an evolution of ideas to take advantage of our established relationships with these organizations and some creative thinking.”
Frank Delgado, Summit Management’s
“This truly is an evolution of ideas to take advantage of our established relationships with these organizations and some creative thinking,” says Summit Management’s Frank Delgado.”
The artists and the Esplanade managers believe the studios will draw more people to the upscale commercial and entertainment center on Smokehouse Bay. It will be good for existing businesses there and may attract other potential tenants.
“We’d been mulling over this idea for awhile and then worked it up into a whole idea,” says artist Jo-Ann Sanborn. “I thought, ‘why would anyone listen to me, I’m just an artist,’ but I finally thought, ‘what’s the harm in asking, they can only say no.’
“So I got up the courage to e-mail Frank Delgado at Summit Management. He said he loved it and would run it by the owners. And they said yes.
“We think it’s good for all of us. People like to see artist at work. It gives them another reason to come here and should bring even more people to the Esplanade. The place will come alive and be exciting with creative people doing interesting things for people to watch.”
Delgado agrees. “The incentive from our perspective is to keep the plaza looking much more viable during the upcoming season. A&N and the Esplanade have strived to support the island by hosting numerous events and this simply is an extension of that same philosophy.”
The artists want to make sure this is very different from an arts and crafts festival environment.
“These venues will be working studios for artists and their art, not storage space,” Sanborn explains. “Nothing but artwork created by the tenant artists can be sold in these spaces.”
Having a working space in such a complementary environment as the Esplanade is important to the artists.
“My studio is in a small bedroom in my home,” Sanborn says. “So it’s a great opportunity to work in a larger area. Some people don’t want to go to some artist’s house, but they are comfortable walking in and out (of the storefront studios) without having to make an appointment. I’m thrilled.”
Leaders of the two arts groups sponsoring the project with the Esplanade share Sanborn’s enthusiasm.
“We couldn’t ask for a better venue to raise the visibility of the exceptional, high quality art created by our arts community,” says Keith Klipstein, board president of the Art League. “With this outstanding collaborative showcase Marco’s artists will offer the public the rare opportunity to witness the creative process in action! What a gift!”
Sandi Johnson, president of the Marco Island Foundation for the Arts, is fired up and ready to go.
“The foundation is thrilled with the potential of this art at the Esplanade project. It’s a great undertaking and the artists seem enthused and ready.”
The Esplanade hopes eventually to get new commercials tenants for the now-empty spaces, so the artists know the project won’t last forever. But for now, it’s a go. The arts explosion at the Esplanade should be up and running within a few weeks.