5833 Pelican Bay Boulevard, Naples, FL
Say farewell to the Phil. Say hello to Artis — Naples.
The prominent arts complex at 5833 Pelican Bay Boulevard in Naples is changing its name on the eve of its 25th birthday to reflect a commitment to the wider variety of the arts it offers.
In announcing the change to a meeting of invited series ticket holders and patrons, CEO and President Kathleen van Bergen demonstrated her point with a video of impromptu public interviews. Nearly every person interviewed identified the Phil with its orchestra.
Van Bergen did emphasize the organization’s commitment to strong classical music by announcing its hiring of Andrey Boreyko as the new music director at the same meeting. But with the arrival of Frank Verpoorten as museum director last fall, and with the increasing scheduling of lectures and classes and collaborative community projects, the organization needed to better reflect its breadth of arts offerings, she said.
“The definition of Artis is a collective of the arts in Naples,” she explained in an interview after the announcement. “The name philharmonic center for the arts focuses one portion of what we really are.”
In fact, she said, one of the advantages of Boreyko’s resume was that he is music director of an orchestra, the Orchestre National de Belgique, that is connected with a fine arts center, the Bozar, in Brussels.
The renaming process involved “hundreds of names” suggested and consultation with an outside company. Several months ago, the board voted among the top four, and administrative staff, musicians and the board have been getting quietly comfortable with it.
She also recognized that changing the iconic name would be a difficult transition, and even had to respond to an audience member’s question: “Can we still call it the Phil?”
“Please try to embrace Artis — Naples,” she said, “but affectionately, call it the Phil.”
Some international patrons may have different problems with it. Artis is the name of the oldest zoo in the Netherlands. It is also the name of an organization promoting contemporary art from Israel.
However, web commerce will still accept “the Phil” as a name, redirecting people to its new site. Renamed websites and email are undergoing a transformation that is expected to be completed by July.
Other Artis — Naples plans for its 25th anniversary include an expanded partnership with Opera Naples. One grand opera, “The Barber of Seville,” and one chamber opera, Gian Carlo Menotti’s “The Medium,” planned for the coming season.
Verpoorten also outlined plans for a major museum project — a sculpture to be created on site during the celebration year — and a wide-ranging exhibition, “Rediscovering Egypt.”
In the meantime, patrons trying to acclimate themselves to Artis — Naples might take the suggestion of James Dallas, principal percussionist for the Naples Philharmonic Orchestra and one of its original members, who welcomed the title with his own definition of it: “Art is Naples.”