Beach artist John Heim made good on a monetary promise he made recently and announced he will further his commitment with future contributions.
Last Thursday, Heim presented Beach Elementary officials with $100 to be used for the school Art program. The money came from selling numerous computerized prints (done on canvas paper) of his "The art of '1'" abstract artwork at the Art & Poetry Networking Event at Sidney & Bernes Art Center in downtown Fort Myers on Jan 24. He then said he would continue to give 100 percent of his prints sold at future art shows and 50 percent of his original artwork to the same Art fund.
At the art show, Heim brought attention to a stolen mural panel from a Bay Oaks Recreational Campus project that has been hanging from the fence at the former Seafarer's Mall site. The project, coordinated by artist Mark Harris of Harris Art Works in Bonta Springs, was Heim's original idea that was pushed forward officially by Councilwoman Jo List.
Beach artist John Heim hands a $100 mock check to his daughter Willow for the Beach Elementary Art program. Art teacher Holly Nichols and students at Beach school, which his daughter attends, look on. The check is a symbol of the $100 cash he gave to school officials.
"During the Sidney & Bernes art show I spoke about the stolen mural panel and how a kid's imagination on display is not even safe from thieves," he said. "The main cause of the contribution is to support our local school when it comes to the education and expression of youthful creativity. I'm trying to motivate other people in the community to give to the Beach school and Bay Oaks to help out with their Art programs."
Heim told the art show participants about how the mural was created and erected then informed them about the stolen panel.
"In a crowd amongst artists, everyone was appalled that someone would steal from children to begin with when it comes to anything, let alone art. We got the crowd motivated in really believing in the Beach school and children themselves with their creative youthful expressions," he said.
Heim expects to do future shows in downtown Fort Myers as well as on the Beach.
"I have already spoken to Valarie at The Mermaid to do strictly a Fort Myers Beach art show," he said. "As a resident I look to help out anyway I can as far as these projects.
"I don't want to focus too much on the negatives of stolen art, but rather the positives that these kids are an inspiration to us. Their imagination outweighs an adult's imagination. We should look at it as they are the ones that are teaching us artistically and leading the charge with artistic expression. We should celebrate that as island people."
Beach Elementary officials are grateful for Heim's efforts.
"The Beach school, is so appreciative of Mr. Heim and the work that he is doing to help out the Art program," said Beach Elementary Art teacher Holly Nichols. "The kids really deserve it. We get to do the coolest projects because of our community members. They really help us out with their support."
Mural panel update
According to Bay Oaks Recreation Manager Randy Norton, the panel that has been hanging on the south end of the mural (closest to McDonald's) will be taken down in the near future and re-hung in the empty space that was created when a thief stole a panel that had been in place there. The south end space will then be filled with a panel that names the project and gives credit to participating agencies.
"The title piece in the first slot should be up next week," Norton said.