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The Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center's mission is to nurture innovation and excellence in the visual and performing arts through education, performances, exhibitions, and outreach programs.
The Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center, founded in 1997 as Florida Arts, Incorporated, is a nonprofit 501 (c) (3) organization directed by Jim Griffith, a Julliard trained violist for the Naples Philharmonic Orchestra. The Art Center has provided several seasons of programming with concerts, exhibitions, performances, galas, outreach and more. The site of the Art Center building was once a Calusa Native American settlement. In the mid-1800s, it become home to the original fort of "Fort Myers" and the site of the officers' quarters. Designed by prominent Florida architect Nat Gaillard Walker, the former Historic Post Office building, built in 1933, is one of the nation's finest neoclassical revival structures and a major contributing building to the Downtown Historic River District of Fort Myers. It was converted to a Federal Courthouse in 1965 and later vacated in 1998. Many of its original fixtures were removed or destroyed and the building fell into disrepair until the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center took over it in 2003, dedicated to its preservation with the creation of a community cultural center.
· Revitalize an area in great need of arts cultivation
· Offer a 23,000 square foot venue to world-renowned talent and local emerging artists
· Develop future audiences and enhance arts appreciation through education and outreach
· Expand its population served by becoming a statewide attraction and nationally recognized venue
· Ensure accessibility to the arts for the underserved and disadvantaged through ticket and transportation subsidies
· Promote the arts and the vital role they play in our lives
· Revive community involvement through programming and other events with the cooperation of the city and civic groups
· Subsidize rental fees, ensuring local and regional arts groups always have access to the building
· Provide multipurpose, ADA compliant space for concerts, recitals, lectures, conferences, and more
· Contribute to the tourism industry, supporting local retailers, restaurants, and other arts organizations
- Stephanie Westendorf
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