Ellen and John Sheppard with Cello Bennett

FORT MYERS, Fla. (Feb. 15, 2013) – Working in partnership with local artists, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation has raised nearly $15,000 through its newest juried art exhibit’s sales.

A share of the artworks’ proceeds will be donated by the artists to the Fund for the Arts in Southwest Florida, which supports nonprofit art organizations in the area.

Among the pieces sold, four were Gale Bennett paintings that were donated by his widow and Display Curator Cello Bennett. These paintings sold during the Gale Bennett exhibition at the Community Foundation last summer. The paintings were Force Red, River Flats 2005, Nocturnal Bouquet, A Special Place and Bouquet de Printemps.

“We are inspired by the generosity of the local artists and the donors who have purchased their pieces,” said Sarah Owen, president and CEO of the SWFLCF. “It is a great example of giving differently and making an impact on the community.”

The next art open house will be held Friday, March 1, from 4 to 6 p.m., and will feature interactive classes with artist Doug MacGregor and Freida VanPelt, a legally blind art instructor at the Lighthouse of SWFL. VanPelt will conduct a live demonstration while providing goggles that stimulate being blind, for anyone who wants to know what it feels like to paint blind.

The open house will also feature artists Jane Geronime, Scott Guelcher, Liz Hutchinson, Phyllis Rieser, KP Stanchi and Barbara Wilson.

Located in the Community Foundation’s public spaces at 8771 College Parkway, Building 2, Suite 201 in Fort Myers, the art exhibit includes pieces on loan and for sale from 32 local artists and one organization. These pieces range from photography and carved wood to textiles, fused glass and various sculptures, as well as traditional acrylic, watercolor and medium paintings.

The open houses are scheduled the first Friday of every month until next August.

The Southwest Florida Community Foundation is celebrating its 36th year of supporting the communities of Lee, Charlotte, Collier, Glades, and Hendry counties by connecting donors and their philanthropic aspirations with evolving community needs. With assets of more than $64 million, the Community Foundation has provided more than $54 million in grants and scholarships to the communities it serves. During its 2012 fiscal year, the SWFLCF granted more than $3 million to more than 100 different organizations supporting education, animal welfare, arts and human services.

For more information, call 239-274-5900 or visit www.floridacommunity.com

Rusty Brown, Dawn-Marie Driscoll and Teddy Sandoe

Ellen Sheppard, Margie Willis and William Richard

Cello Bennett and Robin Raneri

Celeste Borah, Carl Schwartz and Wellington Ward

Artist Maria Sanchez