FORT MYERS, Fla. (Aug. 19, 2013) – Award-winning artist Zaki Knapen has donated four of his works to the Southwest Florida Community Foundation to benefit the Fund for the Arts in Southwest Florida.

The four pieces include three paintings: “Survive” (36” x 48” mixed media), “Testament of an Artist” (24” x 48” mixed media) and “When She Smiled” (36” x 48” mixed media). A sculpture entitled “The Spike Jumper” has also been donated to the foundation’s permanent art collection.

Knapen wanted to donate the pieces after learning more about the foundation’s mission and work in the community.

“‘The Spike Jumper’ is about overcoming adversity and not being afraid to jump from spike to spike and reaching out to give,”said Knapen. “Most people give up just when they’re about to achieve success, quitting at the one-yard line. The best way to tread obstacles is to use them as stepping-stones.  Laugh at them, tread on them and let them lead you to something better. As an artist, I used the naysayers and non-believers as motivation, adding fuel to my creative fire.”

“This community has the great fortune of being the home to many incredible artists whose work has shaped both Southwest Florida and the nation,” said Sarah Owen, president and CEO of the SWFLCF. “Our theme this year has been ‘give differently’ and this is such an incredible example of that. While many of us don’t think of ourselves as philanthropists or even wealthy, the fact is that there are ways just like Zaki’s donation that we can all give and that will help others in our community.”

Knapen was one of 32 artists whose work was included in the Community Foundation’s art exhibit displayed in its office’s public spaces this past year. The various works ranged from photography and carved wood to textiles, fused glass and various sculptures, as well as traditional acrylic, watercolor and medium paintings. The exhibit was open to all artists from the foundation’s five-county service area including Lee, Charlotte, Collier, Glades and Hendry. A share of the proceeds of artwork sales funded the Fund for the Arts in Southwest Florida that supports nonprofit art organizations in the area. One-hundred percent of the proceeds from Knapen’s donated artwork will go toward the fund.

“My paintings are a product of my obsession process,” he said. “Applying paint to a surface and the experiences that occur while creating an image are the purest form of motivation. The paintings themselves diagram the process of paint application and the interpretation of how these influences manifest themselves in the form of shape, color, texture and space. Each painting becomes an experience of constantly juxtaposing elements and forms within a composition attempting to arrive at a relationship between balance, tension and harmony. The ideas of the placement of forms within a picture plane are crucial in the picture-making process and expose themselves in the form of hard-edged compositions that suggest a complete and precise control of both medium and image.”

Knapen was born in Antwerp, Belgium in 1953 and has lived in the U.S. since 2001. He owns Art Studio La Palette, Inc.
Lehigh Acres. He has won many national and international awards and competitions and appeared in many publications including the August 2007 edition of ARTnews.

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 $69 million, the Community Foundation has provided more than $55 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, visit the Community Foundation’s website at or call 239-274-5900.

“Survive” (36″ x 48″ mixed media)

“Testament of an Artist” (24″ x 48″ mixed media)

“When She Smiled” (36″ x 48″ mixed media)