2018 was Southwest Florida arts groups’ year for building, rebuilding, getting ready for building
Gulfshore Playhouse founder Kristen Coury has had a building in mind for the Playhouse since its founding in May 2004. A $10 million donation from Patty and Jay Baker put that dream on wheels, and the theater board bought 3 acres of land at Goodlette-Frank Road and First Avenue South last year
Since then it has engaged architects H3 of Arquitectonica and has released drawings of the planned exterior. Attendees at its annual fundraiser March 18 will see even more specific drawings, according to Coury. The organization has bulked up with strategically critical personnel, bringing in:
In the new post of managing director, Joel Markus, of the historic Walnut Street Theatre in Philadelphia, who has experience in Broadway-style musicals and one-night concert and comedy events
As capital campaign manager, New York fundraising pro Jeanne Sigler, its current development consultant
As a board member, longtime arts supporter Sandi Moran, a co-producer of several Broadway musicals and former president of the United Arts Council. Moran also is chairman of the board for the Naples Children & Education Foundation, grant-making organization behind the Naples Winter Wine Festival.
The capital campaign committee, will launch its first official meeting in January, and the playhouse fundraising is “going great,” according to Coury. “We’re a third of the way there, and we’re excited to dig in and keep going.”
When Hurricane Irma slammed into Southwest Florida, wavering between Category 4 and 3 on Sept. 10 of 2017, it forced water into the facade of The Baker Museum. Because Artis—Naples was three months into a campaign to keep it apace with arts and community preferences, the board decided to simply fold whatever work was being done into its Future Forward Plan for expanding the campus.
Harriet Howard Heithaus,
Naples Daily News