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The arts for our Island children

May 25, 2011
Fort Myers Beach Bulletin, Fort Myers Beach Observer

To the editor:

Our ever-changing look and life of Fort Myers Beach is happening right now and right in front of all of us. For example: The soon to be dismantling of Seafarer’s Mall will sure be an eyesore to all who come over the bridge. It is a band-aid-type solution to hide the ugly truth of a first impression upon our island.

I recommend an idea. Yes, erect a fence to keep people out of this destruction zone, but also have huge canvas or tarps with murals painted by the Beach school kids connected to the fence to beautify the island’s first impression.

We should teach our youth community spirit and celebrate their talents. Imagine how proud the kids and parents both would be to see this everyday, not to mention visitors who would recognize it as community creating beauty.

Secondly: The fact is that the arts program is being cut dramatically at school. Mr. Mezzio (Beach school music teacher) has been cut down to one day of artisic education now at the school. (Not the schools fault, the higher-ups cutbacks are responsible).

I also recommend that we as various groups such as the Beach Arts Co-op(BAC), "1" FMB Community and Unity Project, and One Human Family work with the Newton House to create a summer camp/after school program to instill an alternative to the other after school/summer camps. We then continue to focus on art expression for our youth and keep Mr. Mezzio right here with our island kids year round as he would have a venue to teach them what they love to do and express themselves with a positive source. We as island activists will spearhead this mission and work with Mr. Mezzio. Mr. Mezzio who loves these kids as they love him as well, would be with our kids full time with workshops based upon musical lessons and so much more.

It would be a sad day if we as an island were to lose his grand connection to our children. Without him, we lose the future of our island-based arts for generations to come. Yet together we can really accomplish a dream arts house through The Newton House for generations to come. It would be ideal, productive and trendsetting. For each day we would focus on different forms of art: music, painting, theater, planting gardens, video production and so on.

Our children need an outlet on this island. They have nothing to do and they want to be creative for themselves and for our town. This is where we start to get involved by no longer ignoring the obvious, yet doing it for them and with them as a community driven force that demands a better way to show our youth of how important the arts happen to be in life for us all and our town.

It also makes average residents into extraordinary residents by a strong show of support for what is right for our beach as we see it as local action through arts. I call on town hall to work with us on these very important plans. It’s in everyone’s best interest. The kids would look up to our elected officials as a result of an agreement upon such a wonderful workshop plan that, again, benefits everyone who loves and lives island side. If this really is "your family island," then let us come together and make it just that. These are just two ideas for a better looking tomorrow and there will be more to come. Let us blend ideas into a reality.

John. G. Heim

"1" FMB- Community and Unity Project



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