Shortly after Marge Lee and husband David moved to Shell Point in 2014, Marge attended her first in-house community art exhibit. “My first reaction to seeing it was ‘Wow’,” Lee related in a Tuesday morning phone conversation. “The quality, the depth and the scope of the work was just incredible.”
The average art patron might have left it at that. But Marge Lee is not your average art patron. In fact, she has spent her entire life heading up effective public relations campaigns for the likes of the Saint Louis Art Museum (SLAM) in Missouri, where she managed to turn the x-raying of an artifact into 6 o’clock news. She later moved into the position of director of marketing for the Baltimore Museum of Art (BAM), where she developed numerous successful marketing plans, most notably: Monet at the BMA, which doubled previous attendance records; and Classical Taste in America 1800-1840 which generated 65 million print media impressions.
When her husband accepted a position in Pennsylvania, Marge got to work for the 17 museums and historic sites under the auspices of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, where she created and managed the entire marketing effort for all sites. But, for all her successes in marketing, when she was asked to help in the creation of exhibits at the Museum of the Shenandoah Valley (MSV) in Virginia, the experience led her onto a different path in the world of art and museums, curating various artists’ exhibits (to learn more about Marge, go to www.shellpoint.org/gallery and look for Volume 11, Issue 1).
More than a year ago, Marge went to the Sidney and Berne Davis Art Center (SBDAC) for the first time, and was blown away by the gallery there. “I met Jim Griffith, SBDAC Chairman and CEO, and his staff who are just fantastic.” During that first visit, Marge proposed the idea of a dedicated exhibit of Shell Point artists. “He jumped on it. He loved the idea.”
The goal of the exhibit was clearly defined from the beginning, says Lee. “It is meant to demonstrate that creativity is neither defined nor limited by age.” Indeed, the superb work on display, created by 49 Shell Point residents ranging in age from late sixties to mid-nineties, covers the gamut of art media including acrylic, watercolor, oil, pastels, pencil, charcoal, clay, fabric, stone, metal, shells, wood, mixed media and photography.
There are many moving parts that must be coordinated when organizing an exhibition. Working side by side with the SBDAC staff, Lee says she is really impressed with the people and the center itself, mentioning the beauty of the space and the excellent programming Griffith and his staff have put together there. It is clear that Marge Lee is completely in her element among artists and the world of creativity. “I love my work,” she practically sings. “It’s such a joy to be able to work with these amazing and talented people.”
An ambitious project over a year in the making, the exhibit “Ageless Creativity: The Artists of Shell Point” opens today, February 3rd at 6pm at the SBDAC in downtown Fort Myers, concurrently with the city’s annual Art Fest. The exhibit will run through Tuesday, February 21st.
For more information, go to www.shellpoint.org/agelesscreativity