The Friends of the Mound House has an ambitious 2019 fundraising goal, with a key component to provide scholarships to beach children for its expanded Summer Camps, while kicking off the Mound House Endowment, all while presenting a unique evening with its 2nd Annual “Artful Intersection” on Friday, March 22, at the Fort Myers Beach Woman’s Club from 7 to 10 p.m. Tickets are $75-per-person and are available from Ceel Spuhler at 239-464-3897.
“Fort Myers Beach has many fundraisers, but ‘Artful Intersection’ is a completely unique concept,” said Ellen Vaughan, the new President of the Friends of the Mound House. “We will have a Strolling Supper that is heavy on hors d’oeuvres and a hosted bar, but it is the combination of our auction items that sets ‘Artful Intersection’ apart from the other Fort Myers Beach events. While most functions like this put together a group of prizes or gift baskets assembled from and donated by various island businesses, the Mound House Friends will auction off a variety of outstanding artwork along with one-of-a-kind life adventures you can truly only experience here on Fort Myers Beach!” “There is a reservation limit of just 115 people,” added Mound House Vice President Gayle Crabtree-Pergoli, “so it is unlikely any tickets will be left to purchase at the door, so get yours in advance!”
Only On Fort Myers Beach
Among the Fort Myers Beach experiences you can acquire through auction is a conversation with Estero Island Historical Society President Russ Carter, who presents the 2,000-year history of our island in an educational and amusing way; a private Iyengar yoga class with Susan Carter at an island location and time of your choice; an enchanted evening with Bill and Randa Veach, who are handcrafting a one-of-a-kind experience at their historic beachfront home that is in the footprint of the legendary Seminole Sands Casino, the 3-story resort built by the flamboyant entrepreneur and rum runner, Captain Jack DeLysle; a pizza party donated by noted caterer Jordan Webster; Dan Hughes and Ceel Spuhler, as the historic characters of previous Mound House owners Bill and Florence Long, will host an exclusive dinner for 4 people; and a delicious dinner at the Mound House with Alison Giesen, Director of Cultural Resources for the Town, Mound House Director and Interim Parks & Recreation Director.
While these Fort Myers Beach experiences are terrific, so is the art available that evening! Accomplished island artist and Town Vice Mayor Joanne Shamp is donating a signed Fort Myers Beach painting and will provide an individual art lesson. Jeanni Burgwald, who is a well-known oil artist who teaches at a Bonita Springs art college, auctions off a piece and includes her own private lesson as well, but since she works in oil, hers will be a completely different art medium than that offered by Joanne.
“The estate of Kelley Leary is contributing three Highwaymen art pieces, including one from Alfred ‘Beanie’ Backus,” enthused Ellen. “The Highwaymen were 26 African-American artists from the Jim Crow era, prohibited from selling their works in galleries, so they sold their fantastic works from the trunks of their cars. We are so grateful to Kelley’s estate for providing these inspiring works to the Mound House. There will also be a watercolor by Dianne Schelble, and the ‘Caloosa Carvers’ will offer an end table from the Mound House’s historic Stranger Fig Tree that suffered devastating damage during Hurricane Irma, yet somehow survived, with the ‘Caloosa Carvers’ making creative items from the dead wood removed from it. Believe it or not, a Mound House visitor out of the blue donated a Henri Matisse piece of artwork. Our professional auctioneer is Rick Gallo, who specializes in non-profit events and was so popular at the Beach Kids function last December 8. He will auction off all of these experiences and artworks, and tells us we have the perfect amount of items.”
“‘Artful Intersection’ is not only a fun evening,” Gayle said, “while raising money for the Summer Camp Scholarship Fund, but it celebrates the incredibly talented people who live on our island! Unlike many fundraisers, you won’t be asked to contribute to a 50/50 drawing or buy any raffle tickets on site; the tremendous personal experiences and dynamic artwork are what ‘Artful Intersection’ is all about. We will produce a catalog of all of our items so you can see beforehand exactly what you would like to bid on, and we will use auction paddles as well, so everything will be professional.”
In addition to the auction materials, there will be fixed-price items including many treasures from the West African nation of Mali, such as leather boxes from Timbuktu. Gayle added that “we have five unsigned prints by our dearly-departed Gretchen Johnson for the fixed price of just $50 each, and those will go fast.” Regardless of whether you purchase auction or fixed-price items, you can pay by cash, check or credit card.
Camps & The Endowment
The Friends of the Mound House will use all profits from “Artful Intersection” to jumpstart its ambitious 2019 fundraising goal of $30,000. “We hope to exceed $15,000 on this evening, as this is our major event of the high season,” related Ellen. “The Friends has a variety of activities in mind for those dollars, but none more important than to provide scholarships to Fort Myers Beach children to attend the Mound House Summer Camps.” “We hosted our first Camp for just one week last Summer,” added Alison, “and now we are expanding that into eight week-long Camps, each with a different educational and fun theme. They run from June 3 to July 29, with the only weekday off being on The Fourth of July, with registration beginning on Monday, April 1.”
Equally as important is that the Mound House will be launching its Endowment Campaign that evening. “This is beyond crucial,” stressed Alison, “because an endowment will ultimately make the Mound House fiscally sustainable. What is fantastic about this is that we have an anonymous benefactor who is providing us with a matching grant, so if you contribute $100 that becomes $200 and $1,000 turns into $2,000! We will have a big thermometer near the bar, to track how much money we raise, as well as volunteers to speak to our guests, with information on all the auction items, to explain what the Endowment is all about and why it is so important.”
The Mound House, located at 451 Connecticut Street, is the oldest standing structure on Estero Island. It is now operated as a museum by the Town of Fort Myers Beach and offers numerous educational programs each month, including guided tours to explore the 2,000 year old Calusa Indian Shell Mound, beach walks and kayak eco-tours. The Mound House is open Tuesdays – Saturdays 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., through April 27. For more information and a schedule of program call 239-765-0865 or visit moundhosue.org.
By Gary Mooney