Sixty artists from all over the nation will soon converge on Fort Myers Beach to create breathtaking artwork. It is, however, the 4th & 5th grade classes from Beach Elementary School who kicked off the 7th annual Paint The Beach Plein Air Art Festival with their own open air school grounds session on Friday, October 21, with assistance from the Fort Myers Beach Art Association.
“Beach Elementary began this partnership with Paint The Beach in the Festival’s initial season,” explains instructor Holly Nichols, who has been a part of it now for all seven years. “This is a tradition for the 4th and 5th grade classes.
Younger kids grow up excited about it and look forward to these age groups so they can paint outside. Not many schools have art classes like we do at Beach Elementary – we are so lucky!”
Eight members and friends of the Fort Myers Beach Art Association assisted with the unofficial start to Paint The Beach that will be held November 7 – 13. Forty-one students participated, with roughly half of those in Beach Elementary’s afterschool art program.
Milly Pereira, in her third year as art class volunteer, said, “The best part is the kids. They do their art alone or in a group, and we offer suggestions like how to mix colors and work in shadows.”
Michele Buelow, Paint The Beach co-chair and art class volunteer, said, “The children will mat their paintings with Holly, then their artwork will hang on display with the professionals.” This will be in the Festival Tent from November 11 – 13, at Santini Marina Plaza at 7205 Estero Boulevard.
“The kids gain a great appreciation of the arts, as well as inspiration and confidence in themselves, and that is the most important thing,” said Holly. “I found my confidence as a child in my love of art, and I hope the same for my students.”
Photos by Gary Mooney