Mound House Fundraiser March 27th


    Artful Intersection 3.0

    The 3rd Annual “Artful Intersection,” sponsored by the Friends of the Mound House to support the historic Mound House, featuring a Strolling Supper heavy on hors d’oeuvres and a hosted bar, will be held Friday, March 27, at the Fort Myers Beach Womans Club at 175 Sterling Avenue from 7 to 10 p.m. “The Friends of the Mound House at Artful Intersection, or ‘AI 3.0’ as we like to call it, will auction off a wide variety of outstanding artwork along with one-of-a-kind life adventures you can only experience on Fort Myers Beach,” raved Friends’ Vice President Gayle Crabtree-Pergoli! Tickets are now available at $75-per-person from Ceel Spuhler at 239-464-3897 or any Friends of the Mound House Board member.

    It’s About The Adventure

    To participate in Artful Intersection, be sure you sign up for an auction paddle. Photo provided.

    Among the unique island experiences and adventures up for auction this year is a performance by the Pearl Street Band, said Gayle. “One of its members is Bill Veach, who on his own is offering a separate special auction item that you must see in the evening’s catalogue for details. The catalogues are available next week at Mayor Anita Cereceda’s three Fort Myers Beach business locations (Pier Peddler, Local Color & The Islander) as well as at the Mound House.”

    One of the great things about living on Fort Myers Beach, according to Gayle, “is you run into people who are experts in so many areas, and one of those is the extraordinary photographer for the ‘News-Press,’ Andrew West, so I asked him if he could contribute to ‘Artful Intersection’ and he agreed to offer a private photography shoot! Andrew is such a talented guy, yet so humble, and I know this will be a highly sought-after item. Another tremendous island photographer is Carol Sutto, who contributes pictures to the Island Sand Paper and lives near Newton Beach Park with her husband Joe, and she is providing a fabulous photo. We came into contact with each other while I led the Tuesday morning Newton Beach Park nature walks and she became a big Mound House supporter. One more favorite of Sand Paper readers is ‘The Fairy Pod Mother’ or ‘The Dolphin Lady,’ Monica Lynn! She is such a doll and will offer a choice of two forums: either a kayak adventure to see her dolphin friends or an art experience.”

    Gayle added, “Our caterer again this year is the amazing Jordan Webster, who is donating his pizza wagon for a pizza party valued at $1,500! If there is anyone out there who wants to think out of the box and throw the Fort Myers Beach party extravaganza of the year, partner Jordan’s Pizza Party with the Pearl Street Band showcase! Mayor Anita Cereceda, who sadly leaves office in early April, is offering an auction adventure that she promises will be ‘radically different!’ In the past, Mayor Cereceda provided several of these, but this year this is the one and only, so be ready to bid!”

    Finally, the ‘Caloosa Carvers’ will have a tabletop made from the last segment of the Mound House’s signature Strangler Fig Tree, Gayle related, “that sustained significant damage from Hurricane Irma in September 2017 yet somehow survived, with the ‘Caloosa Carvers’ making creative items from the dead wood removed from it. This tabletop is from the last piece they salvaged, so once this one is gone, their Strangler Fig carvings are gone forever! Last but not least, Friends of the Mound House President Ellen Vaughan and her husband Pat will sell fixed price items from the West African nation of Mali at a pop-up store, meaning these are for sale and not auction items.”

    “Our professional auctioneer is Rick Gallo,” she noted, “who so superbly handled last year’s event. He is not only returning but is bringing with him a special guest – NBC-2 News Anchor Stacey Deffenbaugh! Rick says that he and Stacey often work together, so we are really excited to have her join us. We produce a catalog of all of our items so you can see beforehand exactly what you will bid on, and we will use auction paddles as well, so everything will be professional straight down the line, with payment accepted by cash, check or credit card.” Gayle cautioned that auction recipients must redeem all acquired experiences within a one-year timeframe.

    Art For Art’s Sake

    “In addition to the experiences, we have a lot of art pieces that are totally unique to Fort Myers Beach,” continued Gayle. “We have so many talented artists on this island, with many of them members of the Fort Myers Beach Art Association (FMBAA). This year, the Friends formed a collaboration with the FMBAA to have several of their members contribute artwork to the ‘AI 3.0,’ so we will have special works from many of their signature events, like the recent ‘Paint-Around,’ as well as art from individual members. In addition to the FMBAA artwork, Council member Joanne Shamp is offering her signature print, ‘Shell of A Day,’ Ellen and Pat Vaughan are donating a piece they purchased from the FMBAA, and there will be a botanical print that the Mound House has at its Museum Store.”

    The goal for the evening is $15,000 “as this is our major fundraising event of the year,” related Gayle. “The Mound House formats a variety of programs and has constant needs, so it is always in desperate want of funds, as the Town can only provide it with limited money, so we will leave it up to Executive Director Alison Giesen on how to allocate these dollars. We will ask folks that night to contribute if they can to the Mound House Endowment Fund that we began at last year’s ‘Artful Intersection.’ We have a ‘thermometer’ that measures our progress and last year, we colored it in all the way to the top in attaining our goal, and plan to do that again this year; we already have a $750 donation to get us going!”

    Friends of the Mound House

    The Friends began in the 1990s, even before the Florida Community Trust purchased the site in 2000, with the Town taking ownership shortly thereafter. “We are always looking for new members,” said Gayle. “It costs just an additional $10 on top of your Mound House membership to join the Friends. The enhancement of the Mound House is our only motivation, but you sure will make a lot of new friends! The Friends of the Mound House are important to the Fort Myers Beach community because we support the continued programming and preservation of the Mound House that is not only a world-class museum but is a true asset to the beach. The Mound House last year became part of the National Register of Historic Places and that is tremendous for a little island like this. It is exceeding its attendance records, with more people visiting every year, and that includes locals! Ellen and I live at the Rivera Club and we talked up the Mound House for years to our neighbors, to little effect, but in the last few months, several told us they took their grandkids there for a visit and ended up thrilled that they finally made the connection!”

    Gayle became a Mound House member “because that special place for me is my own personal happy space that is an oasis of calm in our hectic world, especially now that we are in the heart of season, especially for a peaceful walk at the beginning or end of the day. Its tranquility, history, and nature are a sense of strength for our entire community, and the more you go to the grounds and experience it for yourself, the more you realize that. The success of the Mound House is such an incredible Fort Myers Beach story that we hope that you join us at AI 3.0 to discover the magic the Mound House can bring to your life for yourself.”

    The Mound House, at 451 Connecticut Street, is the oldest standing structure on Estero Island. The Town of Fort Myers Beach operates the Mound House as a museum complex that 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. Admission is $10 for ages 13 & up, $8 for students with IDs, $5 ages 6 to 12, and 5 & under free, with Town residents receiving a 50% discount. Overflow parking is at 216 Connecticut. It is open Tuesdays through Saturdays through April 30; then Tuesdays, Wednesdays & Saturdays for the balance of the year, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. For information & programs, call 239-765-0865 or see

    This photo by Carol Sutto will be auctioned off at AI 3.0.

    “AI 3.0 has come a long way in just three years,” concluded Gayle, “as we work on it all year to make each one bigger and better. While it is a lot of work, we meet so many incredible people, leading to new friendships and even greater support for the Mound House, so join us on March 27 to party, make new friends, enjoy the arts and benefit the Mound House!”