Florida painter, Everglades, Marco Island, artist Jo-Ann Sanborn


Dear Artist Colony Artists, and Quiet Shore daily painting by Everglades artist Jo-Ann Sanborn

Quiet Shore, 2012, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on board, 7"x5"

Dear Artist Colony Artists
Some of you greeted me with skepticism years ago when I came to the Alyson Stanfield Art Marketing salon meeting with the idea of sharing vacant retail space. Once the structure and facts were in place you jumped in, so did other artists and the rest is history! We had three wonderful years as an Artist Colony at the Esplanade on Marco Island.
When the new owners took over last spring, change was in the air. They aren't local, didn't have the same attitude of support for the arts, didn't understand our structure, and didn't seem to care. It was clear our days at the Esplanade were numbered.  At each of our meetings we discussed "being ready" and "having a plan" even though we had no idea when the ax would fall. Having potential tenants tour the spaces reinforced those feelings.

I considered what my personal plan might be. Moving with the other artists, back to street shows, try to find a gallery, sell more on line, work the Farmers market? None were as attractive to me as staying at the Esplanade, even my dear Bob and I spoke about it. Could I work out the finances? I decided to investigate the possibility by talking with the rental agent. I only needed a small space, but the rental agent was discouraging, not sure the owners wanted an artist tenant.

Last Monday, an email arrived offering me a place at the Esplanade, and urging me to act quickly with an October 1 deadline.  Since I wasn't about to displace the other artists, a quick call with questions about the Artist Colony made it clear that yes, we were all to be out, and by Oct 1.  New tenants will be moving in.  The sky had fallen, and without warning!

I will make a break with the Colony and independently stay at the Esplanade, providing the lease, which I haven't seen yet, is acceptable.  I'm excited to be staying at that location, but the move will be bittersweet with the other artists searching for new space. 

As we all move on, each with our own plan and to our own arts future, let's not lose sight of the fact that the Artist Colony at the Esplanade was a unique and a special moment in time and place. Working together wasn't always easy, but learning to work out our differences made us better people. And it worked!

Each one of you brought something special to the table. You helped to define Marco Island as a place friendly to the arts.  You gave citizens and visitors alike a wide variety of art to enjoy and to purchase.  You brought your creativity to a wide range of Marco Island activities, and you supported a myriad of causes and organizations.  You enriched lives of the people who came in contact with the Colony and the very fabric of the island. 

Laughing, working, growing, helping, sharing, we were at our best.  I will miss the close contact with your energy and your support.  You are each very dear to me.  It was a good and wonderful adventure, and wherever your artistic journey takes you next, I thank you for your part in the Artist Colony at the Esplanade, and wish you the very best.  


Mary Sheehan Winn said...

Your post is very positive but this is crushing news JoAnn.

Jo-Ann Sanborn said...

Yes, it's the end of something speical. We knew it was coming, but it still hurts!

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