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Art League in downtown Fort Myers is closing in March

Posted: 12:17 AM, Jan 24, 2020
Updated: 2020-01-24 00:17:52-05
Fort Myers Art League closing in March

FORT MYERS — The oldest art organization in Lee County is planning to close its doors for good.

The Art League in downtown Fort Myers has been a staple in the area for decades, but members said they can’t afford to pay the bills to stay open. For the last 64 years, the storefront in downtown Fort Myers hasn’t just been a business, it’s been the place where artists can get together to share their passion. That’s why President Sue Dunham said closing their doors will truly be a loss for the whole community.

“I like to see people admire all the work that we have, so I’m going to miss it," said Dunham.

She said Lee County doesn't have anything else like her store.

“There is no other area gallery that I know of where any artist can come in and display their work," said Dunham.

Artists like Lynn Shivers, who makes Jewelry on display at the Art League.

“People need a venue to display their work, and to have it seen," said Shivers.

But these days, she says fewer and fewer people are actually stopping by to see it.

“Today two, two people walked in. And the last time I did it, one person walked in," said Shivers.

That means, a lot of the time, pieces go unsold, and someone has to eat the cost.

“This past year, we have lost $6,000, and we don’t have a hope of making it up," said Dunham.

The art league has been around for 64 years, and was a founding member of the Art Walk festival downtown. Dunham said she’s sad to see it all come to an end.

“It’s a real disappointment that we’re not able to sustain this," said Dunham.

The City of Fort Myers has actually given the league two months off from paying rent at the store. Still, Dunham said it’s not enough to keep them from closing when their lease is up in March.