All nonprofits are asked, ‘Where does the money go?” In our case, you can see it in the faces of thousands of at-risk youth in our programs over 350 days a year. We make sure the arts are available to everyone, regardless of economic capability.
For over 57 years the Centers for the Arts Bonita Springs has provided a cultural heart and identity to our communities with programs of art and culture to people of all ages. As part of our mission and service to our communities’ residents we provide programming to over 15,000 at-risk youth annually. Last year we awarded over $100,000 in scholarships.
Art Goes to School
Artist volunteers and staff visit middle and elementary schools with free hour-long education programs. Visits include a discussion a master artist, demonstration of his or her art, the artist's history and culture; followed by an art, dance or theater project that challenges, engages and enlightens students, as well as connects the historical and cultural emphasis of the lectures and art activities. Over 4,700 students participate.
Saturday Activity Days
This program consists of a two hour family activity that takes place two Saturdays a month. Upon arrival, children of all ages and their families enjoy an introduction by a staff member followed by a hands-on art project.
This free performing arts program offers year round creative opportunites for all ages. The program includes full length theater productions, dance, voice, and musical entertainments. Participants build self-confidence and hone their performance skills. Our Community Theater is a vital, growing troupe.
Year round evening and Saturday classes focusing on ballet, modern, jazz and lyrical. Recitals provide students, family and friends with a spectacular experience. 70% of our students receive over 75% scholarships.
Student Showcase Exhibition
Two juried gallery exhibitions--one featuring artwork created by local high school students; and the other features elementary and middle school. This free, annual program includes receptions and a scholarship awards presentations. Over 500 students participate each exhibition.
Children’s Summer Camps
June, July and August--students can attend a half or full day. Art activities include sculpture, painting, drawing, printmaking, creative crafts, dance and theater. Over 80% of our students receive scholarships. Last year we awarded over $90,000 in scholarships to deserving students.
Our mentor program begins early -- in elementary and middle school and runs through high school. At-risk students are recommended by parents or faculty, administrators or counselors in their school. Unique classes for elementary and middle school students like “Things That Fly”, “Eager Engineers” “Global Explorers” and “Earth Explorers’ creatively link various academic curriculum components with fine arts, helping at-risk students struggling in their academic environment. Our high school mentor program provides free advanced art experiences not accessible in their school. Working with faculty or visiting artists, students collaborate on a large-scale project or participate in unique class experiences, such as Stone Carving Sculpture, Video, Animation or Film.
We evaluate each segment of our programming upon completion not only from the standpoint of the success and sense of accomplishment youth and their families’ experience; but our own success as a group committed to our community. We make recommendations for future growth and additional areas of focus to meet the growing needs of local youth and their families.
Our programming is very successful in bringing to each child and family the joy of artistic creation; new capabilities in problem solving and creative thinking skills; and development of new and future audiences in the arts. For most of these at-risk youth, however, the financial cost of attending is far out of their reach.
We identify students who need our help using various methods within our communities --school administrators, faculty, counselors, and local social service organizations. Often, parents contact us, asking for help. Our goal—never turn any student away. Children who attend our programs live in Bonita Springs, Naples, Estero, Fort Myers Beach and Fort Myers.