There are times when the planets align and multiple events can be coordinated together. Partnerships are important with traditional nonprofits and many funders are looking for collaborations. This same idea can be used in the festival world as now many properties are partnering with cities to help identify the power of festivals for economic impact and improving the quality of life.
Fort Myers is known as the gateway city in the Southwest Florida region, which extends down to Naples and is one of the fastest growing areas in Florida and the U.S. Over the past few years, the downtown district (known as the River District since it sits on the Caloosahatchee River) has seen growth and an influx of businesses and activity. The River District Alliance (www.myriverdistrict.com) has worked in the revitalization of the historic downtown district and produces events throughout the year.
January – April is typically known as “in season” to the locals. Many people come down to this area to escape the cold North and spend the winters in this sunny paradise. Some of the best beaches in the country are in the area.
During the 2016 season, the downtown Fort Myers area is home to an international art exhibit. The City’s Public Art Committee worked with a new luxury condo project called Allure to bring sculptures made by Edgardo Carmona. These 23 giant iron sculptures add a vibrancy to the downtown area and represent a variety of people in everyday situations – playing dominos, sitting on benches, men playing chess, a woman wresting with an umbrella, and a raspa vendor.
What makes this art exhibit even more exciting is that it is here in Fort Myers during “season” and is a backdrop to two of the largest events in Fort Myers – ArtFest and the Edison Festival of Light. ArtFest was a part of the team that helped bring the exhibit to town and it will last throughout the Edison Festival. It creates a unique and exciting backdrop for all the activities in these yearly traditions.
This shows the power of partnerships, especially as the festival industry is working to showcase the importance of festival and city partnerships. Having the yearly events is always welcome, but with the addition of public art, it adds a whole new dimension. When planning future festivals, partnerships such as what has occurred in Fort Myers can add art and décor to create an even bigger event and promotional opportunity for your locale.