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Arts Center receives 501 c 3 status

September 5, 2018
By CHUCK BALLARO ( , North Fort Myers Neighbor

There is a lot going on at the Lee County Arts Center. It just had a very successful inaugural Art Walk, is planning for another one in October, and this past week got some very good news in that it has received designation as a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization from the IRS.

The 501(c) (3) status, which the arts center has been working on for nearly a year, will allow for donations made to it to be tax deductible, which makes fundraising easier.

Previously it had been a 501(c) (4), which meant donations were not tax deductible.

Article Photos

The Art Walk at the Hancock Bridge Square Shopping Plaza in July drew numerous interested attendees.


The Lee County Arts Center has numerous events planned for the next few months. It has scheduled its second Art Walk for Saturday, Oct. 13, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Hancock Bridge Square Shopping Center.

Maryanne Howard, president of the Lee County Arts Center, said the change in hours was something the vendors suggested.

"They said the last one was too long and that they wanted to start up and finish earlier because of weather conditions," Howard said.

Hancock Bridge Square hosted the first event, which was a success, with 33 vendors and hundreds of patrons coming to see the artists' works.

Howard said she hopes more artists will come as it gets closer to season and rain becomes less of a factor.

"We're also going to be contacting the colleges and schools in the area. I've reached out to North Fort Myers High School and the Academy for the Arts to let them know about the event to see if any students would be interested in painting on our campus material," Howard said.

Howard said she is looking for another venue in the future. She contacted Marinatown for an event in February, but was told parking would be an issue.

She is now looking at Merchant's Crossing, which has plenty of parking as well as new stores and greater visibility now that all the trees have been cut down.

In the meantime, the arts center is going to hold an event where children can create ornaments for the community Christmas Tree at the North Fort Myers Recreation Center on the first weekend of November from 1 to 2:30 p.m. All supplies will be provided.

Howard also said they plan on holding a cocktail reception in January as a fundraiser for the Lee County Arts Center Building Fund. A location has yet to be determined.



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