I had a craving for pizza, not just any pizza, really great pizza, and in the area I live the only place I have ever found great pizza is a little joint called Downtown House of Pizza in the River District of Fort Myers. I contacted a friend to see if he might want to join me.
Arriving late, I parked in an area I normally don’t park in and was totally turned around in the city, I actually turned down the wrong street and had to reorient myself in the proper direction. I think his last text to me was “Follow the pizza smell”, the aroma is distinct and most delicious. Walking to my destination I passed a gallery and overheard a conversation from a family of four which the small boy asked his mom why they were not going in to “look at the naked paintings” smiling I listened for the mom’s response, because you simply never now how a parent will react in these situations and sometimes the response is better than the question. Her answer was “no we are not” and when he pressed on and asked “why” she simply stated “we are not going in there”. I continued on my quest for pizza but made a mental note to go back.
I confessed prior to going in for our food, I had not been to any other restaurant in the river district, because I simply can’t pass up DTHofP….it’s AH-MAZING! We received our hot slices and headed out the back door to see if any empty tables were available, we found one, ate and talked through 3 different sets of random strangers joining us. Finally, we decided to venture out to a few galleries as this was the monthly “Art Walk”. The first gallery we came to was the one I had noted earlier and it was quite active with people; curiosity maybe? Not really sure of the reason, but what I found was not just “nude” paintings, they were photographic works of art and quite thought-provoking and beautiful. Incredible composites deep in feeling and meaning. I found myself wishing I could create those sorts of things; not nudes, but works of art that have deeper meaning than what you are initially seeing. I think I read each and every label on each and every piece, they were unique and I kept wondering what the artist was thinking and feeling at the time of creation. From there we were a bit aimless on our direction which really seemed to fit my day (I had done a few aimless things) and we walked down to the larger art hall to see what was displayed. It was one artist who had taken on several different styles from collages to oils and it felt as if you were looking at paintings from three or four different artists. We started with her Holocaust work. There simply aren’t any words to describe the feeling except emotional. The deep fear which must have come upon the people experiencing this horrific event is unfathomable to me. The images were strong and emotional which made it difficult to speak. Progressing through her work we picked up on a more “old Florida” feel, very 1940/1950 vintage even though some of the paintings had been created in 2014. I loved those pieces, the theme was light and airy; I could feel myself on the beaches of Sanibel and St. Petersburg and had the opposite effect of her Holocaust work which were dark and sometimes difficult to look at, these vintage type oils were fun and free and stirred up the longing to be at the beach. We also noted she had a few watercolors dispersed in the collection which gave the collection the third feel of the evening. They were mostly western Native American watercolors and I had commented to my friend to capture the imagery she must have been out west. A few minutes later we overheard her husband speaking to someone and mentioned she had spent time with the Indians which inspired the watercolors.
From there we headed to a hotel I had never gone in and my friend surprised me by taking me to the roof on the Skybar because I had mentioned I had never been. The view was breathtaking! It overlooks the Caloosahatchee River and is in between the two bridges. The images shown are showing the downtown area and the river area. I realize they are not the best images as they were taken with my point & shoot camera, but they really captured what we experienced. The night air was balmy and breezy and the view allotted to an incredible conversation. This was one of the most relaxing evenings I had spent in some time and it was the perfect ending to the an evening of enjoying great pizza, experience some incredible art all combined with a view to be envious of and conversation to match. And to quote my friend, “we really do live in an amazing place”.