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Jazz singer Salvant, author Steve Berry and more

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Whatever you do, don’t ask Jim Griffith to pick his favorite event planned for Sidney & Davis Art Center’s 2021-22 season.

He just can’t.

“It’s like picking your favorite piece of Norman Love chocolate,” says the center’s founder and executive director. “Not possible! They are all delicious.”

Among those tasty offerings: Grammy Award-winning jazz singer Cécile McLorin Salvant (who plays the first big concert of the season on Wednesday, Oct. 13), popular violinist Tessa Lark, bestselling thriller novelist Steve Berry and cellist Zlatomir Fung, the 2019 winner of the International Tchaikovsky Competition.

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Grammy Award-winning jazz singer Cécile McLorin Salvant

The lineup of concerts is so good, in fact, Griffith says it’s the finest season in the center’s 13-year history. A Davis news release calls it their “Season of Giants.”

“This year everything seemed to come together and we got my ‘dream team’ of concerts,” he says. “Each series we are presenting … has performers that are either returning because of high demand from our audience or they have never been to the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center or Southwest Florida for that matter. Some artists I have been trying to get to perform here for years.”

Salvant, in fact, might be the biggest-ever artist to kick off a Davis Art Center season, Griffith says. The Miami native won the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition in 2010 and went on to score three Grammy Awards for Best Jazz Vocal Album between 2015 and 2018.

“Ms. Salvant is one of the artists I have been working to get here for several years,” Griffith says. “Her schedule has always been too busy for us, but I think our reputation of presenting the best of the best finally caught her attention and she agreed to a date with us.”

“We are lucky to have a performer of her caliber come to our special venue.”

Acclaimed cellist Zlatomir Fung

Here are highlights from Davis Art Center’s 2021-22 season:

“Syzygy Dark Art” (Now through Oct. 13)

This annual exhibit features more creepy, unsettling art — just in time for Halloween season. After that, Davis Art Center will display two new art exhibits every month throughout 2021-22.

Sidney’s Friday Nights Live Music Series (October through July)

Bands perform every Friday night in the new Sidney’s Rooftop Sculpture Garden, an outdoor venue featuring an ongoing exhibit of sculptures and other work by various artists. The rooftop is also open weekdays.

Jazzy Nights Concert Series (October through April)

The annual series opens Oct. 13 with Grammy Award-winning jazz singer Cécile McLorin Salvant. After that, the series continues with the Dan Miller and Lew Del Gatto Quintet and jazz trumpeter/singer Jeremy Davenport (Feb. 11), the Aaron Diehl Trio (April 22) and acclaimed trombonist Wycliffe Gordon (April 29)

“Wicked Walk” (Oct. 21)

 Tour Davis Art Center for a spooky, immersive arts experience featuring music, dancing, art and theatrical performances — all from Lee County students.

Cooking for the Arts: An Evening in Tokyo (Oct. 22)

This interactive dinner/fundraiser pairs hands-on food preparation with special wines and a gourmet meal. 

Renowned violinist Tessa Lark

Rooftop Halloween party (Oct. 29)

 Things get a little spooky on the rooftop. Costumes are strongly encouraged for this outdoor party featuring dancing, a costume contest and music from DJ Selecta AJ of radio station 105.5 FM.

Goodwill Festival of Trees (Dec. 2-5)

 The annual fundraiser showcases uniquely decorated trees and wreaths loaded with gifts. They’re raffled to benefit Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida and the Sidney & Berne Davis Art Center. 

“Quattro Mani” (Jan. 7-28)

 An art exhibit featuring collaborations between local artist Darryl Pottorff and the late Robert Rauschenberg at their Captiva Island studio.

Chamber Music Series (January through March)

The annual series opens Jan. 6 with renowned violinist Tessa Lark and double bassist Michael Thurber performing crossover concert “Bach to Bluegrass.” That show will be followed by The SPA Trio (Jan. 14), the annual American Virtuosi concerts featuring Davis Art Center founder and professional violist Jim Griffith and some of his well-known musician friends (Feb. 24 and 26), acclaimed viola player Roberto Díaz (March 11) and cellist Zlatomir Fung, first prize winner in the 2019 International Tchaikovsky Competition (March 14).

Vinyl Vibes Series (February through March)

The tribute-band series returns with the music of The Beatles (Liverpool’s The Mersey Beatles, Feb. 18), ABBA (ABBA Revisited, March 10) and both The Eagles and Journey (Faithfully, March 25).

Tribute act The Mersey Beatles

Bluegrass Series (January through April)

Roots/rock/Americana act David Mayfield Parade returns Jan. 28 to open the bluegrass series. They’ll be followed by Sierra Hull (March 26) and the Vickie Vaughn Band (April 15).

Famous Author Lecture Series

More bestselling writers visit Davis Art Center for lunch and a lecture. This season’s lineup: Craig Pittman (Jan. 10), Anjanette Delgado (Feb. 14), Steve Berry (March 14) and Jane Lorenzini (April 11).

Art Walks the Runway (March 18-19)

The 10th annual fashion show features clothes from area boutiques and international couture designers.

Fort Myers Film Festival (May 18-22)

The 12th annual independent film fest returns with more shorts, documentaries and feature films. There’s also the monthly TGIM Mondays, where audiences and celebrity judges watch short independent films and help decide which ones make the cut for the festival.

Davis Art Center's upcoming “Pythonesque” exhibit will feature work inspired by British comedy troupe Monty Python (pictured).

“Age of Titans” (July 1-29) 

In this group art exhibit, 12 artists were challenged to create giant art works on 8- by 9-foot canvasses.

“Pythonesque” (July 7-29, 2022)

This group show features work inspired by legendary British comedy troupe Monty Python and its surreal, absurd, stream-of-consciousness style.

— For tickets and more information, call 333-1933 or visit

Connect with this reporter: Email or connect on social media at Charles Runnells (Facebook), @charlesrunnells (Twitter) and @crunnells1 (Instagram).

Written By

Avi Adkins is a seasoned journalist with a passion for storytelling and a keen eye for detail. With years of experience in the field, Adkins has established himself as a respected figure in journalism.

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