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NFM Arts Center meeting set for Nov. 16

November 8, 2017
By CHUCK BALLARO ( , North Fort Myers Neighbor

The plans for a new arts center in North Fort Myers are still very much in the infancy stage, but they might just have one person who can help them get the project off the ground.

Dr. Thomas Millins, principal at the North Fort Myers Academy for the Arts has joined in to help the cause.

He, along with others, are set to hold a meeting on Thursday, Nov. 16, at 5:30 p.m. at Sun Country Homes, 1206 Pondella Road to hopefully get a baby step closer to an arts center.

Maryann Howard, who chairs the committee to get the arts center going, said Millins is going to get people together to join the effort, as it could be a benefit for NFMAA.

"Hopefully we'll be able to get more directors through his contacts. I presented him with our charter, by-laws and the market study because that was one of the initiatives," Howard said.

Millins, along with members of the North Fort Myers Civic Association, held a brainstorming session on Oct. 26 and will be returning for this meeting.

"I think it would be a great opportunity for the school. We have a foundation at the school and they're trying to start one up and we want to form a partnership or put something together to put something together for North Fort Myers," Millins said.

At that meeting, Millins explained the things the committee was struggling with, such as getting a board of directors together, with at least 10 members, Howard said, including members of the business community.

Howard said she has reached out to the North Fort Myers Chamber of Commerce. President Lenny Cannova said they could come and talk about it at a meeting, but the person who was supposed to perform that task was sick and unable to attend.

Millins also discussed how the committee could create a 5013 to accept donations and to tap into the $2 million pilot program in this year's Lee County budget, but they would first need a business plan and its own budget.

Howard said until they get a dedicated building, her hope is that NFMAA could be used to host some events.

"We could do all sorts of things that tie in with them, the older people with the children and learn from each other," Howard said. "We could talk about where we would locate the building, and being open to all kinds of art. We want to get the word out."

Millins is also expected to speak about the project at the next Civic Association meeting on Nov. 14. Though he has only been to one meeting, he likes the potential of the project.

"I think North Fort Myers would really benefit from an arts center. Other areas have one and it's important we have something here to build our community," Millins said.



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