Last summer the City of Naples cut down many trees in the medians along Gulf Shore Boulevard North and replanted the medians. Big mistake. Gulf Shore Boulevard North is home to many high rise buildings occupied by wealthy residents who did not take kindly to the changes.
The City is rapidly (and expensively) backpedaling. The City Council has appropriated lots of money, and an advisory committee of residents has met repeatedly to review a new master landscape plan to replant the medians one more time, with big, mature trees, shrubs and ground covers.
At a meeting in the City Council chamber, the advisory committee was getting a tree-by-tree
review of the plan. (A painting of the Naples Pier is on the wall behind them.)
Moral: Don't mess around with successful people's trees.
23 members and friends of the Baker Museum at Artis Naples have loaned works for an exhibition,
Naples Collects. Trust me, these folks don't have scribbles by their kids on their walls!
The exhibition was dazzling.
These are three gelatin prints by American photographer Bert Stern from 1962,
six weeks before Marilyn Monroe died of an overdose.
The woman straight ahead is a FINGERPRINT portrait by the American artist Chuck Close.
The museum has been permitting photography for just a few months, provided there is no flash.
But there is no exception for photographing loaned works. Fearless as I usually am, I was uncomfortable taking very close photos of works from private collections,
so I took pix of rooms or distant shots or partially cropped shots.
The exhibition's most fascinating work is a large 2008 mixed media work by American artist Gregory Scott -- painting, photography and video -- showing a painting of the artist looking into a repeating scene in which (in the video) he continually walks in and out of the scene. Brilliant!
All over Naples and Collier County, hospitals and cultural institutions are named for Jay and Patty Baker. Jay was President of Kohl's, a national department store chain. Patty has produced many Broadway musicals. They are wealthy, civic-minded and generous.
The museum-formerly-known-as-the-museum-that-cannot-be-named-because-photography-is-not-permitted-but-now-can-be-named-because-photography-is-now-permitted is the Baker Museum,
the arts center of Artis Naples. Patty Baker is the creator and co-founder of the museum. She and her husband have contributed more than $10 million over the years. More about the museum later.
The Bakers have given $23 million to the Naples Community Hospital (NCH) Downtown Naples Hospital, which was recently renamed the NCH Baker Hospital. The Tower building at NCH North Naples Hospital is now the Jay & Patty Baker Tower in recognition of additional generous gifts.
And, a few weeks ago the Gulfshore Playhouse announced a $10 million gift from the Bakers to help build a new theater. Whatever you think about wealth and disparities, the Bakers are a couple
who share their financial good fortune with the communities where they live.