Marcus Jansen's open studio headquarters, UNIT A Contemporary Art Space, will celebrating its one year anniversary during Art Walk on April 5. The extravaganza will include a DJ, a special guest artist appearance and after-party.
The Art Walk celebration is open to everyone, but the Fire Marshal limits entry to 140 people at a time, so get there early.
Unit A opened in March of 2012 after internationally-renowned artist and Fort Myers resident Marcus Jansen decided to transform the forgotten old church building that housed his art studio into the largest private art space of its kind in all of Southwest Florida. It has quickly become the most talked about art space in the downtown Fort Myers River District, and is now serving as a catalyst for neighboring spots in the newly-drubbed "warehouse art district" to convert themselves into artists' lofts and not-for-profit warehouse space for the arts.
The name does not just refer to UNIT A's location. It also represents a small unit of individuals who believe in the space's mission and work closely together. Fittingly, Christine Gruber, Tonda Soisson Lawson, Nick Soisson and Lelia and Ray Hignite will be singled out during next month's celebration along with Amanda Plummer, Bob Encarnacion, Michi's Arts & Craft and Laszlo Hagymasi from Budapest, Hungary. Hagymasi has worked with Jansen for almost fifteen years and will be part of the UNIT's continuing operations.
"The space is here because our committed members believed in [UNIT A's] mission and decided to be unselfishly committed to the cause and stick to it"," said Jansen.
Since opening in March of 2012, UNIT A has hosted some of the most exciting events in downtown Fort Myers, including:
- Sonic Combine, recommended by local artist and friend Michael Saint Amand;
- an artistic night of sound, visuals & art celebrating Cage, Cunningham, Mercer & Rauschenberg through Rauschenberg's close musician friends, Kat Epple, Lawrence Voytek and Lorrie Getford; and,
- Urban Decaydence, an event curated by Alliance for the Arts Director Lydia Black and Pam Beckman with help from UNIT A's Danielle Masseria and Lia Martino that's left a lasting impression on the Fort Myers art community.
"UNIT A is being requested more and more for private rentals," reports Event Coordinator Bob Encarnacion. "We are now weeding through [a score of new proposals]." But that's not all.
UNIT A has recently taken on two new members of international renown. One is Lia Martino, who serves as Jansen's Artist Liaison. A former gallery owner and world famous Beverly Hills supermodel, Martino worked closely with Giorgio Armani and Karl Lagerfeld for years. "Lia has travelled to cities like Berlin, Milan, Paris, London and many other destinations in Europe, Asia and South America,” notes Jansen. "She brings an extensive amount of experience and information from fashion and arts with her and is very passionate about the UNIT's mission."
The UNIT's other new member is artist Jonas Striner. Stirner worked for more than 14 years directly with artist Robert Rauschenberg on Captiva Island as one of his Artist Assistants. From digital imaging to fabrication, he has knowledge of all phases of fine art production and his credits include producing a one hundred plus fine art print addition of work by Shepard Fairey to benefit New York City Coalition for the Homeless and restoring original photos for the anthology Robert Rauschenberg Photographs 1949-1962. He also created the original Robert Rauschenberg Foundation website.
Jonas will be collaborating with Jansen on projects and events starting 2013 and is also dedicated to seeing the UNIT prosper in Fort Myers for the benefit of the community.
"Although we typically do not represent artists at UNIT A, Jonas will also be showing his sculptures at UNIT A at the anniversary celebration as a special guest," reports Lia Martino. "We are very excited to have Jonas. He is a great addition to our team."
Jansen has recently been juried into a number of prestigious international competitions and exhibitions and is one of 20 artists participating in the Eye of the Storm group show now on exhibit at the Bob Rauschenberg Gallery. He will be featured by BIG ARTS in a solo exhibition, Marcus Jansen: Expressionism Today, that opens March 15, and will also give an art lecture at The von Liebig Art Center in Naples later this year.
For more information about UNIT A, the artist or his upcoming shows and events, please contact Lia Martino by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.unitaspace.com. UNIT A Contemporary Art Space is located at 1922 Evans Avenue, Unit A, Fort Myers, Florida 33901.