Art appreciation

Cape Coral Art Center’s Rubicond Park Master Plan Takes Shape –

Cape Coral Art Center has announced the start of its Rubicond Park Master Plan and the June Bennett Pathway to Creativity project, which is expected to be completed by the end of September.

The park will include a paved pathway and patio, sculpture blocks, benches, interactive features, lighting and over 30 native and ornamental plants. Construction will cover 8,878 square feet of the 94,448 square foot Rubicond Park. The Art Center in the Park has over 15,000 square feet of studios, galleries, a supply store, gift shop, and administrative offices.

“One of the driving forces behind this project is having an inspiring space with plants and flowers where students can wander before, during or after art class,” said Kaitlyn Pearson, Information Specialist public for Cape Coral.

Art teachers and students often print out pictures of flowers to use as a reference, she said. The improvements highlighted in the master plan should bring this source of creative influence directly into Rubicond Park.

The park’s master plan has been ongoing since June 2021, when the art center received an anonymous donation for the project to recognize June Bennett, one of its dedicated instructors and volunteers.

The June Bennett Trail to Creativity is in the northwest quadrant of the park. Guests will be able to walk the trail to move between buildings as a short but scenic route, Pearson said.

Bennett, originally from England and a glass artist for 30 years, began teaching glass fusion at the art center in 2004. Before becoming a teacher, she attended art center classes and workshops in New York , Michigan, Indiana, Pennsylvania and Venezuela.

“She plays a vital role on the Art Center’s Volunteer Gallery Committee and helps hang the artwork for each exhibit,” Pearson said. “She also volunteers for the art center’s hospitality needs, including every art reception, arranges on-site tours, and assists at events.”

The art center opened in 1977 and has played a vital role in the neighborhood and the community of Cape Coral. With the start of work in the park, the art center has a collective vision that will impact the future of the neighborhood and the community in more ways than one.

The project aims to create new spaces or renovate existing ones into sustainable, state-of-the-art facilities that enhance Cape Coral’s reputation for vibrant arts, culture, education and innovation.

The 35 plants slated to be part of the park will allow the art center to realize part of its vision of cultivating a landscape designed for pollinators with minimal maintenance and maximum beauty. Some of the plants include dune sunflowers, swamp milkweed, coral honeysuckle, and pink hibiscus.

The project also aligns with the art center’s vision to create grounds that identify the art center as a landmark for viewers, while encouraging new connections within the community.

Art increases cultural opportunities for residents and visitors and enhances the city’s visual landscape, Pearson said.

“Since the art center opened, the classes and programs have taught and produced more artists and appreciation for art,” she said. “The summer camps held there each year have an impact on future generations by inspiring them to pursue a career in the visual arts. The arts stimulate tourism, generate government revenue and create jobs.

The arts center and many other local organizations participate in the Arts & Economic Prosperity Study 6 with Americans for the Arts. This is a national study that takes place every five years and shows that an investment in the arts provides both cultural and economic benefits.