Steven Kalb fights fires for a living in Lee County, but he also harnesses the power of fire in his art. He’s been blacksmithing for more than 15 years and has studied under some of the finest smiths in the country. He calls the art of blacksmithing honest. “There is an integrity to something that is made by hand. I like to shape and forge organic elements into my sculptures. My goal is not to copy the shapes I see, but to get their feeling into the steel I work.” Kalb says his career as a firefighter has given him a unique perspective on hazardous materials and the processes of industry. He says his goal as an artist is to awaken people to man’s impact on the environment and threatened species. “I use traditional blacksmithing methods to make my emulations of these wonderful species.” Kalb says he’s working to make his Fort Myers studio carbon neutral by using ‘upcycled’ metals and an ever-expanding list of new technologies.
His studio is just one of the stops on the Alliance for the Arts’ First Annual Artists’ Studio Tour on Saturday, April 28th. The daylong, self-guided tour starts at 9:00 a.m. with continental breakfast at the Alliance and concludes from 3-4:00 p.m. with a wine and hors d’oeuvres reception at Unit A, Marcus Jansen’s new studio in the Downtown River District. Participants will be given a guide containing information about all 15 artists on the tour, and a map to their studios in the Fort Myers area. It will be up to them to decide the order in which they visit the studios and the amount of time to stay at each one. Artists included on the tour are: Chris Catti, Pat Dunn, Katie Gardenia, David Hammel, Marcus Jansen, Valerie Jewell, Leo & Krista Johnson, Reina Lombardi, Jason McDonald, Morgan Raines, Myra Roberts, Byron M. Wood and Barbara Yeomans. More information about them and their diverse artwork can be found at www.artinlee.org. Tickets for the First Annual Artists’ Studio Tour are $45 and benefit year-round arts programming at the Alliance. Call 239-939-2787 or visit the Alliance website to purchase tickets online.
Don’t miss this unique chance to interact with local artists in their own studio spaces and get insight into their creative processes. Artists’ Studio Tour sponsorship is provided by Happenings Magazine, Finemark National Bank & Trust, Total Wine & More, Whitten Technical LTD and Leigh Frizzell Hayes.