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One of the best things about working in the Florida Blue Center
is the ability to make a difference in our local community. And as a native Southwest Floridian I think that is pretty cool! We support many different community-based organizations here in Southwest Florida, one of which is the Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs
Now you may be scratching your head. Why would a health care company be interested in supporting a Center for the Arts? Well it’s simple. Supporting local artists and community art projects benefit the entire community - and a more vibrant and happy community is a healthier community. At Florida Blue that is what we are all about, helping people and communities achieve better health.
Being a business partner with the Center of the Arts is exciting for a number of reasons, particularly the ability to take part in their Art in Public Places program. This program gives local artists the opportunity to display their artwork in different businesses throughout Southwest Florida. Starting mid-March, the Fort Myers area Florida Blue Center
will be showcasing artwork by local artist, Donna Hope.
I thought it would be fun to get to know the artist a little better, and Donna graciously agreed to answer a few of my questions:
Megan - How long have you been painting professionally?
Donna - I started painting professionally in 1998. My Grandfather was an artist and I have always been interested in painting and creating works of art. I’m not a formally trained artist; but I took many art classes while in college and continued after college with painting workshops.
Megan - What did you do before you were an artist?
Donna - Funny enough, I worked in the health insurance industry. I worked for Select Care in Detroit, Michigan doing sales and marketing. I would design benefits for self-insured companies and then help present those benefits to their employees. So showcasing at Florida Blue makes me feel at home since it’s an industry I’m very familiar with.
Megan - What inspires your artwork?
Donna – I’m very passionate about flowers, Georgia O’Keefe is a huge inspiration to me. I’m also fascinated by the beauty of shadows and the way different light sources fall on objects. Color is also an inspiration, I like to pick a color and play with the different shades within that particular color. I paint on dark backgrounds to gives my artwork a three-dimensional feel, like each painting explodes off the canvas.
Megan - How long have you been working with the Center for the Arts?
Donna – I’m a relatively new artist with the Center for the Arts of Bonita Springs, I’ve only been with them for about 3 ½ years. I’m very happy to be one of their artists; the Center for the Arts is one of the largest and most important art leagues in Southwest Florida and they give back to the community in so many wonderful ways.
Megan - How does showcasing your art at the Florida Blue Center benefit you as an artist?
Donna – It helps me get exposure as an artist;, people who may not normally get to see my artwork will get a chance to see it. It also gives people who wouldn’t normally be exposed to art in their everyday lives the chance to enjoy beautiful works of art.
Megan - In what ways do you think that art benefits the local community?
Donna – I think that art makes the biggest impact in the lives of children. Children who see art want to try it, and art helps them to express themselves, raises their self-esteem and opens them up to alternative forms of expression. That is what art did for me. I lost my mother at a very young age and was very introverted because of losing her, but creating art helped me to find my voice and be more self-confident. I feel very strongly that everyone should take an art class; it will help open their eyes and experience new things.
We are so grateful to have Donna’s artwork in one of our Centers. Her paintings will be showcased in the Fort Myers Florida Blue Center
through mid-April. We hope that everyone will have a chance to visit the Center and see Donna’s beautiful paintings.