Art of the Olympians Art Gallery, Museum and Al Oerter Center of Excellence, set in a lovely, two-story building full of light that overlooks the Caloosahatchee River in Fort Myers, Florida, is the fruition of a dream. Al Oerter, an amazing athlete who won four consecutive Olympic gold medals in discus, setting Olympic records each time, and later began painting, wanted a place to fuse mind, body and spirit through art and athletics. The opening of Art of the Olympians Art Gallery, Museum and Al Oerter Center of Excellence in the River District of Downtown Fort Myers, Florida fulfilled his dream, and opened up a lot of opportunities for the dreams of countless others.
Art of the Olympians, one of the rare places allowed by the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) to display the Olympic rings, has a lot to offer. The lovely gallery houses a large collection of art from a diverse group of Olympians turned artists, such as Peggy Fleming, Florence Griffith Joyner, Liston Bochette and Bob Beamon, to name a few. Sketches, abstract paintings, portraits and graphic designs fill the space with the river as a backdrop.
The downstairs Al Oerter Center of Excellence houses Olympic multi-media exhibits, touring exhibits and presentations by Olympians, such as the recent reception hosted by seven-time Olympic medalist Shannon Miller to highlight the opening of an exhibit called A Taste of Gymnastics in the Olympic Sports Experience Gallery.
Not all of the events take place at the Art of the Olympians museum building, though. For instance, on October 29, 2010, Peggy Fleming will be hosting an event at Harborside Event Center in Fort Myers which will include a special dinner and the world premiere of the documentary, “Art of the Olympians, for $20.00 per adult and only $10.00 for students.
On October 30th, anyone who signs up can kayak with Olympian Norman Bellingham and Chief operating Officer of the Olympic committee (and Master Naturalist) Connie Langmann, enjoy a boxed lunch and a presentation, then tour the galleries, for $50.00. These and other opportunities can be accessed through the Art of the Olympians website; a more intimate, interactive update is available through the Art of the Olympians Facebook page. Art of the Olympians is also instrumental in the Art Walk evenings that are so popular on the first Friday of every month in downtown Fort Myers, Florida.
If you would like to visit the Art of the Olympians in the River District of downtown Fort Myers, Florida, it is located at 1300 Hendry Street, Fort Myers, Florida 33901. Same day admission to the Cultural Experience and Sports Experience Galleries are only $2.00 for adults; free for Members and Children under 12 who are accompanied by an adult. The hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesdays through Saturdays (the galleries are closed on Sundays and Mondays, as well as Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day). Al Oerter died in 2007 and never got to see his dream come true, but thanks to his hard work, we are all the richer for having the Art of the Olympians and Al Oerter Center of Excellence in downtown Fort Myers, Florida.
Art of the Olympians Facebook Page
Newsletter for the Beaches of Fort Myers and Sanibel
Art of the Olympians Homepage
Art of the Olympians, Documentary Premiere, Hosted by Peggy Fleming
Al Oerter, Olympian, Artist, Gentleman, Al Oerter- Artist
Wikipedia, Al Oerter