Using art to keep spirits up on Fort Myers Beach

Author: Camila Pereira Writer: Matias Abril
Published: Updated:

With Tropical Storm Idalia developing in the tropics, some are worried that history might repeat itself.

It has been almost eleven months since Hurricane Ian made landfall in Southwest Florida, but many are still trying to move forward with the recovery.

Fort Myers Beach was unrecognizable eleven months ago, but many are starting to see it coming back.

“The life down here, at sunset, that really feels like Fort Myers Beach again, on the weekends,” said Lacy McClary, a local artist.

McClary is part of the reason why. She’s working on the Time Square Tower Shaft Project to help liven up the town through her murals and to honor the legacy of Fort Myers Beach locals.

“Cool thing about seahorses, they can see forwards, sideways and backwards, and, so, I thought it was a good representation of like, we know what’s happened. We know what we’re going through right now, and so I felt like where we’re headed is very bright, and so we have a lot of hope,” McClary said.

Fort Myers Beach native Ed the Sandman also uses art to bring that positivity, using sand rather than paint.

“I’ve always been an artist. I did it when I was a kid. I did it with my kids, and then I retired to the beach and started honing my skills. I’ve been doing it on Fort Myers Beach for about seven years,” Sandman said.

With Tropical Storm Idalia brewing in the tropics, some aren’t too fearful but still remember the aftermath of Ian.

“I take it as it comes. I’m not gonna worry about it. I didn’t worry about Ian. I was crazy. I almost didn’t leave the island, but I guess I’m glad I did because the home I lived in is totally gone,” Sandman said.

Knowing the effects of Hurricane Ian, these artists just want to keep the spirit alive on Fort Myers Beach.

“I’m hoping for the best, and the best things that we can do right now in Southwest Florida, I think, is to stay as positive as possible, not dwell on what has happened but also be prepared,” McClary said.

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