If you enjoy art, music, dance, film, museums, nature and history, you're going to love what's on the calendar for this year. Check out the options at www.CollierArts.com for the most comprehensive schedule of arts-related events in the area. You will find a complete schedule of activities from now to November. As you'll see from the online calendar, there are hundreds of events to enjoy this year — and many of them are free. Why not make a New Year's resolution to take advantage of all that we have to offer?
Want to make sure that you don't miss out on weekend fun? Sign up for the United Arts Council's weekly Best Bets email blasts at firstname.lastname@example.org. Every Friday you'll receive an email with a list of our Top Ten picks for the weekend's best entertainment.
Here's the latest news from our local arts and cultural community:
■ A painting by a Marco Island artist, Jo-Ann Sanborn, received an honorable mention award at the recent show by the National Association of Women Artists.
■ The National Art Association's (NAA) recent Art Encounter exhibit featured awards for the following artists: Celeste Borah (best of show); David Mazure (first place); Diane Lublinski (juror's choice); Sumiyo Toribe (award of merit); Celeste Cottingham (honorable mention); and Kurt Kamholz (honorable mention).
■ NAA also presented awards to Susan Schuchter, Justin Bedtelyon and Joel Shapses during the recent Members' Gallery All-Media exhibition at The von Liebig Art Center.
■ Leigh Straub has been elected to the board of directors for TheatreZone. Rita Albaugh has been named box office manager for the group.
■ Gulfshore Playhouse is partnering with Chapel Grill, a new restaurant that opened recently across from the Norris Center, where the group performs. The partnership features a special early-dining menu on the night of shows and discounts on after-show desserts.
■ The Naples Players community theater group is celebrating its 60th anniversary this year. A Diamond Jubilee celebration is planned for March 18.
■ ETC., the playwriting arm of The Naples Players, has selected three winners in its annual new play competition. Plays by Wallace Kain, Noah Samotin and Marc Simon were presented last month.
■ KidzAct Youth Theatre of the Naples Players serves more than 650 students annually with about 20 percent receiving financial assistance. You can help give a young thespian a boost by contributing to the scholarship fund. For information, call 434-7340, ext. 10 or 39.
■ The Wind Symphony at Barron Collier High School has been invited to perform as a part of the Carnegie Hall Music Festival in New York on March 30. It was one of only 12 high school bands selected to perform after an audition process. Its members are current raising money to finance the trip. Information is on the website: www.cougarstocarnegie.com.
Elaine Hamilton, Executive director of the United Arts Council of Collier County. Reach her at 239-263-8242 or online at www.uaccollier.com