2009-09-23 / Arts & Entertainment News

Local artist creates commemorative art in honor of Ford's 146th birthday

To be celebrated at Edison Ford Estates Foundation's fundraising gala on Nov. 6

FLORIDA PHOTOGRAPHIC COLLECTION Thomas A. Edison, John Burroughs and Henry Ford in Fort Myers. FLORIDA PHOTOGRAPHIC COLLECTION Thomas A. Edison, John Burroughs and Henry Ford in Fort Myers. Bidders will find something special on the auction list at The Edison Ford Winter Estates Foundation's ninth fundraising gala to be held Nov. 6 at the Edison & Ford Winter Estates. Renowned artist Wellington Ward, 75, is contributing pencil art masterpieces of all things Ford. The montages will feature images from Mr. Ford's cars and winter home, also known as The Mangoes, to other interesting images of the past.

The Fort Myers artist is currently one third of the way through his first of three planned pencil art pieces masterfully done in fine lines with painstaking detail. Known for his Fort Myers Centennial prints produced in 1985, Mr. Ward's love of the area has been evident in his work which has mostly been done in acrylics.

"I haven't painted in four years," said Mr. Ward about his dedication to caring for his ailing wife, former Sanibel School Principal Barbara Ward. "I'm using this as an inspiration to an open door for me, to showcase my work once again. I think I'm more excited about this than the organizers at the Foundation are."

Mr. Ward's life has included a career as art director for the Department of Defense and four commissions for NASA. He's not new to creating art for the Estates. His offerings in the past have fetched $50,000 for the restoration of the estates. His Fort Myers Centennial contribution helped to fund the city's entire celebration in 1985.

Raised in Virginia, Mr. Ward attended art school at the Richmond Professional Institute, now known as Virginia Commonwealth University. He moved to Southwest Florida in the early 1970s.

The live auction is part of the Edison Ford Winter Estates Foundation's signature fundraising event, a tribute to the estates' esteemed former residents. All the profits raised at the ninth annual gala will further the mission of the Foundation: restoration and preservation of the estates where Thomas Edison and Henry Ford wintered. A 5:30 p.m. cocktail reception precedes a dinner, live auction, and dancing to the music of Alter Ego. The event is black tie.

Tickets are $200 per person, or tables for $1,600. For more information, call the Foundation office at 274-2377.

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