2009-12-09 / Arts & Entertainment News

Art of the Olympians receives support from D.C. Delegation

OERTER OERTER The Art of the Olympians leadership team was welcomed with unanimous support from community and political leaders during a special meeting at the Florida House in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 1.

This delegation represents one of the final steps in transforming the dream of the late Al Oerter, four-time Olympic gold medalist, into a reality that the

global community can enjoy.

Prince Albert of Monaco, an Olympian himself, led the delegation in support of AOTO’s efforts to establish a gallery and learning center where everyone can engage in an educational and cultural exchange while bridging differences and strengthening relationships. Sen. Bill Nelson, Sen. George LeMieux, Florida Secretary of State Kurt Browning and Congressman John Mica of the Seventh District of Florida were in attendance. Lee County Commission Chairwoman Tammy Hall and Fort Myers Mayor Randy Henderson made opening remarks to the Congressional officials at the luncheon. Lee County Manager Karen Hawes and Florida Gulf Coast University President Wilson Bradshaw were also present to show their support along with other prominent guests.

“It is an honor to have the support of so many local, national and international leaders,” said Cathy Oerter, AOTO board member and Al Oerter’s widow. “Art of the Olympians started with Al’s dream to create a center where individuals could both explore Olympic ideals and discover physical, educational and artistic excellence, but we have been able to realize this dream through the passion and support of many.”

According to the United States Olympic Committee, once the Art of the Olympians Al Oerter Center of Excellence is fully developed, it will have an estimated annual impact of $25 million on the local economy.

“Art of Olympians will attract people of consequence: artists, politicians, leaders in business and industry from around the nation and the world to take a look at the opportunities available in Lee County,” said Liston Bochette, Olympian and AOTO board member. “AOTO intends to be an incubator not only for the arts but more so for ideas in social and economic growth, by creating a unique environment for the community at large and our local leaders in particular.”

Once remodeling is complete at the City Pier Building, and with the in-kind contributions of several local contractors, the first phase of the Art of the Olympians Al Oerter Center of Excellence will open its doors to the public at the end of January.

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