BIG ARTS is excited to host seven up-and-coming artists who are alumni of Florida SouthWestern State College in the Dunham Family Gallery. The exhibit titled “Fast Forward” is a multi-media exhibition in which the artists imagine the future from the vantage point of our historically turbulent and uncertain time. It features work by alumni Martha De la Cruz, Dalton Howard, Alejandro Gómez Hernandez, Claire Malécot, Leila Mesdaghi, Kirsten Pettifor, and B.A. Wikoff and showcases a wide variety of styles and mediums. “Fast Forward” opens on June 4 and runs through July 31. You can also experience the show from the comfort of your own home by visiting, where you can take a virtual stroll through a high-definition 3D rendering of the gallery. The virtual tour will launch on June 9.

The exhibit was curated by Dana Roes, who is a Professor of Art and the Chair of Humanities and Fine Arts at Florida SouthWestern State College. When asked about her thoughts on the exhibit, Professor Roes responded, “‘Fast Forward,’ when conceived, was incredibly timely as the world wrestled with the uncertainty of what our future might look like. I selected artists who I have had the pleasure of working with and following throughout their careers. Each one of them is brilliant, innovative, and profoundly in touch with things that matter in the world today. The work on display ranges from pieces as personal as sewing together one’s cultural and familiar heritage to work that explores the wider world and interrogates colonialism and income inequality. These artists explore the past and present (both personal and political) to offer a path to the future.”

The seven young artists in the exhibit are as follows:

Martha De la Cruz is a Dominican-American artist who through video, installations and sculpture investigates issues of race, decolonization, identity, and hierarchical power.

Dalton Howard is a multidisciplinary artist based in Florida whose work pulls from interests of mortality, fragility, consumer culture, and the current situations of our world. Through assemblage, humor, and everyday materials, he challenges others’ notions of how they look at the purposes and potential of everyday objects.

Alejandro Gómez Hernandez is a multidisciplinary artist from Matanzas, Cuba, who focuses on cultural identity, family, and immigration. Through his paintings, sculptures, and installations, he aims to spotlight particular and unique aspects of his nationality.

Claire Malécot is a multidisciplinary artist based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Through her work, she attempts to process the uncertainty of communication, largely expressed by incorporating ephemeral materials in a constant liminal state.

Leila Mesdaghi is an interdisciplinary artist of Iranian/Columbian heritage based in Fort Myers. In addition to painting, Leila works between performance, video, and installation to create multi-sensory experiences to explore her subject matters. She is interested in relationships, and her work challenges how we observe, relate, and respond to the “others” and the world.

Kirsten Pettifor is an interdisciplinary artist currently transitioning to film. Her practice revolves around human relationships, trauma, and the ways in which we find comfort.

B.A. Wikoff is a Florida-based artist whose work is constructed through abstract, collaborative, and interdisciplinary practices.  Her process mostly involves using her audience as a means for collaboration, often collecting data from secondary media sources regarding our population as a whole and/or retrieving specific information from individuals first-hand by engaging with them.

When asked about how she felt about having the exhibit at BIG ARTS, Roes replied, “BIG ARTS has a long history of catering to a sophisticated community who love art and literature. They also have a gorgeous new gallery space set within the natural beauty of the island itself. It seems like the perfect venue for former locals to return home to share their materialized experiences.”

“Fast Forward” opens on June 4 and can be viewed between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. BIG ARTS is located at 900 Dunlop Road on Sanibel. For more information, please call the box office at 239-395-0900 or visit



BIG ARTS, established in 1979, is a nonprofit organization devoted to providing quality artistic, cultural, and educational experiences to Sanibel and Captiva residents and visitors. Visit to learn more about BIG ARTS and stay tuned for our 2022 season, and don’t forget to visit us on Facebook!