On Wednesday, Oct. 27, the Sanibel & Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce celebrated the January opening of the BIG ARTS Gift Shop with an onsite ribbon cutting.

“Due to COVID, we decided to delay the ribbon cutting until we could host the event in the gift shop with our friends from the chamber and the community,” said BIG ARTS Marketing Manager Michael Dest. “The BIG ARTS Gift Shop is a space where local artisans can display and sell their goods. It’s a great place to find that one-of-a-kind gift for someone special or a unique design element for your home.”

BIG ARTS has always had a gift shop, but the new building allows more artists space to display and was in response to the popularity of the old gift shop, Dest added. The shop is located in the main lobby across from the box office. It currently is open to the public Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and Sundays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The BIG ARTS Gift Shop carries a wide variety of unique handmade items from local artisans, including jewelry, stationery, sculpture, ceramics, and home décor items.

“We’re always getting in new things made by the wonderfully talented people in our community and the Southwest Florida region,” said Dest. “We are enjoying very brisk sales, so there are always new items on the shelves.”

Profits from gift shop sales are split between the artists and BIG ARTS’ core mission to bring world-class arts and entertainment.

“What a great place to do holiday shopping,” said John Lai, chamber president and chief executive officer. “BIG ARTS has been a wonderful asset to the community and chamber partner for so long. We congratulate the staff on this latest development in a long line of expansions in the past couple of years.”

“BIG ARTS truly values the close relationship we have with the Sanibel chamber of commerce,” said Dest. “They have many wonderful channels that allow us to reach a wider audience of both locals and visitors to our island.”


The Sanibel & Captiva Islands Chamber of Commerce is dedicated to promoting the prosperity of its members and preserving the quality of life of our community. With more than 460 active Chamber members from both islands and businesses from Lee and Collier counties, the Chamber plays a key role in facilitating communication and cooperation between business, residents, and government to enhance the economic health of the islands. The Francis P. Bailey, Jr., Chamber Visitor Center is located at the entrance to Sanibel Island and welcomes tens of thousands of visitors each year. VISIT FLORIDA named the visitor center one of 13 official Florida Certified Tourism Information Centers in the state. It is open 365 days a year and provides comprehensive information about things to do, places to visit, and where to stay, shop, and dine. The chamber website sanibel-captiva.org receives more than 1.3 million website visits per year.


For more information about the chamber, visit sanibel-captiva.org or contact Landen Drake, communications and marketing manager, at 239-472-8255 or [email protected].