It was Marco Island artist Jo-Ann Sanborn who fi rst came up with the idea when shopping at the Esplanade one day. Passing by several vacant storefronts she imagined them as artists' studios, open to the public and alive with color and creativity. She gathered some local artists, and together they spoke to the management of the Esplanade. The concept they described provided a win/win situation for all concerned... the shopping center would look better and attract more visitors, the artists would have a place to work and display their art and the island would have a center for its artist community. It all came together remarkably quickly and now, eighteen months after the colony fi rst came into being, it is a vibrant, ever evolving community. Some artists have come, some have gone and the locations of the galleries have changed as the space was taken by stores, but everyone of the artists speaks of the enormous inspiration and feeling of camaraderie the colony provides.And, as an art lover on Marco Island, it's wonderful to have the oppor-tunity to watch the artists at work, to stop by and chat with them and to learn about their work. The diversity of the art on display is really impressive. The artists take it in turns to staff the galleries so you may have to stop by a couple of times to meet everyone but here's a quick review of who you'll meet if you take a tour of the three artist colony galleries...Carolyn Burger uses acrylics, water color and oil to capture, as she puts it "God's beautiful world". She loves the interaction with visitors to the gallery and is always thrilled to fi nd homes for her paintings of tropical fl owers, birds and local scenes.Concrete is not a medium that immediately springs to mind when thinking of art, but after seeing Darren Clack's environmentally friendly concrete creations I believe that it should. Unlike natural stone, concrete can be custom made to exact specifi cations and, using primarily recycled materials like glass and nylon fi bers from recycled carpets, Darren painstakingly makes absolutely unique jewelry, vases, furniture and countertops.Dr Anthony Dallmann-Jones works in two very different art forms... with his partner James Swanker, he uses dichroic space glass to create amazingly colorful light sculptures from a single white light source. These contrast with his abstract paintings which he immerses in the Gulf of Mexico and fashions with sand, shells and other organic matter found on the beach.