Essential Events

“To each is given the manifestation of the spirit for the common good. ” Corinthians

“People ask why I work so hard to do all the community work I do:

I want to live in a world free of fear and tyranny.”


Abigail Smith Adams (1744-1818) Was the First Lady of the US as wife of President John Adams, first Vice President (1789-1797) and second President (1797-1801) of the US. Abigail Adams said, “Each man, if left to his own devices would be a tyrant.” Tyrant: 1. an absolute ruler who governs without restrictions 2. A ruler who exercizes power in a harsh, cruel manner 3. An oppressive, harsh, arbitrary person.


ESSENTIAL ART IS EVERYWHERE! Behind the scenes, whether you realize it or not, the art of Michelle Finnegan can usually be found if you know where to look, like in town, in the news, in magazines or in advertisements. For example, experience the Wireless Home and find Michelle Finnegan’s self portrait hanging on the wall. The larger self portrait can be found on the homepage under August.

A trip to LA in December allowed Michelle to complete 3 more handprint paintings, attend an exclusive opening of Social Hollywood and create an Essential Art commercial for DOVE (see above link)

Michelle was in New York City for a photoshoot in Central Park with Kristin Island of Click Model Management who beautifully modelled her t-shirts “We Support You” with her famous painted hands. Two other hand print paintings were completed. One was with the Chief of the Ladder 20 Fire Department and FirefighterTommy Marketos. Their index fingers were painted fire engine red and stamped next to one another on an old map of NYC, printed before the World Trade Towers existed. The other painting was made with a chocolate hand print of Conrad Miller with fine chocolate from Michel Cluizel’s chocolate store inside the ABC Home. Michelle also met Adam Sandler who kissed his hands before shaking Michelle’s promising to have his hand prints included in her portfolio. Michelle also met with many at Scholastic publishers including Jaqueline Roth, (an ambassador for the deaf culture and creator of a deaf child in Maya and Miguel, a Scholastic animated program) who is looking forward to having her hands painted for Michelle’s portfolio enhancing the significance of communicating with one’s hands.

Essential Art Official Mulligan Golf Balls were available at the YP 2nd Annual Magic Swing Golf Tournament at Hammock Bay benefitting Big Brothers Big Sisters of SWFL on September 30. The event was a huge success with lots of prizes and raising another $6,000.00 for the cause.

July 15 was the First Annual Picnic celebrating Official Big Brothers Big Sisters Day of Collier County. Michelle Finnegan was there at the request of Julie Digby and Sean Caffrey of Big Brothers Big Sisters to create another hand print painting with the “Littles.” The finished piece is entitled, “Little Moments, Big Magic.”

International College will host a reception for the Prints of Freedom on July 5 to showcase the artwork of Michelle Finnegan and to announce the winner of the Freedom Boat Club package.

Big Brothers Big Sisters celebrated their annual HOWL at the Moon at the Naples Beach Hotel on March 4. Michelle Finnegan was brought in from Miami to attend the
event where one of her prints was sold at silent auction along with options to participate in an original work of art created that night. The finished painting was auctioned off live that evening receiving the highest bid all night.

Many thanks to Don Burgess, Fred Tuttle and especially the passion and continued efforts of Jack Bovee who has been working with Michelle Finnegan to coordinate lectures from a WWII veteran who was willing to come into the classrooms and provide first hand history lessons for our students.

Since first creating “Caring Cards from America,” to support our troops overseas, Michelle Finnegan has continued working with Cody Anderson at Homer Helter’s WWII memorabilia store. Numerous care packages have been sent to our troops filled with snacks, socks, extra toothbrushes, baby wipes, and other essentials including personalized Essential Art cards to the troops and blank note cards for them to write to loved ones back home.

SAKS FIFTH AVE is now selling “Paradise Pages; The ESSENTIAL guide to visiting and living in Naples.” For all inqiries or sales, please contact the publisher Lori Porter at

On Sept 25, Essential Art’s Official Mulligan Golf Balls were used to raise money during a golf tournament for Friends of the Library organized by the Young Professionals of Naples under the leadership of Heather Campamoar.

On August 22, Human Service Director for Collier County, Barry Williams signed a written endorsement for a Public Safety Program designed by Michelle Finnegan to prevent Missing and Exploited Children.

Inspired by her family and friends but mostly ten years’ worth of conversations with Alyce “Sandy” Nash, a WWII veteran, Michelle Finnegan hoped to record Sandy’s history so future generations could benefit. Currently Collier County took the initiative to set up a government website honoring almost 100 WWII veterans in Collier County called “Capture Living History.” You can go to this website and listen to audio clips of the veterans own voices describing their experience in their own words. Michelle Finnegan used the same card designed to honor our active duty troops and personalized it to thank all WWII veterans who participated in the recording of their history.

WIN A PORSCHE 911 convertible and help the Neighborhood Health Clinic. Winning ticket will be drawn on March 19 at a block party at the Porsche Dealership.

Naples’ St. Patrick’s Day Parade- one of the largest in the country is on March 12. A fundraising dinner at The Inn on Fifth is Monday March 7. To participate in either call 239-436-0050.

Thanks to the kind donation from the Emily Post Institute for the books to add to the Grace Place Library! Peggy Post and Elizabeth Upham Howell arranged for the 17th Edition of the book of etiquette, “The Definitive Guide to Manners, Completely revised and Updated” by Peggy Post, “The Guide to Good Manners for Kids,” and “The Gift of Good Manners; A Parent’s Guide to Raising Respectful, Kind, Considerate Children.”

2004 Holiday cards are now available. Buy two packs of 5 and get a free t-shirt or make a $25 donation to Grace Place and get a free t-shirt with the same artwork on it as on the holiday card. “Friendship” is this year’s theme and cards and t-shirts both read, “Friendship is the Greatest Gift”. Orders will be filled at Sweet Gemellis in the Bayfront or by phoning 239-298-0992.

A new webpage was recently created by Essential Art for the Naples Junior Women’s Club. There is also a link on the Essential Links page.
Michelle’s work is featured this month as the cover of “The Adverse Witness,” the monthly magazine for the Collier County Bar Association.

EMERGENCY SERVICES: Essential Art is putting together hygiene packs of essential items like toothbrushes, soaps, and cards to contact friends and family while power and phone services are not in service as a result of Hurricane Charley, Francis, Ivan and Jeanne. ALL DONATIONS ARE WELCOME. Please email us through our homepage contact button. Emails go directly to Michelle has been coordinating with the Salvation Army, Red Cross, Grace Place mission, Collier County Communications Division and D. Schwartz Events and the Immokalee Friendship House.

Special thanks to: Alicia Kelley and Nicole Iffland of Burdines/MACY’s for the kind donation of Clinique cream cleanser, gel cleanser cotton balls, lip balm and cosmetics, Drs. Lisa and John Klemes for toothbrushes and toothpaste, the Holiday Inn and Trianon hotels in Downtown Naples for soaps, shampoos and lotions, Dr. Mark Marzano for medical products including alcohol swabs and gauze, and Doug Schwartz for note pads, pens, paper, bags, ribbon and hours (day after day) of volunteering to help me put the bags together. Over 2,000 cards with envelopes have been donated so far from Essential Art. Every card that was returned with an address had postage also donated by Essential Art so that everyone without telephones and email access could communicate with loved ones.

Also, thanks to members of Grace Place who went with me to deliver ice, food and essentials to the First United Methodist Church in Punta Gorda which is now functioning as a soup kitchen and members of Samaritan’s Purse with whom I worked at the First Baptist Church which was transformed into a distribution center.. We spent the day making sandwiches, hot food, etc. and delivering it to some people who explained that it was the first food they had eaten in three days. The residents of Punta Gorda express sincere gratitude! The residents of Punta Gorda who have found the strength to also run the soup kitchen are truly wonderful heroes.

Save the date: August 13-14 will be the next FLIP FLOP REGATTA for the Ally Foundation.
Boston is having its first ever city-wide parks event on June 5. “Plant Yourself in the Park” Contact for more details or

WIN a chance to sail aboard an America’s Cup sailboat :”Stars and Stripes”. Raffle tickets can be won through the Essential Art Card Contest or buy purchasing your chance online by making a $25.00 donation to Essential Art and entering your name and contact information. Mayor Bill Barnett will announce the winning raffle ticket on April 24th at Earth Day at the Conservancy. Proceeds go to the Immokalee Friendship House.

April 7, 2004 marks a milestone for the Ally Foundation and all involved in the signing into law “The Ally Zapp” Bill. This law expands the list of offenses that allow the state to civilly commit crimonals and hopes to close certain loopholes in our legal system and disallows repeat offenders from being released from incarceration without proper rehabilitation. If such a law had been in existence, the man who murdered Ally would not have been released from custody after his first or second offense and Ally might still be alive today. We have only just begun and hope to see these laws implemented nationally.

Michelle designed cards for “The Garden of Hope and Courage” that were used recently during the Third Street Music Festival on April 4, 2004 to raise money for the actual garden to be built outside Naples Community Hospital. The garden is built in memory of loved ones that died of breast cancer but hopes to provide an uplifting and beautiful respite for hopital patients (and staff) in the future. Until there is a cure, there is hope for one.

Also, meet Michelle on April 2, 2004 at Gallery Victoria and see her piece entitled, “Red Eye to New Horizons” in a competition.. It is located on 5th Avenue North, Naples, FL. 35 artists work have been selected from communities around the state as “Outstanding Artists of Florida”. You will have an opportunity to vote for your favorite.

Michelle produced TV and radio commercials for the Immokalee Friendship House as well as a detailed webpage. Thanks to the professionalism of Peter Thomas who provided voice overs through NEVCO, Peter Iberseder on camera, NBC, ABC, FOX, WB, and Waterman Broadcasting and Beasley Broadcasting.

There is currently a card contest in the Naples community to promote the Friendship House and the Conservancy. Grand prize announced on April 24 2005 at Earth Day at the Conservancy.
A smile, a wave, a card to show you care…these are three simple elements that bring a community together and turn neighbors into friends. Essential Art hopes to be the bridge that joins our community businesses with our community causes. If we cease to grow, we cease to live. As we grow, however, we must ensure our community grows in a humane direction with careful consideration to all of its residents as well as its resources. It is the little things that make all the difference.

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