Southwest Florida Music Education Center (SWFLMEC) marked the debut of its newly renovated, state-of-the-art facility in Naples with a grand opening celebration punctuated by performances and speeches from their talented students.
Held Nov. 7, the ribbon-cutting event attracted dozens of supporters, educators, musicians and families to SWFLMEC’s Artis-Naples campus, the new home for SWFLMEC until its permanent campus opens in 2024. The center includes specially designed classrooms, practice rooms and informal performance spaces. The entire space is designed to reduce anxiety and enhance wellness through material selection, natural sunlight and nontoxic furnishings.
“This center is the first of its kind in the world and provides post-secondary music education to neurodivergent young adults,” said Rob Moher, SWFLMEC’s founder and board chair. “This is not where the journey ends; it’s the beginning. We’re really excited about the future and know we’re going to touch a lot of lives.”
SWFLMEC provides first-of-its-kind post-secondary music certificate classes focusing on core areas of musical skill development for students who learn differently than their typical peers. The first students in the 2- and 4-year music certificate programs, a collaboration with Berklee Institute for Accessible Arts Education (BIAAE), began taking classes in September in the Toni Stabile Education Building located at Artis-Naples. Together, with music instructors who have been trained by BIAAE experts, SWFLMEC students are building a path toward independence, inclusion and employment.
Attendees at the grand opening celebration were treated to a student vocalist’s awe-inspiring rendition of Frank Sinatra’s “You Make Me Feel So Young,” followed by a student pianist’s captivating performance of “Somewhere over the Rainbow.”
“Guests were able to experience what we enjoy every day – students who are incredibly talented and are blossoming under the direction of our instructors and program directors,” said SWFLMEC Executive Director Jennifer Clark. “The grand opening of our short-term facility is yet another milestone for our organization as we transform lives through music education.”
SWFLMEC recently acquired a 43,097-square-foot building on 5.8 acres for its future permanent campus in Naples. The building will house practice rooms, classrooms, a recording studio, practice performance stage and administrative space, eventually accommodating up to 50 full-time students starting in 2024. Future construction phases include the addition of a student dormitory, performance site and additional program space.
For more information or to support SWFLMEC, please visit SWFLmusic.org.
About the Southwest Florida Music Education Center
The Southwest Florida Music Education Center is a not-for-profit organization serving neurodivergent young adults with a strong interest in music. Based in Naples, Florida, its mission is to create a world-class music education center where neurodivergent students who have a strong interest in music and low to moderate support needs receive education in music and life skills, preparing them for meaningful growth opportunities that enrich their lives and the community. For more information, visit SWFLmusic.org.