Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

Southwest Florida Music Education Center celebrates grand opening

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.

Related Posts

Dr. Teresa Taylor

Dr. Teresa Taylor

Consulting Director of Mental Health

In her role as consulting director of mental health, Dr. Teresa Herrero Taylor will provide behavioral and program support to student musicians and staff. Born and raised in Boca Raton, FL, Taylor has practiced as a licensed psychologist and doctoral-level board certified behavior analyst for over 15 years, conducting evaluations and providing individual, group and/or family intervention and therapy working with both children and adults with anxiety, depression, ADHD, executive functioning weaknesses, autism spectrum disorder, social skills weaknesses, behavioral difficulties at home or school, and/or other life adjustment needs. An experienced, independent, motivational leader, she is passionate about mission-driven work and is excited about empowering neurodivergent young adults to be at the center of change through music and the arts. She has been an adjunct assistant professor in the Graduate Psychology Department at Rider University for the past nine years and has worked in New Jersey public education for more than 20 years, overseeing behavioral, social skills, and mental health assessment, intervention, and programming across multiple school districts as a director of special services.