Marvin Gralnick will discuss his "Urban Primalism" collection during a presentation of his innovative, creative process. Photo provided
Marvin Gralnick will discuss his "Urban Primalism" collection during a presentation of his innovative, creative process. Photo provided

By offering several events in one potent weekend that fuse live art, film, fashion, stand-up comedy, and theatre with eclectic & invigorating live music – not to mention nature walks and cutting-edge healing modalities, Rio Damian Gralnick is hosting the first Art Haus Marvin onJan 11-13.

With a portion of proceeds from ticket sales and a live art auction benefitting the Sanibel-CaptivaConservation Foundation’s (SCCF) Marine Lab and Sante, a healing center in Guatemala, Art Haus Marvin is intended to bridge philanthropy, creativity and healing.

For his inaugural session of festivities, Rio chose clean waters as the intentional focus.

I felt inspired to bring my healing modalities and collective of artists and musicians back to the islands where I grew up to bring awareness to the red tide/blue-green algae situation,” says Rio, who hosts intentional retreats and events in Boulder, Colo., where he runs a healing center called, Let It Be Light.

With the larger vision of hosting Art Haus quarterly at select venues on Sanibel, Captiva and Fort Myers and ultimately opening a contemporary art museum, he’s hosting his first Art Haus at his family’s home and foundation headquarters off Bromley Lane in South Fort Myers.

Rio’s ultimate aim sounds wildly ambitious, until you consider his upbringing and sources of inspiration.

Art Haus is on track to manifest a contemporary art museum on the islands. It is my intention to create a place where art can be appreciated by all people visiting the area,” says Rio, 44, son of Helene and Marvin Gralnick, the visionary founders of Chico’s.

His parents are widely known for their amazing entrepreneurial spirit in creating Chico’s, which originated on Sanibel in 1983 with an 800-foot store. Built out of necessity and driven by an innate sense of belief in themselves, the couple’s business concept came from their time living in Guadalajara, Mexico, where they met and Rio was born.

As their vision of a small store with Mexican folk art transformed into a fashion phenomenon, their success at manifestation fueled Rio to become the creative, compassionate and healing genius that he is. Chico’s had grown to 909 stores nationwide by 2006 when his parents left the company and created the Gralnick Foundation.

We all designed for Chico’s. It was a beautiful thing. We made casual cotton clothing that made people feel comfortable. I recall infusing intentional art into my designs at Chico’s,” he says, relating fashion to healing, which became his primary focus when his mom was diagnosed with cancer in 2012.

It was the day before her scheduled procedure…the most amazing, beautiful woman I have ever known was faced with the decision of lifetime. The plan was a full hysterectomy, instead we shifted gears and went on the healing path by focusing on a raw food diet and intensive light work. Six weeks later the cancer was gone,” he says. “That was the moment that Let It Be Light was born.”

That’s why infusing healing modalities are Rio’s life work and essential to the Art Haus vision.

The healing sanctuary will be open all weekend to enjoy a massage, reiki, or one of our truly amazing healing devices such as the Lucia No.3 and the Miracle quantum sound therapy. These TESLA modalities, in conjunction with body work allow you to experience an awakening and release that which no longer serves you,” says Rio, who specializes in transformation through light work.

Having hosted more than 100 intentional gatherings all over the world, his work goes beyond healing to the curation of humanity and art in all its forms.

I essentially create human collages of spirits that cohere for a synergistic purpose through my intentional gatherings. Everyone finds their place where they are truly the most authentic expression of themselves,” says Rio.

His father Marvin’s unique talent for channeling magic in layers of collage and paint, in coherence with the late Bob Rauschenberg’s innovative fabrication that he inherited, will also be celebrated.

Marvin is carrying on Bob’s lineage and wizardry with the art he is creating,” says Rio. Knowing Rauschenberg’s love of community and some of the gatherings he himself hosted back in the day on Captiva, he would be thrilled that Rio is breaking ground with the Art Haus concept.

Now 84, Marvin has created a truly remarkable body of work known as “Urban Primalism” at his Gypsy Cowboy Ranch in Fort Myers.

I would like to honor my father for the visionary that he is and hold space for the community to experience his work in its fullness and a rare opportunity to own a piece of the collection,” says Rio.

As with Marvin’s art, which pushes beyond boundaries, so to is the line-up for Art Haus, which is nothing short of an epic creative endeavor. Friday and Saturday night feature hors d’oeuvres and drinks served poolside as well as visits to the healing sanctuary and inspired art walks through the cypress preserve.

Friday night lights up with a retrospective of Marvin’s art, featured in a film by Southwest Florida’s own John Biffar of DreamTime Entertainment, who will also screen his most recent film “Troubled Paradise,” about our region’s water woes. Other highlights include stand-up comedy by Norma Miller, ethereal harp by Xerephine Musica, Emmy-award-winning flautist Kat Epple and special guest Bob Cacioppo as auctioneer. Both evenings culminate with live art auctions to benefit SCCF and Sante.

Saturday begins with an art walk through the on-site nature preserve and sculpture gardens that includes a magical cacao ceremony with Brittany Ansay, Rio’s partner and mother of their 4-month-old baby Ada Grace. An exploration of the “Urban Primalist’s collection allows first-hand experience of the fabrication and creation of Marvin’s process.

The spectacle of the affair is our couture fashion show featuring a collaboration of work between Marvin, Helene, Mariapia Malerba and myself that embodies our true connection to nature,” he adds.

Sunday features a day of next-level healing provided by Let it Be Light, followed by an awareness panel to discuss new developments within the CommUnity at Sante and SCCF. Rio is also proud to be an ambassador with the WPMP, a global network of artists representing 181 countries at the UN along with Tiite Baquero, one of the panelists. The panel will discuss strategies for healing our waters and the creation of intentional communities. A light brunch with Captiva Kambucha and QiGong will close out the event.

Art Haus Marvin is a celebration of life, love, family, friends, community, and transformation. Join us as we raise FUNds to clean our water, heal our planet and experience raw art,” says Rio.

Tickets range from $30 to $60. A weekend VIP pass to all events is $111. RSVP at arthaus.splashthat.com. You can also share the event via Facebook.