Like so many components of Bradenton’s downtown district, The Friendly City’s creative community is booming. Less than a mile south from beautiful Riverwalk, bustling Old Main Street and the “Pink Palace” hotel recently reborn as a Hampton Inn, you’ll find the Village of the Arts. An artist colony of mostly restored 1920s and ‘30s bungalows, The Village is home to everything from an eclectic array of galleries to fine-dining destinations to an internationally-circulated blues music publication.
The Artists Guild of Manatee was formed in 1999 to establish the Village as a neighborhood where artists live and work. Today, the 25-block area of downtown Bradenton is considered the Florida’s largest artist colony. The Village is continuing to grow, perhaps at a more rapid rate than at any period in its history.
Motorworks Brewing, a full-production craft beer brewery, is expected to open, at least its taproom and for test batches, as early as next month. Darwin Brewing Co., the offshoot of Sarasota brewpub Darwin's on 4th, is renovating the former Bradenton Press building on the eastern border of The Village close to McKechnie Field. Darwin hopes to open in time for baseball spring training in 2014.
Smaller players continue to join the neighborhood, too. For instance, a funky sign outside a house on 12th Street West, in the heart of The Village, announces Jerk Dog Records is “coming soon.” The shop will specialize in 7-inch records by garage-punk bands.
“There are always new things to see,” says Amara Nash, president of The Artists Guild of Manatee County, which continues to oversee the Village of Arts. “We have three brand new galleries, everything from art to suit anybody’s style to baked goods to refurbished furniture; so it isn’t always the traditional art that you think of here.”
Most of the stores in The Village are open Fridays and Saturdays during season, especially for the ArtWalks held the first Friday night and Saturday of each month, with some also operating the rest of the week. A few establishments are appointment only. We have included contact information – it is always smart to call ahead – for each business in our Village of the Arts Guide.
10th Avenue West Studios: This is where gallery owner and artist Kevin Webb displays his bright, singular works in copper and synthetic pigments, as well as furniture. 1102 10th Ave. W., 744-7484, 10thavenuewest.com.
12th Street West Gallery: Sally and Don Anderson Cosgrove are new to The Village and say they’re excited to be living in the neighborhood. Sally does impressionistic, colorful Florida paintings and cards. 1221 12th St. W., 993-3281.
Arte Coyoacano: Owner Alfredo Garcia works in stone and plaster of paris for his masks and paints in oils on wood, with many of his creations biblical in nature. 1023B 12th St. W., 536-1411.
Artistic Eye Gallery & Picture Framing: Slade Nash, husband of Amara Nash, the Artists Guild of Manatee County’s president, is the man to see for enhancing your artwork, preserving your family photos and entrusting other treasures. He’s available by appointment only. 1005 12th Ave. W., 527-6140.
Arts & Eats Restaurant and Gallery: Arts and Eats, along with Ortygia Ristorante, are two of the best restaurants in Bradenton and both can be found a short walk apart in The Village. Chef Jim Copening excels at gourmet lunches, dinners celebrating global cuisines and homemade desserts such as his delightfully decadent chocolate almond truffles. Donna Slawsky, Jim's wife, is curator of the gallery and an artist specializing in broken-dish mosaics. 1114 12th St. W., 201-6647, artsandeatsfl.com.
Baobab Tree Gallery & Studio: “This year as in other years, whimsy, well considered, atypical, portrays the collection,” say gallery owners Christine and Gordon Turner. 1113 12th S. W., 447-3795.
Bits & Pieces: Owned by Linda Bronkema, Bits & Pieces is full of fiber-art, home decorations and many traditional and distinctive art-quilts, which cover the walls in five rooms of this gallery/shop/studio occupying a house built in 1913. 1303 13th Ave. W., 744-2487, bitsandpieceslindab.com.
Blues Music Magazine: Blues Music Magazine, which features Ruthie Foster on the cover of its current issue that went out to subscribers around the world, is published by MojoWax Media Inc. Jack Sullivan, a prominent figure in the blues music scene, relocated his headquarters from California to The Village in 2011. Blues Music Magazine is one of the major sponsors of the Bradenton Blues Festival, which returns to Riverwalk on Dec. 7. 1011 11th Ave. W., 866-702-7778, bluesmusicmagazine.com
Bonni Bakes: Don’t let the “for rent” sign out front fool you. Bonni Brown is still in business, baking out of her self-designed home “The TreeHouse” located in the back of the property. She sells these tasty baked goods through her website and on the street during ArtWalks and other special events (see Upcoming Events). 932 12th St. W., 746-6647, bonnibakesbrooklyn.blogspot.com.
Charisma Cafe Teahouse: A popular rental spot for baby and bridal showers, birthday celebrations and wedding rehearsal gatherings, Charisma Cafe is also open sans reservation 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturdays and during ArtWalks. Owner Kim Hoffman says her “teahouse is a perfect place to let your inner artistic, sophisticated and playful sides mingle.” 1004 10th Ave. W., 748-8203, charismacafeteahouse.com.
Clay in the Garden: Artist Jo-Ellen Gorris creates fanciful, three-dimensional clay characters that populate her gardens and studio with demonstrations ongoing during ArtWalks.1011 12th Ave. W, 747-6405
Cigam House of Magic / Cross Stitch Magic / Tea Nook / Music Music: The house at 1222 12th St. W. is where you find all four of these distinctive shops. Cigam House of Magic is for beginners as well as accomplished magicians, featuring a large selection of magic tricks and DVDs plus a free mini-lesson with every purchase. Cross Stitch Magic is where owner Glenda Tietjen tries to “carry only those things that you can't get at your local generic craft store (such as) hard to find patterns, specialty threads, and fabric in a whole rainbow of colors, not just white or ivory.” Within Cross Stitch Magic is The Tea Nook, which carries only full leaf tea from the Republic of Tea as well as tea accessories and teapots. Music Music is billed as Bradenton’s oldest teaching store, specializing in music education since 1977. It also sells, rents and repairs instruments. 1222 12th St. W.; Magic, Cross Stitch, and Tea: 746-4163; Music: 746-3200; youcandoit.me.
Dancing Crane Gallery: Art includes paintings, prints, sculpture, wood art, collage and ceramics with local and national artist exhibits, often with the spotlight on one featured artist or a themed exhibition. 1019 10th Ave W., 744.1333, dancing-crane.com.
Darwin Brewing Co.: The offshoot of Sarasota brewpub Darwin's on 4th, this production brewery is renovating the former Bradenton Press building on the eastern border of The Village and hopes to open in time for baseball spring training in 2014. Get the latest updates on Darwin Brewing Co. at ticketsarasota.com/tag/beer-geek 803 17th Ave. W., 343-2165; facebook.com/DarwinBrewingCompany.
Divine Excess: Along with owner Zoe Von Averkamp’s folk art shrines and altars, the gallery features works by Florida’s top folk artists. There is also an eclectic mix of works by local and regional artists including garden art, digital art, art to wear and mixed media assemblages with found objects. 1125 12th St. W., 747-1320.
East and West Health Center: “I use ancient healing methods such acupuncture, herbal formulations, essential oils, food therapy and tuina/acupressure massage to support your healing system and help build your inner resources,” says owner Martha Kokajko. 1216 13th Ave., 744-9770.
Hearts Desire: The jewelry is created by owner Vicki Rollo using semi-precious stones, fresh water pearls, Bali silver and beads from around the world. Hearts Desire also features an array of affordable women's fashions and accessories, including purses made entirely of recycled tabs from soda cans. Ceramics, paintings, fused glass, metal work and wall clocks from local and national artists adorn the walls.
1221 12th St. W., 302-1069, heartsdesirefl.com
Jerk Dog Records: Douglas Holland, a longtime Village resident and supporter of the local music scene, plans to have Jerk Dog Records open by the middle of February. The shop’s focus will be garage-punk “in all its forms, and my format of choice will be 7-inch records,” Holland says. “I will also have some new LPs and some used records and some CDs but 7-inch records will be my focus.” Holland also plans to carry magazines that follow the garage-punk scene.
1119 12th St. W., 748-8671.
Joan Peters Studio: Paris-born painter, Joan Peters, opened her studio/ gallery in 2001 to displays her own works as well as hosting other local artists' talents such as "The Hugh T. Williams Experience," a celebration of the blues in paintings and music. The exhibition opens Dec. 6 and runs until the end of December. 1210 11th Ave. W., 365-9960, joanpetersgallery.com.
Little Swamp Gallery Co-op: Featuring the works of 13 different artists, this is where you will find slumped glass, original paintings, jewelry, pottery, photography, sculptures, decorative birdhouses, ocarinas, poetry, magnets, greeting cards and more. 1105 12th St. W., 746-0055
Manatee County Cultural Alliance: Found at the northern entrance to the Village of the Arts, Manatee County Cultural Alliance aims to: “Promote and enhance cultural awareness in Manatee County by providing educational opportunities, presenting events, and providing information and referrals to artist and arts organizations.”
926 12th St. W., 746-2223, manateearts.org
Motorworks Brewing: This full-production craft beer brewery is expected to open, at least its taproom and for test batches, as early as next month. It’s a 27,000-square-foot building housing a custom-built brewery and distribution facility plus a 3,500 square-foot taproom and bar, an outdoor patio and 12,000 square-foot beer garden providing an added venue for the brewery’s planned live music and entertainment. Packaged sales and brewery merchandise will also be offered. Get the latest updates on Motorworks at ticketsarasota.com/tag/beer-geek.1014 9th St. W., 896-9892, motorworksbrewing.com.
The Once Over Twice: This new addition to The Village – first day was Oct. 4 – features functional and sculptural objects made from recycled and repurposed materials. 1015 12th St. W., 254-7853, facebook.com/theonceovertwice.
Ortygia Ristorante: One of the most acclaimed chefs in the Bradenton area and beyond, Gaetano Cannata specializes in Monzu cuisine, a hybrid of Sicilian and French cooking that dates back to the days of Napoleon Bonaparte. Cannata also creates many other expertly prepared fresh foods at Ortygia, aA cozy setting with indoor and garden seating, which heOrtygia has operated since 2007. 1418 13th St. W., 741-8646, ortygiarestaurant.com.
Retrobaked: Rachel Sokolewicz’s home-based bakery recreates those nostalgic sweets of the past, but with updated flavors and high-quality, allergy-friendly ingredients. From scratch-made cupcakes to seasonal desserts, all of her baked goods are free of gluten, dairy and eggs. 933 12th St. W., 713-3051, retrobaked.com.
Rose-Giles Studio: Jamaica-born Herbie Rose, the honorary mayor of The Village and one of its earliest and most important artists and proponents, is internationally known for his vibrant watercolors. Rose’s paintings and prints are part of collections throughout the United States, Canada and Europe, and were used to promote Jamaica during the Summer Games 1992 in Barcelona. Graciela Giles, a native of Argentina, displays her powerful and evocative watercolors alongside her husband’s. 923 13th St. W., 746-4469, herbierose.com, gracielagiles.com.
Still Life in G Gallery: See owner and self-taught artist Deborah McKeever’s “Cornellian inspired boxes” together with papier-mâché by The Oiseaux Sisters, outsider art by Ruby Williams and jewelry by The 3 Sisters. 1014 12th St. W., 932-1336.
VI Oaks Gallery: Musician, artist and writer Karen Klosky favors portraiture and people but also creates landscapes, still life, and abstracts. Karen’s private gallery has also been a long-standing venue for jam sessions featuring local musicians.
1110 15th Ave. W., 747-0093, karenklosky.com
The Village Mystic: Aiming to create an environment of inspiration and joy, The Village Mystic features resources on conscious living and wellness, with products and classes designed to enhance well-being, personal growth and spiritual awakening. 1017 12th Ave. W., 744-2424, thevillagemystic.com.
Village Sharpening: Get your edge back! This shop on 14th Avenue West sharpens kitchen cutlery, sewing and household scissors, straight razors, human and pet clippers, garden tools, hand tools and more.
1111 14th Ave. W., 524-6299, villagesharpening.com
Village Voices & Eclectic Art Emporium: Originally conceived as a book gallery, it now also features original arts and crafts as well as unusual finds. All of Village Voices’ books are by authors living in Florida. 1010 10 Ave. W., 748-6865, villagevoicesgallery.com.
Wildflower Studio: Owned by Debi Bonine, Wildflower Studio original oil pastel and acrylic paintings, offers art demonstrations during ArtWalks and provides art lessons to youth ages 6 and older by appointment.1205 14th Ave. W., 896-3581.
Yoga Arts: Preston Whaley Jr., an RYT 500-certified yoga teacher and therapist, offers yoga classes and yoga therapy, holding yoga classes and individual yoga therapy sessions.
1122 12th St. W., 747-9397, yoga-arts.net/.
Olde Fashioned Village Christmas: The 13th annual Lighting of the Village will be 6 p.m. Friday, December 6, with Village artists displaying their latest creations for your holiday shopping pleasure through Saturday, December 7. There will also be an appearance by Santa, carolers, a strolling barbershop quartet and more to get you in the yuletide mood.-
6-9:30 p.m. December 6 and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. December 7.
ArtWalk: These events are the first weekend of every month: 6-9:30 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday.
Village of the Arts
1113 12th St. W., Bradenton; 747-8056; villageofthearts.com.