What’s in a Name?

What’s in a Name?

It’s hard enough deciding where to go on vacation, but once that decision is made, then you need to decide where to stay. For most people, Florida means the beach, and the closer you can get to it, the better.

Choose the Inn at the Beach, and the name alone shows you’ve reached your goal.  Venice beach is waiting, just steps from your hotel door, for a morning stroll, an afternoon of sunbathing, or a last look at the sunset.

Yet it’s not just all about location, location. Past guests have shared descriptions such as “impeccably maintained,” “manicured grounds,” and “extremely attentive staff.” Large enough to offer a variety of room styles and small enough to provide personalized attention, the Inn at the Beach can accommodate every kind of vacationer. You can begin with a complimentary continental breakfast, then later just lounge by the heated pool, or you can step out to West Venice Avenue and stroll to Venice’s many shops and restaurants. 

With the Inn at the Beach’s central location on Venice island, guests have easy access to golf courses, bike trails, tennis courts, and boating. In the evening there are other decisions to make, such as whether to choose a performance at Venice Theatre, one of the largest community theaters in the country, or perhaps an exhibit or jazz concert at Venice Art Center.

Whether it’s equipping you with something as simple as a beach chair, or providing accommodations for a 19 member reunion, the friendly staff of the Inn at the Beach has done it all. As Pat Peterson from Massachusetts says, “It’s like visiting family!”

Venice MainStreet Inc. Establishes Endowment Fund

Venice MainStreet Inc. Establishes Endowment Fund

Venice MainStreet, Inc. Board of Directors, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, is pleased to announce, it has established an endowment fund through the Gulf Coast Community Foundation. The purpose of this fund is to support future community projects that enhance the Venice Community and ensure Venice MainStreet thrives for decades to come.

Those contributing to Venice MainStreet Endowment Fund are not only enhancing the experience of the community today but also nurturing the hopes and ambitions of generations to come. Through activities such as public art projects, beautification, historic preservation and social experiences, Venice will remain a thriving place for business and have an even stronger sense of community. John and his daughter, Ali Hinshaw of H&H Signs made the first contribution to the fund, “to show our commitment to the beautification and community happiness of our special place on earth.”

“Gulf Coast Community Foundation is a strong believer in a vibrant Venice downtown,” said Dr. Mark S. Pritchett, President and CEO of Gulf Coast Community Foundation. “We applaud Venice MainStreet Inc. for starting this endowment and for donors like the Hinshaws for generously supporting it. Together, we will work to create a bright future for downtown Venice.”

The Venice MainStreet Board of Directors is committed to accountability and transparency for the protection of every community investment. Significant steps have been taken to ensure the safety of these investments and multiple board actions are required to withdraw any endowed funds.

A donation also enables this 31-year-old community organization to weather the inevitable ups and downs of the broader economy. For more information, contact Venice MainStreet CEO, Erin Silk at 941-484-6722 or Erin@venicemainstreet.com.

Venice MainStreet’s Look Ahead for October

Venice MainStreet’s Look Ahead for October

Venice MainStreet has been creating events to help support local businesses over the summer and it isn’t slowing down in October. The spooky month kicks off with Octoberfest: Venice Style, October 4th 5-8pm.

“Residents and visitors love our Wine Walks and we knew we wanted to add another event to bring people downtown in October, so we developed Octoberfest: Venice Style,” Said Erin Silk, CEO of Venice MainStreet “Participating businesses will be serving 3 ounce samples of more than 20 varieties of brews and restaurants will be having specials and deals exclusive to the participants.”

The Octoberfest will run much like the very popular downtown wine walks. For $10, participants will receive a specialty sampling mug and a map that shows all of the participating businesses. They’ll be able to spend the evening sampling and shopping throughout downtown. The event will be limited to 2,000 participants said Silk. “You can purchase your tickets early at visitvenicefl.org/store or the day-of downtown. We’re asking our community to come out and support our local merchants by shopping and eating in some of the most wonderful stores and restaurants in Florida.”

The 2nd Annual Masquerade Ball will be held on October 27th starting at 9 p.m. at Made in Italy. This is a fundraiser for Venice MainStreet. and, if it’s anything like last year, it should be a great time. There will be live music and raffles. Participants are encouraged to dress in their best Masquerade costume. Admission is free.

The month finishes out with the Downtown’s Halloween Trick or Treat event. Thousands of ghouls, goblins and monsters will descend upon Venice on the hunt for candy. The event will see some minor changes due to the downtown Beautification Project but children will still be able to go Trick or Treating throughout the Downtown businesses on October 31st. For more information on events, go to visitvenicefl.org or find Venice MainStreet on Facebook. See you on the Avenues.

30TH Anniversary for MainStreet Inc.

30TH Anniversary for MainStreet Inc.

Venice MainStreet Inc., a volunteer driven 501(c)3 non-profit organization, celebrated its 30th anniversary as an accredited Main Street Program during the Secretary of State Awards Banquet at the Florida Main Street Annual Conference, held at Vero Beach, Fla., July 31.

Venice MainStreet was founded in May of 1987 by the Downtown Venice Association and accredited by the Florida and National Main Street organizations in 1988. Out of the 50 Florida Main Street organizations, Venice is one of the oldest.

“This is only possible due to the efforts of thousands of volunteers of three decades,” said Erin Silk, CEO of VMS Inc. “We’re also grateful to our community and business partners for contributing. They allow us to continue to do what we love to do, and that’s support the amazing city of Venice.”

The organization works in historic preservation, beautification, promotion and economic revitalization of Historic Downtown Venice, Florida.

“We’re excited to see what the next 30 years holds for Venice and Venice MainStreet.,” Silk stated.

“Made up of small towns, mid-sized communities, and urban commercial districts, the thousands of organizations, individuals, volunteers, and local leaders that make up Main Street America™ represent the broad diversity that makes this country so unique. Working together, the Main Street America Network helps to breathe new life into the places people call home,” according to www.mainstreet.org.

Each Brushstroke is a Decision

Each Brushstroke is a Decision

By: Marty Damon

Acclaimed Venice painter Mary Erickson could likely still produce the wedding cake of your dreams, but having just completed her 5,004th painting, she’d have trouble finding the time. It’s been an eclectic journey for Mary, from business school student to pastry chef to learning the ropes behind an art gallery counter, but each step formed the foundation for her successful thirty-year career.

Mary made her first sale at the age of 13, but was unable to attend art school, a circumstance she says proved to be, “The best thing that never happened to me.” Instead, she took business courses and worked as a pastry chef through her twenties. During these years she learned how to manage a business effectively and to deal with the fiscal responsibilities it entails, skills that proved invaluable as her career took off.

Mary continued building her knowledge after moving to Venice in 1986, where she was employed in a local gallery, and learned framing, marketing, and built her contacts in the art world. For years she carried her easel to the beach to fit in a few hours of painting before and after work until one day she brought a watercolor she’d just finished into the gallery. It sold that day. She brought in another one the next day and it sold as well. Seven years after she’d arrived in Venice, she began painting full time and now her work is a fixture in galleries in Charlotte, NC; Charleston, SC; St. Simons Island, GA; Naples, FL; Sarasota, FL; and Newport, RI.

Mary’s Venice paintings usually get their start on Casperson beach, one of her favorite places to paint because of its unspoiled beauty. You’ll find her there at sunrise, catching the cast of the light and the mood of a scene. She may produce a finished plein air piece, or carry a study back to her studio for further work. Ultimately, her goal is to bring her viewer into the painting to imagine the wind, the sun, and the sounds of that moment for themselves.
Mary’s reverence for nature is evident in her work, but also the groups to which she belongs. She is a founding member of the Southern Plein Air Artists, a juried member of Artists for Conservation and the Society of Animal Artists, the American Society of Marine Artists, and artists’ organizations dedicated to recording the southern landscape. In fact, every Mary Erickson print edition includes a special edition of 100 prints used exclusively to raise funds for conservation, preservation, and educational organizations throughout the USA.

As a world traveler, mentor, and ardent conservationist, Mary carries her passion for art and nature with her from Maine to Florida. After enjoying the winter at her studio on Venice Island, she’s on the road.

This spring her first stop will be France, where she will follow in the tradition of earlier plein air painters by gathering field studies to use as the basis of larger works. In the summer she’ll return to Port Clyde, Maine where she rents a large house and opens it to other artists for days of painting and evenings of art discussions.

With fall she plans to return to Europe, this time for the scenery of Italy, and in November she’ll be back to settle into her studio in Marshville, NC, where her 39 acre home will be one day become an artist retreat and bird sanctuary.

Visit www.HighRidgeGardens.org for more information.