New MainStreet Business Partner Artisan SignMasters: A Full Service Sign Company

New MainStreet Business Partner Artisan SignMasters: A Full Service Sign Company

Artisan SignMasters, a division of Lykins Signtek, is a one-stop shop for all your signage needs, servicing the local community in Nokomis, Venice, Siesta Key, and Sarasota County for more than 30 years. From simple vinyl lettering and graphics, including vehicle wraps to ADA signage to full-size monument signs, they do it all.

Most recently, Artisan SignMasters has expanded its product offerings to include electrical signs, pylon signs, street signs, and residential and commercial mailboxes. Artisan SignMasters is located at 580 Central Avenue, Nokomis; 941-484-9169; Hours of operation—Monday-Thursday 8-4 and Friday 8-4:30. For more information visit lykins-signtek.com.

Suncoast View Spotlights Venice Shops: Artisans, Eyes on You, and Laurie Jean and Company

Suncoast View Spotlights Venice Shops: Artisans, Eyes on You, and Laurie Jean and Company

This month (air date March 13, 2020) Venice MainStreet showcased three businesses in the downtown area on Suncoast View—Artisans, Eyes on You, and Laurie Jean and Company. Click here for video of Kara Morgan, CEO of Venice MainStreet with ABC7 hosts Linda Carson and Joey Panek.

Artisans specializes in fashionable and unique jewelry, artwork, and a variety of home décor and gifts, including works by local artists, that bring beauty to you and your home. The store carries Pandora jewelry, Alex and Ani jewelry, Marahlago Larimar, and Frogman Bronzes. Its extensive Pandora collection features charms, bracelets, rings, ear rings, and necklaces. And special to Venice, the store carries engraved sharks tooth charms in three separate designs. Located at 203 West Venice Avenue; 941-488-8666; Hours of operation—Monday-Wednesday 10-6, Thursday-Saturday 10-9, and Sunday 11-6. 

Eyes on You offers an amazing selection of high-quality designer eyewear and prescription glasses for men and women to match your facial shape and personality. It prides itself on exceptional customer service, providing a customized, individually personalized approach to eyewear selection. Beyond eyewear, the boutique carries exquisitely crafted lingerie lines for women of all sizes and shapes that offer the ultimate in comfort, support, and style. And expert custom bra fittings ensure you have the support you need in all the right places. Located at 140 West Venice Avenue; 941-244-9054; Hours of operation—Monday-Friday 11-5 and Saturday 11-2.

Laurie Jean and Company, a classical coastal boutique, specializes in all things nautical. The shop offers a wide selection of women’s apparel, jewelry, and accessories as well as nautical home décor and gifts. It also sells 4ocean bracelets, made from at least 90 percent post-consumer recycled material. For each bracelet purchased, one pound of trash is removed from the ocean and coastlines. New to the boutique is jewelry made from Venice sand. Located at 219 Miami Avenue; 941-800-4828; Hours of operation—Monday-Saturday 10-6 and Sunday 11-5.

Cleaning Out Your Pantry: Think Food Bank

Cleaning Out Your Pantry: Think Food Bank

As spring cleaning begins and the snowbirds prepare to head north, remember to gather up your unwanted non-perishable food items and drop them off at the local food bank. Any Goodwill location in Venice will accept food donations on behalf of All Faiths Food Bank. And if you can, support All Faith’s Campaign Against Summer Hunger.

In Sarasota County, nearly half of children participate in the free and reduced meal programs at school. So when school ends for the summer, many of these children are at risk of hunger. Last year, the campaign enabled the distribution of 3.3 million meals to more than 38,000 children.

Together we can make a real difference in ending hunger in our community. To learn more, contact All Faiths Food Bank at 941-379-6333 or log on to allfaithsfoodbank.org.

A Book Lover’s Event: Venice Book Fair and Writers Festival

A Book Lover’s Event: Venice Book Fair and Writers Festival

Bringing together the people who create books with the people who love to read them is at the heart of this two-day event. On Friday, March 20, 2020, an array of lectures and panel discussions will take place during the Writers Festival at the William H. Jervey, Jr. Venice Public Library from 10:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The festival is a special opportunity to chat with journalists, publishers, and authors, including a Pulitzer Prize-winning author.

Festival Schedule Overview- March 20th 
10:30-11:30 Writing about Family with Alex Marzano-Lesnevich, Writer-in-Residence at the Hermitage Artist Retreat.

1:30-2:30 Raising a Writer: A Conversation with a Pulitzer Prize-winning Journalist and Her Author-Mom. Lane DeGregory, a Pulitzer Prize recipient, and her mother, Clarissa Thomasson, will offer insights on raising readers, kids who write, write well and win awards. Maria Carrillo, Deputy Editor of the Tampa Bay Times, will moderate.

3:00-4:00 How to Turn Your Expertise into a Book, panel discussion moderated by Venice High School teacher, Beth Donofrio. Panel members include Craig Faulkner and Ray Sinibaldi, authors of 61 Motivational Stories for Every Coach of Every Sport, along with Dr. Christopher Cortman, author of Your Mind: An Owner’s Manual for a Better Life.

4:30-5:30 So, You Wanna Write a Book? is a panel discussion on finding and maximizing literary representation, editing, publicizing, marketing, and selling your book. Panel members include Turtle Tales author Kim Cool, Shark Fin Soup author Susan Klaus, literary agent Amanda Leuck, and Venice Books-A-Million store manager Myra Turley. Camille Cline, Literary Spa Editor, will moderate.

Registration is required for the Writers Festival and should be done via the book fair website, venicebookfair.com. A donation of $25 is requested to attend and must be made via the website.

Book Fair- March 21st
The Writers Festival will be followed by a book fair on Saturday, March 21 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Monty Andrews Arboretum in West Blalock Park. The book fair, which is free to the public, will feature more than 50 authors and vendors to satisfy all your literary interests. You will be delighted with the variety of genres from children’s literature to science fiction. Authors of every genre are looking forward to chatting with you and your children.

Take a moment while visiting the many writers and educational vendors to enjoy the arboretum, home to more than 80 species of trees and palms identified with information signs, along with a Florida-friendly native shrub area, butterfly garden, and four life-size animal sculptures. Enjoy lunch in the park from one of the food trucks that will be parked on Nassau Street between Milan and Turin Streets.

Come celebrate the art of the written word at this fun, cultural, community event. All proceeds from the Book Fair and Writers Festival go to Venice Heritage, Inc., the 501c3 fundraising arm of two historic sites in Venice—the Lord-Higel House, currently under restoration, and the Venice Museum and Archives. For more information on this literary event, visit venicebookfair.com.

Get Inspired at Venice Art Walks and Venice Art Classic

Get Inspired at Venice Art Walks and Venice Art Classic

Venice Art Walks
Mark your calendar for these upcoming Venice Art Walks—Thursday, February 13, March 12, and April 9 from 5-8 p.m. These walks are special opportunities to explore our growing art district and engage with local artists. Each one is unique with different featured artists. Many of the galleries will have live music and refreshments. Hop on and off the free trolley, which starts at the Venice Art Center and will make a continuous loop between all the participating galleries. The participating galleries are:
MainStreet Partners
Art Escape Gallery, 206 Miami Avenue West
Clyde Butcher Venice Gallery, 237 Warfield Avenue
Collectors Gallery and Framery, 114 Nokomis Avenue South
Mary Erickson Art Studio, 216 Palermo Place
Piece By Piece Art Studio, 211 Nassau Avenue South
Schmidt Gallery at Century 21, 100 West Venice Avenue
Venice Art Center, 390 Nokomis Avenue South
Venice Island Gallery & Gifts, 100-A West Venice Avenue

Other participants include Final Touch Frame & Gallery, Nellie’s Notecards and Wilson’s Whimsies, Soos Jewelry Design, and Voila! Gallery. Art walk maps are available at Collectors Gallery and Framery. Leah Sherman, proprietor of Collectors Gallery and Framery, says “Venice Art Walks expose participants to the vast trove of creatives in our South Florida area. More than one gallery hosts classes that inspire you to grow your own distinctive style. All this and it is a fun, free activity after dark in Venice.” Make an evening of it and stop for dinner, drinks, or dessert at one of the many downtown restaurants.

Venice Art Classic
Downtown Venice will transform into an art-lover’s mecca during the 19th Annual Downtown Venice Art Classic, March 7-8, 2020 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. More than 200 artists will set up booths, gallery-style along West Venice Avenue. Visitors will enjoy strolling the avenue amidst life-size sculptures, spectacular paintings, one-of-a kind jewels, photography, ceramics, and more during this free, outdoor event. For information on these and other local events, go to visitvenicefl.org or contact Venice MainStreet at 941-484-6722.

Venice MainStreet Launched New Website Features

Venice MainStreet Launched New Website Features

Thanks to recent grant funding from VISIT FLORIDA and their Targeted Marketing Assistance Grant program, Venice MainStreet is excited to announce the launch of new features on our website. The grants are made available to 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporations that use marketing to promote tourism advantages of the State of Florida through advertising.  Venice MainStreet submitted the grant request for funds to update our popular website visitvenicefl.org. The grant awarded was $2,450.

These funds, plus matching funds from Venice MainStreet have created an online, interactive directory of our business partners, restaurants, parks, beaches, and parking in/near historic downtown Venice. The new directory utilizes Google Maps as an interactive platform for visitors and their mobile devices to explore easily and quickly where ever they chose to go. The ‘app-like’ feature is an aid to the large void in our community’s awareness of available parking. The funding also included the opportunity to update photography to match the beauty of our downtown.

We are so thankful to organizations like VISIT FLORIDA for funding projects like these. We strongly encourage you to visit our website either from home or on your mobile device while visiting historic downtown Venice and beyond.

Use SeeClickFix to help keep Venice beautiful

Use SeeClickFix to help keep Venice beautiful

The City of Venice makes it easy for residents to report issues and help keep Venice beautiful. Use SeeClickFix Venice Connect (click here for link) to request assistance with City of Venice services or to report problems such as potholes, roadside junk, broken sidewalks, storm drain issues, traffic signal/sign problems, code violations, etc. Users can also submit photos of the issue to assist City staff. Venice Connect will acknowledge newly submitted issues and forward them to the appropriate departments to take care of the requests. Users will receive email updates and can return to the site to check the status of submitted issues. When the issue is resolved, the issue will be closed.

SeeClickFix is also available as an app for iPhone and Android. Select Venice Connect from the app store on your device. For more information about this app contact Shirley Gibson at 941-882-7439 or go to venicegov.com.

Thank you, Nick Flerlage and Welcome, Ronnie Fernandez and 2020 Board!

Thank you, Nick Flerlage and Welcome, Ronnie Fernandez and 2020 Board!

Many thanks to Venice MainStreet’s outgoing 2019 Board President, Nick Flerlage! Nick served on all committees for MainStreet offering leadership and support. He devoted countless hours to our nonprofit organization and will continue to serve on the Board of Directors. Nick and his wife Beth are Realtors for The Flerlage Team for the RE/MAX Alliance Group.

We are excited to have Ronnie Fernandez as our new Venice MainStreet President for 2020! Ronnie is Assistant Bank Manager for CenterState Bank and works with his wife Tiffany at Venice Florida Tours, a business they started that offers walking tours of downtown Venice. Ronnie also serves the community as Board President of Venice Heritage, Inc. We look forward to his ideas and energy to support MainStreet’s mission to preserve, protect and promote historic downtown Venice.

2020 Board of Directors

Ronnie Fernandez, President
Sandra Di Pentima, Vice President
Patrick Carney, Secretary
Brad Patton, Treasurer
Andrew Britton
Kathy Crisman
Nick Flerlage
Jeannie Gomes
Rod Nafziger
Bill Willson

Exploring Venice’s Historic Heritage

Exploring Venice’s Historic Heritage

Photo above courtesy of Venice Florida Tours

What better way to start the new year than learning about the rich history of the Venice area. With all the activities and programs sponsored by Venice’s three local historical organizations—Venice Museum & Archives, Venice Area Historical Society, and Venice Heritage, Inc.—it is easy to immerse yourself in the city’s historical journey.

Take a guided, docent-led walking tour or pick up a self-guided tour map of historic downtown Venice, created in partnership with Venice Heritage, Inc., Venice Museum & Archives, and Venice MainStreet. They are available at the information kiosk in Centennial Park Mondays to Saturdays 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m; at the Venice MainStreet office downtown at 101 W. Venice Ave., Suite 23; and at the Venice Museum & Archives. So make a resolution today to explore our historic district and read the stories that bring our city’s history to life. You might discover something new!

Venice Museum & Archives
Venice Museum & Archives, housed in a 1927 building listed on the National Register of Historic Places, maintains a collection of more than 30,000 photographs, archives, objects, and publications pertaining to the area’s history. The museum engages visitors with permanent and changing exhibits; admission is free. Now through July 29, 2020, the museum is displaying a new exhibit—Playing in Paradise: The History of Venice Sports. The museum is open Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and first and third Saturdays now through April from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. VeniceMuseum.org

Architectural Walking Tours
Walking tours of the city, led by Architectural Historian Sebastian Liseo, are being offered by the Venice Museum & Archives on Tuesdays (Venezia Park Walking Tour) and Thursdays (Grand Homes Walking Tour) from January through mid-April 2020. 24 hour advance registration is required via email vmuseum@venicegov.com or (941) 486-2487. Tickets $20. More information at VeniceMuseum.org.

Downtown Walking Tours
Guided walking tours, including haunted history tours, are available through Venice Florida Tours. Reservations can be made at Facebook.com/VeniceFloridaTours, 817-793-8433.

Venice Area Historical Society
Venice Area Historical Society offers free tours of the Historic Venice Train Depot on Saturdays year-round from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and seasonally, now through April, on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. It also sponsors a lecture series, which is free and open to the public. This year’s theme is “Women Get the Vote.” Go to veniceareahistoricalsociety.org for the program schedule.

Venice Heritage, Inc.
Venice Heritage, Inc. is offering trolley tours of historic Venice on Saturday, February 1, 2020 at 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online at veniceheritage.org. The group also is showing free monthly movies about Venice’s history at the William H. Jervey, Jr. Venice Public Library. The next one—Reflections: A History of Sarasota County—is slated for Friday, January 17, 2020 at 2 p.m. in the library’s community room.