Eyes Skyward

Eyes Skyward

by Marty Damon

The beachgoer in “Venice Girl,” Karen Chandler’s winning poster entry for the 31st Annual Venice Art Festival, might just be telling us we’ll all need shades for Venice’s bright future after the Downtown Beautification Project. Each year artists submit entries to the blind judging, hoping for their work to be chosen as that year’s signature image.

This year’s winner, Karen Chandler, is a professional artist who lives on the island of Venice and whose work can be enjoyed and purchased locally. She has been painting in oils over twenty-five years, and studied at the Stevenson Academy of Traditional Painting in New York, but her field of study has been anything but traditional. She went on to study design at the New York School of Visual Arts, and photography at the New York Institute of Technology, and she later included in her work acrylics and computer art.

Karen’s affiliations are as eclectic as her range of study. She is a member of the Society of Illustrators, providing illustrations for major publishers such as Simon and Schuster and Random House. She’s been associated with the NASA Space Art Program and Air Force Art Program since 1990, and her works hang at the Kennedy Space Center and the Pentagon. Her art is also in public and private collections across the country. Given her aeronautical connections, it’s especially appropriate that the figure in her winning entry, “Venice Girl,” stands in front of the dramatic Venice Beach Pavilion, with the wings of its concrete roof soaring skyward.

Prints, T-shirts, and tank tops of “Venice Girl” are all $20 each and are available for purchase at the Venice MainStreet office, 101 West Venice Avenue, Suite 23, Monday through Friday from 9–5pm. They’ll also be available at the Venice MainStreet booth at the 2019 downtown art and craft festivals. For more information call 941-484-6722

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.

Octoberfest: Venice Style

Octoberfest: Venice Style

Venice MainStreet is asking the community to put on their clogs and get ready to sample and shop during the Octoberfest: Venice Style, October 4 from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Those who purchase a ticket will be able to enjoy a fall-themed beer tasting at each of the participating locations. 

Attendees will have a variety of brews available as they shop from store to store. Participating Businesses will be pouring 3-ounce tastings into the small sampling steins on lanyards that each participant will receive with their map of participating locations.Beers include, Ace Pumpkin, Boid City 1901 Red, Blue Point Beach Plum, Boulevard Tropical, Elysian Nightowl, Funky Buddha Pineapple Beach, Founders Centennial, Goose Island Oktoberfest, Golden Road Melon Cart, Highland Daycation, Karbachtoberfest, Narragansett Fresh Catch, Proof Mango Wit, Swamp Head Wild Night, Shocktop, Sweetwater G13, Shipyard Pumpkinhead, Uinta Baba Black, Victory Festbier, Budweiser Copper Reserve, Shipyard Blood Orange, Bit Top Hawaiian Lion, Big Top Conch Republic, Kona Hanalei Island, Motorworks Pulp Friction, Motorworks V Twin and more!

“We’re expecting around 2,000 people for this event,” said Nick Sperry, Events and Partnership Coordinator for VMS. “This is a new event but it’s gaining so much traction in just the last couple days alone. We can’t wait to see the turn out.”

Tickets are $10 and can be purchased online here. They can also be purchased on the day of at the Centennial Park Kiosk or Burgundy Square Breezeway. Guests can pick up their stein and lanyard, and list of beer-tasting locations at the kiosk or breezeway at 5:00 p.m. on the day of.

Venice MainStreet Inc. is working hard on future events as well, such as the Masquerade Ball and Downtown Trick or Treating. For more information on any of these events, contact the VMS office at (941) 484-6722.

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.

Call to Artist: 31st Annual Downtown Venice Art Fest

Call to Artist: 31st Annual Downtown Venice Art Fest

Official Poster Design Contest
November 3 & 4, 2018

Venice MainStreet, Inc. is holding a contest for the 31st Annual Downtown Venice Art Fest official poster design. The artist selected by the Design Committee will be awarded $500 for their design, along with a booth at the festival ($500 value, for a prize package worth $1,000). The winning design will be featured as the official poster, which will be showcased on merchandise* and in advertising**. The winner must be available for an unveiling event on the evening of Thursday, November 1, 2018.

• Original (unframed) artwork must be delivered to Collector’s Gallery and Framery (114 South Nokomis Avenue) by October 8, 2018.
• The winner must also submit a high-resolution editable, working digital file (for poster and merchandise production).
• Finished poster size will be 22” x 28” (original does not need to be the same size).
• Image must follow a theme of “Celebrating the arts of Venice.” (Copy that will be incorporated into the poster/merchandise will include “30th Annual Downtown Venice Art Fest”).

*the design will be showcased on other merchandise, along with the t-shirts.
**the design will be utilized in advertising done by Venice MainStreet, Inc. Any advertising done by Howard Alan Events may not include the design.

About the Downtown Venice Art Fest
The Downtown Venice Art Fest is one of the area’s largest and finest art shows. Tens of thousands of visitors kick-off season with this Howard Alan event that takes place along Venice Avenue in beautiful, Historic Downtown Venice. For more information, please call Venice MainStreet at (941)484-6722. Find out more about Howard Alan Events at www.artfestival.com.

Please submit artist Information:
City, State, Zip:_________________________________________________________
Entry Title:_____________________________________________________________

Release: If the design I have submitted to the 2018 (31st Annual) Downtown Venice Art Fest Poster Design Contest is selected as the winning entry, Venice MainStreet and Howard Alan Events have the exclusive right to reproduce, sell, and distribute copies of the work. The original can be sold by me (the artist). In exchange for reproduction rights and preparation of high-resolution digital file, I will receive $500 and a booth at the festival.

Wine Walk Returns August 16

Wine Walk Returns August 16

Venice MainStreet Inc. (VMS) is asking the community to put on their walking shoes and get ready to sip and shop during a Wine Walk, August 16 from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Those who purchase a ticket will be able to enjoy wine tasting at each of the participating locations, and VIPs will be able to enjoy specialty wines and hors d’oeuvres at the Made In Italy restaurant.

Attendees will have a variety of wines available as they shop from store to store, including wines from South Africa and California. Participating Businesses will be pouring 1-ounce tastings in 100% recyclable containers.

“We’re expecting around 700 people for this event,” said Nick Sperry, Events and Partnership Coordinator for VMS. “We love this event because our residents love it. It’s a great way to bring the community together.”

General tickets are $10 and VIP tickets are available for only $5 more. Tickets can be purchased early at Venice Wine and Coffee Co., The VMS Office, or online at https://www.visitvenicefl.org/product/wine-walk. They can also be purchased on the day of at the Centennial Park Kiosk or Burgundy Square Breezeway. Guests can pick up their wristbands and list of wine-tasting locations at the kiosk or breezeway at 5:00 p.m. on the day of.

The VIP Experience is sponsored by New Dawn Travels, “Curating Unique Life Experiences,” partnering with Oceania Cruises.

“One of my personal goals is to give back to the community and what better way than to support Venice MainStreet,” stated Dawn Perreault, certified Luxury Travel & River Cruise Specialist. “This is also a great opportunity for wine walkers, we’re giving exclusive offers up to $200 off and pre-paid gratuities on select sailings to those who participate in this event.”

Venice MainStreet Inc. is working hard on future events as well, such as the Barstool Open on August 25 and the Beach Party September 22. For more information on any of these events, contact the VMS office at (941) 484-6722.

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