SUN PHOTO/MAGGIE FIELD
World-renowned double bassist
Jerome Butler gets a standing ovation
from the crowd at the Anna Maria Island
Concert Chorus and Orchestra
performance Sunday afternoon.
Hundreds of art lovers in a festive mood descended on the Island this weekend for the fourth annual artsHOP filled with art and cultural activities for every age group.
Art was featured at a variety of galleries around the Island during Friday's gallery walk. The weekend also included a rousing performance of Bach and Beethoven by the Anna Maria Island Concert Chorus and Orchestra and a one-man performance at the Island Players Theater.
"We had another successful gallery walk and everybody had a great time," said Joan Voyles, of Cultural Connections, which represents nine arts and cultural groups that present the weekend's activities.
"People were reminded about the variety of art and art creations on the Island and learned about all the new galleriesand shops in our growing arts community."
"I heard one lady say, 'I had no idea there were so many galleries on this Island,'" added Melissa Williams, of the AMI Historical Society. "That said it all for me."
People seemed energized by the cooler weather as they made the rounds of galleries and shops on Friday evening. Groups of visitors, laughed and talked as they made their way from Pine Avenue and down Gulf Drive in Anna Maria, then jumped on the trolley or in their cars and proceeded to art galleries and shops in Holmes Beach.
Helen and Andy Spriet, of London, Ontario, said, "This is the second time we've been to this event, and we always buy a few treasures. It's good; it gets people out."
Joyce and Earl Hunt, of Bradenton and formerly of the Island, said, "This is just a really fun night."
Dolores Harrell, of the Island Players, said the play sold out both nights and said about Friday's performance, "We had an absolutely wonderful crowd. It was an excellent evening.
"I saw so many new faces and talked to people who said they didn't know our theater was a theater. They thought it was a house."
Follow the music
The music, from solo performances to duos to bands, was offered at many stops on the walk and had people dancing "in the street."
"The music just drew you in as you walked by," said Betty Yanger, of the AMI Historical Society.
"The music caught people's attention and they came in and discovered the arts," Voyles pointed out.
"The music had such a positive effect," added Laura McGeary, of the AMI Art League.
McGeary also announced the following winners of the League's juried show, "Island Visions" – Cheryl Jorgensen, best of show; Jay Canterbury, first place; Brad Ayers, second place; Marie Garafano, third place; and Cecy Richardson, honorable mention.
Nancy Colcord, of the Gulf Coast Writers, said the group sold 10 of its newly published book, "as it is written…II," at The Studio at Gulf and Pine and noted, "Mostly we got the word out. it was really positive. A lot of people looked at the book and said they planned to buy it later."
Susanne Arbanas, of AMI Concierge Services, and Leesa Schilling, of AMI Sarong Company, had their grand opening during the event and hosted a huge crowd.
"I was overwhelmed by the amount of enthusiasm and support from the community," Arbanas said.
Marlane Wurzbach, of Island Gallery West, said the gallery had a great night of actual and prospective sales, and noted, "We had another wonderful turnout of almost 400 visitors.
"Hosting the reception is always a treat because the event attracts fine art lovers who are very enthusiastic about the gallery and our art."
Vintage boat show
Saturday dawned bright and sunny and brought people out to the AMI Historical Museum in Anna Maria to view the vintage boat show presented by the AMI Historical Society and the Florida Maritime Museum at Cortez.
Bob Pitt, who heads the boat building program at the Cortez museum, said the Sallie Adams is a replica of an 1890s Cortez mullet boat and said it was built in 2006 out of all local materials.
A second boat, the Esperanza, is a restored Cuban refugee boat built out of all salvaged materials. It carried six people from Cuba in the 1990s.
Pitt said the Elizabeth Ring, a 1920's Manatee River sailing/rowing skiff, "was built for three people who cruise the rivers of Florida. It's from an original design built by Bat Fogarty in 1922."
A Sam Cobb boat, circa 1901, given to the Island museum by the Cortez museum, was also on display.
The Anna Maria Island Concert Orchestra and Chorus performance on Sunday was another huge success,
Executive Director Jeanie Pickwick, said, "There were three standing ovations – one for our young solo artist winner, Joy Chatzistamatis; one for our double bassist, Jerone Butler; and one after the Beethoven. After Butler performed, people shouted and whooped and then jumped to their feet.
"The entire weekend was a fantastic success. Everywhere I went, people were so enthusiastic."
Closing out the weekend was the drum circle at the Manatee Public Beach, where people swayed and danced to the rhythms produced by the circle of percussionists as the sun set on another spectacular Island day, concluding the successful weekend.