BRADENTON BEACH – The artsHOP celebration got off to an inauspicious start when rain started to fall a few hours before it began on Bridge Street last Friday.
Shop owners were ready for the art lovers, but would they brave the rain to come out?
As the sun set, the rain let up and everyone breathed a sigh of relief.
“This is great, despite the rain,” said Gaydon Shell, owner of The Cove. “We got a great online presence going, and it’s a great opportunity for artists and outlets to get exposure.”
Down Bridge Street, at the Bridge Tender Inn, organizers Diane Phinney and Debra Wing had wooden skimmers and gift baskets on display, out of the dwindling rain.
“This is all coming together, and I see more people walking around,” said Phinney.
The theme of this year’s artsHOP is “Follow the Flock” in honor of skimmers, birds that nest on Anna Maria Island’s beaches. Artists will be selling paintings of the birds with proceeds going to Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring.
Artists decorated the dozens of birds to sell with proceeds going to Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring.
As the sidewalks got busier, Wing praised the people who were there.
“The rain didn’t stop them, and we’re off to a slow, but growing start,” she said. “We want to promote all the artists who feature the beauty of the Island and make it a wonderful place to live or visit.”
The next day, visitors to Pine Avenue in Anna Maria enjoyed better weather. The Anna Maria Island Historical Museum treated visitors to live music and opportunities to purchase raffle tickets for lavish gift baskets.
At the Studio at Gulf and Pine artists conducted demonstrations, and there was food and music by Jenna Smith. Music for the three-day event is sponsored by The Ugly Grouper.
On Friday, Nov. 9, the 12th Annual artsHOP concludes in Holmes Beach from 5:30 to 8 p.m. Shops and galleries throughout Holmes Beach and Waterline Marina Resort will feature local art demonstrations, live music and more. Basket raffle prize drawings will be held at the Ugly Grouper starting at 8 p.m.
artsHOP is sponsored by Cultural Connections to highlight Anna Maria Island’s arts and culture. Admission to artsHOP is free.