|Visitors to Bradenton's Village of the Arts check out a sidewalk display of art outside the Divine Excess gallery during Friday's Art Walk. PAUL VIDELA/pvidela@bradenton PVIDELA@BRADENTON.COM|
The Friendly City continues to grow in popularity with readers of AmericanStyle Magazine.
Survey participants voted Bradenton the second best small city arts destination in the country, up from No. 10 last year and No. 22 in 2010.
“This confirms the great collaboration we have and the public support for arts in their community," said Johnette Isham, executive director of Realize Bradenton. “It’s just an incredible recognition of the community."
She cited the collaborative work being done with her non-profit organization, elected city officials, Bradenton Downtown Development Authority, the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau as well as cultural partners such as the Manatee Players, ArtCenter Manatee and the Village of the Arts.
"Bradenton, a sunny locale 45 miles south of Tampa, may not be on your radar for arts destinations yet, but it should be," reads the opening sentence of the blurb on page 66 of the new summer edition of AmericanStyle. "It's home to Florida's largest art colony, the Village of the Arts."
No other Bradenton attractions are mentioned.
On page 63, the Baltimore-based publication notes that "Rosie Stewart of Bradenton, Fla., is the lucky reader who was randomly selected to win a $500 gift card for voting in AmericanStyle's 15th annual Top 25 Arts Destinations poll."
Stewart commented on why she selected her hometown.
"Eclectic and creative artists and crafters abound in this community," her statement reads. "It seems like there's always something new to check out!"
Sarasota ranked No. 1, up from fifth place last year.
Other small Florida cities in the Top 25 are Key West (4) and Naples (9).
St. Petersburg finished first among "mid-size" cities for the second year in a row, while Tampa placed third in the same category. Miami ranked No. 7.
The top three "big cities" for the arts according to American Style readers are New York, Washington, D.C. and Chicago.
The sole Florida city on the list, Jacksonville, is No. 15.
This is the 15th year the magazine has released its survey of readers.
AmericanStyle has a print circulation of 125,000, according to its 2011 media kit, and can be read online at www.americanstyle.com.
“The crowning jewel of this incredible recognition will be the opening of the Manatee Performing Arts Center next March,” Isham said.
Bradenton No. 10 best small city for arts