Friday, May 18, 2012

Bradenton voted No. 2 best small city for arts

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

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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

“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


Anonymous said...

Um, yeah.... I hate to be a naysayer but um, this is clearly like all those other non-sensical 'polls'. Best this, best that, top 7 reasons ________, etc.

Village of Arts is OK and I say this as a long-term Bradenton resident...Bradenton is a dump except for the Gulf-front and the Manatee River-front.

Otherwise, welcome to a sad, pathetic, little back-water of a town. Tampa, St. Pete and even Sarasota have way more going for it.

Tucky? Not so much. It's getting better, but it's like saying an AIDS patient is improving....

Anonymous said...

I have to add my 2 cents. I came to Bradenton 10 years ago from FL's east coast (Sebastian). I fell in love almost immediately. The ball park looks like a ball park ought to look. Manatee HS looked like a HS ought to look. I think Bradenton is a picture-perfect town. This is my 7th year living in the Village, and I wouldn't trade it for anything.

Anonymous said...

I have to agree that the Village of the Arts is not much to get excited about at all. Just a couple of streets with hippy dippy "art" galleries and eateries that serve ridiculous foods that are touted as authentic cuisine for the rich wine drinkers and are overrated and overpriced.
Go outside of the "village" and you encounter nasty run down houses, cats everywhere and just overall creepy streets..not to mention the homeless wandering the streets and the overall gloominess surrounding it...just driving to get to the Village you have to go through a nasty neighborhood which will discourage anyone from stopping their car. Coding Bradenton as the best small city of the arts is such a joke....guarantee anyone that decides to visit based on this article will be sorely dissappointed!

Anonymous said...

It always amazes me when people complain so much about where they live - don't like it - get out! MOVE! No one is holding a gun to your head to stay here. Unless you move to Mayberry there is going to be crime everywhere - it's all what you make of it. You'd probably find something to complain about no matter where you lived.

Anonymous said...

Bradenton needs more honors like being selected so high for the arts. Bradenton has always languished behind Sarasota, probably because Sarasota sits right on the bay and has many more wealthy people. Bradenton also has a much more diverse population.
Congratulations again to the Village of The Atrs.

Anonymous said...

This has got to be a joke or a massive public relations effort by the Herald to cover up what is really happening down here in the Village. Last night there was a body laying in the street (12th) at midnight, there are feral cats everywhere, homeless people living in shopping carts and squatters in the abandoned houses. It would be great if you (all) would stop playing the PR game and actually help some of us who are starving for customers brave enough to come down here once. Six random galleries and seldom open cafes are not what is being advertised to the public...stop faking it!!