I think we can all agree that one of the things we love most about our smalltown of Venice, Florida is how “artsy” it is. The Venice community shows a great deal of support for its local creatives and plays host to numerous arts related events throughout the year. For instance, this past 2017/2018 season the Venice Institute for Performing Arts oversaw a total of 163 events at the VPAC, including events of our resident arts groups – Venice High School, the Venice Symphony, Venice Concert Band, and Venice Chorale. For our upcoming 2018/2019 season, VIPA has produced 16 exciting performing arts events for the Venice community to enjoy! Seeing as VIPA is an advocate of the arts and we love to get out and enjoy our community, we have concocted a list of what we believe to be the most unique artistic experiences in the Venice area all within close proximity to the VPAC.
1. Clyde Butcher’s Venice Gallery and Studio
Locally-based (and world-renowned) photographic icon, Clyde Butcher, has a gallery and studio right here in Venice. At the gallery, Clyde’s large-scale landscape photographs are on display. The most unique aspect of Butcher’s gallery is that it holds his 2,000 square foot darkroom where all of his photographic magic takes place. In the photo above, Mr. Butcher stands next to one of his impressive large format cameras in the darkroom. Darkroom tours are available, and are quite a treat for the photography buffs! For those unfamiliar with Butcher, his methods of photography consist of using large format view film cameras which allow him to produce his landscape photographs as highly detailed mural-sized prints. Butcher has been referred to as the next Ansel Adams by Popular Photography magazine, and he is recognized as a conservationist for bringing issues to the forefront of public consciousness through his art and urging us to protect natural places across the globe.
- In recent news, Clyde Butcher was commissioned by the Dali Museum to travel to Spain and provide a view of Dalí’s surroundings as seen by Florida’s greatest nature photographer. This thoughtfully curated collection of 41 photographs from his journey will be on display this summer at the Dali Museum in St. Petersburg from June 16th – Nov. 25th, 2018. Add this to your summer to-do list and take a drive up to St. Pete!
2. Venice Mercato
This one is for all the design gurus and trinket collectors! If you’re in the mood for antiques and funky finds, make a plan to hit the euro-style Venice Mercato. You never know what sort of treasures you’ll happen upon! With an eclectic and ever-changing inventory, it’s the perfect weekend venture if you’re looking to update your home decor or just enjoy looking through unique decor pieces in a fun atmosphere. Located in a large garage warehouse just a few streets away from Clyde Butcher’s gallery, the Mercato is packed full of vintage, upcycled, repurposed, hand-crafted, and salvaged doo-dads from many merchants. The staff are friendly and helpful which makes for an even more enjoyable outing. The Venice Mercato occurs the last weekend of the month, from September through May. The next market will take place April 28th-29th, and it is located just off Venice Island on Spur Street. Mark your calendars!
3. Venice Chalk Festival
This four-day international once-a-year art exhibit will return to the Venice Airport Fairgrounds this November 9th-12th with the theme “GARDEN OF WONDERS.” The 2018 Chalk Festival will be “a tribute to the marvels of the natural world and the human imagination,” according to the festival’s official website. Festival goers bear witness to the full creative process from start to finish, watching the internationally renowned pavement artists as they develop their large-scale optical illusion masterpieces using the road as their canvas. The Chalk Festival started back in 2010, and has been an annual event ever since attracting artists and visitors from all over the world. Visitors are invited to become a part of the art by physically stepping “into” the artists work and taking photos that end up looking like a 3D image. This year will be the Chalk Festival’s fifth season on the Island of Venice after moving in 2014 from its original location in Burns Court downtown Sarasota. Pre-sale discount tickets are available for purchase now if you’d like the 4-day pass. This is an absolutely fascinating experience and one of the reasons why Venice is the best place to be in November!
4. Rum Runners Antiques Village
Oh, the oddities! Definitely one of the coolest, and easily one of the most unique experiences that the Venice area has to offer, is a visit to Rum Runners Antiques. Just before the North bridge to Venice Island, actually located in Nokomis, lies this antique lovers haven. Rum Runners Antiques Village is comprised of three restored buildings originally built in the 1920’s. Offering a wide variety of antiques for any taste or budget, here you can find all sorts of fun oddities (some even a tad creepy!) including real human skulls retired from anatomy studies for a Dental School, Holocaust-related bronzes, relics from the Civil War, and various antiques and art from Asia. Just a moments walk from Rum Runners are two other neighboring antique stores with even more unique pieces to rummage through. Rum Runners along with Eugenie’s Antiques and Don Elder’s Fine Art and Antiques establishes what is known as the “Nokomis Antiques Triangle” — 5 walking-distance buildings and over 18 antique dealers within the three block area. Take a trip back in time and excite your historical interests with an afternoon of true antiquities in Nokomis!
5. Nokomis Beach Drum Circle
For those more musically inclined, spend your Saturday evening on one of our beautiful local beaches listening to the beat of the drums. About an hour before sundown on Nokomis Beach, just a short drive from Venice Island, the fun begins as a group of drum-bearing musicians, hula hoopers, and belly dancers “march” to the beat of their own drums! The drum circle has been around for decades, but every circle is sure to be different. Street performers, jugglers, and the like excite the crowd as the sun goes down. Parking for this sunset event fills up very quickly, so make a plan to arrive early! Whether you aim to join in on the jam or just unwind with the crowd, bring a blanket or chair and let your cares and worries of the past week go down with the sun!
ATTENTION, ATTENTION! Now Booking for Passport to the Arts… Clyde Butcher!
Local legend Clyde Butcher (mentioned above) will be returning to the VPAC this upcoming 2018/2019 season for a second lecture as part of VIPA’s Passport to the Arts season. During this lecture, Mr. Butcher will be describing his experience in Spain and giving us an insider’s view of his “Visions of Dali’s Spain.” In March of 2019, come and listen to Mr. Butcher’s lecture and go on a journey through scenic Europe! (VIPA’s Season Packages on sale May 1st; Individual Tickets on sale June 4th.)
Tags: 2018-2019 season, arts, Florida, local, Nokomis, Passport to the Arts, Vacation, Venice, Venice Community, Venice Institute for Performing Arts, VIPA, VPAC