The Village of the Arts (VOTA) was created in 1999 by the City of Bradenton, FL through its Downtown Development Agency (DDA). Located in the southern portion of downtown Bradenton, it consists of approximately 42 acres and 240 existing residential structures. The VOTA is bounded on the North by 9th Ave. West (MLK) in downtown Bradenton, on the West by Tamiami Trail (federally designated scenic highway), on the East by 9th St. West (McKechnie Field, winter home of the Pittsburgh Pirates), and on the South by 17th Ave. West.
Bradenton, FL is a city of 53,000 situated 45 miles south of Tampa, FL in the county of Manatee (pop. 323,000, median household income $49, 076). These figures are provided by the Manatee Economic Development Council, a part of the Manatee Chamber of Commerce. Bradenton is bordered on the south by Sarasota, FL. Sarasota boasts such cultural destinations as the Ringling College of Art, New College, and the Ringling Museum of Art. The western boundary of Bradenton is composed of barrier islands that attract a large tourist trade. Information on beaches, resorts, and all Bradenton attractions is available through the Bradenton Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. To the east lies Lakewood Ranch, a vibrant, master-planned community of 7000 acres. Manatee County’s population and arts based revenues increase seasonally with the influx of both tourists and “snowbirds” (seasonal residents with a second home in Manatee).
The Village of the Arts is directed by the Artists’ Guild of Manatee, a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation. Located within the Village is the Manatee County Cultural Alliance, a 501(c)3 that supports all arts organizations in the county. The VOTA currently includes about 30 galleries/studios, of which 15 are artist-occupied residences. Also in the VOTA are 2 independent bookstores, 3 cafes/restaurants, and several arts-related retail establishments. All businesses in the VOTA are located in refurbished residential properties, many constructed in the 1920’s and 1930’s.
Of the 35 businesses in the VOTA, approximately 20% are full-time ventures, the balance supplement their incomes from an outside source (part or full-time employment, art shows, etc.) The percentage of full-time ventures has doubled over the last several years, and is expected to rise significantly over the next several years as the VOTA continues to invest in marketing, signage, and cooperative ventures with other local cultural venues (Manatee Players Theater, ArtCenter Manatee, and South Florida Museum ). Realize Bradenton is a key player in advancing the arts in downtown Bradenton and the Village of the Arts is one of their cultural partners.
The VOTA is strongly supported by the City of Bradenton, which has invested heavily in infrastructure (sidewalks, street repairs, antique-style streetlamps, etc.) Additional support comes from the Manatee Chamber of Commerce, the Bradenton Cultural & Business Alliance, and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.
For more information or if you have questions please call or email us at: 941-747-8056 or firstname.lastname@example.org. If you need photographs of the Village or the artisans please contact Donna Slawsky at email@example.com