Herbie Rose, 1930-2017
(portrait art is mural by Richie Brasil)
The Village of the Arts is mourning the death of its founding father and dear friend, Herbie Rose at the age of 87.
Rose passed away on Tuesday, June 27 after a prolonged illness. He was renowned in the region as the founding father who helped turn a blighted Bradenton neighborhood into the largest art colony in Florida. Rose, a distinguished watercolor painter, worked together with the City of Bradenton and other local artists to establish the Village of the Arts as a unique live-work community for artists in 1999.
Since then, the Village has grown and evolved to include more than 30 art studios, galleries, specialty shops, healing arts businesses and 4-star restaurants. The Artists Guild of Manatee within the Village helps produce monthly First Friday Artwalks as well as annual and seasonal events including Garden Walks, Studio Tours, and the Festival of the Skeletons. Rose's work to help develop the Village prompted Bradenton Mayor Wayne Poston to name him the honorary "Mayor" of the Village of the Arts.
The community's reaction to the news has been strong and heartfelt, as noted in numerous articles about his life and passing. Here are a few excerpts:
"He was such a huge presence. He didn’t stand out and promote himself. He did a lot of things for people behind the scenes and he was such a wonderful loving spirit. People just gravitated toward him. He imparted such a wonderful glow. He really left his mark."
Graciela Giles, Herbie's wife
Sarasota Herald Tribune
"It's been an outpouring of love, and people have called from far and wide,"
Dwight Rose, Herbie's son
Bay News 9
"If it weren’t for what he did, I wouldn’t be here in this spot. I just think the future is ripe here. The revitalization is going on and it’s an exciting time in the Village of the Arts."
Jean G. Farmer, VOTA resident and owner of Fun Girl Art
Bay News 9
“Original Village of the Arts members like Herbie Rose created an important foundation for newer Village businesses like mine. I would not have been able to create Alcover Massage here in Bradenton if it wasn’t for Herbie’s legacy of this unique artists’ community. I may not have had the pleasure of meeting him, but he has made a positive impact in my life and for that, I am grateful.”
Laura Alcover, owner Alcover Massage
“I had been hearing about him for years and years and years because he had such a great reputation as an artist. He said, ‘Let’s strike while the iron is hot,’ and that’s exactly what we did. He had a flair for making everything beautiful.”
Annie Russini, fellow Village founding artist on working with Herbie to start VOTA
"He could get things done, but he was very low-key. He became the leader because he was already a respected artist. It seemed like everyone who was anyone had a picture painted by him of their house, in their house. He’d just sit outside people’s houses, painting them. He was known throughout the area as a great artist."
Carrie Price Whaley, VOTA resident and co-owner of Yoga Arts
A celebration of his life and legacy will be held later this year in the Village of the Arts.