Art, Cultural Events Start Anna Maria Island High Season

Doors, entrances, portals and passages are the theme of the Anna Maria Island Art League’s first show of the 2009-2010 cultural season. It opens on November 13, as part of the island-wide ArtsHOP, a weekend full of art, theater and music. Hosted by the Anna Maria Island Art League, Island Gallery West, The Artists’ Guild Gallery, and The Studio at Gulf and Pine, ArtsHOP includes a Friday evening gallery walk through all these fine galleries, and more.

An ArtsHOP Passport listing all the participating galleries can be picked up at any of the participating locations. Those who get their Passports stamped at six of the locations will be offered a 20 percent discount on dinner, afterward, at any of three of the Island’s favorite waterfront restaurants: The Sand Bar, The Beach House, and Mar Vista, on Longboat Key. A stamped Passport turned into the Art Leagues of Anna Maria Island before 8:45 Friday night will also serve as a raffle ticket for a huge basket of art-related gifts from Keeton’s Office and Art Supply of Bradenton.

Anna Maria ArtsHOP Also on Friday and Saturday night will be performances by the Island Players of “The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe,” a show originally performed by Lily Tomlin. On Saturday and Sunday during the day there will be an arts and crafts fair at the Holmes Beach City Hall Field. A Sock Hop on Saturday night will be held at the Anna Maria Island Historical Society Jail and Museum Complex. It is appropriately called “The Jailhouse Rock Sock Hop.” Suggested attire is poodle skirts and greaser outfits. Music of a very different kind will be featured on Sunday afternoon at 2 in the season’s first performance of the Anna Maria Island Orchestra and Chorus at the Cross Point Church.

A special part of this year’s ArtsHOP is an art happening in which local artists painted doors that were displayed all around the island in the weeks leading up to ArtsHOP. On Sunday afternoon, November 15, the doors will be auctioned under the banyan tree at the Anna Maria Island Art League, with proceeds going to the Cultural Connections. The mission of this organization, founded in 2008, is to promote Anna Maria Island as a cultural destination.

There are so many good reasons to make this island a cultural destination. Not only are the arts and crafts and music and theater at a surprisingly high level, but also the people who attend are friendly and the surroundings are beautiful. The weather is usually excellent at this time of year. While other parts of the country are beginning to experience freezing temperatures and snow, what could be more enchanting than riding the free trolley and walking from gallery to gallery, meeting nice people along the way, enjoying good food.

The ArtsHOP cultural festivities make a great way to start the Anna Maria Island high season.

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