Private sector spurring Bradenton's Village of the Arts revitalization

April 15, 2014 

Staff Photographer

Motorworks Brewery co-founder Denise Tschida, right, and Vicki Rollo of the Village of the Arts' Hearts Desire gallery, photographed upstairs at Motorworks in Bradenton. Rollo is among neighboring village artists helping to foster a mutually beneficial relationship with the new brewery-next-door. To this end, Motorworks will be hosting a Village of the Arts community event and fashion show on April 19. PAUL VIDELA/Bradenton Herald


The developing synergy between a new business, Bradenton Motorworks Brewery, and the established commercial interests in the Village of the Arts could serve as a model for other businesses and neighborhoods if its success grows.

Private enterprise can be more adept and nimble with partnerships for neighborhood improvement than government, which is all too often a slow-moving beast.

Certainly government is a vital force in the revitalization of the Village. The city of Bradenton and Downtown Development Authority, as well as the nonprofit Realize Bradenton, are all united with Village interests in a Plan to Act Tapestry Project to improve the neighborhood and the 14th Street West corridor.

Progress has been slow but steady as an imagining process with Village artists and stakeholders took place. The sluggish economy stalled progress, but concrete results are at hand.

In another encouraging private contribution to boosting the Village, Jerry and Zoe Averkamp announced several weeks ago that they had purchased a property next to their Divine Excess Folk Art gallery and plan to renovate the house into the Herbie Rose Village of the Arts Welcome Center.

The Artists Guild of Manatee will call the place home, too.

That generosity was inspired in part by all the other efforts at neighborhood improvement.

Motorworks now serves as one of the gateway businesses into the Village, sitting at 1014 Ninth St. W. in a 1920s building once home to a Hudson car dealership.

Since opening to large crowds in January, Motorworks has been attracting more people to the Village, and hopes are high for a spillover effect on galleries and restaurants as foot traffic spreads.

Since Motorworks does not have a kitchen, a food truck provides a short menu. We'd sure like to see partnerships with Village restaurants, too.

Another tap room plans to open soon just a few blocks away. Darwin's Brewery is poised to debut at 803 17th Ave. W., also with a beer garden and stage.

This Saturday, Motorworks will host the 13th annual Village of the Arts fashion show fundraiser for the Artists Guild.

The event will showcase the clothes, jewelry and accessories that can be found in Village businesses. Chefs from Village restaurants will cook up their fare for the show.

Denise Tschida, who owns Motorworks along with her husband, Frank, told Herald reporter Mark Young the brewery will grow other partnerships with Village businesses -- a goal they nurtured even before closing on the once-vacant property. We hope that bears fruit.

The couple wants to serve the broader community vision, working with the 14th Street West Community Redevelopment Area overlay district.

Also on Saturday, a new Village business holds it grand opening. Jerk Dog Records, offering those classic vinyl albums at 1119 12th St. W. with limited hours, will celebrate with live bands that evening -- which also happens to be national Record Store Day.

With some 30 businesses spread across 42 acres -- known as Florida's largest artists community -- the Village is blossoming, mostly thanks to private enterprise and a communal atmosphere.

That blueprint would be beneficial to other Manatee County neighborhoods struggling to improve.

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