In the Village of the Arts, art is a way of life.
Chefs, crafters, merchants and creators of all stripes live side by side in Bradenton’s unique community of live-work homes.
And on the first weekend of every month, the public is invited to explore them all at once.
There are several fresh additions to the neighborhood that any art adventurer should know about.
Here’s a roundup of some of the new studios and galleries you can check out during February’s Artwalk Weekend.
Details: 6-9:30 p.m. Friday and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday.
In a converted shed in Village of the Arts, Cheryl Miller makes art out of unlikely objects.
At Miller’s studio, called Mango’s Art, pretty much anything is a canvas. Tables, lamps and even traffic cones have the potential to tell a new story.
Recently, Miller has put paint to old wood, aged furniture, thrift-store-bought wall art and notebooks.
“Everything in my life has a little bit of paint on it,” Miller said.
Every piece she creates is different, but a common theme of spontaneity and creativity runs through all of them.
Miller, 71, has expressed those energies in many ways over the years.
Her past pursuits include starting a successful hot sauce company, designing costumes for theater, organizing craft fairs and working as a paralegal.
As for recycling old materials, it’s basically a part of Miller’s DNA.
“I’ve been in the recycle biz for 40 years. Island economies have the ability to learn how to recycle well. I’ve always been a recycler, upcycler and repurposer,” Miller said.
The island economy Miller refers to is that of Saint Thomas, one of the U.S. Virgin Islands.
That’s where Miller spent most of her life, raised two children as a single mother and survived hurricanes Irma and Maria.
Irma destroyed her condo, but it turned out to be a good opportunity to make art.
Miller used upturned paint and wood from splintered furniture for some creative therapy.
At Mango’s Art, visitors can purchase all kinds of goods, from original paintings and Giclée prints to pillowcase dresses and postcards.
Miller says she is leaving her studio in the Village of the Arts soon, but she hopes to remain in the area and continue to teach art classes.
Mango’s Art is located directly behind The Dancing Crane Gallery at 1019 10th Ave. W., Bradenton.
Info: 340-998-1669. firstname.lastname@example.org.
Brave Gal Arts
Next door to Mango’s, Maxine Lang is creating mixed media art with many layers — literally.
A recent piece inspired by the Me Too movement titled “Breaking Silence” incorporates acrylic paint and diagrams from an antique women’s medical book.
Brave Gal Arts had a grand opening in October. It was the culmination of a long search for the perfect creative space.
“I feel like I found my tribe,” Lang said.
Lang found out about the available studio space in the village just as she was about to go to a job interview that she wasn’t all too excited about.
Now, Lang seeks to help others overcome trepidation about making art with her “Fearless Mixed Media” classes, which include everything from collage to bookmaking; she also offers private lessons and art birthday parties.
Brave Gal Arts is located directly behind The Dancing Crane Gallery at 1019 10th Ave. W., Bradenton.
Photographic Art by Skip Nall
Photographer Skip Nall opened his gallery in Village of the Arts in November.
Nall has been taking photos much longer than that, though.
He was 12 when his father gave him an Argus Rangefinder camera and sparked a lifelong passion, according to his website.
Nall’s works include realistic photos, digitally altered scenes and totally abstract pieces.
Many of his photos are available for purchase online, but it’s worth a trip to the village to behold them in person and hear the stories behind them.
Fun fact: One of Nall’s photographs, a scene that depicts a rope bridge disappearing into a thick fog, was purchased and mass produced by home furnishing giant IKEA.
Photographic Art by Skip Nall is at 1411 11th St. W., Bradenton.
Forest to Finish Designs
Forest to Finish Designs promises “woodwork as unique as the tree,” and that’s just what David Gay creates.
Gay transforms natural materials into polished pieces of furniture with character.
In addition to furniture, the workshop produces custom beams and columns for homes and some small decor items, like miniature Christmas trees made from heart of pine.
Forest to Finish Designs is open during Artwalk and by appointment.
Forest to Finish Designs is at 1218 12th Ave W., Bradenton.