Cultural Connections, Anna Maria Island, Florida

"Cultural Connections' mission is to promote Anna Maria Island as a cultural destination."

Is Anna Maria Island a beautiful beach? Most definitely, but we are so much more. Come experience Anna Maria Island's great art and cultural features on the Sun Coast of Florida. Anna Maria Island as an arts destination proudly supports more than seven art galleries and studios, a nationally recognized historical society, the County’s first live community theatre, a renowned orchestra and chorus.

The Holmes Beach Art District continues its annual town-wide ArtWalks from 5:30-7:30 PM on the second Friday of the month, Friday, February 12 and on through April 8, 2016. Participating art galleries and retail businesses for February include Anna Maria Island Art League, Artists’ Guild of AMI, Island Gallery West, SteamDesigns, Fukinsei Art Lab, Island Coffee Haus, Restless Natives, and Saltair. These locations will feature special exhibits, complimentary refreshments, music and fun for all those who enjoy strolling through downtown Holmes Beach
April 8th

1. Saltair 5508 Marina Drive
Theresa Burgess, the proprietor, has an eye for the new and unique. Her shop features women’s clothing, household gifts, and toiletries — while her walls feature original paintings by AMI resident Kim Darnell.

2. Seaside Jewelry and Beads (formerly Creations by L) 5500 Marina Dr., # 2
Lois Manza will offer a demonstration of Kumihimo. Stop by to see this interesting ancient braiding technique, modernized. Light refreshments will be offered.

3. Restless Natives 5416 Marina Drive
Restless Natives features gift and home decor items and the art work of a number of local artists. At this month’s reception, Patti Clarke will demonstrate glassblowing, and Luanne Baird will paint her famous glasses. Luanne has been handpainting glasses for Restless Natives for the past 15 years and will be retiring in April, as she will be celebrating her 80th birthday later this year.

4. Artists’ Guild of Anna Maria Island 5414 Marina Drive
Fellow Gallery artists Kathy Sparks, Chris Collins and Joanne Wilhelm will be featured Friday, April 8, 5:30-7:30 pm at the Gallery. Kathy Sparks paints mermaids and whimsical coastal images in acrylic on canvas. She recently self published her first children’s book, “Ocean’s Tale,” for which she created the story as well as the artwork. Joanne Wilhelm creates on-of-a-kind necklaces and bracelets, combining the meditative process of crochet with the artistic pleasures of colors, textures, and patterns. Chris Collins creates digital photography which gives him the freedom he needs to edit and print his own pictures. He also does his own matting and creates frames that enhance his work.

5. The Anna Maria Island Art League 5312 Holmes Boulevard
The Art League will host a month-long exhibit by students of St. Stephens School. Regular hours are M/W/F 10 am – 2 pm.

6. Island Coffee Haus 5350 Gulf Drive
Bev Lesnick hosts a friendly place for good coffee and refreshments and is a favorite with local artists. This month Bev will feature photography by Karen Riley Love and an Adult Coloring Book Workshop.

7. Island Gallery West 5368 Gulf Drive
Jerry Patridge’s cigar box guitars will be featured in a month-long exhibit entitled “Playable Wall Art.” Come join many of the gallery’s 27 artist members for fine art, refreshments and to hear the sweet sounds of cigar box guitars played live for your entertainment. Regular gallery hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday.

8. SteamDesigns 5343 Gulf Drive, # 600
SteamDesigns is a digital arts studio specializing in high-end giclée prints — up to five feet wide — for artists and photographers. On display during the ArtWalk will be a selection of their clients’ reproductions, including the acylics of Midge Pippel.

9. Fukinsei Art Lab 5347 Gulf Drive, Suite 6
Come visit the studio of painter Anna Maria De Augustine and ask her about the name “Fukinsei” and how it fits with her philosophy of art.

Anna Maria Island Art League, Holmes Beach, Florida
The Anna Maria Island Art League was founded in 1989 by a group of artists and art lovers with a desire to bring art to the island community. In June 1993, the Art League opened the island's first art center at 5312 Holmes Boulevard, Holmes Beach. The art center includes a large exhibit/ classroom, membership gallery/conference room, photo lab, art library and picnic grounds. The Art League also offers a broad range of classes at the center, and a scholarship program for children and adults.

New exhibits are hung every month, starting in October. Some exhibits feature members, faculty, students or regional artists. Exhibit artwork is original and most is available for sale by the artists. Opening receptions are on Friday, the first evening of the exhibit, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.; these events are always open and free to the public.

Art League of Anna Maria Island

The Island Art League's two annual juried fine art festivals, Springfest (March) and Winterfest (December), provide award-winning artists to display and sell their work on Anna Maria Island. Over 100 local, regional and national artists are selected to participate in each of these highly regarded shows. Both festivals are held at Holmes Beach City Hall Park, located at 5801 Marina Drive and support the Anna Maria Island Art League, a not-for-profit arts organization that offers diverse arts programming to the island community and beyond. See more at

Studio at Gulf and Pine, Anna Maria, FL
The Studio at Gulf and Pine, offers an eclectic array of exhibits, instructional classes, USF lectures and discussion groups (by reservation only), and serves as a salon where artists and art aficionados interact.

Studio at Gulf and Pine, Anna Maria, FLOperated by Rhea Chiles, former First Lady of Florida, The Studio at Gulf and Pine is Anna Maria Island's premier cultural facility. Equipped with a theater film projection room, and spanning nearly 4,000 square feet, The Studio welcomes artists, poets, musicians, performers and writers to exhibit their talents and exchange ideas.

The Studio hosts fine art exhibits, drama workshops, meetings, lectures, music and literary events and is available for catered events.

Studio at Gulf and Pine Also offered are classes, seminars and group discussions on topics as varied as art, science, politics and spirituality. The Studio sponsors the Lifelong Learning Academy of the University of South Florida and hosts its Einstein Circle Discussion groups. The Studio is located at 10101 Gulf Drive, Anna Maria, FL. For more information on exhibits, events and classes, please see our website at or call 941-778-1906.

Anna Maria Island Concert Chorus and Orchestra
AMICCOFounded in 1992, the Anna Maria Island Concert Chorus & Orchestra (AMICCO) celebrates 20 years of bringing beautiful music to our community. Known informally as "the gem of the Island," AMICCO is unique in its organizational structure, combining both a chorus and orchestra under one umbrella; a feature not commonly found among performing groups. Both orchestral and choral works are offered at every performance.

Maestro Alfred Gershfeld has been Artistic Director and principal conductor since 1993. Because of this continuity of leadership, and the Maestro's outstanding talent and reputation in the field of conducting, more and more professional artists are drawn to AMICCO, enhancing the high quality of performances and the size of audiences. Equally significant, retired musicians residing in the community provide a valuable, additional source of continuity and excellence.

Anna Maria Island Concert Chorus and Orchestra

Concerts are given four times a year, November through March, and take place at the CrossPointe Fellowship Church, 8605 Gulf Drive, Anna Maria Island. For more information, concert schedule and ticket sales see

Anna Maria Island Historical Society and Belle Cottage
Here you can experience a trip back in history. The Anna Maria Island Historical Society's [AMIHS] beautifully restored complex interprets the Island's history through its museum.

Presently housed in the museum are rare, old photographs, maps, records from the early 1900s, clippings from newspapers and videos of times past. Recently, a library was created where people can peruse archival records as well as beautifully bound copies of the original "Islander" newspapers dating from 1954 to 1990. Displays change frequently and encourage visitors old and new.

Anna Maria Island city jailThe complex includes the Island Historical Museum, the Old City Jail, Belle Haven Cottage and the Historical Park. The museum in the city’s old icehouse, circa1920, includes displays, artifacts and themed vignettes. Browse in the gift shop for two volumes of Island history and other gifts. Visit the Old City Jail, circa 1926; Belle Haven, circa 1920; and stroll through the park lush with native vegetation.

Admission is free; donations are welcome. AMIHS, 402 Pine Ave., Anna Maria, FL., 941-778-0492. For more, see

Arts for the Earth
Arts for the Earth Anna Maria's Wellness & Behavior Center for Dogs, supported in part by Arts For The Earth is an Eco Friendly Positive Impact Art Gallery, representing artists from all over America. The moment you visit, you feel the difference!

If art is an expression of emotions, add a little happiness to your life. Whether adding to your own collection, buying a gift or just sitting & relaxing – you’ll find it in our ever-changing eclectic array of Eco Friendly Positive Impact Art. (Paintings, Photography, Ceramics, Woodwork, Jewelry, Furniture, Garden Items and more!)

5345 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach, 941-243-3818,,,

Restless Natives
Restless Natives, Holmes Beach Two Art and Gift Shops on Anna Maria Island feature over 85 Island Artists - perfect for that unique gift.

Unique Art & Gift Shop

Something New & Different Each Time You Visit! Local Art by Local Artists.
5316 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach

Back Alley, Bradenton Beach BACK ALLEY - Bradenton Beach
Wild Treasures for Funky Souls & a Delightful Café.

Back Alley is a great spot to chill out, offering a variety of drinks (best Espresso ever!) Beer, Wine and a Fab Food Menu!
108 Bridge Street, Bradenton Beach
Back Alley Gifts

Artists Guild Gallery of Anna Maria Island Artists Guild of Anna Maria Island

The Artists' Guild Gallery is a unique art gallery featuring the work of local artists who are members of the Artists' Guild of Anna Maria Island, the gallery host. These artists collectively show, sell and run the non-profit gallery. One of these artists will welcome you while you are shopping and be happy to help answer any questions about art work or artists.

Original paintings in a variety of media including watercolor, oils, pastels, acrylic, photography, mixed media, pottery, jewelry and wood carvings delight the eyes. In contrast, other popular purchases when you are looking for that "right piece of art, that special gift or vacation souvenir" may include our artist's special cards, available only here, as well as prints of local landscapes and landmarks and Florida's unique flora and fauna.

The Artists' Guild Gallery has been a shopping destination on the island for twenty years and is one of the first galleries on the Island. During season, free monthly demonstrations by a local artist are presented in a variety of media and topics. Every second Friday during season, the public is invited to a free reception to view the works of the featured artist from 5:30 - 7:30 PM. If you are interested in the social or educational aspect of the Guild you may attend a monthly meeting held the first Monday of the month all year.

In addition, the Guild, with over 100 members, supports arts education with educational grants, scholarships and monthly displays of high school students' artwork. Each year a scholarship is given by the Guild to a graduating Manatee County senior. The Guild funds these activities by donations from members and visiting friends of the arts. The education committee works with local schools in supporting arts education and provides a field trip for a local elementary grade to the Ringling Museum in Sarasota. These activities help promote the organization's primary objective: "to educate, promote and encourage artistic endeavors of its members and the community." The Artists Guild Gallery, 5414 Marina Drive, Holmes Beach, FL 34217; Island Shopping Center; 941.778.6694;

Island Gallery West, Holmes Beach, Florida
Island Gallery West sells affordable, original, local fine art including oils, acrylics, watercolors, mixed media, photography, ceramics, stained glass, jewelry, and basketry.

Island Gallery West, Holmes Beach, FL

Thirty local artist members show their art and share staffing responsibilities, so a knowledgeable artist is available to assist you Monday through Saturday, 10 am-5 pm. Monthly public receptions are hosted throughout the season honoring the featured artist of the month. Free art demonstrations are offered Saturday mornings during season.

Island Gallery West, 5368 Gulf Dr. (S & S Shopping Plaza, Trolley Stop 15), Holmes Beach, FL, 941-778-6648. Further information at and on Facebook.

Island Players Theatre, Anna Maria, Florida
Celebrating its 66st anniversary season in 2014-2015, Island Players is the oldest community theater in Manatee County. The playhouse, a building of great historical Island significance, was originally the home of the William H. Gillett family of Parrish and was floated down the Manatee River by barge in the early 1900's to Anna Maria Island.

Island Players, Anna Maria, FL

The structure was first known as the Anna Maria Tourist Center; which greeted day-trippers who came from Tampa and St. Petersburg on excursion steamboats while heading west on Pine Avenue to the Gulf of Mexico waters. In 1923 when the City of Anna Maria incorporated, it soon became a center of activity as all city business was conducted from there. It also functioned as a community hall and was used for social gatherings, club meetings, church services, a schoolroom and eventually an Island community theater.

In the early 1970s the playhouse underwent major renovations. The stage was raised, 137 seats were installed in seven tiered rows and it was carpeted. The ticket sales operation moved to the theater from volunteer's homes when a small booth was constructed on the west side of the auditorium with a swing-up window opening to the porch where customers could purchase tickets. Preservation of the theater has been maintained throughout the years by the Island Players. In April of 2009, the Anna Maria Island Historical Society awarded the theater with a preservation plaque of distinction and thanked the Island Players for maintaining such an important Island landmark.

Five live stage shows are presented each year, October through May. Tickets can be purchased for individual plays or for the whole season. The box office is open from 9 AM until 1 PM during their season. For more information, please visit our website:

Off Stage Laidies of the Island Players, Anna Maria, FL
While seated in our wonderful historic theater perusing the program before the play begins, you might notice the many people listed in connection with the production of the play. The nice person who took your reservation was an Off Stage Lady. An Off Stage Lady showed you to your seat. Off Stage Ladies worked on the costumes, in the makeup room, painted the set, ran the light board or sound system, found the props, and fed the hungry cast and crew during the all-day rehearsal before the play opened. Some helped put together the program. If you're very lucky, some of the actresses on stage will be Off Stage Ladies.

Off-Stage Ladies is an auxiliary group of the Island Players who meet monthly (second Wednesday of each month), October thru May, 11:30 a.m. and guests and visitors are always welcome. If you love community theatre, and like to meet interesting people, consider joining the Off-Stage Ladies and open the door to an exciting new adventure. Call Nancy Ambrose at 941-518-4431 for how to join.

Gulf Coast Writers
Gulf Coast Writers, Holmes Beach, FLThe Gulf Coast Writers was formed in 1993 by four women who met at a writing class and resolved to form a writers' association on the Island of Anna Maria. They set as their primary purpose the encouragement of sharing their writings within the group.

The Gulf Coast Writers, a group whose purpose is to encourage both new and seasoned writers, meets at 1:15 on the first Wednesday of each month at the Island Library. During season, they sponsor guest speakers whose topics are of interest to writers. For information, please call 941-778-3209.

Quick links to Cultural Connection Members

5312 Holmes Blvd, HB, FL, 941-778-2099

CrossPointe Fellowship Church, AM, FL, 941-778-1880

402 Pine Ave., AM, FL, 941-778-0492

5414 Marina Drive, HB, FL, 941-778-6694

5345 Gulf Drive, Holmes Beach, 941-243-3818

Library, 5701 Marina Dr., HB, FL, 941-778-7631

5368 Gulf Dr., HB, FL, 941-778-6648

10009 Gulf Dr., AM, FL, 941-778-5755

10009 Gulf Dr., AM, FL, 941-761-7374

Holmes Beach 941.779.2624
Bradenton Beach 941.778.1800

10101 Gulf Dr., AM, FL, 941-778-1906

Cultural Connections, Anna Maria Island, FloridaSponsored by Cultural Connections
of Anna Maria Island
Cultural Connections, Anna Maria Island, Florida

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