More than 15,000 people attended this family-friendly festival of the arts on March 8 in downtown Bradenton and its environs. The event featured more than 175 artists, musicians and performers, site-specific art installations, and interactive art experiences.
(Bradenton, FL) According to Johnette Isham, executive director of Realize Bradenton, the fourth annual ArtSlam was a “resounding success.” Isham says that this annual celebration of the arts, featuring dozens of artists, musicians, performers, installation art, and interactive art experiences, was the biggest ever.
“More than 15,000 people came to ArtSlam this year—at least 4,000 more than last year,” says Isham. “We were thrilled at the outcome and very grateful to the 175 artists, ten bands, and 100 volunteers who poured their time and energy into this event.” Isham adds that the event was made possible through the generous support of its presenting sponsor BMO Harris Bank.
“It’s a part of our mission at BMO Harris Bank to encourage and support cultural efforts and initiatives,” says Dave Maraman, regional president at BMO Harris Bank. “ArtSlam not only enhances the lives of those of us who live and work here—but it also showcases one of the area’s most important economic multipliers—the regional arts and cultural industry. We’re thoroughly behind Realize Bradenton’s mission to transform downtown Bradenton into a vibrant destination.”
Isham explains that other businesses and organizations joined BMO Harris Bank in supporting the event, including the Women’s Exchange Inc., Tropical Cadillac, Sarasota Magazine, and the Downtown Development Authority.
“Thanks to this support, we were able to extend ArtSlam past Old Main Street to include the Manatee Performing Arts Center, ArtCenter Manatee, Village of the Arts, the Da Vinci Machines exhibit, and South Florida Museum,” says Isham. She explains that during the nine hours of the festival, free trolleys and pedicabs circulated between the cultural organizations and Old Main Street with downtown ambassador tour guides creating “an informative and fun mobile experience.”
“It was a full-on sensory explosion,” says Isham. “We’re getting loads of emails and phone calls from happy attendees so we expect next year’s ArtSlam will be even larger.”
Bradenton developer Bernie Croghan told Isham and the Realize Bradenton team that he was, “delighted to see so many people from Sarasota and beyond exploring downtown Bradenton. I spoke to several people from out of the area who came for ArtSlam but said they’d definitely be back. This event, the Bradenton Blues Festival, and other new developments, including Riverwalk and the new Hampton Inn and Suites, have revitalized Bradenton. It’s turned downtown into a creative hub attracting high-energy people who want to live, work and create here.”
Art Slam 2014 was produced by Realize Bradenton, a non-profit organization that builds community and promotes economic development through collaborative events, partnerships, and interactive strategies. The event is sponsored, in part, by BMO Harris Bank, Sarasota Magazine, the Woman’s Exchange Inc., Tropical Cadillac, Siesta Key Trolley, and the Bradenton Downtown Authority. For more information, call Johnette Isham 941-350-8563. For more information about Realize Bradenton, visit www.realizebradenton.com.
About Realize Bradenton
Realize Bradenton is a nonprofit organization that brings people together to create a vibrant and prosperous downtown Bradenton. For more information, visit: www.RealizeBradenton.com.