Sea horses and mermaids will soon enhance the avenues of Venice

Artists are being sought by Venice Art Center to embellish sea horses or mermaids for the next Venice Art Center public art project, FantaSea. About 29 had already been sold as of Oct. 13.

Rounding out Botanical Week in Our Town is an article provided by Marie Selby Gardens featuring magnificent photos taken at its recently open orchid show.

Some would say two stories about flowers back-to-back is at least one too many.

But after seven months of stories about a certain pandemic not only in this paper but on all the news channels and even on the lips of my best friends, the awards for our beautiful downtown plantings featured Wednesday and the orchid show at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens won out.

Actually there is an interesting tie between the stories which I noticed while checking out the photos provided by Selby’s photographers — bromeliads and orchids.

The newest addition to our stunning downtown Venice collections of gardens, potted plants and hanging baskets is a bromeliad garden and one of the photos of the indoor display at Selby features bromeliads too but with orchids.

As I seem to have been collecting more masks than plants of late, I have been wondering if bromeliads might have a place in my yard. Will they get enough water on their own to survive? If not, how often will I have to fill their little cups with water?

Given my job and everything else on my plate, I may have to think about this for a few months. Meanwhile I have inspiration right downtown in Venice and also at Selby and possibly at Historic Spanish Point, which became part of Selby in the past year.

In the process, Selby gained the expertise of Spanish Point’s director John McCarthy, who knows as much about the history of this entire area as anyone. Since Spanish Point features “5,000 years of history” on its site, that is a lot of history and John is the expert. With the merger, he also became a wonderful addition to the Selby team.

While we may still be wearing masks for everyone’s safety for several more months, checking out the flowers and plantings in downtown Venice and at Historic Spanish Point and Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is one of the safest things we can do.

And then we can return to our homes with fresh ideas for things to do while continuing to self quarantine at home.

I have been out a few times to see the first shows at Venice Theatre, to do a bit of shopping at Publix and to have an occasional meal at restaurants where employees are masked and social distancing is practiced and of course to work but here in the Gondolier building, I am as safe as I can be anywhere.

No one can enter except those of us who work here and very few others. We all wear masks while in the building and practice social distancing. Company owners have been vigilant in keeping the building clean inside and even outside where all the landscaping was freshly groomed a few days ago. This may be the healthiest place to be in the entire state.

At those other places which I “infrequent” as needed, I try to time my arrivals for when there are fewer people there, even though they are all wearing masks.

Knowing what Venice Theatre did to prepare for its opening, I felt especially safe there as one of the only 132 people allowed in the mainstage area for any one performance. All the remaining seats are roped off in such a way as to allow for social distance seating.

If every organization were as conscientious as the Adams Publishing Group, Venice Theatre and few others, perhaps this pandemic would go away sooner rather than later.

Until there is a vaccine, a treatment that really works or better yet, a cure, there is no telling how long this new normal will really have to last.

That makes it tough on the economy and therefore everyone but especially all those put out of work because of all the businesses that have closed or nearly closed.

To those of you who are able and have helped not only the organizations like The Salvation Army that are helping the increased numbers of people in need but also so many other organizations like Venice Theatre, other arts and cultural organizations which are the lifeblood of this area known as Florida’s Cultural Coast.

While it is easy to order most everything from Amazon, do not forget your local businesses for without them, Venice would not exist. So put on your mask, throw a bottle of hand sanitizer in your pocket or purse and head downtown.

Add a note to one of the Positivity Boards, have a croissant at the Croissant Shop, check out those new stores in the also-new Pinkerton Building in the 300 block of West Venice Avenue, buy a puzzle or restock your computer paper and ink cartridges at Venice Stationers, stop in at Cafe Venice — especially if you have not been there since it moved across the avenue. And, do not forget the three avenues — Tampa, Venice and Miami when you are exploring downtown and its wonderful plants.

Do some research on ice cream and gelato on West Venice Avenue. Live dangerously and visit the four places on West Venice Avenue that specialize in those tasty treats. And yes, I know there are other food emporiums that sell icy treats but I am just talking specialty venues today.

If you live here, you are in one of the most special towns in the entire U.S. Support its businesses and arts organizations. Send virtual hugs to those VABI folks who are keeping the city so beautiful. Visit Venice Theater. Check out the art center or better yet, consider sponsoring a mermaid or sea horse. If you missed that article in this paper, call or visit the art center to learn more. You are in at the beginning of what will be a two-year project to raise money for the art center.

As of this past Tuesday, 29 sea horses and mermaids have been sold — in about equal numbers art center executive director Mary Moscatelli said,

Sadly Venice Symphony’s current season has been postponed for a year but several virtual programs will help deal with that void.

Share photos of what you are doing to deal with all this. Send them straight from you phone or iPad as attachments with absolutely no changes to: and look for them in the Our Town Saturday Photo Album page.

We are all in this together even if we have to be apart to deal with it. Thanks for reading your community paper and for sharing some of the ways in which you are dealing with the pandemic. Mostly, stay well.


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