As the Venice Art Center prepares to celebrate its 60th anniversary this month with a gala cocktail party, executive director Mary Moscatelli talked with us about the nonprofit organization’s off-the-charts growth and the town that so fervently supports all things cultural. “It’s fun to bring art to the community and watch people enjoy it,” she says.
"I moved to Florida with my now 13-year-old daughter 10 years ago from Duluth, Minnesota, where I ran a residential facility for the mentally ill. But I have always been an artist; I love to paint and draw, portraits mostly, and my daughter and I do art projects together. I’m very people focused.”
“The number of visitors to the Art Center has more than doubled. In 2010 we had 16,000 visitors. The first nine months of 2016, we had 46,500.”
“We are offering 485 adult and children’s classes this season and host 12 exhibits a year, including one where students display their artwork. We produce a five-part concert series with local musicians, everything from blues to Motown and Celtic music. In the summer we offer a children’s camp. And we offer public art projects, too, like Sea Venice, where we placed hand-painted 42 turtles and dolphins throughout the city as a fund raiser.”
“We’re nearing the end of an expansion project. We are building two new large classrooms. studio spaces and an additional bathroom, to offer another 100 classes per season if we choose. They tell me it will be completed in mid-January.”
“Fifty-one instructors teach here, and both amateur and professional artists take our classes. We have so much selection in styles of painting and media—pottery, sculpture, etc.—no matter what your skill level is. We’re very fortunate to live in this area to have so many talented artists to learn from.”
“I traveled all over Florida in search of a place to raise my daughter and to make my home, and Venice was it; it’s so warm and welcoming. I’m pretty active in the community, and I love to get out on the water.”