Art Ovation Hotel Hosts Weekend of Art Getaways

Arts and Culture

BY PHILIP LEDERER SRQ DAILY FRIDAY WEEKEND EDITION FRIDAY JUL 27, 2018

Conventional wisdom tells the seasoned traveler that perhaps the worst thing they can do is stay in the hotel for the whole trip. Art Ovation Hotel looks to turn conventional wisdom on its head with a staggering array of continually rotating activities and arts opportunities that will make even locals want to spend the weekend in a hotel room. “We’re experimenting,” says Lisa DiFranza, cultural curator for the Art Ovation Hotel. “In season, we’ll have even more surprises.”

To take full advantage of the Art Ovation weekend, sneak out the side door and leave work a wee bit early to arrive at the hotel lobby by 4pm, just in time for ukulele lessons, courtesy of a partnership with Sam Ash Music Store. Free for guests (each room does come equipped with a ukulele), locals can register with Sam Ash or contact Art Ovation for help. Though only an hour long, attendees will leave knowing a few songs and a few chords to keep practicing. And be sure to make a friend with someone staying at the hotel, as the art and wine tour begins immediately after, led by DiFranza and nominally for hotel guests only. So glom on.

After the tour, catch up with Art Ovation Artist-in-Residence Mark Gagnon, a Bradenton-based painter and sculptor, who, from 4pm to 8pm, will be working live in the lobby and answering questions from passersby. For those with a bit more time, take a stab at some of Gagnon’s mazes, including one that’s nine feet long. And beginning at 7pm, also in the lobby, enjoy the musical stylings of solo violinist Matt Dendy, as he layers compositions live for the audience. For a little fresh air, hit the rooftop for DJ and some cocktails.

Saturday starts early with Art and Yoga on the roof at 7am, where a local yoga instructor uses local art to inspire exercises for the day. Enjoy a day on the town, but come back for more from Gagnon, who will take up his post again from 4pm to 8pm, and at 5pm, another art and wine tour heads underway (yoga is also a great place to make friends). But for those who don’t make the tour, Art Ovation will be hosting a special portrait workshop at 5:30pm with local portrait artist Danica Jokic. Supplies will be provided, and each attendee leaves with a portrait of their own. And from 6p to 10pm, the lobby turns into a jazz lounge, thanks to local musician Bill Buchman, whose Art of Jazz performance series has already drawn regular fans.

Sunday means more rooftop yoga and another session with Gagnon, this time from 11am to 3pm, but also the last chance to see Legacy, an exhibition celebrating artwork from professors at Ringling College of Art and Design. Hanging all across the sizable lobby, the exhibit comes down on Monday.

For those looking to take part, but not staying at the Art Ovation, reach out to the hotel for details regarding registration.

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