As executive director of the Realize Bradenton economic development organization, Johnette Isham is a passionate champion of ribbon cuttings, public events and new collaborations. We have never, ever seen her not working for her cause, and now the former vice president for academic affairs at Ringling College of Art and Design has moved to downtown Bradenton herself. We asked her for five good reasons to check out her new neighborhood.
1. Walk a riverfront community. “Downtown Bradenton boasts one of the longest public river-walks in Florida. It opened October 2012 and won first place from the Tampa Bay Regional Planning Council this spring.”
2. Sing the blues. “The international Blues Revue magazine moved to Bradenton two years ago and [helped launch] the Bradenton Blues Festival in December. We expected 800, and we sold out with 3,100. The next festival is Dec. 7, 2013, and will be sold out in advance.”
3. Discover Village of the Arts. “The 52-acre Village of the Arts is one of the oldest and largest artist live-work communities in Florida. I love to shop and eat at the Village.”
4. Find something for everyone. “Learning and fun exemplify the attractions in downtown Bradenton—the South Florida Museum, the Manatee Performing Arts Center, ArtCenter Manatee, Village of the Arts, and Pittsburgh Pirates/Bradenton Marauders. I am never bored.”
5. Be part of something big. “We are stronger together, and Bradenton knows how to collaborate for the greater good."