Founded in 2010, The Venetian Arts Society concept is modeled after the popular Salons that flourished all over Europe, especially France in the 17th and 18th centuries. These Salons, usually in private residences of the wealthy, were a place where artists and arts-enthusiasts would meet to enjoy all the visual, performing, and literary arts, as well as philosophy, science, and politics. These Salons often showcased the great minds, artists, and performers of the day such as Voltaire, Mozart, Monet, Paganini, Picasso, Chopin, Heifetz, and Hemingway.
Fast forward to today, the Venetian Arts Society’s 21st Century Salon showcases world class artistic talent of all fine art disciplines and genres. We hold a variety of monthly events in art galleries, historical venues, artists’ studios, museums, and even some spectacular private homes.
Venetian Arts Society, in collaboration with Nova Southeastern University and John Knox Village, presents The ArtSage Alliance; a unique and innovative inter-generational and multi-cultural fine arts program for a highly evolved fine arts lifestyle. Cultural and generational education promotes understanding, acceptance, and compassion by bringing together peoples of all races, ages, colors, ethnicities, sexual orientation, through the “universal language” premier fine arts experience.…evoking the vibrancy, energy, and sheer productivity that result when people of all ages come together.
Venetian Arts Society 21st century concept of the intimate and interactive Art Salon is the template for ArtSAge Alliance presentations. We offer everyone in our community, whether a novice or a connoisseur, the rare and extraordinary opportunity to observe and participate in an interactive experience with world class performing and visual artists. Art Salon presents all art and artistic cultural disciplines – music, dance, digital/new media, film/video/animation, folk arts, humanities and cultural studies, interdisciplinary events/festivals, literature, public art, theater, performing and visual arts. Music, art, drama, and dance are tools that help us develop the mind and body, refine feelings, thoughts, and tastes, and reflect and represent our customs and values as a society. “life’s adversities.”
The ArtSage Alliance creates a connection with key educational and cultural institutions in South Florida such as the Broward County Public & Private School Systems, NSU Art Museum Fort Lauderdale, The Society of the Four Arts (Palm Beach), Gallery of Amazing Things/Weiner Museum of Decorative Arts, Florida Atlantic University, Florida International University, University of Miami, and Palm Beach Atlantic University.
Founder and Executive Director
William (Willie) Riddle, fused many of his educational and professional experiences as owner of a major South Florida based interior design/construction company, his early career in the hotel/restaurant industry, advanced degrees in music, and experience as a professional opera singer, to create the unique, innovative and rapidly growing Venetian Arts Society (VAS).
VAS is a membership based not-for-profit organization that highlights the multi-cultural and inter-generational diversity of our community through a celebration of multi-disciplinary arts in an intimate and interactive 21st century version of the European Art Salons. The Venetian Arts Society Salon features major international and local artists of all disciplines and genres from the great stages, museums/galleries, and educational institutions of the world. Each month VAS invites the audience to become a part of the powerful and creative artistic experience for an evening of everlasting memories.
Originally from the mountains of North Carolina, Willie grew up in the family’s restaurant business, and his early life revolved around music and theatre. He went on to an undergraduate degree in Music Education, a graduate degree in Vocal Performance, and an Artists’ Diploma in Opera Performance from The Hartt School of Music/University of Hartford, Hartford, Connecticut.
After his college studies, Willie pursued an active professional career in opera and musical theatre until 1993 when he was presented with the opportunity to become the general manager of a summer resort hotel, restaurant, and dinner theatre in Blowing Rock, North Carolina, where he ran a 500 seat restaurant, 35 guest rooms, with it’s 100 employees. His education and experience in music and the arts as well as his 10 year professional experience as a professional opera singer made it easy for him to begin producing and directing the enormously popular dinner shows presented nightly by a wait staff of 30-40 college students from all over the United States.
In 1993 Willie also relocated to South Florida for the winter season and in 1998 began a successful career in interior design and construction, catering to a high profile and affluent international client base.
Willie’s vast knowledge and passion for the performance and visual arts, coupled with his background in the hotel/restaurant industry, led to a partnership with a prominent London based art dealer and gallery owner, to host Art Salons in a new international gallery in Fort Lauderdale. The Art Salons quickly became the main concern of the gallery, and, thus, the birth of Venetian Arts Society (VAS) as influential local art enthusiasts took a strong interest in supporting this Salon concept that began to fill a void in our community…a void that no one knew existed “…to go above and beyond life’s trivialities!” WR
Today, Venetian Arts Society continues to grow and flourish in various custom designed series at the most prestigious venues in Broward, Palm Beach, and Miami-Dade Counties. These innovative and revolutionary performances are each unique and are trail-blazing new concepts for experiencing, understanding, and creating the art experience…a new way to dream!