A True Celebration

Executive Director, Jim Shirley steps to the podium to begin the program.

At the Arts and Cultural Alliance we often talk about the incredible arts and culture scene that we have in Sarasota, but this is only possible  because of the passionate people in our community. On Monday, October 22, 2018 we had the honor of recognizing some of those individuals at our annual Celebration at the Arts.

Three local groups performed, The Jazz Club of Sarasota, Sarasota Contemporary Dance, and Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe’s Stage of Discovery. These groups illustrated both the variety and the high level of quality of arts organizations in Sarasota.


Sarasota Contemporary Dance company members Charlotte Johnson and Melissa Coleman Sperber perform an excerpt from “Sweet Suites”. Image courtesy of Cliff Roles.


Six local individuals were honored for their contributions to the arts community with Arts Leadership Awards:

David Schuler (Volunteerism) greets guests with a smile at The Ringling and ensures that they enjoy their experience to the fullest.

Kelli Maldonado (Arts Education) brings arts to over 30,000 local students and parents each year.

Sally Faron (Arts Management) brought some of the world’s best classical musicians to Sarasota as president of La Musica.

Nate Jacobs (Artistic Achievement) followed his calling to create the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe which is now world renowned.

Beverly Koski (Philanthropy) took her exemplary management skills and applied them to elevating the local arts community.

Jean Weidner Goldstein (Cultural Champion) founded the Sarasota Ballet and then saw a gap and created Dance Next Generation to bring the ballet to all students.

Jean Weidner Goldstein accepts her Cultural Champion award. Image courtesy of Cliff Roles.

And that is just the beginning of the contributions that our Arts Leadership Awards recipients have made to our community.

In addition we awarded State of the Arts Opportunity Grants to: Belle Canto, Inc., Center for Architecture Sarasota, Inc., The North Port Chorale Inc., North Port Art Center, and Musica Sacra Sarasota. And we recognized the recipients of the John Ringling Tower Fund Grants: Performing Arts: Monica Cross, Visual Arts: Pamela Callender, Historic Preservation: Hermitage Artist Retreat.

Over 1000 attendees filled the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall to show their support of these great individuals, performers, and organizations that make Sarasota a thriving arts community.

And thank you to our sponsors who Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, The Exchange, The Community Foundation of Sarasota County, First Home Bank, Art Ovation Hotel, and Sarasota Magazine whose support made this event possible.

Photos from Cliff Roles

Video by Bill Wagy

Article from Herald-Tribune

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