Sarasota County Commission Candidates Survey

We invited the Sarasota County Commission candidates to share their views about local arts and culture. We have provided their responses to help you make an informed decision.

Respondents were asked to use a 1-5 scale with 1 = strongly disagree, 5 = strongly agree.

Please scroll to see all candidates.

District 1

NameMichael Hutchinson
RaceSarasota County Commission Candidate
District or Seat1
I recognize arts and culture as a key industry impacting our local economy.4
I recognize arts and culture as a major driver of tourism in our region.4
I recognize the importance of arts/culture in our community as a key factor in developing our future growth in jobs and real estate values.3
I support the arts (music, theater, dance, visual arts and media arts) as an essential part of the basic curriculum in our schools.5
Have you served on the boards or committees of arts or cultural institutions. If so, which ones?No
What cultural events (concerts, exhibits, etc.) have you attended this past year?Van Wezel
How would you describe the impact of arts and culture on our local economy?It draws visitors as well as retires. Generates trips downtown and creates business for the restaurants in the area.
Additional Comments
NameMichael Moran
RaceSarasota County Commission Candidate
District or SeatDistrict 1
I recognize arts and culture as a key industry impacting our local economy.5
I recognize arts and culture as a major driver of tourism in our region.5
I recognize the importance of arts/culture in our community as a key factor in developing our future growth in jobs and real estate values.5
I support the arts (music, theater, dance, visual arts and media arts) as an essential part of the basic curriculum in our schools.5
Have you served on the boards or committees of arts or cultural institutions. If so, which ones?I have a proven voting record on the Sarasota County Board of Commissioners of supporting the arts.
What cultural events (concerts, exhibits, etc.) have you attended this past year?Salute to Vienna was my favorite 
How would you describe the impact of arts and culture on our local economy?The Arts & Cultural Alliance’s annual report is proof of the massive impact on our community.
Additional CommentsI feel the need to recognize Jim Shirley’s leadership and mission driven attitude.  He is an asset to Sarasota County.  Even if some residents are not versed in the “arts”, it is important that they recognize the economic impact it has on our community.  
NameMark Pienkos
RaceSarasota County Commission Candidate
District or Seat1
I recognize arts and culture as a key industry impacting our local economy.5
I recognize arts and culture as a major driver of tourism in our region.5
I recognize the importance of arts/culture in our community as a key factor in developing our future growth in jobs and real estate values.5
I support the arts (music, theater, dance, visual arts and media arts) as an essential part of the basic curriculum in our schools.5
Have you served on the boards or committees of arts or cultural institutions. If so, which ones?As a school administrator (Principal, Badger High School, Lake Geneva, WI; Superintendent, Washington-Caldwell School District), I served on cultural arts committees to promote arts within the community.
What cultural events (concerts, exhibits, etc.) have you attended this past year?Several Florida Studio performances; Lion King at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall; Exhibits at Selby Gardens; Exhibits at John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art; Music on the Bay monthly events; Friday Fest Concerts on the Bay; The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature; The Dali (Salvador Dali Museum) 
How would you describe the impact of arts and culture on our local economy?Very, very important! Many people visit the Suncoast for a variety of reasons. We have great beaches, golf courses, Spring Training, etc., but so many people enjoy the performing and visual arts. The arts are vital to our community. Even though COVID-19 has drastically reduced tourism dollars, it is good that Gov. DeSantis still allocated $20.2 million to the arts state-wide (slightly down form last year, but still a good amount given the economic crisis we are facing.)
Additional CommentsAs a school administrator I always promoted the visual and preforming arts. If there was a conflict between a concert or stage performance and an athletic event, I made sure I attended the cultural event. I also had student art displayed throughout the school. Art should be available for all people to view and react to. Finally, one of my favorite quotes is, “On an artist’s canvass, math and history, etc.. provide the black, white, and grey in our world. But the arts (both visual and preforming) provide the color on the canvas.  Thank you for listening! I appreciate your support! ElectMarkPienkos.com

District 3

NameNancy Detert
RaceSarasota County Commission Candidate
District or Seat3
I recognize arts and culture as a key industry impacting our local economy.5
I recognize arts and culture as a major driver of tourism in our region.5
I recognize the importance of arts/culture in our community as a key factor in developing our future growth in jobs and real estate values.5
I support the arts (music, theater, dance, visual arts and media arts) as an essential part of the basic curriculum in our schools.5
Have you served on the boards or committees of arts or cultural institutions. If so, which ones?Not local boards but numerous state boards. I currently serve on the National Association of County Commissioners Art committee which is a federal board.
What cultural events (concerts, exhibits, etc.) have you attended this past year?I have attended, and brought visitors, to Venice Theater productions and have attended Van Wezel this year.
How would you describe the impact of arts and culture on our local economy?The arts are a huge economic factor for this area and there are plenty of surveys to prove it. Not only by itself but as a magnet to brings businesses to the area. People want to work and live in a community that values the arts.
Additional CommentsThank you all for doing what you do for Sarasota. I am sorry that you are going through such tough times. We need you
NameCory Hutchinson
RaceSarasota County Commission Candidate
District or Seat3
I recognize arts and culture as a key industry impacting our local economy.5
I recognize arts and culture as a major driver of tourism in our region.5
I recognize the importance of arts/culture in our community as a key factor in developing our future growth in jobs and real estate values.5
I support the arts (music, theater, dance, visual arts and media arts) as an essential part of the basic curriculum in our schools.5
Have you served on the boards or committees of arts or cultural institutions. If so, which ones?
What cultural events (concerts, exhibits, etc.) have you attended this past year?
How would you describe the impact of arts and culture on our local economy?I am passionate about arts education, and ensuring our community embraces arts and culture. The Arts allow for creativity, expression, and social movements. We may focus on business, and economics to ensure our area is well run, but without arts, what are we fighting for?
Additional Comments

District 5

NameRon Cutsinger 
No Response
Name Christopher B. Hanks
No Response
Name Alice White
No Response
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