Culture Convenes in Sarasota

The Florida Department of State Division of Cultural Affairs (DCA) reached their 50th anniversary this year and selected Sarasota as the place to celebrate! Of course, we agree that this is the perfect location to bring together the arts and culture leaders from around the state.

Welcome reception at Florida Studio Theatre.

According to the DCA mission statement, this State Division is dedicated to the advancement, support, and promotion of arts and culture to strengthen the economy and quality of life for all Floridians. The support of this division ensures that Sarasota arts and culture continue to thrive.

Members of the DCA staff, Florida Council on Arts & Culture, and leaders of the Local Arts Agencies (LAA) were greeted on Tuesday evening with a reception at Florida Studio Theatre. Jim Shirley, executive director of the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County; Rebecca Hopkins, managing director of Florida Studio Theatre; and Sandy Shaughnessy , director of the Division of Cultural Affairs all welcomed the groups to Sarasota.

Secretary Lee addresses audience

After a day filled with business meetings hosted at Asolo Repertory Theatre and The Ringling Museum on Wednesday, the DCA staff, Florida Council on Arts & Culture, and LAA leaders were joined by local elected officials and arts executives for a celebration in the Ringling Courtyard.

Jim Shirley served as master of ceremonies for the event. The attendees wer welcomed by Sandy Shaughnessy and Steven High, executive director of the Ringling. Florida Secretary of State, Laurel Lee, then addressed the audience followed by performances by Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe and Emanne Beasha, the young opera singer who was a recent finalist on America’s Got Talent.

The celebration was a wonderful reminder of how fortunate we are to live in a culturally rich area and why we all continue to advocate for local arts.