Paint Sarasota with Love Mural Project

The City of Sarasota was founded on a legacy of art and during times of uncertainty we continue to turn to the arts for comfort and hope. In the early months of the COVID-19 Pandemic, we experienced the power of art with the success of the “Sarasota Heroes” mural at 1717 Second Street and its statement of gratitude during the COVID-19 crisis.

The Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County then partnered with the Public Art Committee and City of Sarasota to create a project as part of the City’s Pandemic Recovery Plan. Together, seven murals were commissioned throughout the city to convey the circumstances of our times and create positive and healing energy within the community.

With the help of Sarasota’s City Manager, $25,000 was allocated from the economic recovery stimulus to support working local artists and brighten up our community.

The Alliance was asked to manage the project and put together a committee with members of the City Public Art Committee to conduct a call to artists, as well as partake in the artist selection, determine locations for the murals and the overall project development.

Sarasota Heroes, Karen Chandler 

As the coronavirus pandemic caused suffering throughout the world, healthcare professionals sacrificed their lives to ensure our safety. In a collaborative display of gratitude, Sarasota Magazine, Raw Sugar Living, and the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County commissioned local artist Karen Chandler to create a mural to honor the bravery of our local healthcare professionals.

“Art has the ability to express emotion in a powerful way that touches many people,” said Jim Shirley, Executive Director of the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County. “It is our hope that this collaborative project will convey our sincere gratitude to our local healthcare professionals.”

Artist Karen Chandler shared that it was of the utmost importance to her that people were able to connect to these heroes and recognize their strength, endurance and positivity. In a time that was so difficult for many, Karen’s mural brought a bit of happiness to our community. 

Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe, Simoné Corbert

Ms. Simoné Corbert was the youngest artist to apply to the Paint Sarasota with Love Project and was immediately selected for her natural, raw talent. Simoné is on a mission to celebrate women’s beauty through her art and encourage them to love and embrace their differences and hopes that one day she can inspire someone to follow their own dreams & keep going until they achieve them.

“Throughout history, the arts have been able to unite people of different backgrounds and bring them together,” said Corbert. “The Paint Sarasota With Love project shares a message of hope, love, and unity that can foster positive change and a willingness to find strength in our differences and solidarity in our similarities, as has been done before through the arts.”

Daughters of Hamadryas, Danielle Dygert

Danielle, a Sarasota native, earned a BA from New College of Florida in 2016. While continuing her studio practice, she remained in Sarasota to become an active member of the visual arts community. Dygert’s work begins a discussion between mythology and portraiture as a means to challenge identity through persona. This exploration happens within phantasmagoric landscapes that pull viewers out of reality into a new sense of place.

“I am so grateful to offer a new sense of place within Sarasota. This mural is my love note to the city, it describes how myself and my six sisters spent years playing in the banyan trees at The Ringling, developing stories of tree-people and other worlds,” said Dygert. “This painting is a psychogeographic reflection of my life in Sarasota and I hope many others see it as a reminder to explore their own reality and identity.” Daughters of Hamadryas is located at 1542 Fruitville Road.

Lido Beach Pavilion, Tim Jaeger

A community task force formed by the The Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County and Visit Sarasota County guided the creation of a series of murals on the Lido Beach Pavilion to showcase the history and spirit of Lido Key. Local artist Tim Jaeger was selected to lead this project.

The first two murals depict the Lido Casino and the car caravans for the Lido Beach wade-in protests. Multiple spaces and subjects have been identified for future murals at the Lido Beach Pavilion which will be completed in phases over several years. 

Car Caravans to Lido for the Wade-In Protest:

During the 1950s and early 1960s less than 2 miles of Florida’s 2,000 miles of beaches were open to African Americans. Residents of Newtown formed peaceful wade-in protests to integrate beaches.

Learn more about the wade-ins from Newtown Alive

Lido Casino:

The Lido Casino was a Works Progress Administration project designed by renowned local architect, Ralph Twitchell. Opened in 1940, the Lido Casino included restaurants, a ballroom, shops, and a pool with high diving. It’s picturesque architecture and location made it the perfect spot for filming movies. The building was demolished in 1969.

Shop Dine Local, Karen Chandler

In an effort to support our restaurants and local businesses, the Alliance once again commissioned local artist Karen Chandler to design a mural around the concept of shopping local and dining out in downtown Sarasota.

“The image you see came into my head as I was talking to Jim Shirley on the phone about the project,” artist Karen Chandler said. “It was a natural fit to me, beautiful downtown Sarasota on a fabulous sunny day, shopping on Main St.” 

Chandler stated that once again she was on a mission to bring happiness to others through her art, while encouraging locals to support our small business community. Found on the Mattison’s City Grille restaurant on the corner of Main Street and Lemon Ave, the vibe and energy that this mural gives off can’t help but make one feel like they’re in paradise. 

Sarasota Chamber of Commerce Centennial Murals, Matt Myers 

Conversations about the Chamber’s Centennial were already under way when the decision was made to use the last of the funding for the Paint Sarasota with Love Project to produce two murals on the Chamber office building. 

Matt Myers, a local artist and Professor at Ringling College, was asked to create a mural inspired by the Centennial. As it was planned to be installed on the exterior of the Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, a central theme should be the economic development of Sarasota County. Although its focus was to be historical, the goal was to represent Sarasota’s future as well as its past.

“Historical murals are difficult because it’s not possible to include even the smallest portion of the events and individuals that combine to create the history of a place,” said Myers. “It’s a challenge to squeeze 100 years into 2,000 square feet.”

A task force, which included artist Matt Myers, the Alliance, members of the Public Art Committee and key community influencers chose the figures and imagery for the murals. In conversations and research into Sarasota history, names began to come forward. Most of these were familiar names around Sarasota, names of streets, neighborhoods, developments, schools, shopping malls, parks. 

In the end, nine people were chosen as representatives of the foundation of Sarasota County. Charles and John Ringling, Bertha Palmer, Arthur Britton Edwards, Lewis Colson, Owen Burns, Rose Wilson, John Hamilton Gillespie and Emma E. Booker. Each person gave to Sarasota during their lives in such a way that their contributions continue to create the community of today and into the future.

The Sarasota County Centennial Mural is a celebration of a community with a unique history, now moving into the future with the promise of continued vitality.

In conclusion, the Arts and Cultural Alliance would like to thank everyone who helped to make this project a reality. A special thank you to your partners at the City of Sarasota, Sarasota Magazine and the Sarasota Chamber of Commerce. It is truly incredible to see what we can accomplish when we come together as a community, especially when it is for the greater good. We look forward to a bright future and the many more murals to come!