Marcia Ashton Rader, Educator and Advocate

Image courtesy of Sarasota County Historical Records

Marica Ashton Rader moved to Sarasota in 1919 and worked as the Art Supervisor of the Sarasota School System. Marcia’s strong appreciation of art gave her the drive to form the Sarasota Art Association in 1926. Through monthly meetings in her home and exhibits in any space they could find, this group expanded the appreciation of art in the community.

Marcia also served as president of the Florida Federation of Art which was founded in 1927 to assist local art associations throughout the state. During her reelection to president in 1935 she was quoted in the Sarasota Herald, “The art clubs of the communities of Florida should be cultural centers of those towns and cities. Florida’s art has been instrumental in attracting some important artists to the state and to communities where clubs are located and a number of them have bought homes here where they could be in close touch with arts activities.”

Sarasota Herald, November 24, 1935

The Sarasota Art Association continued to thrive after Marcia’s death in 1937. In 1948 they raised enough money for a building and architects Thomas Reed Martin and his son Frank Martin provided the plans to place the building between two other buildings that Thomas Reed Martin designed, the Municipal Auditorium and the Chidsey Building.

Marcia Rader’s passion for art in the community is still seen today. The Sarasota Art Association that she founded in 1926 is still operating as Art Center Sarasota and continues the mission of providing Sarasota with opportunities for creative expression and art appreciation.

Learn more about our Sarasota Creators series.