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SRQ Daily Jan 9, 2016

Saturday Perspectives Edition

Saturday Perspectives Edition

"All I know is that if I spent the night on the floor, where the bright lights are never turned off and no blanket and pillow are offered, my body would barely move the next day."

- Susan Nilon, The Report
 

[Arts Alliance]  Measuring the Impact of Arts
Jim Shirley, jshirley@sarasotaarts.org

Advocacy for the arts is one of the primary missions of the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County.Our goal is to help ensure that every citizen in our community has access to arts and culture as a part of their everyday life. One of the most important tools that we can have to seek funding and support for the arts is clear, factual knowledge about what the real impact of arts and culture is on our local and national economy.

In 2016, the Alliance will lead all of the arts and cultural organizations in Sarasota County in conducting a comprehensive study measuring the economic impact of nonprofit arts and culture organizations and their audiences. The research study is being conducted by Americans for the Arts, the nation’s nonprofit organization advancing the arts and arts education. It is the fifth study over the past 20 years to measure the impact of arts spending on local jobs, income paid to local residents, and revenue generated to local and state governments.

As one of nearly 300 study partners across all 50 states plus the District of Columbia, the Arts and Cultural Alliance will collect detailed financial data about our local nonprofit arts and culture organizations such as our theater and dance companies, museums, festivals and arts education organizations. Many people do not think of nonprofit arts organizations as businesses but this study will make clear that the arts are a formidable industry in our community—employing people locally, purchasing goods and services from local merchants, and helping to drive tourism and economic development.”

The Alliance will also collect surveys from attendees at arts events using a short, anonymous questionnaire that asks how much money they spent on items such as meals, parking and transportation, and retail shopping specifically as a result of attending the event. Previous studies have shown that the average attendee spends $24.60 per person, per event, beyond the cost of admission. Those studies have also shown that, on average, 32 percent of arts attendees travel from outside the county in which the arts event took place, and that those cultural tourists typically spend nearly $40 per person—generating important revenue for local businesses and demonstrating how the arts drive revenue for other businesses in the community. 

Surveys will be collected throughout the calendar year 2016. The results of the study will be released in June of 2017.

This study will show that when we support the arts in Sarasota County, we are making an investment in an industry, one that supports jobs and generates government revenue, and is the cornerstone of tourism. We are excited to announce that our partners in Manatee County will also be participating in this year’s study. The Manatee study will be led by Realize Bradenton under the leadership of their executive director, Johnette Isham. For the first time, we will be able to produce a regional report that will show the impact of the arts on our combined economies.

According to Americans for the Arts’ most recent national study, the nonprofit arts industry generated $135.2 billion in total economic activity and supported 4.1 million full-time equivalent jobs during 2010, resulting in $22.3 billion in federal, state and local government revenues. The $135.2 billion total included $61.1 billion in spending by arts organizations and $74.1 billion in event-related spending by their audiences on items such as meals, local transportation and overnight lodging. Complete details about the fiscal year 2010 study are available at www.AmericansForTheArts.org/EconomicImpact.

Jim Shirley is the executive director for the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County.


 

[Higher Education]  Reflecting on 2015
Donal O'Shea, doshea@ncf.edu

The beginning of a new year inevitably leads to reflections on the year past. Among the most significant stories in higher education in 2015 was the outbreaks of student unrest across the country, and what it portends. Do the events at Mizzou, Yale, Amherst, Brandeis, Claremont, Brown and other residential colleges and universities in North America signal a triumph of narcissistic political correctness, the final step in the closing of the American mind and the coddling of her youth? Or do they signal a new era in which higher educational institutions will genuinely welcome all the students they have recruited?    

It is too soon to tell.

Western civilization and universities grew up together. At true universities, ideas collide, the past meets present, and each generation of students remakes the knowledge and experience of the past, claiming it as their own. Those institutions are the foundation of the future, of creativity and of change, and they have always been sites of conflict.    

Unsurprisingly, student protests are as old as our universities, and such protests often catch fire at different places simultaneously. The student riots in 1229 closed the University of Paris. Fearing the contagion would stoke the still simmering unrest at Oxford University that had just resulted in breakaway Cambridge University, administrators and town city officials appealed to the Vatican. The resulting agreement made universities independent of local ecclesiastical and secular authority. Over the centuries, the same innovative forces at play in the Middle Ages would repeatedly express themselves in forward-looking unrest at universities. The worldwide student protests of the late 1960’s would again close the University of Paris and many institutions in the United States. Those protests led to more student-focused modern universities.  

It is clear that we have entered another period of great change, at least in universities in the United States. New College and its students are, as we were in late ’60s and early ’70s, very much a part of the debates on other campuses nationwide. How do we reconcile free speech with the need to use language that respects others and furthers the exchange of ideas? How do we disagree respectfully? How do we truly welcome individuals of all backgrounds, and truly embrace difference? How does the ideal of a physically safe, but intellectually challenging, classroom environment translate into an age when smartphones and social media make every foolish comment embarrassingly public and allow a small number of individuals to anonymously bully and shame another person?  

These are not questions with obvious answers, but they merit addressing. And enduring answers will, as always, require that different generations and different people listen to one another and build a new consensus. As in all periods of great ferment, spectacular foolishness and great entitlement mix with legitimate concerns and it often takes time to sort out what is what (although most of us think that we know instantly).   

Although it is not clear what will emerge from the current unrest, I’m optimistic that discussions locally and nationally will lead to a better and more inclusive environment for all students. For it is to those students to whom will fall the task of safeguarding and advancing our democracy. 

Donal O'Shea is the president of New College pf Florida. 

[The Report]  The Human Condition
Susan Nilon, susan.nilon@gmail.com

On December 21, during the Longest Night, the Salvation Army honored our homeless citizens that died this past year. That list numbered 57 people—the largest number of deaths on record in a 12-month period. Reverend Dr. David Sutton held back the tears as he called out the names.  

Just two days before, Major Ethan Frizzell announced in the press that our chronic homeless numbers had dropped significantly. He also added that there were plenty of beds available at the Salvation Army for those that needed them. That statement was a departure from what I had been witnessing during the day, so I wanted to see it for myself. That evening, the temperature had dropped into the 40s when myself and a small group of people went for our walk in Downtown Sarasota between the hours of 11pm and 2am.

Within just a half mile radius of City Hall, we counted 51 people sleeping in sleeping bags and under blankets in plain sight. Places like the Selby Library, the Van Wezel, the Sheriff’s Department, and even the Salvation Army (which had the largest number of people sleep outside: 22) were the chosen locations of the homeless. We did not venture into the actual homeless camps because it wasn’t necessary. If the numbers of chronic homeless have gone down, it is not evidenced on the streets.  

For the past several years, there has been a game of musical chairs when it comes to who sleeps at the Salvation Army. Mostly, it is due to the constant changing of the rules to gain entrance. It also has to do with the City. The city pays for beds to be held open in case the police department needs to use them as an alternative to jail for those that are breaking the sleeping in public ordinance. Yes, you have to be facing arrest in order to occupy those beds. The night I walked the downtown corridor, those beds remained empty. Those beds remained empty and at least 51 people slept out in the cold. What purpose did that serve?  

Are we throwing good money after bad? Why isn’t there a cutoff time for those beds to become available for others? Even if they are not used for the people that remain on the streets, how about the people that have been relegated to the floor? I am sure they would appreciate sleeping in a bed.  

If people are really “choosing” to sleep on the streets and not seeking the help that is available to them, we should ask ourselves why. Maybe the help that they are being offered is not really help to them. Maybe the constant change of the rules is more of a set up for failure than a helping hand. All I know is that if I spent the night on the floor, where the bright lights are never turned off and no blanket and pillow are offered, my body would barely move the next day. And if the constant noise from the many people sleeping next to me kept me up all night, along with the fear of an illness making me sick from the person sneezing in close proximity, I can’t imagine I would be in much better condition when looking for a job.

Major Frizell and the Salvation Army have rolled out a new “behavior modification” plan in order to get the desired behavior they are looking for. But I would argue that some things should not be hard to obtain. A bed, a shower, clean clothes and a place to keep someone’s personal belongings might actually have a more desired impact on, not only their health and wellbeing, but also the mental outlook of a homeless individual. Anyone who is subjected to the harsh conditions that we offer the homeless day after day could not do better. Sometimes life is complicated, but that doesn’t mean the solutions are not simple. We need to re-evaluate our expectations of the homeless and we need to spend a little more time looking at life from the eyes of the homeless.

Susan Nilon hosts The Nilon Report.  

[Philanthropy]  Seeking Selby Scholars
Sarah Pappas and Evan G. Jones

January heralds many changes, including the beginning of “scholarship season” here in the Sarasota area. From now through April, many of our region’s clubs and non-profits are accepting applications for undergraduate scholarships for students starting college in Fall 2016. The total amount awarded is in the millions of dollars per year, making our county one of the most generous in the state. Among the hundreds of local awards, a few stand out as particularly valuable, and of those, none is better known than the Selby Scholar award.

For more than 50 years now, the William G. and Marie Selby Foundation has been supporting local students in their pursuit of undergraduate degrees. What began as a few small gifts from the forward-thinking couple to help their employees pay for schooling has blossomed into a million-dollar-per-year scholarship program that has helped thousands of local students. The tradition carries on to this day, with 40 new students selected each year to receive the award, which can be worth up to $7,000. Unlike most other scholarships, the Selby Scholar award is automatically renewed each year, which helps to ensure not only that the student is able to attend college, but more importantly, to stay there until successfully graduating, a feat achieved by over 90% of recipients.

But the Selby Scholar award is more than just money. Every year during Winter Break, we invite all 160 current Scholars to a special luncheon at Michael’s on East, where we match each one with a member of our community who works in the student’s chosen field of study. So if the student wants to be a doctor, we find them a doctor to sit with, and so on down the line for engineers, artists and business majors alike. It’s a great opportunity for the students to ask questions about the field and to dig a bit deeper into the realities of their soon-to-be profession, not to mention the possibility for internships or even future employment.  A few scholars have even gone on to work full time for their community partners after graduation. By fostering these connections between students and local employers, we are creating incentives for smart and talented young people to remain in our region after graduation, the benefits of which extend to everyone in our community.

Applications for the Selby Scholar award become available in early January and are due no later than April 1 of each year. Students must either be graduating seniors from a local high school OR graduating AA/AS degree students from a local community college, and must be planning to pursue a bachelor’s degree on a full-time basis. A minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA is required both to apply and to retain the scholarship if awarded. We recommend planning ahead when applying, since our application is a bit more rigorous due to the high value of our award. Make sure you have completed the FAFSA and have your Student Aid Report ready. More detailed information is available on the Selby website at: http://www.selbyfdn.org/scholarship-programs.aspx.

Sarah Pappas, president, and Evan G. Jones, grants and scholarship manager, for the William G. and Marie Selby Foundation. 



[SOON]  Mable's "No Longer Secret Garden"

Mrs. Ringling’s informal Secret Garden was her refuge from her responsibilities as a society hostess. The Ringling has recently redesigned and replanted the garden in keeping with its original spirit. However, it is now filled with educational opportunities for the home gardener. On January 23 from 9am to noon, Ringling guides will walk you through the design and installation process and discuss special features such as the butterfly garden, palm garden, and seasonal annuals. Designed to give homeowners the know-how to create Florida-friendly landscapes, this series of programs uses the grounds and gardens of The Ringling as its outdoor classroom. 

The Ringling

[SOON]  Kick off 2016 With Craft Brews at the Sarasota Chamber Monday Mixer

Celebrate the craft brewing culture and spirit as you build your network at the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce Monday Mixer at Mandeville Beer Garden in Sarasota on January 11 from 5-6:30pm. The festivities are complimentary for Chamber members and $10 for future members. Register online at the link below 

Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce

[SOON]  Goodwill's Program For Older Job Seekers

On January 19 from 9am-1pm,  Goodwill Manasota will host a three-hour job search workshop called "2016: Possibilities for the Older Worker." Led by Judy Rosemarin, executive coach and founder of Sense-Able Strategies, Inc. the workshop is a brand-new, customized program designed exclusively for older men and women who are returning to work or need to change jobs and will explorel explore the myths of being an older worker, challenge limiting beliefs that hinder the possibility of finding a job, assert the importance of social media, discuss how to maximize an individual’s strengths, and offer tips and techniques on how to interview with confidence. This program is free and open to the public but space is limited. Call Becky Lee at (941) 355-2721, ext. 160 for more information or to register.

 

Goodwill Manasota

[KUDOS]  Sarasota YMCA Sharks Swim Team Excellence

The Sarasota YMCA Sharks Swim Team was ranked 11th in USA Swimming’s Club Excellence Program. The Sharks have achieved many accomplishments during their 2014-2015 season. They won their 15th YMCA National short course championship, the 24th Florida junior Olympic championships, the 20th YMCA State championships, sent 15 swimmers to compete in junior and senior USA Nationals, sent 2 world junior championship competitors to Singapore including team USA selected Sharks head coach Brent Arckey, and qualified 10 Olympic trials competitors for 2016.  

Sarasota YMCA

[SCOOP]  Grant Provides Parenting Education for Court-Ordered Families

The Wilson Wood Foundation has granted Forty Carrots Family Center $10,000 to help underwrite classes for parents ordered by the court to participate in parenting education. Forty Carrots utilizes an evidence-based curriculum that is particularly effective with at-risk parents, including those who experienced abuse in their own childhood. To meet the court order, participating parents complete a 12 hour series and participate in two individual observations. Classes are completely free of charge. Forty Carrots receives no funding from the court and raises the money to provide the program through grants, individuals and special events. 

Forty Carrots Family Center

[SOON]  Region's Largest Annual Parkinson's Symposium to be Held in Sarasota

On January 23, two of Florida’s most respected neuroscience experts will share the latest research and findings on Parkinson's disease and its treatment. Hosted by the Neuro Challenge Foundation for Parkinson’s and Sarasota Memorial Health Care System, the annual event has been recognized as one of the largest Parkinson's symposium in North America.  Parkinson's is a neurodegenerative disease that usually affects people over age 65. It is of particular concern in Sarasota County, where more than 33 percent of its residents are 65 or older. Indeed, it is estimated that more than 9,000 Sarasota County residents are affected by Parkinson's disease and that number is expected to increase as the population ages and more Americans take up residence on the Gulf Coast.  For more information, contact 941.926.6413. 

Neuro Challenge

SRQ Media Group

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