Succumb to the tranquil meditative vibes.  Guests experience an intimate Japanese tea demonstration and tasting, presented by Local Tea at Ringling Museum, with host and sensei sipper Dr. Michelle Liu Carriger performing the choreographic ceremony of Chanoyu, also called the “Way of Tea.” A circle of VIP members took part in the narrative act—blending the graceful etiquette of preparation and presentation of serving a bowl of freshly whisked matcha, or powdered green tea. Guests embarked on their cultural experience shoeless, becoming acquainted with the cypress wood floor for the time-honored ritual, which boils down to origins in 16th century Japan, influenced, by Zen Buddhism practices. Today, it’s evolved into a synthesis of social interaction and aesthetics. Preparing a bowl of tea while pouring all one’s attention into Chanoyu’s predefined movements is a process not centered around simply imbibing tea, but the art of serving it with a pure, open heart. Taking place at The Nancy L. Ellis Tea House—the newest addition to the Center for Asian Art by architect Glenn Darling with custom craftsmanship by Dale Rieke—the space lends itself to a harmonious blend of Sarasota Modern architecture and traditional design, allowing guests to take in the surrounding nature and dissipate the cares of daily life. “We are one of the few art museums in the US with an active, functioning tea house,” notes Rhiannon Paget, curator of Asian Art at The Ringling. “Sharing tea in this beautiful, tranquil space is a wonderful way to learn about Japanese culture and stimulate the senses.”

Photography by Wyatt Kostygan.