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SRQ DAILY Mar 25, 2015

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"It's an important art school destroying art."

- Carl Abbott, architect

[Architecture]  Architecture Foundation Seeks to Save Canopies
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

Architects in the region are expressing anger that renovation plans at the Sarasota Museum of Art today call for the destruction of canopies connecting the museum site with the Paul Rudolph-designed Sarasota High School. “They have work by one of the most important architects of the 20th century and they are treating it like junk,” said Sarasota architect Carl Abbott.

Officials with Ringling College of Art and Deisgn, which has overseen the plans for the museum, maintain the canopies were not actually part of Rudolph’s vision. “We are removing a small section of the total canopy – the area necessary to continue renovation of the historic Sarasota High School building,” reads a statement from Ringling College. “We also believe, but do not have final corroboration, that the section we are taking down is also not part of the original Paul Rudolph design but was added on later.”

After being flooded by emails as a result of a campaign by the Sarasota Architecture Foundation, Ringling College president Larry Thompson also sent an email further explaining the college's decision. "As you know, we have been at this project for many, many years and we have explored all options regarding the canopies," Thomspon wrote in the e-mail, made public by the foundation. "Quite frankly there is no way to keep the canopies that are along the historic high school without destroying our entire project to save the high school. We are only taking out a small section (about 50 feet of the canopies) that impact the reconstruction and adaptive reuse of the building."

The Sarasota Architectural Foundation says the assertion the canopies are not Rudolph originals is untrue, and provided photographs from 1960 showing the canopies. Rudolph designed what is now the main campus from Sarasota High in the late 1950s, an extension to the east of the historic Sarasota High building fronting Tamiami Trail. The canopies, which bear the modern look of the Rudolph campus, connects to the south side of the historic structure, which will house SMOA. “It’s a very important visual link connecting one complex to the other,” said Dan Snyder, SAF board member. The Paul Rudolph Foundation says the canopies are “integral” to the design concept for the school.

Rudolph, who died in 1997, is widely regarded today as the most important figure in the Sarasota School of Architecture. Past fights to preserve his work, notably the effort to save historic parts of Riverview High, received worldwide attention.

Abbott studied under Rudolph at Yale University and worked for Rudolph’s office in Sarasota shortly after the high school was constructed. He said the canopies connecting campuses were in the original Rudolph drawings, and feels Ringling College leaders don’t understand the significance of the structure. “It’s an important art school destroying art,” he said. He also felt destroying a connection between an art museum and high school was short-sighted.

College officials noted, though, that the plans for demolition have been publicly avaiable now for years, and while architects today are lobbying for demolition to be put on hold until further study, the project must eventually move forward. 

[Theater]  Sarasota Opera Soprano Performs Tosca For 100th Time
Philip Lederer, Phil.Lederer@srqme.com

Tonight marks the penultimate performance of Giacomo Puccini’s Tosca by the Sarasota Opera and an additional milestone for one of the artists, soprano Kara Shay Thomson, who will be performing the title role of Floria Tosca for the 100th time on stage. The character was her first role as a young artist, said Thomson, and the role with which she made her debut at the Sarasota Opera in 2009.

“I love doing it because it’s so much a part of me and the way I sing,” said Thomson, who found the role plays to her particular strengths as a performer. She loves the character but it’s ultimately the music that captivates her. And according to Thomson, 99 performances have only made her more effective at communicating that enthusiasm and her character. “In the beginning you’re much more reserved and careful,” said Thomson. “Now I sing with abandon and it’s more integrated into the character. They really see her, and not someone playing her.”

But Thomson doesn’t dwell on the number of performances and according to her each one is special, but she does appreciate what 100 performances means. “It’s a milestone in that it takes a lot of time and the depth with which you can come to it when you’ve done it that many times,” said Thomson. “It tells people that I really know what I want to present.”

The Sarasota Opera’s final performances of Tosca starring Kara Shay Thomson are tonight and this Friday, Mar. 27.  

[Good Bite]  New Restaurant Alert: Blu Kouzina
Kaye Warr

Blu Kouzina debuted on St Armand’s Circle only two weeks ago but has already generated a loyal following. During my visit, one gentleman informs me this is his fifth time dining here since the restaurant’s opening. Blu Kouzina is run by husband and wife team Dennis and Effie Tsakiris. Dennis expedites the food and greets effusive guests as they wait in line to heap accolades on him, whilst Effie cooks in the open plan kitchen directing a bustling team. This is Greek cuisine done right and Dennis and Effie are committed to sourcing local, fresh seafood and produce of the highest quality. They don’t have a freezer or microwave on the property and the high quality ingredients are evident in the delectable food. The tzatziki is best I’ve tasted and Dennis says this is because they use fresh cucumbers and the best yogurt in the world. The olive oil on each table is imported from the family’s own Olive Grove Estate in Messinia, Greece. There are traditional dishes like Moussaka, homemade Baklava and lighter tapas-style dishes like the roasted red peppers stuffed with tangy, melty, spicy feta cheese or fresh grilled squid. The service is friendly and informative and the dining room and patio are beautifully decorated. Kudos to Blu Kouzina, my pick for best new restaurant in recent memory!  

Blu Kouzina, 25 N. Boulevard of the Presidents, Sarasota, 941-388-2619

[Recognition]  Becker's Honors Doctors Hospital

Doctors Hospital of Sarasota was named one of the 150 Great Places to Work in Healthcare for the fourth year in a row by Becker’s Hospital Review.  The list features healthcare providers and other types of healthcare-specific companies, such as consulting firms, health IT vendors and medical societies. The organizations featured on the list were selected based on research, nominations and evaluations based on organizations’ benefits, workplace culture, professional development opportunities and previous recognition for workplace excellence.  

Doctors Hospital of Sarasota

[Development]  Construction Begins on Eye Center

Halfacre Construction Company began construction on a 7,000-square-foot, multi-tenant office building in Parrish. Scheduled to be complete in July 2015, the project will take about six months from start to finish. The project includes site development and new construction of the building. Eye Center, the building owner and tenant of the largest office space at 3,200 square feet, will lease the remaining two spaces – one with 2,200 square feet and the other with 1,600. 

Halfacre Construction Company

[Opening]  River Wind Opening Scheduled
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

Neal Signature Homes, the exclusive builder at River Wind, is hosting a family-friendly grand opening event at the coastal-themed neighborhood in Bradenton, its third new community this year, on Sunday from 11am–2pm.Guests will have the opportunity to browse through the beautifully decorated Carmel model, a 2,698-square-foot floor plan with three bedrooms and three bathrooms plus a den and a clubroom, and see the three feature homes currently under construction – the Costa Mesa, Carmel and Monterey.The gated private enclave in Bradenton includes 62 oversized home sites. 

Neal Signature Homes

[Political Discussion]  Where the Votes Are

Yesterday SRQ hosted Where the Votes Are, a public event focusing on the results of the recent Sarasota City Commission race. Senior Editor Jacob Ogles presented his findings via a presentation and question and answer period on voter participation and predictions for the upcoming runoff election this May. Guests were treated to breakfast and an open discussion on this election's campaign tactics, candidates, the outcome, voter demographics and what to expect when looking to consequent governmental races. SRQ Magazine hosts Where the Votes Are after elections that affect our community. Stay tuned for a full post on Inside The Brand for Jacob's findings and a gallery of photos soon!  

SRQ Media Group

SRQ DAILY is produced by SRQ | The Magazine. Note: The views and opinions expressed in the Saturday Perspectives Edition and in the Letters department of SRQ DAILY are those of the author(s) and do not imply endorsement by SRQ Media. Senior Editor Jacob Ogles edits the Saturday Perspective Edition, Letters and Guest Contributor columns.In the CocoTele department, SRQ DAILY is providing excerpts from news releases as a public service. Reference to any specific product or entity does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by SRQ DAILY. The views expressed by individuals are their own and their appearance in this section does not imply an endorsement of them or any entity they represent. For rates on SRQ DAILY banner advertising and sponsored content opportunities, please contact Ashley Ryan Cannon at 941-365-7702 x211 or via email

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