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SRQ DAILY Dec 22, 2016

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"The Van Wezel alone can't accommodate the needs of the orchestra and other organizations in the community."

- Joseph McKenna, Sarasota Orchestra

[Culture]  Orchestra Composing Future Vision
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

The Sarasota Orchestra has grown in size and popularity over the past decade and a half, but now needs a new hall for symphonies to keep up with demand, says executive director Joseph McKenna. The Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, the largest venue for orchestra performances today, just can’t continue to be the primary stage for shows. “There is not enough room on the calendar to accommodate our programmatic growth and our artistic growth,” he says. So as the community develops a fresh vision for the Sarasota Bayfront, leaders at the orchestra hope there’s place for them to play as well.

McKenna stresses repeatedly that the orchestra has no problem with the city-run venue; the Van Wezel hosts everything from rock concerts to popular stand-up comedians to traveling stage shows. And other cultural organizations like the Sarasota Ballet book dates there as well. “The Van Wezel alone can’t accommodate the needs of the orchestra and other organizations in the community,” he says. McKenna would love to have a new 1,600- to 1,800-seat venue, one where the orchestra controlls the calendar.

But he also notes that a venue demands more than just a hall big enough to hold so many seats. Should a new venue get constructed, acoustics should be important, as should related facilities for other services like education.

Anne Folsom Smith, board chair for the Sarasota Orchestra, notes that the public school system in Florida doesn’t offer the same level of support to arts programs as once expected, and organizations like the Sarasota Orchestra today provide many of the resources to fill that gap. “When we do a children’s program in the summer, there is not an inch of our building where someone isn’t practicing, performing or doing something,” she says. “We are truly busting at the seams just accomodating kids who otherwise would not have a place to learn to play an instrument.” McKenna says the youth program has grown to about 347 students, when a couple years ago it was just 168. 

The orchestra continues to go through a feasibility and evaluation process for its needs, and the Bayfront planning process looms large in those discussions. It’s likely the city, which now leases a small facility to the orchestra, will reserve some four to six acres for the organization. But the planning of the Bayfront, which also includes discussion of the Van Wezel’s future and the use of expansive public space assembled there, will take time. The city just recently appointed a committee to explore the matter, a continuation of the work done by the independent Bayfront 20:20 organization.

McKenna says a number of elements must be considered as the orchestra plans its future: timeliness of opening a new venue, artistic integrity for the organization, leadership donor needs and the contribution to a strong business future. Something McKenna stresses is that the orchestra today is a significant business in the region with a $10-million annual budget and about 250 employees, only 72 of those musicians under contract. 

[Daily Shop]  Stomp it Out
Aviel Kanter, aviel.kanter@srqme.com

This holiday season, buy your kid the keys to outdoor fun—get them off their smartphones and tablets and flat screens and into grass and trees and sand. The Stomp Rocket (is this not the best toy name ever?) will be your tween’s new BFF with a simple hop, step and jump on the launch pad, flinging a rocket up and away into the air over 200 feet. No electricity or extra parts needed, the Stomp Rocket can travel anywhere their little hearts desire, from summer beach hangs to lazy backyard after-school afternoons. Watch them stomp their kiddo energy into oblivion as the rocket ascends.  

Toys R Us, 512 Cortez Rd. W, Bradenton, 941-753-6151.

[Synergy]  Patterson Donates $100,000 to Season of Sharing

The Patterson Foundation has given $100,000 to Season of Sharing, a gift triggered by the first $500,000 raised by the community for the effort. For the duration of Season of Sharing, The Patterson Foundation will make additional $100,000 contributions for every $500,000 raised by donors for families and individuals on the verge of homelessness in Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte and DeSoto counties. Everyday expenses like car, utility and rent payments threaten the stability of people in the community living on the economic edge. Season of Sharing serves to mitigate this risk by helping to cover these expenses—safeguarding families and individuals from losing their homes. There is no cap on the total number of gifts The Patterson Foundation will provide during Season of Sharing. From 2010 to the end of the previous Season of Sharing, The Patterson Foundation contributed $3.3 million total to the effort. 

The Patterson Foundation

[Recognition]  ArtisTree Named Hidden Gem In Latest Ranking

Green Industry Pros magazine has added ArtisTree Landscape Maintenance & Design to its national Landscape Industry Hidden Gems list for its above-average growth rate and overall industry promotion. Identified as one of 25 landscaping leaders in the country ArtisTree ranks its 2014-15 growth at 9 percent, higher than the 3-4 percent industry average. ArtisTree is also credited with helping to improve public perception of the industry to counter the negative stereotypes that some consumers and potential employees believe exist through its national Thank A Landscaper campaign, a website initiative launched a year ago that allows people to post thank-you notes to anyone who greens their world. 

ArtisTree Landscape Maintenance and Design

[Synergy]  Gail Baird Foundation Announces Entrepreneur Scholarship

President Eric Baird of the Gail Baird Foundation and the University of South Florida has announced a new scholarship to benefit female entrepreneurs. The Gail Baird Entrepreneur Scholarship will allow female graduate and undergraduate students majoring or minoring in entrepreneurship at the University of South Florida to apply for up to $25,000 in scholarship money for the 2017–2018 school year. The scholarship will be managed through the University of South Florida Foundation, Inc., a 501(c)3 not-for-profit direct support organization of the University of South Florida System, and the University of South Florida Board of Trustees. The University will select recipients per specific criteria—applicants must be a full or part-time student at any University of South Florida campus and be in their junior, senior or graduate years of academia. A student may be awarded the grant for up to two semesters.   

Gail Baird Foundation

[TODAY]  GALLERY: Gateways , December 16 – January 20, 11am-5pm

Hans Van de Bovenkamp, renowned for monumental sculpture installations with the pwoer, lyricism and grand proportions that heighten a viewer's sense of imagination and discovery, unveils Gateways at Alfstand& Contemporary. The exhibition features more than 30 pieces. The opening reception will be December 16 from 5:30pm-8pm.

Alfstad& Contemporary, 1419th 5th Street, Suite A

[SOON]  MUSIC: Perlman Music Program Winter Residency , December 24 – January 7

More than 20 musical eventsincluding orchestra and chorus rehearsals, master classes, and works-in-progress student recitals led by acclaimed violinist and conductor Itzhak Perlman and world renowned faculty. Held in a heated performance tent in the courtyard at USF Sarasota-Manatee.  Most are free to attend. Visit www.PMPSuncoast.org for complete schedule.

[SOON]  FESTIVAL: 6th Annual New Years Eve Fireworks on the Bay , December 31 – January 1, 11:00 am–2:000 am

The 6th Annual New Years Eve Fireworks Celebration at Marina Jack will be bigger and better than ever. Enjoy a variety of entertainment and menu options onshore at Marina Jack along with a sparkling midnight fireworks show. Climb aboard the Marina Jack II for a four–hour celebration dinner cruise, complete with party favors, live music and fireworks on Sarasota Bay. Either way, you are sure to have a sparkling New Year! 

Marina Jack Sarasota Bayfront , 2 Marina Plaza, Sarasota, Florida 34236

[SOON]  FESTIVAL: First Responder Appreciation Month , January 1 – March 31

The Downtown Improvement District (D.I.D) kicks off the New Year with the first ever First Responders Appreciation month to honor firefighters, police officers and EMS professionals.  The D.I.D encourages you to show your gratitude for our first responders the entire month of January. Wear D.I.D sponsored First Responder Appreciation Month buttons, display D.I.D sponsored First Responder Appreciation Month flags, give a thumbs up to first responders, write a letter to a first responder, wear your red, whites and blues, or lunch on the D.I.D, in the D.I.D.

[SOON]  FESTIVAL: Thunder by the Bay , January 5 – January 8

The Annual Thunder By the Bay Motorcycle Festival continues to rev up a great time raising money for Suncoast Charities for Children. This year’s festival includes a Sporting Clay Tournament, Born To Be Wild Kickoff Party, Welcome Thunder Event, Cruise for Cash Charity Motorcycle Ride, and a two day Rockin’ & Ridin’ at The Ranch festival held at The Premier Sports Campus at Lakewood Ranch. The Festival is free admission featuring special guest Blue Oyster Cult in concert on Sunday, January 8. 

Lakewood Ranch

[SOON]  SEMINAR: 13th Annual Home of the Year Competition , January 6

Don't Miss the Late Call for Entries in the 13th Annual SRQ Home of the Year Competition Friday, January 6, 2017!

Local professionals are invited to submit their best work in home design by the late Call for Entries deadline of Friday, January 6, 2017. Winners in each category will be featured in a special SRQ Home of the Year awards supplement in the March 2017 issue of SRQ Magazine. With even more ways to showcase brilliant work in architecture, landscaping, interiors, sustainability, kitchen and bathroom design and renovation, this program celebrates the stunning spaces being forged along the Gulf Coast.

SRQ Magazine, 331 S Pineapple Ave, Sarasota, FL 34236

[SOON]  SEMINAR: SILL 2017 Speaker Series , January 9 – March 31

Sarasota Institute of Lifetime Learning (SILL) is kicking of its 46th season of popular global issue lectures and musical conversations beginning on January 9 and continuing through the end of March. This season will include 96 lectures and musical conversations from internationally renowned musicians, performers and acclaimed experts. SILL also provides delayed presentations to selected senior communities. Single tickets to SILL events are only $10 at the door, when available and a season ticket for 12 lecture series costs just $85. 

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: The Great Society , January 13 – April 2

On the heels of Asolo Rep’s wildly successful All the Way, The Great Society continues Robert Schenkkan’s profound exploration of Lyndon Johnson’s turbulent years in the White House. In his second term as president, besieged by political opponents, Johnson summons all his political wiles to try to push through Congress some of the most important social programs in U.S. history. His vision of a Great Society became the most ambitious effort ever to test what American government is capable of achieving. And in doing so, to discover what it is not. Actor Nick Wyman returns to the Asolo Rep stage to reprise his role as L.B.J. in this unflinching examination of the morality of power.

The Asolo Repertory Theatre , 5555 North Tamiami Trail Sarasota, 34243

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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