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SRQ DAILY Feb 2, 2018

Friday Weekend Edition

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Friday Weekend Edition

"Sometimes this is about art, but it's also the theater business."

- Summer Dawn Wallace, Urbanite Theatre

[Entrepreneur]  Urbanite Capitalizes on Culture
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

Editor’s Note: This is the last in a five-part series on winners of SRQ magazine’s 2018 Localpreneurs of the Year.

What’s it take for a nonprofit to win a business award? For one, by becoming an institution in a community already brimming with successful theater companies. That helped land Urbanite Theatre founders Brendan Ragan and Summer Dawn Wallace on the inaugural list of winners for SRQ Media Group’s Localpreneurs of the Year award. Ragan and Wallce took special pride in winning as leaders of a cultural institution. “Sometimes this is about art, but it’s also the theater business,” Wallace says. Ragan agreed: “It means people appreciate something we are doing beyond just making money.”

The Downtown Sarasota theater employs four full-time employees but also provides work for about 40 contract workers who come in to work on projects throughout the year. The studio also hosts a team of interns.

The black box theater specializes in small, experimental and provocative productions, such as its current production of Northside Hollow, which opened last weekend and runs through March 11. The productions by nature reach a less broad market and as a result the tickets become significantly more affordable than a touring Broadway show; the theater will sell a bundled package with tickets to its three shows in the winter-spring series for $87.

But the theater quickly established itself as an institution in the region. Wallace and Ragan, both graduates of the FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training, only kicked off renovation and construction at Urbanite in late 2014.

But perhaps counterintuitively, Ragan believes Urbanite thrived because of all the existing cultural venues in Sarasota, not in spite of them. Yes, it’s a crowded marketplace, but the presence of legacy stages means a community that gravitated to Sarasota for a love of the arts. “The professional theaters in Sarasota are more or less accidentally responsible for all our success,” he says. “Because they all have developed such passionate audiences, and because they do a certain style of work, that opened up a niche for us.” That’s ultimately why Ragan and Wallace, who have connections in New York City and other communities, decided to open a box office here. Better to found a black box theater in a community of theater-goers than somewhere with no regard for drama, Ragan says.

Beyond that, the theater also employs some 21st-century best practices. There are no paper tickets or physical programs for shows, helping the venue save thousands in paper and ink each year. Beyond that, like many entrepreneurs, the Urbanite founders survived on a share of hutzpah. In the entry for the Localpreneur award, Wallace and Ragan explain: “We felt the area needed a theater producing contemporary, provocative material in a black box space. We weren’t sure if Sarasota agreed with us. It turns out, we actually underestimated how much hunger for this kind of work there was.” 

[Politics]  Foxall Strident During Final Stretch in District 72
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

Editor’s note: This is the final in a three-part series profiling candidates for state House District 72

Pro-pot. Pro-gun rights. Anti-incentives. Libertarian Alison Foxall sets herself apart from traditional candidates by championing an array of issues that don’t always come packaged together on the normal spectrum of American politics, but which all share a foundation in small government principles.

But she’s also more than your typical Libertarian. In fact, her campaign for the special election in state House District 72 has raised more money ($14,577 through Jan. 4) than any other Libertarian running for state House in Florida history. And she believes she can win based on the growing distaste for partisan brinksmanship. “We are giving them a reason to go out and vote," she says, "and to say they are done with two-party bickering.”

Going door to door in a district in which she was born, Foxall says she’s seen lots of support for ending the drug war and for stopping gun control measures. Foxall, the managing partner at Gobble Logic, also wants to push for an end to occupational licenses in Florida, a move that could encourage startups and commerce.

Which isn’t to say she’s a complete anarchist. Fox all supports a ban on oil drilling in Florida, as do her Democrat opponent Margaret Good and Republican opponent James Buchanan. And while she’s pushed back on reporting that she’d support a sanctuary city ban—“It’s up to counties and municipalities if they support federal immigration laws”—she doesn’t adhere to any type of extreme open borders ideology, and says she would work with the Sheriff’s Department to ensure laws are enforced. She does believe immigrants should have a more simple path to coming to the U.S., but also stresses that’s a matter that will be decided at the federal level. 

But the biggest critique of her candidacy may simply be viability. Both major party candidates have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars. But the dynamics of a special election have Libertarians statewide hopeful about Foxall. “We’re still aiming to take the win,” she says. “Independent voters represent 25 percent of this district, and we are giving them a reason to go out and vote.”  

Photo courtesy Foxall campaign: Alison Foxall hands out campaign literature, hears from voter.

[Meet the ProjecTHINK Speakers]  Jacqueline Lloyd Smith, LEGO SERIOUS PLAY Methods

As a successful entrepreneur, Jacquie started her first business at age nineteen and today she continues to grow the global brand StrategicPlay®.  With an interesting educational background in the arts, psychology, and innovation, she now focuses her energy on helping others by revolutionizing how they think to solve messy problems and to improve their business functions. For years Jacquie worked as a licensed partner with the LEGO® Group in Denmark, where she was trained and then became a trainer for the company in the method LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY®. In 2009, Jacquie was appointed to the LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY® training board, and is a Master Trainer, trained by the LEGO® Group to deliver facilitator training in LEGO® SERIOUS PLAY®.

An invigorating morning of innovative thinking and interactive collaboration await you at SRQ MEDIA'S inaugural ProjecTHINK Conference hosted at the Ringling College of Art and Design's award-winning Alfred R. Goldstein Library on Saturday February 10, from 8:30am-12:00pm.

Space is limited, purchase tickets online at srqprojecthink.com

ProjecTHINK Conference

[Exec Moves]  Selinski Named Chief Operating Officer for the Van Wezel Foundation

Jim Selinski has recently been named chief operating officer by the board of directors for the Van Wezel Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization that supports arts education and community enrichment initiatives in partnership with the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. Selinski joined the Foundation in December 2015 as chief development officer responsible for growth and development strategies to achieve long term financial sustainability. Over the past two years, he has been an integral member of the Foundation team that has raised over $11 million in major gifts, while also boosting the Foundation annual fund activities. In his new role, Selinski will oversee Foundation fiscal and operations management, and he will lead all development initiatives. In addition, Selinski will work closely with the Board of Directors on the Strategic and Development Committees, and he will continue his role as liaison to the Sarasota Bayfront Planning Organization. 

Van Wezel Foundation

[Recognition]  North Port-Sarasota-Manatee Region Ranked Sixth in Economic Growth

The Milken Institute has released its list of the Best Performing Cities in the U.S. Moving up 20 spots since the last rankings were released, the North Port-Sarasota-Manatee region was ranked sixth in the country, and best in the state, based on economic growth. The index uses a fact-based set of metrics such as job creation, wage gains and technology developments to evaluate the relative growth of metropolitan areas. While national and international political and economic forces can affect near-term performance and can lie beyond a region's control, the top-performing metros have cohesive strategies that allow them to leverage their assets more effectively. This information was measured over a five year time-span (2011–2016). 

Milken Institute's Best Performing Cities

[Recognition]  Advice Inc. Named in 2017 Gulf Coast Top 500 Companies

Advice Inc. has announced its inclusion in the 2017 Gulf Coast Top 500 Companies listing, published by the Business Observer. The prestigious award is given annually to leading businesses throughout the Tampa Bay area and is judged on company performance over the previous year. Based in Lakewood Ranch, Advice Inc. is a full-service advertising and public relations agency owned by Linda Gross. The company was established in 1998 and specializes in the real estate, development, retail, legal and nonprofit industries. Gross has been a leader in the local business community since moving here in the early 1990s. Her résumé includes two decades of marketing experience and multiple national ad campaigns. Gross currently serves on the board of directors of Designing Women Boutique and is a member of the Manatee-Sarasota Building Industry Association. 

Advice Inc.

[Exec Moves]  Ricks Joins Nautilus Homes as Office Manager

Sarasota-based luxury homebuilder Nautilus Homes has added Jennifer Ricks to its office staff in the position of office manager. Throughout her career, Ricks has held positions in human resources and office management, frequently within the construction industry. In her role at Nautilus Homes, she will manage the front office as well as handle bookkeeping for the construction company. Known for its trademark Jewel Box homes and concierge-level construction, Nautilus Homes was founded in 2010 by Ryan Perrone. 

Nautilus Homes

[TODAY]  GALLERY: Fine Art, An Illustrator's Destiny , February 2 – February 27

This exhibit features the art of Robert Baxter, Jeff Cornell, Bill Farnsworth and James Griffin. With unquestionable mastery of their medium, each artist demonstrates their vision of artistic self expression. 

Dabbert Gallery, 46 South Palm Ave., Sarasota.

[TODAY]  GALLERY: Reflections in Glass and Gold , January 27 – February 23

Exhibition of glass works by Esther Jensen and luminous gold leaf paintings by Cecile Moran. 

Art Uptown Gallery, 1367 Main St., Sarasota.

[TODAY]  GALLERY: Syd Solomon Exhibit , January 5 – February 10

This exhibit, curated by Mark Ormond, features 24 of Solomon's paintings spanning from 1976 to 1990. Solomon's paintings reveal a cosmopolitan sensibility and a profoundly educated eye. Solomon travelled and saw much of Europe during WWII and remained in Paris after the war, giving him the opportunity to join the tradition of American artists studying European masters. 

Allyn Gallup Contemporary Art, 1288 North Palm Ave., Sarasota.

[TODAY]  MUSEUM: How People Make Things , January 27 – May 6

In this new exhibit inspired by Mister Rogers' Factory Tours, kids learn firsthand about the tools and processes used to manufacture everyday objects. 

South Florida Museum, 201 10th St West., Bradenton.

[WEEKEND]  FESTIVAL: The Theatre Odyssey 6th Annual Student Ten-Minute Playwriting Festival , February 3 – May 5

View eight ten-minute plays selected for full production from the many submitted each year to this annual contest. Adjudicated by theater professionals, cash prizes will be awarded for the first place winner and runner-up.

Cook Theater, 5555 N Tamiami Tr., Sarasota

[WEEKEND]  BUSINESS: Bradenton Area River Regatta , February 3

The 2018 Bradenton Area River Regatta has it all, including speed, stars, and showmanship, in a free family spectacle that will have you holding your breath through every heart pounding moment. As Manatee County’s largest spectator event, the action is riveting and the thrills nonstop as world-class performers on and off the river showcase their awe-gasping athleticism and see-it-to-believe-it championship skills.

[WEEKEND]  THEATER: Driving Miss Daisy , January 25 – February 11

Driving Miss Daisy follows the relationship of an elderly white Southern Jewish woman, Daisy Werthan, and her African-American chauffeur, Hoke Colburn, from 1948 to 1973.

Manatee Performing Arts Center, 502 3rd Ave West., Bradenton.

[SOON]  GALLERY: Art Uptown at Bird Key Yacht Club , February 6 – March 5

You are invited to come experience the beautiful exhibits while you enjoy live piano music, cocktails and a stunning waterfront view. The next upcoming show is the Jill Krasner exhibit. Krasner is a Sarasota based painter who creates a wide variety of works such as whimisical portraits of women of a certain age and collage reminiscent of old ruins or secret passages. 

Bird Key Yacht Club, 301 Bird Key Dr., Sarasota.

[SOON]  SEMINAR: SWAC Speaker Series , February 6, 6:30PM

Join the Sarasota World Affairs Council for a series of high–profile foreign affairs lectures covering current international issues ranging from foreign intelligence to peace negotiations to immigration and trade. This month, President and CEO of the Rachel Carson Foundation, Doctor Robert Musil will discuss the social responsibility of sustaining the planet for future generations and global climate change. Each lecture is followed by a wine and cheese reception for members. 

Mildred Sainer Pavillion, 5313 Bay Shore Rd Sarasota, FL 34243

[SOON]  THEATER: Shakespeare's Greatest Hits , February 7 – June 10, Varies by day

"Brush Up Your Shakespeare" with the best of the Bard. This tongue-in-cheek musical revue is a collection of songs inspired by the world's greatest playwright. From relevant to irreverent, from soulful to sinful, from "Get Thee To A Nunnery" and "Othello's Rap" to "What A Pieve of Work is Man" and "Tonight." 

Florida Studio Theatre, 1241 N. Palm Ave., Sarasota

[SOON]  THEATER: Rhinoceros , February 7 – April 14

A biting absurdist satire from Eugene Ionesco, a seemingly normal man wakes up, goes to work, drinks too much and flirts with his coworker, when normalcy is shattered by the thundering arrival of a full-grown rhinoceros. As the townsfolk transform into horned beasts around him, this man must contemplate the temptation and tragedy of following the herd. Directed by the Tony Award-winning Frank Galati.

Asolo Repertory Theatre, 5555 North Tamiami Trl., Sarasota

[SOON]  THEATER: Shirley Valentine , February 8 – February 18, 8pm

Shirley Valentine is a one-character play by Willy Russell. Taking the form of a monologue by a middle-aged, working-class Liverpool housewife, it focuses on her life before and after a transforming holiday abroad. 

The Players Centre of Performing Arts, 838 North Tamiami Tr., Sarasota.

[SOON]  FESTIVAL: Shivoo Havana Fashion Show , February 9, 11am-2:30pm

Get your SHIVOO on and come enjoy a boisterous celebration at the Shivoo Havana Fashion Show hosted by the Sarasota Garden Club at the Hyatt Regency Ballroom. This energetic occasion features a raffle silent auction, live Cuban music and a photo flower wall. The raffle prize includes a gardening tour for two in sunny Cuba.

Hyatt Regency Sarasota , 1000 Boulevard of the Arts, Sarasota, FL 34236

[SOON]  GALLERY: Expanse: Linda Richichi , February 9 – February 20

Expanse is an in-depth look into the newest oil paintings of Richichi's. The exhibition will feature her plein air paintings of Sarasota's most awe inspiring spaces. Richichi's works draw from the energy, color and spirit of the landscape. While remaining representative, these works are abstracted and the focuses shifts to her brilliant eye for color, playful brushstrokes and texture from the palette knife.

530 Burns Gallery, 530 Burns Ct., Sarasota.

[SOON]  SEMINAR: SRQ ProjecTHINK Conference , February 10, 8:45am-12:00pm

PROJECTHINK is the ultimate exploration into the world of innovation and creativity in learning. Designed for educators, professionals and anyone interested in thinking outside of the box, PROJECTHINK will challenge perceptions and jumpstart creative sparks, from early education to lifetime learning. How is learning adaptive? What are the new perspectives on engaging minds creatively at every age? How can organizations cultivate innovation and creativity to solve challenges? These questions and more will be explored along with cutting edge concepts and research at this year's PROJECTHINK Conference.  

Ringling College's Alfred R. Goldstein Library, 2700 Bradenton Rd, Sarasota, FL 34234

[SOON]  FESTIVAL: SRQ KidsFest , February 10, 12:00pm- 4:00pm

Launched as the brainchild of SRQ MEDIA President and CEO Lisl Liang as an experiential mosh-up of learning pathways, SRQ KidsFest deconstructs the whole mind ecosystem of creativity by curating an afternoon where curiosity, open-ended play, arts and design reign supreme. SRQ KidsFest is an experience designed to connect parents and kids with hands-on learning experiences, local engagement resources and opportunities in our region with a day teeming with exploration designed to deliver fun “a-ha” moments for the whole family.

In one afternoon program, SRQKidsFest will capture the power of imagination with interactive experiences with workshop such as letterpress, musical instruments, glass blowing, storytelling, architecture, arts and crafts and a variety of magical experiences designed to stir creativity.

Parents will be able to peruse booths showcasing the thoughtful programming, education and  family services available in our area from educational organizations to parenting resources, camps to sports and creative theatre to engineering.

Alfred R. Goldstein Library at Ringling College of Art and Design, 2700 Bradenton Rd, Sarasota, FL 34234

[SOON]  MUSIC: From Dallas with Love , February 11, 3pm

Audrey Lander’s accolades are numerous enough to fill an anthology, with prominent roles in “Dallas,” “Love Boat,” “Fantasy Island,” “The Dukes of Hazard,” “MacGyver,” “Hollywood Squares,” “$100,000 Pyramid” and “Password.” Lander will be joining The Pops Orchestra to perform her favorite songs from the Great American Songbook. Witness a bonafide star and Lifetime Achievement Award winner in her element.

Riverview Performing Arts Center, 1 Ram Way, Sarasota

[SOON]  FOOD: Eight Over Eighty , February 11, 10:30 AM

Eight Over 80 brings another highly anticipated and sold-out audience to Michael’s On East. Guests will enjoy a delightful brunch (not to mention mimosas), while hearing inspiring stories from this year’s eight worthy nominees. Join the Jewish Housing Council Foundation for a positive and emotionally charged event to begin the New Year with a fresh perspective. 

The Westin Sarasota, 1175 N Gulfstream Ave, Sarasota, FL 34236.

[SOON]  BUSINESS: 2018 Best of SRQ Local Competition , February 12

The 10th annual “Best of SRQ Local” Readers’ Competition is officially open! It is time to sound the alarm, rally the troops, take to social media and VOTE for your favorite Sarasota establishments and causes to be recognized in one of our most popular editions of the year.

Readers can vote on local eats, shopping, arts, luminaries and hotspots culminating in the compendium published in the April 2018 edition of SRQ Magazine. We hope you’ll share your favorite local experiences—from stellar sushi, most memorable on-stage productions to best happy hour.

SRQ Magazine

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. For rates on SRQ DAILY banner advertising and sponsored content opportunities, please contact Ashley Ryan Cannon at 941-365-7702 x211 or via email

Copyright © 2020 by SRQ Media Group, 331 South Pineapple Avenue, Sarasota, FL 34236.
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