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SRQ DAILY May 16, 2018

Wednesday Philanthropy Edition

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Wednesday Philanthropy Edition

"This can be a sanctuary for all people."

- Bill Farnsworth, artist

[Community]  An Urban Forest Takes Root in Venice
Philip Lederer, Phil.Lederer@srqme.com

It was a day like any other for the artist Bill Farnsworth, until Greg Vine and Phil Ellis stopped by. As chairman for the Venice Area Beautification, Inc. (VABI) Urban Forest Committee and past-president of VABI, respectively, the pair had come to enlist Farnsworth’s aid in a new project—to repurpose the near 26 acres of land between Venice Avenue and Circus bridges into a sprawling urban forest that could serve as haven for migratory birds and an escape for fellow Venetians. Taking them out back to his treehouse and mixing a few drinks, Farnsworth heard them out. “An appropriate place to kick off this idea,” he recalls thinking at the time. “Sitting in a tree like three birds.”

From VABI’s history with the Legacy Trail, Farnsworth knew that Vine, Ellis and the whole Urban Forest project were serious, and knew how to get things done. And hearing them talk about the project in the spirit of John Nolen, the architect and city planner who first envisioned Venice as a European-inspired charming getaway, full of green space and parks and promenades, Farnsworth knew the project had the city’s wellbeing at heart. The plan was set and the verbiage polished—what did they need Farnsworth for? Vision.

To convince county commissioners and others to back the plan, they needed someone who could do the imagining for them and show them the potential in full color. Farnsworth could do that. Taking a photograph of the proposed site (“Pretty rough.”), he first painted directly onto the image, creating an augmented reality, and possible future. From there, he let his own imagination run wild on canvas after canvas, using oil paint to conjure memories from an urban forest yet to be planted.

The ploy worked and the VABI Urban Forest project received funding for its first phase. Beginning May 11, the team has already completed more than 1000 feet of irrigation lines as they prep the land for planting. Now, the Urban Forest project kicks off another capital campaign, this time for the trees themselves. Over the next couple weeks, a few trees are expected to take root, but to make a real forest requires real money. Vine hopes for $5 million. “We can do a lesser forest with a lesser budget,” he says, “but with $5 million we can do something wonderful.”

Farnsworth thinks back to that treehouse in the backyard, and how he planted the yard full of trees as soon as he moved in. “That’s my sanctuary,” he says. “This can be a sanctuary for all people.”

To find more information about the VABI Urban Forest project, follow the link below. 

Pictured: "Tara" by Bill Farnsworth. Image courtesy of the artist.

VABI Urban Forest Project

[Synergy]  Sarasota Youth Opera Receives NEA Grant

National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Jane Chu has approved more than $80 million in grants as part of the NEA’s second major funding announcement for fiscal year 2018.  Included in this announcement is an Art Works grant of $20,000 to the Sarasota Youth Opera program to support its 2018 re-mount of The Little Sweep by Benjamin Britten. The Art Works category is the NEA’s largest funding category and supports projects that focus on the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts and/or the strengthening of communities through the arts. Sarasota Youth Opera will present a re-mount of their 2013 production of Benjamin Britten’s opera The Little Sweep. Premiered at the Aldeburgh Festival in 1949, The Little Sweep tells the story of a group of children, with the help of a kind nursery maid, who work to free a young chimney sweep apprentice from his cruel master. In addition, this production will include a special prologue written by Martha Collins, stage director, and Jesse Martins, Youth Opera Music Director, which shows the audience how an opera comes together. This work will be presented on November 3rd and 4th with a school matinee performance on November 5.  

Sarasota Opera

[Government]  Tree Advisory Committee Holds Special Evening Session

To encourage public input and accommodate residents’ workday schedules, the Tree Advisory Committee will hold a special evening session to gather input on the City of Sarasota’s tree protection ordinance on Wednesday, May 23 at 5:30pm at City Hall, 1565 First Street. The seven-member ad hoc committee was appointed by the City Commission in 2017 to review the current tree ordinance and make recommendations within 12 months on possible modifications. Since December 2017, the Committee has met twice a month during the afternoon.  It is on pace to finish its assignment on schedule and provide recommendations to the City Commission as soon as this fall. To review the agenda, visit the website below. 

Tree Advisory Committee Agenda

[Government]  Hermitage Artist Retreat Receives NEA Funding

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Chairman Jane Chu recently approved more than $25 million in grants as part of the NEA’s first major funding announcement for fiscal year 2018.  Included in this announcement is an Art Works grant of $15,000 to the Hermitage Artist Retreat for artist residency support. This money will cover the cost of supporting three six-week residencies or eighteen single weeks of artist residencies. The Art Works category is the NEA’s largest funding category and supports projects that focus on the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and/or the strengthening of communities through the arts. The Hermitage is a not-for-profit artist retreat that invites accomplished painters, sculptors, writers, playwrights, poets, composers and other artists from all over the world for residencies on its beachfront campus. Artists are asked to interact with the community during their stay and as a result, Hermitage artists touch thousands of Gulf Coast community residents with unique and inspiring programs each year. 

Hermitage Artist Retreat

[TODAY]  GALLERY: Southern Watercolor Society Curated Show , May 15 – June 22

Bringing its 41st Annual Juried Exhibition to Bradenton, the Southern Watercolor Society takes over all three of ArtCenter Manatee’s galleries with a collection juried by international award-winning master watercolorist John Salminen. In addition to the exhibit, each annual show brings with it a watercolor workshop for interested artists. Salminen will be teaching the workshop as well.

ArtCenter Manatee, 209 9th St. W., Bradenton

[TODAY]  GALLERY: Sea Debris - Awareness Through Art , December 9 – June 15, 10am to 5pm

Artwork made of marine debris including Greta the Great White Shark and Natasha the Turtle will arrive to Mote Marine this winter. This exhibit will bring awareness to the 4.4 pounds on average of trash genereated by each American daily. These larger-than-life sculptures are entirely made from plastic and other debris gathered from the Oregon Coast.

Mote Marine, 600 Ken Thompson Pkwy., Sarasota

[TODAY]  GALLERY: Warhol: Flowers In the Factory , February 11 – June 30

This exhibition showcases the surprising and little examined, role of nature in Warhol’s art and life. The spectacular 15-acre tropical setting of Marie Selby Botanical Gardens on Sarasota Bay will provide a matchless context for examining Warhol’s fascination with the natural world in this focused, immersive exhibition. It is curated by Carol Ockman, Ph.D., curator-at-large of Marie Selby Botanical Gardens and the Robert Sterling Clark Professor of Art History at Williams College

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, 811 South Palm Ave., Sarasota.

[TODAY]  SPORTS: Sarasota Tarpon Tournament , May 12 – June 17

The Sarasota Tarpon Tournament will take place from May 12-June 17 celebrating the start of Tarpon Season and 88 continuous years of sanctioned competition. For an entry fee of just $125, anglers not only compete for an overall winner category, but also, weekly, junior, ladies, and ‘his & hers’ categories. Weekly winners and winners of the two additional categories will all compete in a 2-day Fish-Off weekend to determine overall winner whose name is inscribed on the historic trophy. A kick-off party will be held on May 9 at White Buffalo Saloon featuring live music, great food and a cash bar.

[SOON]  MUSIC: Sky Stahlmann Returns to the Reserve , May 17

The Reserve's (former) singing barista returns for a very special performance to show off what she has learned at Berklee College of Music in Boston. In her music, Sky Stahlmann grew up singing and dancing opera and plays with the genres of jazz, musical theatre, rock and pop in her music. She is currently working on her first EP in a style that she calls "popera" which signifies her mesh of pop and her classical roots.

The Reserve SRQ, 1322 North Tamiami Tr., Sarasota.

[SOON]  SPORTS: Bombers vs. Swan City , May 19

Watch Bradenton's favorite, fierce roller derby squad face Swan City in their home arena. Prepare for a night of tough competition and keep the good times rolling to benefit Ewenity Farm, a herding dog haven. 

Ellenton Ice and Sports Complex, 5309 29th St. East, Ellenton.

[SOON]  FILM: Bag It Film Screening , May 22, 7pm

Sponsored by Rethinking Plastics, the goal of this screening is to raise awareness regarding the average American's overuse of plastics. Americans use roughly 60,000 plastic bags a day for a few minutes of single use before it is thrown away. Jeb Berrier's film, Bag It, follows where "away" is and the fate of these plastic bags. For environmentalists and for those looking to learn more, the film is an interesting piece that will open eyes to just how much we use plastic, why that is harmful and what people can do.

Fogartyville Community Media and Arts Center, 525 Kumquat Ct., Sarasota.

[SOON]  MUSIC: The Roots of Unity (with Chris Kottke) , May 27, 2pm

This performance is from a jazz ensemble called The Roots of Unity, headed by trumpeter Chris Kottke. Their repertoire includes both straightahead and latin jazz, from classic standards to modern originals. Kottke attended the Berklee College of Music and was active in the Boston jazz scene for about a decade before moving to Sarasota in 2016 to pursue his day job as a math professor at New College of Florida. In addition to the Roots of Unity, Kottke can be occasionally heard in such Sarasota-based jazz ensembles such as Ocean's 11 and the Sarasota Jazz Project.

The Reserve SRQ, 1322 North Tamiami Tr., Sarasota.

[SOON]  MUSIC: Always...Patsy Cline , May 30 – July 1

A tuneful and memorable tribute, Patsy Cline's rise to legendary stardom is told through the eyes of her biggest fan, Louise Seger. From her performances in honky-tonks to the Grand Ole Opry, Patsy Cline will "always" have a place in country music, with hit songs such as, “Walking After Midnight,” “I Fall to Pieces,” “Crazy,” “Sweet Dreams,” and many more you know and love.

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

[SOON]  FOOD: Reserve Spring and Summer Wine Tastings , May 31, 6pm

Come through the Reserve to help them fine tune their retail wine selection. Wines from a wide array of places such as France, Italy, Argentina and more are offered. Pair the wine with a savory meat and cheese platter and enjoy the low key evening. The event is reoccuring, so May 31 is not the last chance to take advantage of this wonderful deal.

The Reserve SRQ, 1322 North Tamiami Tr., Sarasota.

[SOON]  FESTIVAL: World Oceans Day , June 2, 10:00am-1:00pm

A worldwide ocean celebration is on the horizon. Join the fun during the World Oceans Day Family Festival on Saturday, June 2 at Mote Aquarium. Mote’s World Oceans Day event will spotlight the ocean's deep connection to the human spirit and the boundless inspirational power of our natural world's greatest resource. The family festival is free with regular paid admission to Mote Aquarium and is free for Mote Members.

Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium , 1600 Ken Thompson Pkwy, Sarasota, FL 34236

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Jungle Book , June 6 – June 24

Join Mowgli, Baloo and friends when Asolo Rep presents the world premiere of Jungle Book from the creators of the hit show Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. Using the same jaw-dropping multi-media theatrical approach, Jungle Book re-imagines Rudyard Kipling’s classic stories through modern eyes to transport audiences to the world’s jungles. Family Day is June 16; Family Package pricing starts at just $15 per ticket when one person in the party is 18 or younger.

Asolo Repertory Theatre , 5555 N Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34243

[SOON]  THEATER: Jungle Book , June 6 – June 24

Using the same multimedia jaw-dropping approach as past hit show Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, this reimagination of Kipling's classic stories will transport audiences to the world's jungles. Audiences will have the chance to truly meet characters like Mowgli the Man-Cub and Baloo the Bear in this upcoming performance.

Asolo Repertory Theatre, 5555 North Tamiami Trl., Sarasota

[SOON]  THEATER: Carole's Kings , June 12 – July 15

Be transported back in time with Carole's Kings, an all-male Carole King tribute that mixes fabulous music with clever writing by The Second City, the legendary home of sketch comedy and improv. With a cast fresh from Broadway, Carole’s Kings will have you singing and dancing along to “The Locomotion,” “You've Got a Friend,” and “I Feel the Earth Move.” Jam-packed with humor, this salute to Carole King will take you back to when she was the queen of the airwaves.

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

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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