« Back To SRQ Daily Archive

SRQ Daily Feb 20, 2019

Wednesday Philanthropy Edition

Wednesday Philanthropy Edition

"The point of theater is to challenge."

- Alexander Stuart, actor

[Theater]  Portraying Autism with Empathy on the FST Stage
Philip Lederer, Phil.Lederer@srqme.com

To say that The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, currently onstage at Florida Studio Theatre, has struck a chord with Sarasota audiences would be an understatement, as the theater has now extended the show’s run twice, due to popular demand. Part underdog adventure, part murder mystery and part character study, the Tony and Olivier award-winning production follows young Christopher Boone as he investigates the tragic end befallen a neighbor’s dog, of course unwinding into greater mysteries and more personal discoveries as he does. But it’s not the machinations of the plot that drew actor Alexander Stuart to the role, but rather the rarity that Christopher Boone represents—an autistic lead on the theater stage.

“Representation matters,” says Stuart, who is on the spectrum himself and makes his FST debut with this second performance as Boone, following a production at Actor’s Theatre of Louisville this past fall. “There’s a very strong misconception of what it means to be autistic,” he says, “and we only see it as it’s portrayed in the media.” And between Rain Man and “short bus” stereotypes, the humanity and fullness of characters with autism is often sacrificed in favor of plot devices and easy, and unflattering, jokes. “We don't tend to think of people like Dan Aykroyd and Daryl Hannah,” says Alexander, “yet there they are.”

But in Boone, Alexander finds something different—a character with autism, as opposed to an autistic character. Boone’s autism is certainly an important part of who he is, and the play goes to great lengths to embrace this, but is not the single trait that defines the character. Written with empathy, the role contains certain stereotypes, Alexander admits, but transcends them as well, to form a “layered, emotional human being” that the actor could sink his teeth into. “This is one of the only narratives I know of that can do that,” says Alexander. “I instantly fell in love with Christopher.”

The empathy doesn’t stop with Boone, and the production as a whole is designed to help audiences identify with and understand Boone as he makes his way through the story. Even the technical aspects bring the audience into Boone’s mindset, with light and sound amped up at certain points to evoke the sensory overstimulation that people with autism can sometimes experience, or visual effects in the backdrop mirroring Boone's at-times unconventional thought processes or connections. “It’s theater at its truest,” says Alexander, “where all elements are combined for the purpose of one thing.”

Currently onstage at Florida Studio Theatre, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time runs through March 17. 

Pictured: Alexander Stuart as Christopher Boone in Florida Studio Theatre's production of "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time." Photo by Matthew Holler.

[Philanthropy]  SCD Names Box Office for Muriel Gordon Mayers

In March 2018, Sarasota Contemporary Dance opened its doors to the community with a free “SCD Day of Dance,” to celebrate the company's arrival at its new 3,000-square-foot home in Sarasota's Rosemary District. This January, SCD named its box office/company office after the woman who has been the backbone to the organization since its inception—Muriel Gordon Mayers. Mayers is a founding board member of Sarasota Contemporary Dance, formerly Fuzión Dance Artists, and served as Board President for the first seven years, in addition to Treasurer (a position she still holds today). Trained in ballet at The School of American Ballet, modern at the University of Wisconsin, Mayers also studied technique with Martha Graham and other notable pioneers. The official naming was revealed at Mayers’ surprise 90th birthday party at the SCD home studio, where her daughter, a few community members, friends and her SCD family surrounded her. Mayers, who has assisted SCD Founder Leymis Bolanos Wilmott in everything administratively since the beginning, is a very active board member and still assists the general manager regularly. 

Sarasota Contemporary Dance

[Philanthropy]  Suncoast Music Scholarships Applications Open to Area High School Students

The fourth annual Suncoast Music Scholarships program will offer up to $20,000 in music scholarships through a competition open to Sarasota and Manatee county high school students. The scholarship program is funded through a Sarasota Music Club and Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota partnership. Four scholarship awards are available for graduating seniors to use for advanced music education. The awards are: 1st place - $5,000, 2nd place - $4,000, 3rd place - $3,000 and 4th place - $2,000. Scholarships are also available for area 10th and 11th grade students through this competition. Two awards of $2,000 are available for 11th grade students, and two $1,000 awards will be available for 10th grade students. All scholarship funds are to be used for expenses related to the study of music.

Information and applications are available through the websites of both sponsoring organizations. Applications must be received by 5pm on March 13, and the auditions will be held on April 13. The 12th grade winners will perform at the annual awards luncheon on April 27.

Winners of past scholarship awards have used the funds to purchase instruments, attend prestigious summer music programs at Interlochen and Brevard Music Center, and for advanced music education at institutions like Eastman School of Music, Juilliard and the New England Conservatory. 


[Philanthropy]  Hermitage Artist Retreat Receives NEA Art Works Grant

The National Endowment for the Arts has approved more than $27 million in grants as part of the Arts Endowment’s first major funding announcement for fiscal year 2019. Included in this announcement is an Art Works grant of $30,000 to providing residencies at the Hermitage Artist Retreat in Englewood, in order to support the creation of new work by mid-career and established artists from diverse disciplines. Hermitage artists receive six weeks of residency that can be used in weekly increments of their choosing, and this NEA grant will serve 15 artists, including composers, poets, playwrights and visual artists, using between one and four weeks of their allotted time during the grant period.  While in residency, Hermitage artists are encouraged to share their work with the public through open studios, free community programming, and collaborative activities with other cultural organizations in the greater Sarasota region. 

According to Bruce Rodgers, executive director of the Hermitage, this is the largest grant the Hermitage has ever received from the NEA. It received NEA grants of $10,000 in 2016; $20,000 in 2017; and $15,000 in 2018. 

Hermitage Artist Retreat

[Philanthropy]  Free Medicare Counseling Available at Goodwill Locations

Seniors and adults with disabilities who have concerns about Medicare and other health insurance options can receive free insurance counseling at several new locations, as SHINE (Serving Health Insurance Needs of Elders) counselors are now providing free, unbiased health insurance counseling at Goodwill Manasota community rooms at four locations in Sarasota County. Offered locally through the Area Agency on Aging for Southwest Florida (AAASWFL), SHINE empowers Medicare beneficiaries, their caregivers and family members to make informed decisions about health care coverage. SHINE is a volunteer program of the Florida Department of Elder Affairs and part of the national State Health Insurance Assistance Program network.

The SHINE counseling sessions are available at the following Goodwill locations from 11am to 2pm on designated Thursdays: Goodwill Selby (1781 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Sarasota) the first Thursday of each month; Goodwill Honore (1740 North Honore Ave., Sarasota) the second Thursday of each month; Goodwill Mecca (5150 North Tamiami Trl., Sarasota) the third Thursday of each month; and Goodwill University (8490 Lockwood Ridge Rd., Sarasota) the fourth Thursday of each month. Sessions are by appointment only; to request an appointment with a SHINE counselor, please call the Elder Helpline at (866) 413-5337. 

Goodwill Manasota

[Philanthropy]  "Rocking the Roof for Our Youth" Raises $17k for Sarasota YMCA

Personalized Estate Liquidation Benefiting Youth, Inc. (PEL) recently hosted a private concert—“Rocking the Roof four Our Youth”—featuring Atlanta-based singer/songwriter Michelle Malone, and raised $17,000 in support of the Sarasota YMCA's Roberta Leventhal Sudakoff Youth Shelter. The Youth Shelter provides temporary housing and safe care for youths ages 10-17 who have run away, are experiencing family conflict or have been locked out of their homes. The shelter is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week; there are 20 beds available. According to YMCA leaders, at least 90 percent of the youths reunite with their families or find suitable living arrangements; while in the shelter, all have their counseling needs met.

PEL, a qualified 501(c)(3) nonprofit, and PEL Consignments, LLC, its affiliated company, run estate sales from people’s homes or from its 9,400 square-foot store. Donating and shopping at PEL enables the nonprofit arm of its operations to help a variety of causes that support youth in the community, including the Sarasota YMCA Youth Shelter, Booker High School Foundation, Faces of Accomplishment, Forty Carrots Family Center, Child Protection Center, Community Haven, and Mothers Helping Mothers. 

PEL, Inc.

[Philanthropy]  Neal Communities Donates Shop for Parrish Firefighter Training

Neal Communities recently donated the use of the old Palmetto Pines Golf Course sandwich shop to the Parrish Fire Rescue District to conduct firefighter training. Over the course of two months, about 22 firefighter personnel participated in real-life training scenario simulations using the structure slated for demolition. The Parrish Fire Rescue District utilized the building to give firefighters the opportunity to train on various tasks and exercises in a controlled environment. Some of the scenarios included firefighter search and rescue, forcible entry, rescue drills, self-contained breathing apparatus use and pump operations and breaching walls, windows and roofs.

“Currently, we don’t have a designated training tower or building to use,” said Parrish Fire Rescue District Division Chief Michael Williamson. “Receiving an acquired structure offers invaluable training to our firefighters and benefits the Parrish community as a whole. We look forward to fostering this relationship with Neal Communities.”

The donated site will be the future home of Canoe Creek, a new Parrish neighborhood by Neal Communities. 

Neal Communities

[Philanthropy]  Habitat for Humanity Sarasota Announces 2019 Board and Officers

Habitat for Humanity Sarasota, Inc has recently announced the 2019 Board of Directors. The Executive Committee members are: Chair - John R. Peshkin, founder and principal at Vanguard Land; Vice Chair - Dave Langhout, vice president of Kolter Homes; Secretary - Tommy Gregory, an attorney with Williams Parker Harrison Dietz & Getzen and member of the Florida House of Representatives; Treasurer - Brian Watson, director of finance at Vanguard Land; and Renee Snyder, President and CEO, Habitat Sarasota.

Habitat Sarasota also elected one new member to the board: Justin Powell - Vice President of Palmer Ranch Holdings, Ltd. Continuing in their roles on the Board of Directors are the following members: Michael Bruno of Michael Saunders & Co, Bonnie Dezii, Michelle Crabtree of Premier Sotheby’s International Realty, Jody Garris of TIAA Bank, Lynn Kisser, Sarasota County Commissioner Alan Maio, Jennifer Poppen of Wells Fargo, Stephen Sutter of Sutter Roofing, Carl Watkins of Allegiant Private Advisors and Stephen Wilbur of Stirling and Wilbur Engineering Group. 

Habitat for Humanity Sarasota

[TODAY]  THEATER: The Crucible , January 11 – March 10

In the black of night, a Salem village reverend discovers a group of teenage girls dancing devilishly around a fire in the woods. When his daughter exhibits strange catatonic symptoms the following morning, the townsfolk are frenzied with rumors of witchcraft. Deep-seated jealousy, deadly accusations, and seething resentments pit neighbor against neighbor as a deeply religious community is thrown into turmoil, in this Arthur Miller classic.

Asolo Repertory Theatre, 5555 North Tamiami Trl., Sarasota.

[TODAY]  THEATER: Straight White Men , December 12 – March 1

Monty Navarro may be distant heir to the family fortune, but there are several deadly ways to jump the line of succession. All the while, Monty must juggle his mistress, his fiancée, and the constant threat of landing behind bars. Of course, it will all be worth it if he can slay his way to his inheritance… and be done in time for tea.

Florida Studio Theatre , 1241 North Palm Ave., Sarasota

[TODAY]  SCIENCE AND NATURE: Gauguin's Voyage to Paradise , February 10 – June 30

Just as Paul Gauguin left an indelible mark on the post-Impressionist art world, the deep impact of botanical imagery on his work cannot be denied. This exhibition will highlight the essential role of botanicals in achieving the artist’s vision of the savage, primitive and exotic. Together with lush displays of tropical plants in the conservatory and gardens, the show will feature dramatic woodcuts and rarely seen works in other mediums by the artist.

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, 900 South Palm Ave., Sarasota

[SOON]  SEMINAR: The Business of Artificial Intelligence , February 21

Speakers, Dr. Ehsan Sheybani and Sarah Gentry will present a seminar that will introduce different topics in artificial intelligence, including components such as: Wireless mobile applications, A.I. in eco-arts education, pattern recognition or generation, visualization, image processing, video/image editing, audio visual media, data analytics and voice recognition.

USFSM - Selby Auditorium, 8350 North Tamiami Trl.,Sarasota

[SOON]  GALLERY: Fine Arts Festival of Manatee County , February 23

This annual festival celebrates its 18th annual Festival featuring local and regional artists. All media. Held at Bradenton Rivewalk in the pavilion area.

[SOON]  GALA: Starry Night Soiree , February 23, 6:00PM

Celebrate the wonder and magic of the cosmos, accompanied by a gourmet dinner, live auctions, dancing and more!

Funds raised at this special event help make a local impact and support essential American Cancer Society programs, services and extensive research for all cancers in all stages of life. The American Cancer Society’s Starry Night Soiree will be held on Saturday, February 23, 2019 at The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota. Festivities begin at 6:00 p.m. with a pre-event reception which includes a silent auction followed by an elegant dinner, a live auction, and incredible entertainment. 

The Ritz-Carlton Sarasota, 1111 Ritz Carlton Dr, Sarasota

[SOON]  GALA: Denim & Diamonds Shindig , February 25, Begins at 5:30pm

Break out your finest western garb, boots, bling, or favorite cocktail attire for an evening of sparkle and cheer. Florida Studio Theatre’s 2019 annual fundraiser will kick off with a cocktail reception featuring live music, dancers, performances by FST's resident improv troupe, raffles, and more. The celebration continues with live entertainment from FST beloved performers, the presentation of the Spelman Award, and a seated dinner catered by Michael's On East. Tickets are $250 per person. To RSVP, contact Development Associate Samus Haddad at 941.366.9017 ext. 316.

[SOON]  FILM: African Diaspora Film Festival – Tongues United by Marlon Riggs , February 26

Filmmaker Marlon Riggs, winner of the Los Angeles Film Critics Award, and Best Documentary prize at the Berlin Film Festival, is as relevant as ever. The film gives a voice to communities of gay black men, presenting their cultures and perspectives on the world as they confront racism, homophobia and marginalization.

Academic Center – ACE 115, 5800 Bay Shore Rd.,Sarasota

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: The Sleeping Beauty , February 27

The Sleeping Beauty, a crowning jewel of Marius Petipa’s career, is often considered the finest achievement of the Classical ballet. It is a grandiose and refined blending of the traditional mime, expressive pas d’action and spectacular divertissements in a lavish theatrical setting and set to Tchaikovsky’s glorious score. 

Van Wezel, 777 North Tamiami Trl., Sarasota,

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Black Literature Read-In , February 28

The read-in is an event where members of the NCF community read aloud inspirational texts written by Black authors. Wes Bellamy is the youngest person to ever be elected to the Charlottesville City Council and was involved with the initiative to move the Confederate statue.

Jane Bancroft Cook Library , 5800 Bay Shore Rd., Sarasota

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Russian Folk Music and Dance , February 28

This interactive program of popular Russian and folk songs from the Barynya Russian Balalaika Duo incorporates colorful costumes and dance into a full experience. Highlights include “Tara’s Theme” from Dr. Zhivago, the Russian Gypsy dance “Two Guitars,” the “Cossack Dance,” “Moscow Nights,” “Kalinka” a charming “Tongue Twister Medley” and more. Instrument highlights include the balalaika, garmoshka and contrabass.

Michael's on East ballroom, 1212 South East Ave., Sarasota

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: SRQ Media's ProjecTHINK Conference , March 1 – March 2, March 1, 5:30-7pm — March 2, 8:30am-1pm

Join SRQ MEDIA for PROJECTHINK, a collaborative community initiative designed to explore the world of innovation and creativity in learning. PROJECTHINK is a two-day conference hosted at the Ringling College of Art and Design on March 1-2, 2019. The conference kicks off on Friday March 1 from 5:30-7pm with celebrated TEDx keynote speaker and global education innovator Ismet Mamnoon, followed by presentations from Dr. Larry Thompson, Ringling College of Art and Design; Jennifer Vigne, the Education Foundation of Sarasota County, and Chris Laney, CareerSource Suncoast. On Saturday March 2 from 8:30am to 1pm, PROJECTHINK opens the world of creativity through hands-on engagement through creativity workshops and immersive workshops that transform the creative process facilitated by Ringling College faculty. The conference concludes with Lunch on the Lawn from 1-2pm, featuring local food trucks. PROJECTHINK is produced by SRQ MEDIA in partnership with the Ringling College of Art + Design, the Education Foundation of Sarasota, and CareerSource Suncoast.

Ringling College of Art and Design Campus, 2700 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota

[SOON]  GALA: Goodwill Mardi Gras Gala , March 5, 6pm-10pm

Goodwill Manasota and Michael’s On East invite the public to the most anticipated event of the season: the Mardi Gras Gala. This event features authentic Cajun food, open bar, fabulous live auction items, New Orleans-style music, and dancing. The 2019 Mardi Gras Gala will take place on Tuesday, March 5, 6-10 p.m. at Michael’s On East (1212 East Avenue S., Sarasota). This is the fourteenth year of the event, which was conceived by Michael’s On East co-proprietor Philip Mancini. Guests dress in beads and masks and enjoy New Orleans style drinks and dinner offerings such as Crawfish Étouffée, crab cakes, Jambalaya, Oysters Bienville, and much more. Co-chairs are Tim Schalch and Megan Baers; major sponsors include CS&L CPAs, NDC Construction, and Seaside Bank. Tickets are $150 per person; visit experiencegoodwill.org or call 941-355-2721, ext. 251 for reservations or to learn more about sponsorship opportunities.

Michael's on East, 1212 East Avenue S., Sarasota

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Rain: A Tribute to the Beatles , March 5

In celebration of the anniversary of Abbey Road, Rain will bring the greatest hits of this epic recording to life, in addition to all your early Beatles favorites. This performance takes you back in time with the legendary foursome delivering a note-for-note theatrical event that is “the next best thing to seeing the Beatles” (Associated Press). Experience the worlds’ most iconic band and come celebrate the best of Abbey Road with Rain – A Tribute to the Beatles.

Van Wezel, 777 North Tamiami Trl., Sarasota

[SOON]  FESTIVAL: Music on May Lane , March 8, 4:00pm - 9:00pm

Here is the description we're using: You're invited! Join us on Friday, March 8th from 4-9 p.m. for Music on May Lane, our first neighborhood block party complete with food, drinks, and music, in the heart of the Rosemary District. Celebrate with us at The Bayside Club!

The Bayside Club, 800 Cocoanut Ave, Sarasota, FL 34236

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Kaleidoscope of Creativity , March 9, 7:00pm - 9:00pm

Join the Booker High School Visual & Performing Arts department and fellow art lovers for an unforgettable evening featuring a mozaic of stellar performances, exquisite art, silent and live auctions and more. Sip signature cocktails and feast on culinary creations catered by Michael’s on East, as you mingle under the stars to bolster the stars of tomorrow. It will be an evening to remember and supporting a mission we should never forget—ensuring the enduring legacy of the arts in Sarasota and beyond.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Mendelssohn’s Elijah , March 10 – March 11

Mendelssohn’s powerful choral masterpiece brings to life some of the most dramatic moments in the Old Testament. Fire comes from the heavens, storms gather, and the people cry for vengeance. From the prophet’s curse of drought, to confronting an evil queen, to his ascent to heaven on a fiery chariot, Elijah is an extraordinary musical experience.

First United Methodist, 104 South Pineapple Ave., Sarasota

SRQ Media Group

SRQ DAILY is produced by SRQ | The Magazine and edited by Senior Editor Phil LedererNote: 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 © 2019 by SRQ Media Group, 331 South Pineapple Avenue, Sarasota, FL 34236.
Powered by Sarasota Web Design | Unsubscribe

Other Articles in

Aug 1, 2019Sarasota Memorial Healthcare Foundation

Faces of Philanthropy

Jul 2, 2019Brittany Mattie

Variety Society

Jul 2, 2019Phil Lederer

Lay it Down

Jul 2, 2019Phil Lederer

Drawn Together