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SRQ DAILY Nov 20, 2019

Wednesday Philanthropy Edition

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Wednesday Philanthropy Edition

"I have been told by numerous people in the community that the Sarasota Democratic Party, the NAACP and the ACLU will come together and put forward a legal case."

- Christian Ziegler, Sarasota County Commissioner

[Politics]  Sarasota County Approves Controversial Redistricting Map
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

Sarasota County Commissioners narrowly approved a controversial map based on a suggestion of a long-time political operative and rejected a redistricting proposal drawn up by a paid consultant.

Meanwhile, angry citizens and leaders continued to criticize the fact commissioners are even choosing to redistrict ahead of the 2020 Census.

“The effort is a waste of time and money,” said Sarasota City Commissioner Shelli Freehand Eddie.

Still, a majority of county commissioners maintained the implementation of single-member district elections made it imperative to balance populations in the five districts before the 2020 elections.

“I know the laws,” said County Commissioner Nancy Detert, who as a state senator was involved in reapportionment of legislative and Congressional districts. “What I am looking for is what is legal—compact, contiguous districts.”

County Commissioner Christian Ziegler has consistently opposed redistricting, but said he would have gone along with one of the maps drawn by consultant Kurt Spitzer based on population estimates from the University of Florida’s Bureau of Economic and Business Research. Instead, commissioners approved a map Spitzer created based on an anonymous submission later revealed to be created by Bob Waechter, a former chairman of the Republican Party of Sarasota.

Now, Ziegler expects the county to be sued.

“I have been told by numerous people in the community that the Sarasota Democratic Party, the NAACP and the ACLU will come together and put forward a legal case,” he said. 

The map ultimately approved Tuesday moves the Democrat-rich Newtown community in north Sarasota from County Commissioner Mike Moran’s district to Ziegler’s. That means voters in the community won’t vote until 2022. It also means neither Democrat Fredd Atkins, who already filed to challenge Moran, or Republican Frank DiCicco, who challenged Moran in the primary four years ago, live in the newly drawn district.

R.N. Collins, a community activist who has closely scrutinized the numbers, says the data county commissioners worked with was flawed from the start. He found errors in the original BEBR figures, including census blocks with children living in large numbers but no adults, and said even with new data, there were still problems.

But Detert said no numbers will be perfect, and that even the decennial U.S. Census typically only sees a return rate of just over 70 percent. She said she believed the BEBR numbers were more accurate than Census figures, though Spitzer said Tuesday the Census figures are officially presumed to be correct. 

[Education]  Sarasota Schools Formally Approve Bowden Severance
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

The Sarasota School Board on Tuesday unanimously approved a severance agreement with Superintendent Todd Bowden. The embattled district leader will stay on payroll through the end of the year, but remains on administrative leave.

But school officials seem in no rush to start a search for a permanent replacement. The board will start a search now for an interim superintendent. 

School Board member Eric Robinson said rushing to fill the position would be a mistake. “Doing it anytime soon is not in the best interest of district teachers or students,” he said.

School Board member Caroline Zucker stressed that board members need to restore confidence in the school system. That comes after months of struggles with a divided board and the superintendent. “We must show steadfastness in a time of upheaval,” she said. “This is still an A-rated school district.”

Bowden negotiated a separation with the county that provides him 20 weeks of pay and legal costs related to complaints about his handling of sexual harassment allegations against COO Jeff Maultsby, who left his position last month.

The School Board previously approved a controversial contract requiring a 4-1 vote to simply terminate Bowden.

Bowden ultimately drew the ire of the Sarasota Classified/Teachers Association, the Republican Party of Sarasota and the Sarasota Democratic Party, as well as remaining consistently on the outs with two School Board members, Eric Robinson and Bridget Ziegler.  

[Government]  After Public Resistance, County Commission Moves Forward with Redistricting
John Witte, john.witte@srqme.com

The chamber was already full at 8:50am, and the spillover room wasn’t far behind. Half the community organizations in Newtown turned out for Tuesday’s meeting, and a few of them were protesting outside. A crowded commission meeting, of course, is not terribly unusual for Sarasota, but this felt different: when public comments commenced, the first civilian to approach the microphone was Vice Mayor Freeland Eddie. On behalf of Sarasota’s unanimous City Commission, Freeland Eddie presented a scathing critique of the County’s voter redistricting plan, including a denunciation of the discriminatory effects that the new voter districts might have. The City Commission strongly recommends that the County consider waiting until the 2020 census to redraw the voting districts. She’s the first person to speak out, but certainly not the last. A former Sarasota circuit court judge claims that the commission has no legal requirement to redraw the districts before the census. Several members of the community complain about the lack of a sidewalk on Myrtle Street (the only way to get to Newtown’s Booker High School). They want representation on the County Commission. President of Sarasota’s Democratic Black Caucus Dee McFarland points out that redrawing the districts now would preemptively end the electoral campaign of Fredd Atkins, the former Mayor and North Sarasota candidate who's currently running to be a commissioner. “There are already candidates declared in these races,” she says. Head of the local NAACP, Trevor Harvey mirrors her sentiments. One Newtown resident, exasperated, asks “I don’t understand. What’s the problem you have with North Sarasota?”

The controversy, if you haven’t been following the local coverage, is around the unpopular new maps developed by a consulting firm called Spitzer and Associates, at the behest of the County Commission. The second map in the initial presentation, the genealogy of which is still found in both map 4 and map 4.1, places 10,000 residents from a heavily Republican precinct into District 1, which includes Newtown and several of Sarasota’s colleges. The effect of this shift is to transform the voting district which includes Sarasota’s largest black and Latino populations from moderately Democratic to moderately Republican. Not only that, but the map was submitted anonymously by Bob Waechter (who was charged with election tampering in 2012), and that fact was only revealed after it was discovered by the public. Even the population estimates that the maps are based on have suffered repeated criticism—they’re based solely on property appraisal data, as no census data was available. In short, the process of redrawing the voting district maps has not been well received by the public.

Perhaps the most shocking public comment came from the independent scholar and activist R.N. Collins, the man responsible for deflating the methodology of the county’s first population count. If the legal case for redrawing the district maps is based on the idea that the population distribution of the county has changed more than 10 percent, he has serious doubts that the population data provided by Spitzer and Associates is any more accurate than the 2010 Census. In fact, he claims, they didn’t even take into account any data after the year 2016. SRQ verified his claim with data provided by the original statistician hired by Spitzer and Associates. That statistician, Richard Doty, confirms with SRQ that “If the property appraiser’s data was missing some of the newest construction, we have no control over that and there was insufficient time to redo this work with more recent data. But new construction only reflects a portion of the growth since 2010.” 

Public comments continue for over three hours. At the end, the Commission decides to move forward with map 4.1, with a 3-2 vote in favor. With a laugh, Nancy Detert asks Kurt Spitzer of Spitzer and Associates whether the redistricting process ever ends in anything other than a lawsuit. In his experience, lawsuits are actually fairly rare. When asked by SRQ about his plans, the NAACP’s Trevor Harvey responds that “we have to figure what the next steps are for us as a community. Some of those approaches may be filling some sort of litigation, but it’s a conversation that still needs to happen.”


[StoryProject]  Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County empowers teens to plan for future careers at the Tom and Debbie Shapiro Career Resource Center

Teens across Sarasota County have access to transformative programs designed to help them explore future career paths at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County’s state-of-the-art workforce development facility, the Tom & Debbie Shapiro Career Resource Center. Located at 3100 Fruitville Road, the Tom & Debbie Shapiro Career Resource Center houses a variety of programs designed to foster a new generation of community leaders and industry professionals who are fully prepared to work and thrive in a competitive job market. Programs available for teens include, but are not limited to, college and career prep, entrepreneurial training, leadership development and vocational training with focus areas in hospitality and culinary arts, automotive technology, coding, plumbing, carpentry and music and video production. Classes are led by trained professionals, business partners and field experts. The facility opened in 2016 thanks to lead support from Board member Tom Shapiro, and wife Debbie Shapiro. Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County will honor the couple’s visionary leadership and impact on November 23, 2019, at its annual Champions for Children gala. Visit bgcsarasota.com for more information. 

Image courtesy of The Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County

Click here for more information

[Pets]  Bayside Pet Resort Presents a Dog Dock Diving Competition to Raise Vital Funds for the Humane Society of Manatee County

Bayside Pet Resort announced a fundraising event for HSMC at the Sarasota Polo Club on Sunday, February 16, 2020. The appropriately titled event, “Love is in the Air!”, will include dozens of dog athletes catching air and splashing into a 20,000 gallon pool for a dog dock diving competition! A Premium VIP $25 ticket will give the attendee access to viewing the dog dock diving pool and the ability to watch a polo match from the relaxing environment of the mid-field polo pavilion. Additionally, Thunderbug, the Tampa Bay Lightening mascot will be in attendance to support HSMC and will be available for photos with the family! Kids under 5 and all dogs are FREE! The event ticket also includes: special offers from vendors, dog treats for dogs dressed in a love-themed costume, food, a private, full bar (cash), entertainment, visits with search and rescue organizations and more. Bayside Pet Resort Marketing Coordinator, Ashley Sweeney, shared, “Bayside Pet Resort is thrilled to support the HSMC mission of helping all animals throughout our community. The concept of this event is to bring the community together, in a fun way, and help bring awareness to the important efforts of HSMC. We are proud to donate the cost of this event so all sponsorships and ticket purchases can go directly to further the HSMC cause.”  $25 Premium VIP Tickets are going fast. Tickets found at LoveisintheAir.Today 

[Health & Wellness]  GATES Construction Completes Quality Life Center Expansion

GATES Construction has completed the expansion of Quality Life Center of Southwest Florida. Quality Life Center is located at 3210 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., in Fort Myers. Designed by GMA Architects & Planners, the new addition features 6,000 square feet of space for a teen education center. In addition to the educational areas, the building includes a new commercial kitchen for healthy cooking demonstrations and educational training as well as an events center that will be available for use to outside businesses. The building will also house the Youth Rise Enterprise initiative which involves the development of business opportunities to meet community needs, sustain QLC programs, and develop business-consciousness in youth participating in the program.  Quality Life Center recently held a ribbon cutting ceremony before their Annual Gala Event, which was for the first time, in the new building addition. Over the last 29 years, Quality Life Center has been instilling values of discipline, integrity, and self-sufficiency by developing the potential of underserved populations in Southwest Florida with afterschool, early learning and teen leadership programs. More information on the capital campaign for the expansion of the Quality Life Center is available at qualitylifecenter.org. 

[Health & Wellness]  Nearly $173,000 Raised During Walk to End Alzheimer's in Sarasota

More than 1,070 residents from Sarasota/Manatee joined the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s in the fight to end Alzheimer’s disease at Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota/Manatee. Participants raised more than $172,755 to support the care, support and research programs of the Alzheimer’s Association, leaving them 60% shy of their goal of $436,000. Fundraising will continue through December 31, 2019. “Alzheimer’s is destroying our families, our finances and our future,” says Ryan Smith, Alzheimer’s Association Development Manager. “It’s time to end it. Saturday was a beautiful day filled with support, strength and passion to end this disease. We thank the Sarasota/Manatee community for participating in this year’s Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Sarasota/Manatee and we hope to see everyone, and more, next year!” Two-time CMA Award nominee, Lulu from 92.1 CTQ welcomed Walk participants and served as emcee for the morning’s festivities. Edward Jones Financial Advisor Laura Lynch was also in attendance and a part of the opening ceremony. The moving ceremony also featured several local families affected by Alzheimer’s disease, such as Ed Patterson who held the blue flower, signifying his current battle against the disease. The Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s is the world’s largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research. Visit www.alz.org or call 800-272-3900.


[Grants]  Laurel Civic Reaches $50,000 Goal for the 50-50-50 Challenge

Laurel Civic Association successfully raised more than $50,000 to meet the terms of The 50-50-50 Challenge, a pledge made by the William E. Schmidt Foundation to match donations up to $50,000 made in 50 days to recognize the 50 th anniversary of Laurel Civic. By the November 5, 2019 deadline, Laurel Civic had raised $58,191, unlocking the $50,000 from the Schmidt Foundation as well as an additional $10,000 from Gulf Coast Community Foundation for meeting the goal. The inaugural gift of $10,000 was made by Stephen and Janine Marrone. Additional gifts were made by the Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation, the Allen Wirtz Nobbe and Jo Bowen Nobbe Fund of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, Venice Presbyterian Church, and individual donors in the community. “Laurel Civic has been helping families for decades,” said Michael D. Fluker, Executive Director of Laurel Civic. “What began as an association to help bring streetlights and city water to the community has grown into a valuable resource to help low-income families meet the challenges in their lives. This was an extraordinary opportunity to provide Laurel Civic with much needed resources to continue to provide valuable programs to adults and children in the community. We are so grateful to everyone who committed to helping us reach our goal.”  This year, Laurel Civic marks the 50th anniversary of its founding and the 30th anniversary of its incorporation as a not-for-profit community organization that provides services to low-income families and at-risk children through programs that educate, provide positive social interactions, and lead to self-sufficiency.

For further information, contact Margaret Ann Behrends at Laurel Civic, 941-483-3338 or mabehrends@laurelcivic.net 

[Grants]  SMART Receives $3,000 Grant from the Lakewood Ranch Community Fund of the Manatee Community Foundation

Sarasota Manatee Association for Riding Therapy, Inc. (SMART) is pleased to announce they have received a $3,000 grant from the Lakewood Ranch Community Fund of the Manatee Community Foundation. The grant will be used to provide partial and full scholarships for therapeutic riding and equine assisted learning sessions to children with disabilities in the Lakewood Ranch area. “We are honored to be a part of such a giving community,” said Dee Danmeyer, executive director of SMART, and are so grateful to the Lakewood Ranch Community Fund for their continued support of our mission.” Lakewood Ranch Community Fund is a fund of Manatee Community Foundation. Established in 2000 by the Schroeder-Manatee Ranch, the Fund has awarded more than $1.3 million to impact the arts, human services, education, animal welfare, the environment, civic engagement, and health-related causes. 

[Grants]  Gulf Coast Awards $728,000 in Leveraged Community Grants

Gulf Coast Community Foundation recently awarded nine Leveraged Grants totaling $462,000 for a range of major nonprofit programs and services. The funding will support regional efforts to fight hunger, provide safe housing for struggling single mothers, expand trauma-focused services for children, and more. The nonprofits that received funding are:

All Faiths Food Bank - $25,000 to support the 2020 Campaign Against Summer Hunger.

All Star Children’s Foundation - $100,000 to provide trauma-focused services for children in the foster-care system who have suffered child abuse and neglect.

The Bay Park Conservancy - $150,000 to support the design, implementation, and activation of Phase One of The Bay Park on Sarasota Bay.

Centerstone Florida - $40,000 to support the Twelfth Judicial Circuit’s Comprehensive Treatment Court, a jail-diversion opportunity for adults with mental-health or co-occurring mental-health and substance-abuse disorders.

Easterseals Southwest Florida - $40,000 to integrate back-office systems as part of its collaborative partnership with InStride Therapy, which will enable the organizations to increase their therapy services and revenue.

Education Foundation of Sarasota County - $40,000 to support the Local College Access Network, a collaboration to increase college access, attainment, and success for Sarasota County youth.

Gulf Coast Partnership - $22,000 to create a landlord-engagement program to help provide safe housing to women suffering from homelessness, particularly women who have been victims of violence.

United Way of Charlotte County - $25,000 to support a collective-impact consultant to assist low-income, female-headed households in accessing a variety of services from United Way-funded agencies.

Virginia B. Andes Volunteer Community Clinic - $20,000 to support a clinic services director to increase access to healthcare for uninsured senior women in Charlotte County.

The Gulf Coast Board also approved $266,000 in Community Grants, which are smaller grants of $10,000 or less that benefit local nonprofit programs, events, and fundraising activities. A full list of grant recipients is available on the Gulf Coast Community Foundation website at GulfCoastCF.org. 

[SOON]  THEATER: The Sound of Music , November 13 – December 28, 7:30pm and 8pm evening performances and 1:30 and 2pm matinees

Like a breath of fresh Alpine air, this beloved musical masterpiece sweeps onto the Asolo Rep stage just in time for the holidays. Maria, a young nun causing trouble at the abbey, is sent off to be governess to Captain Von Trapp’s seven troublesome children. She brings much-needed love and joy to the family – and the widowed captain – and transforms their world and hers through the power of music. But the looming threat of Nazi Germany’s invasion of their native Austria darkens their future. Overflowing with some of the most iconic songs of all time, this heart warming family musical will be helmed by Josh Rhodes, returning on the heels of his spectacular production of Evita in 2017.

FSU Performing Arts Center, 5555 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota

[SOON]  FOOD: 19th Annual Scholarship Luncheon , November 20, 11:30am-1pm

The State College of Florida is delighted to host its 19th Annual Scholarship Luncheon on Wednesday, November 20th at Michael’s On East. This year’s Luncheon will share how the State College of Florida is educating First Responders so they are better educated, prepared, to serve our community. Individual tickets may be purchased on SCF Foundation’s website for $100. For more information, contact Nicole Harris at (941) 752-5262 or HarrisN1@scf.edu.

Michael's On East , 1212 S. East Ave., Sarasota, FL

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Diane Ford , November 20 – November 21, 7pm

Join Diane Ford at McCurdy's Comedy Theatre this Wednesday, November 20 and Thursday, November 21, 2019 at 7pm. Three HBO specials (Women of the Night, One Night Stand and Command Performance). Eleven nominations for Comedian of the Year by the American Comedy Awards. Thirteen appearances on "Evening at the Improv." Winner of the Critic's Award at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Writer on an episode of television show "Home Improvement" with Tim Allen. Tickets $25 per person, available online.

McCurdy's Comedy Theatre, 1923 Ringling Blvd, Sarasota, FL 34236

[SOON]  GALA: Champions for Children Gala , November 23, 6pm-10pm

Boys & Girls Clubs of Sarasota County is thrilled to announce the Champions for Children Gala will be held at the Lee Wetherington Boys & Girls Club on November 23, 2019. This year, we will honor Tom and Debbie Shapiro. Join us for an enchanting evening with silent and live auctions, a gourmet dinner prepared by Chef Paul Mattison and dancing. All proceeds will support our valuable programs designed to enhance more than 9,000 Club members' academic success, healthy lifestyles, and character and leadership development.

Lee Wetherington Boys & Girls Club, 3100 Fruitville Road, Sarasota, FL 34237

[SOON]  FOOD: Caregivers Comfort Socializing Lunch , December 2, 12:15pm-1:45pm

Julie Cook Downing, President of Caregivers' Comfort Creations, LLC and Doctors Hospital Caregiver Support Group Facilitator, hosts a monthly lunch at The Rosemary restaurant in Sarasota. This event provides caregivers some time to relax, enjoy themselves and eat a delicious meal with others sharing similar situations. The lunch takes place from 12:15-1:45pm.

The Rosemary, 411 North Orange Avenue

[SOON]  SEMINAR: Children's Grief Awareness Day , November 21, 9am-11am

In honor of Children's Grief Awareness Day, please join leaders of local grief support organizations for a free community event on why childhood grief matters. 

Gold Coast Eagle Distributing, 7051 Wireless Ct, Sarasota, FL 34240

[SOON]  SEMINAR: SWAC Lecture: Richard Skolnik , December 3, 6:30pm-8:30pm

Join the Sarasota World Affairs Council for the next program in its 2019-20 Lecture Series, “Global Health: Why You Really Must Care,” featuring Richard Skolnik, former Director for Health in the South Asia Region of the World Bank and Executive Director of Harvard’s US-supported AIDS treatment program for Botswana, Nigeria, and Tanzania. He will discuss some of the key challenges in global health, the threats they pose for the U.S. and the world, and how they might be addressed. Each SWAC lecture is followed by a members-only reception with the speaker in a historic building on Sarasota Bay. The lecture is free, but reservations are suggested.

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

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Sarasota Contemporary Dance: Reverend Barry & The Funk , December 5 – December 8, 7:30pm

As part of Leymis Bolaños Wilmott, SCD Artistic Director’s passion to collaborate with local musicians, SCD will join forces with Reverend Barry & The Funk, an 8-pc funk band featuring a 3-pc horn section, and one of the fastest-rising “buzzworthy” acts in the state of Florida. Fueled by their recent #1 Global Position on ReverbNation’s Funk Charts after the release of their debut album “SxyGdLuv,” and the success of their recent breakout single “LoveShine,” the band is now headlining festivals and larger venues around the state. This is the first time that SCD will be partnering with a funk band, and we couldn’t be more thrilled that they are already a Sarasota favorite. This production will feature original choreography by Artistic Director, Leymis Bolaños Wilmott in collaboration with the SCD dancers. This unique evening is sure to be unlike any other, and is not to be missed!

Jane B. Cook Theatre, FSU Center for the Performing Arts, 5555 N. Tamiami Trl, Sarasota, FL 34243

[SOON]  FILM: Gazebo Starlight Cinema Series , December 6

Join the Gazebo Starlight Cinema series with this month’s movie: Home Alone. With a screen stretched around the Gazebo pillars and family flicks back-projected from within, what better place than the facing grassy knoll to relax in a beach chair or curl up on a blanket? Bring the whole family to kick off your weekend while enjoying the park! Support local Venice Avenue businesses by bringing snacks, dinner, ice cream (or gelato!) to enjoy during the movie.

Downtown Venice Centennial Park, 200 West Venice Ave.

[SOON]  GALA: Brunch & Bubbles - Celebrating Sarasota County Teachers , December 11, 10:30am-12pm

On Wednesday, December 11, join the Education Foundation for a morning of brunch & bubbles as they honor phenomenal teachers in Sarasota County. The awards ceremony will recognize an Alumni of Distinction and unveil the 2020 Sarasota County Teacher of the Year. The event is from 10:30am to 12pm. Please use complimentary valet service. 

The Westin Sarasota, 100 Marina View Drive, Sarasota, FL 34236

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Art of Performance: Lagartijas Tiradas al Sol: Tijuana , December 6 – December 7, 7:30PM

This Mexico-city based theater ensemble has created a suite of works that explore ideas of democracy in the 21st Century and blends them with narrative collages from Mexican history. The solo work Tijuana is the staged result of a real anthropological theater experiment undertaken by Lagartijas ensemble member Gabino Rodríguez, in which he abandoned his life in Mexico City to work on an assembly line in a Tijuana factory on the U.S. border. Passing under a false identity for six months, he earned the legal minimum wage to explore how the current day Mexican working-class survives.

Historic Asolo Theater , 5401 Bay Shore Rd, Sarasota, FL 34243

[SOON]  SEMINAR: PINC 2019 , December 12, 8am-8pm

PINC is People, Ideas, Nature, and Creativity. It's a one-day, conference-style experience delivered by a cascade of international speakers from every imaginable discipline, skill, and talent you can think of. Speakers range from Iditarod champions, the founder of Vertical Farming, a famous felt artist and a lawyer whose territory is outer space, all the way to Nobel Prize winners, perfume virtuosos, a Master Acoustician, and the doctor who performed the first-hand transplant. Whether a speaker or a guest, the PINC experience attracts creative thinkers, entrepreneurs, specialists, designers, artists, scientists, and anyone looking to stimulate their mind, heart, and soul. It's an opportunity to participate in an eclectic mix of the fundamental pieces that create the human experience. If you want to be inspired, you want to be at PINC.

Sarasota Opera House, 61 N Pineapple Ave, Sarasota, FL 34236

[SOON]  FESTIVAL: Atomic Holiday Bazaar , December 14 – December 15, Noon to 5pm

Atomic Holiday Bazaar, Season 14, returns to the Sarasota Municipal Auditorium. Atomic launched in 2006 showcasing 50 unconventional crafters who needed an affordable and welcoming venue to sell their unusual handmade wares. By producing an alternative craft show for Sarasota’s hip shoppers, Atomic quickly grew into an annual Sarasota holiday shopping tradition. 

The show proved such a success it expanded to a full weekend in 2007 and in 2008 Atomic grew from the main auditorium to the Bay Front room to accommodate the ever growing number of talented applicants and dedicated shoppers. In 2015, Atomic expanded again opening up its first street fair and jumping on the trend of including a handful of delicious local Sarasota food trucks. This season the show introduces a number of new makers who have had the opportunity to be a part of the show due to a number of Atomic Misfit Makers retiring from the craft making scene.

Atomic features a wide range of items for all: screen printed t-shirts, faux taxidermy, upcycled everything ranging from home decor, clothing, jewelry, (for example, think of “upcycled” as copper pipe that has been refitted into a desk lamp), vintage clothing, kitsch and jewelry, lowbrow to elegant fine art, holiday cards, jams, jellies and the best canned pickle selections ever, one of a kind baby clothing, humorous chatchkes, ornaments, knits, catnip toys, doggie stuff, felted art, plants, plushies (unusual and humorous creatures), pop culture-graphic art posters, dark sentiments, body products, candles, beachy vibe stuff, ethnic Latin textiles, rock n roll edgy clothing, sweet little creations that make you sigh, get the picture? No artsy stone unturned, Atomic has something for all.

Sarasota Municipal Auditorium, 801 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota

[SOON]  FESTIVAL: 34th Annual Sarasota Holiday Boat Parade of Lights , December 14, 6pm

Don’t miss the 34th Annual Sarasota Holiday Boat Parade of Lights will be held on Saturday, December 14 beginning at 6pm. The best areas for viewing are Marina Jack Restaurant, Bayfront Park, City Island. All boats must pass approx. 1/3 of the marina side Bayfront Park, to be considered for judging. The Bay front Park spectator viewing area has been expanded to include the entire Northern tip of the island near the fountain.

Bayfront Park, 5 Bayfront Dr, Sarasota, FL 34236

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: The Sarasota Cuban Ballet School: The Nutcracker , December 14 – December 15, 2pm

Returning for the third year, the Sarasota Cuban Ballet brings its stunning production to the VPAC for three performances. Accompanied by 26 musicians from The Venice Symphony with guest conductor Joeseph Caulkins, and a brand new set, these pre-professional performers will stun you with their elegance and strength in this holiday tradition. Single tickets on sale now at veniceperformingartscenter.com or (941) 218 3779.

Venice Performing Arts Center, 1 Indian Ave building 5, Venice, FL 34285

[SOON]  FESTIVAL: Marie Selby Botanical Gardens Lights In Bloom , December 14 – January 4, 6pm-9pm

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens lights up the holiday season with Lights In Bloom. Over two million lights will illuminate the gardens and walkways will be transformed into sensory light tunnels. Visitors will have the opportunity to stroll through magical gardens filled with beautifully lit flowers, radiant rainforest butterflies, dragonflies and more. The tropical holiday paradise includes nightly visits from Santa (before Christmas Eve), children’s arts and crafts activities and games and special entertainment. Grilled foods will be available for purchase from the Michael’s on East grill including a cash bar. The Selby House Cafe will also be open with its full menu. In its 16th year, Lights In Bloom has become a tradition for residents and visitors to celebrate the holiday season in Sarasota.

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, 900 S Palm Ave, Sarasota, FL 34236

[SOON]  HEALTH: Doctors Hospital Caregiver Support Group , December 16, 10am-11:30am

Every third Monday of the month, Julie Cook Downing, President of Caregivers Comfort Creations, LLC, facilitates a Doctors Hospital Caregiver Support Group. This group focuses on the caregiver and offers a retreat from the never-ending mental and physical responsibilities of caregiving. This free, open group provides compassionate support and an opportunity to explore new solutions together to caregiver challenges. The group meets in the classroom outside of the cafeteria.

Doctors Hospital of Sarasota, 5731 Bee Ridge Rd., Sarasota, FL 34233

[SOON]  HEALTH: Veterans' Caregivers Free Lunch and Learn Support Group , December 16, 12:15pm-1:45pm

Welcoming all Veterans' Caregivers and Veterans caring for a loved one to a free lunch and monthly Caregivers Support Group every third Monday of the month. This group focuses on the Caregiver and not the patient. Julie Cook Downing, Facilitator and President of Caregivers' Comfort Creations, LLC, has over two decades of experience with both support groups and Family Caregiving.

Mindspa Integrative Wellness Center, 5632 Bee Ridge Rd #101, Sarasota, FL 34233

[SOON]  FILM: Sun Xun: Time Spy , August 11 – February 16

A mesmerizing 3D animated film by Chinese painter and draughtsman, Sun Xun incorporates traditional techniques including ink painting, charcoal drawing and woodblock printing. He uses analog and digital technologies to explore pressing concerns of the time.

The Ringling, 5401 Bay Shore Road

[SOON]  SCIENCE AND NATURE: The Orchid Show , October 12 – December 1, 10am-5pm

Blossoms of Asia combines a dazzling display of living orchids in the Tropical Conservatory with an elegant exhibition of orchid treasures from Selby Gardens’ bibliographic and preserved collections in the Museum of Botany and the Arts. The magnificent orchids in the Tropical Conservatory will include Asian specimens from Selby’s living plant collection. The display will reference traditional Japanese garden design and horticultural practices, including ikebana (the art of flower arrangement) and bonsai (the creation of miniaturized trees), in order to evoke a sense of Asia in the heart of Sarasota.

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, 900 S Palm Ave, Sarasota, FL 34236

[SOON]  GALLERY: Jack Davis: Drawing American Pop Culture , October 18 – December 6

Famed in particular for his speed and a tendency to create images overflowing with colorful characters, Jack Davis was one of the founding members of Mad Magazine's "Usual Gang of Idiots." He supplied covers for Tim and TV Guide, designed numerous album covers and movie posters, and, over his 60-year career, became one of the most in-demand caricaturists and cartoonists in the world. This exhibition attempts to show Davis' range by bringing together a selection of his original work that demonstrates his breadth of subjects and his skills as an artist. This body of work focuses on American popular culture, diving deeper into his career than the sports and caricature work for which he is best known. Opening Reception, Friday, October 18, 5-8pm. Evening Panel Discussion, Thursday, November 14, 6-8pm.

Lois and David Stulberg Gallery in the Richard and Barbara Basch Visual Arts Center, 2700 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota

[SOON]  GALLERY: Artists Minding Their Business , October 18 – December 6

How do you go from creative spark to creative business? An interactive multimedia exhibition and event series, Artists Minding Their Business takes us on the evolution from making art to making a living. Ringling’s Business of Art & Design Department and founder of Culture Hustlers, Lucas Spivey (BFA/MBA) have curated the Willis Smith Gallery into a visual showcase of the entrepreneurial journey. Inside interactive installations, visiting founders and creative entrepreneurs swap inspiring stories and provide visitors with practical advice. Opening Reception, Friday, October 18, 6-8pm.

Willis Smith Construction Inc. Gallery in the Larry R. Thompson Academic Center, 2700 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota

[SOON]  MUSIC: The Perlman Music Program Sarasota Winter Residency and Celebration Concert , December 21 – January 4, 5pm

Each season, The Perlman Music Program/Suncoast hosts The Perlman Music Program (PMP) Sarasota Winter Residency. Founded by Toby Perlman, and with a world-renowned faculty led by her husband, internationally acclaimed violinist and conductor Itzhak Perlman, PMP augments its seven-week summer school program in Shelter Island each December with a 17-day winter residency, December 21, 2019 - January 4, 2020, in Sarasota and Manatee counties. The residency provides valuable mentoring and performance opportunities for approximately 35 young international string musicians, ages 12-20+, and offers 20+ free and low-cost musical events on the campus of USF Sarasota-Manatee. Each year, the winter residency culminates with the Celebration Concert, January 4, 2020, with Itzhak Perlman conducting the PMP String Orchestra and Patrick Romano leading the PMP Chorus at the Sarasota Opera House.

USF Sarasota-Manatee, 8350 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota 34243

[SOON]  MUSIC: The Perlman Music Program Suncoast Super Strings , December 28, 7pm

The Perlman Music Program Suncoast Super Strings is presented as part of a public orchestra rehearsal during the PMP Sarasota Winter Residency. Super Strings promotes the interaction of local young musicians with international students of The Perlman Music Program and world-class faculty. Forty-five string players from across the state of Florida join the PMP String Orchestra on stage, for a special one-time PMP Sarasota Winter Residency event, to perform the 1st Movement of Felix Mendelssohn's String Sinfonia No. 2 in D Major, under the baton of Itzhak Perlman. Tickets $10 at Perlmanmusicprogramsuncoast.org

USF Sarasota-Manatee, 8350 N Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34243

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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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