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SRQ DAILY Jul 11, 2020

"Who knows, a few more people wearing masks may tip the balance and make it socially unacceptable to be without one. "

- Donal O'Shea, New College of Florida

[Under The Hood]  Kiss Off, Sailor
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

Sarasota’s long technicolor nightmare may soon be over.

The Public Art Committee offered a glimmer of hope this week that the the time may have come for Seward Johnson’s ode to copyright infringement, “Unconditional Surrender.” Beloved by tourists and hated by self-respecting artists, the kissing Sailor long loomed over Downtown, a visual manifestation of the conflict between Sarasota’s dueling image as tourist trap or cultural destination.

Since its arrival as part of the Season of Sculpture and through a stunningly loud debate over a conditional loan giving the beast its traffic jam-inducing space on the Tamiami Trail, this piece of pop art inspired conflict. On the one side, there stand those who believe this community an inspired one, with graduates of Ringling College of Art and Design painting murals and positioning street art that leads the mind through dynamic adventure and self-reflection. On the other side are those who check into beach motels and wonder what it costs to bring the in-room paintings home.

I guess one must acknowledge a third lobby that in fact tipped the scales in Sarasota 10 years ago. Veterans, by virtue of the artwork including a uniformed sailor I suppose, filled Sarasota City Commission chambers in 2010 with soldiers who heard dismay about the tastefulness of Johnson’s work as a slight against America. If non sequitur lines of debate are your thing, it’s worth loading video of the old meetings. I promise you if any city issue can cut through the coming Trump-vs-Biden noise this Fall, this is it.

Today the greatest threat to the statue’s sculpture may be the post-#MeToo desire to dismantle any image of a man making an unwanted advance on a woman. This line of reasoning always struck me as risky as it consumes the iconic Alfred Eisenstaedt photo that inspired this work (more on that later). But hey, if it works.

But in hopes the VFW set doesn’t once again overtake a debate about public art, let me explain a few ways this statue offends not only the visual sensibility of Sarasota’s cultural soul but the integrity of artistic expression itself.

Johnson, heir to a corporate fortune, long contended this picture wasn’t actually inspired by the famed “V-J Day in Times Square” but a similar shot taken by a military photographer (and thus part of the public domain). Since the Eisenstaedt shot appeared first in Life Magazine, Time Warner holds the rights. This statue’s presence in the city long brought legal exposure to local government. Fun fact, Johnson’s foundation at one point wanted as a condition to the statue’s loan for Sarasota to commit to helping defend against such lawsuits; the Commission thankfully balked at that even while embracing this oversized pinata.

Also, this 3-D recreation in no way appears refined. For something based on photographs of human beings, Unconditional Surrender boasts as much understanding of the human body as a chocolate Easter Bunny displays about the anatomy of a rabbit.

It’s also a high maintenance toy, made of aluminum and living in a tropical environment. The dangerous placement literally caused auto accidents, sometimes with vehicles barging straight into it.

But to me the worst sin of all remains a total lack sense of place around this work, despite now serving as the most high-profile sculpture in the city. It reimagines a moment in Times Square, where a smaller version once stood, and depicts figures with no connection to Sarasota. Some note the David statue in the city seal represents a replica (always more an argument for a new seal if you ask me), but at least that mimics a work in John Ringling’s collection as he set up Sarasota’s most famous estate. Johnson’s piece is a mass-produced, non-moving action figure, with other pieces in the product line standing in Key West, San Diego, Michigan, Belgium and Rome.

Honestly, Sarasota deserves better. Legendary artists from Jack Cartlidge to Syd Solomon to Craig Rubadoux to Adele Romanski claim ties to the region. Wouldn’t it be grand if work reflective of such greatness adorned our postcards and the backgrounds of Instagram snaps?

Jacob Ogles is contributing senior editor for SRQ MEDIA.


Photo courtesy Visit Sarasota County

[Higher Education]  Students Setting a Smart Example
Donal O'Shea, doshea@ncf.edu

Florida is now an epicenter of the COVID-19 crisis in the United States.

We can argue about whether this situation could have been avoided, but this will not help us move ahead. 

Here is what we know:

New cases in Florida surpassed 5,000 per day on June 23 and have not been lower since. Hospitalizations have increased, but those resulting from the new infections on or after June 23 have barely begun to hit. Deaths will follow in another few weeks. We do not know what the rates will be, but we know that 56 hospitals in Florida are already out of ICU space; many others are close to capacity.

We know that you can have the virus and not know it. The longer you are near someone with the virus, the better your chances of becoming infected. Talking, singing, laughing or arguing with someone infected is worse than just sharing space. Indoors is worse than outdoors. 

Wearing masks sharply decreases the chances of becoming infected. Someone who is infected and wears a mask is less likely to give the virus to someone else. And someone without the virus who wears a mask is less likely to get the virus. Maintaining a distance of more than six feet from someone with the virus also decreases your chances of getting the virus. 

Florida’s healthcare system permitting, New College, like the other state universities, plans to welcome back students for the fall semester in a little more than a month.

The Florida Board of Governors for the State University System unanimously approved our plan. It involves masking (everyone wears them), strict social distancing, testing everyone on campus, a compressed academic calendar and more. To read the full plan, visit ncf.edu/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/New-College-Plan-to-Reopen.pdf.

Anne Fisher, Ph.D., the director of New College’s Counseling and Wellness Center, conducted extensive research to help with the plan.

“We’re a community at New College, and there are advantages to New College being a small campus,” Fisher says. “We are the only SUS institution testing 100 percent of our students and employees (which is something larger universities simply don’t have the capacity to do because there are just too many people).”

New College will adhere to requirements from the SUS, the Florida Department of Health, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“If students have trouble with testing or resources or anything at all, we’re small enough that we can respond individually,” Fisher says. “I think we’re doing a number of things to mitigate our risk in ways our surrounding community is not. I hope we’ll be able to provide leadership to the community to show we’re being very responsible.”

I think Dr. Fisher is right. 

Up until a few days ago, you could walk in Sarasota with little indication that we are in the midst of a dangerous pandemic: People close together in bars and bakeries—without masks.  People in grocery stores—without masks. People crowded on beaches—without masks. Many people are still not wearing masks.

You can count on New College students to be wearing masks (even when protesting), not because they’re compliant, but because they understand that they have a responsibility to ensure that they do not infect others. We all have this responsibility. COVID-19 maims and it kills, and just because it doesn’t do so immediately doesn’t make it any less so. 

And, who knows, a few more people wearing masks may tip the balance and make it socially unacceptable to be without one. This would be good for all of us. It would surely lead to a reduction in the appalling number of new cases we are seeing. 

Dr. Donal O’Shea is president of New College of Florida. 

Photo by Wes Roberts

[Finance]  Navigating Financial Wellness Amid Covid-19
Scott Zelniker

Lessons from local Sarasota Wealth Advisor:
Preparation, Communication, and Prudence

None of us could have predicted how Covid-19 and the global response would change our lives so dramatically, affect the way we do business, and impact our economies and financial markets in such a short time. But what we do know is that historically financial markets exhibit varying levels of volatility. Given the uncertainty during this unprecedented pandemic, the volatility has spiked to historically high levels and may persist for some time as the myriad of impacts, both economic and health-related, are resolved.  

As wealth advisors for high-net-worth investors and business owners, UBS Wealth Management focuses on long-term financial strategies, plans, and analyses to help clients navigate financial turmoil and market volatility. Charting a sound financial future requires informed analysis, long-term planning that anticipates market downturns, and prudent decision-making within the context of the plan when unprecedented circumstances arise.

With Sarasota being home to affluent individuals and families with funds to protect, our UBS Sarasota team of wealth advisors imparts these lessons:  

Lesson #1: Experience mattersbe prepared for unexpected financial crises within your long-term plan

With decades of experience, the UBS Zelniker Dorfman Group has helped clients navigate through financial crises since the 1990s, including the dot.com tech bubble burst (2000), the post-9/11 economic downturn, and the 2008 global financial crisis. During these times, collectively our clients outperformed the market average, losing less and recovering quicker. 

While working within the established parameters of our clients’ long-term financial plans, our proactive approach includes making necessary, prudent changes to help minimize portfolio risks. This includes rotating to different types of investments within market sectors focusing on companies with solid balance sheets and a high probability of weathering the market turbulence. Characteristics of these companies include financial strength, projected business solvency throughout a period of prolonged economic weakness and a business model that is poised for growth as the economy improves. 

When markets are relatively stable, we address possible plan changes and rotations during scheduled calls with our clients in anticipation of downturns. We help our clients understand and take precautions for increased market volatility. Some clients ask why we are having these discussions in advance of a market decline; however, we believe it is prudent to be prepared for market swings and set realistic expectations.

Ultimately, our goal is to help clients maintain the value of their long-term investment plan while maneuvering within the portfolio for risk mitigation and long-term recovery. 

Lesson #2: Address multigenerational needsnurture in-depth communications with clients and their families 

As the pandemic created turmoil in the financial market, some of our clients became understandably concerned. In the first two weeks of the stay-at-home order, our UBS team organized quickly for clients to have enhanced communications by phone, email, video conferencing, and socially distanced meetings, in addition to regularly scheduled consultations. We listen thoughtfully to address concerns and questions with the care and diligence our clients have come to expect. 

Because people are staying at home, we are seeing the benefit of having deeper, more detailed conversations that include several generations and multiple members of a family asking pertinent questions about their investments. These in-depth, productive conversations are designed to help clients minimize the impact emotions can have on decision-making and provide comprehensive, unbiased information so we can make informed decisions together with their families. We want to protect clients from making reactive decisions. 

At the outset of Covid-19, we went beyond investing to become a trusted resource for information about the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), and other economic benefits available. We worked closely with our clients and their attorneys and accountants to help facilitate informed, faster service on their behalf. We believe it is important to take an integrated, holistic approach in serving the financial needs and well-being of our clients. 

Lesson #3: Maneuver within the portfolio to limit downside and be positioned for quicker recovery. 

During this time, it is important to adhere to long-term plans and protect portfolios by taking precautions, limiting downsides, and anticipating possible outcomes. We want to help clients lessen potential losses and recover more quickly when the market stabilizes. We assess what the economy could look like on the other side, post-Covid-19, and adapt. Thoughtful discussions and prudent decision-making now can help clients understand what to expect and be positioned for quicker recovery.  

Scott D. Zelniker, CRPC, CRPS is the Senior Vice President of Wealth Management at The Zelniker Dorfman Group, Florida UBS Wealth Management, Sarasota, Fla.  

Click here for more information.

[Relocation]  The Players Centre for Performing Arts Plans to Move October 2020

The Players Centre for Performing Arts holds a unique place in the hearts and minds of the Sarasota community. After 90 years of laughter, tears, and everything in between (including a global pandemic), The Players accelerated plans to move from their home in downtown Sarasota (838 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34326). The nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization will vacate the space in October 2020. The Players family sees this step as the first of many exciting developments. A temporary location and plans for a 91st season will be announced soon (decisions depend on the health of the city and state). Staff offices will relocate to The Players Studio (1400 Blvd of the Arts, Suite 200, Sarasota, FL 34236). Never fear, the theatre continues moving forward on the brand-new facility in Waterside Place of Lakewood Ranch.

“The Board of Trustees and staff had to address many challenges and make a decision,” says Interim CEO and Managing Artistic Director Jeffery Kin. “Should we move now when the COVID-19 pandemic is keeping us closed? Do we wait it out in our location until May and then move? For financial reasons, and to keep our staff intact as we have not laid off or furloughed any of our employees at this point, we know we need to move now. Our leaving this space and downsizing to a smaller venue for the next few years is the only logical choice.”

The Players is in a unique position. The current building sold in November 2018 and the nonprofit organization has been leasing the space since. This lease agreement with the new owners ends in October 2020. While the contract was renegotiated allowing the organization to stay through May 2021 to finish the 91st season, unfortunately the uncertainty of COVD-19 has shuttered theaters across the country for an unknown amount of time. The Players staff and board care deeply for the health and safety of patrons and volunteers and feel this early departure makes perfect sense. A community theatre is more than a building; it’s much more than bricks and mortar. It’s the feeling and energy that transcends a physical space. The mission of The Players Centre, to entertain, educate and engage the community through high quality live theatre will continue wherever The Players performs and teaches.

“There has been an interesting analogy going around the various arts groups. It’s about all of us ‘being in the same boat.’ I like to say, ‘We’re all in the same storm, but we are in completely different boats,’” says Kin. “This storm is forcing your community theatre to rethink its future.”

Many community members invested time, treasure, and talent into The Players. The Players family appreciates all the continued love and support and wants to give those that love this 90-year-old organization proper time to say goodbye to the old building. 

Click for more info.

[In This Issue]  Virtually Unstoppable
Brittany Mattie, brittany.mattie@srqme.com

The Giving Challenge faced its own challenge this year - falling right in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Spoiler alert: The community proved unphased and unstoppable. 

Click here to read the full article from SRQ's Summer 2020 edition.

[COVID-19 Treatment]  SMH First in Florida to Offer Experimental, Dual-Action Antibody Treatment for COVID-19

Sarasota Memorial Hospital this week joined a multi-national trial that is testing a new dual-action antibody treatment designed to reduce the severity and potentially stop the spread of COVID-19.

Led by Manuel Gordillo, MD, medical director of Sarasota Memorial’s Infection Prevention and Control and principal investigator for the Sarasota trial, SMH on Thursday became the first hospital in Florida to offer Regeneron Pharmaceuticals’ experimental treatment (REGN-COV2) to COVID-19 patients who meet the study criteria. The trial initially is open to hospitalized patients, but it could be expanded as early as next week for non-hospitalized patients with milder symptoms.

“We’re very excited about this trial, which involves the first antiviral antibody cocktail specifically designed to attack a critical part of the coronavirus, the spike protein that attaches to human cells,” said Dr. Gordillo. “In early laboratory tests, it completely obliterated the coronavirus at relatively low concentrations.”

Sarasota Memorial is one of three hospitals in Florida and among 150 research sites in the United States, Brazil, Mexico and Chile participating in Phase 2/3 trials, which follow positive results demonstrated in a Phase 1 safety trial. A separate trial to evaluate the antiviral antibody cocktail’s ability to prevent infection among uninfected people who have had close exposure to a COVID-19 patient (such as a patient’s housemate) also will soon be under way.

Sarasota Memorial CEO David Verinder credited the experience and expertise of SMH physicians and research nurses for bringing yet another important therapy option for local patients infected with the virus.

“As hospitalizations increase, we thankfully have a greater understanding of COVID-19 and more potential treatment options than at the start of the pandemic,” Verinder said.

Earlier this year, SMH participated in a national study to assess the antiviral drug remdesivir, which has had promising results. Now that the trial has ended, however, the drug is in short supply, and SMH and other hospitals around the state are awaiting new shipments of the medication.

SMH also has been participating in a clinical trial to evaluate the effectiveness of convalescent plasma. The study, which uses plasma donated by individuals who have recovered from COVID-19 to treat current hospitalized patients, has also had encouraging results. To date, SMH has given the plasma to 36 patients, but is now facing a critical shortage. Those who have tested positive for COVID-19 are encouraged to contact the Suncoast Blood Centers to see if they qualify to donate plasma. Call the center at 941-993-8119 or email covid19@suncoastblood.org for more information. 

Click for a link to the interview with Dr. Manuel Gordillo.

[COVID-19]  Free Covid-19 Antibody Test

SunCoast Blood Centers will hold a blood drive at the Fab Lab. By giving blood, you can help fill the extreme blood and plasma shortages faced by our local hospitals during this unprecedented time.All successful blood donations will receive a free COVID-19 antibody test.

Wednesday, July 29th from 11:00am-4:00pm at the Sun Coast Blood Center.  

4452 Beneva Road, 866-97-BLOOD

Click here for appointments.

[In Memorium]  Tribute to Alan S. Becker

Becker and Poliakoff Law Firm mourns the loss of Alan S. Becker; dear colleague and founding shareholder. A brilliant lawyer, leader and mentor, Alan's trailblazing contributions to the legal profession and greater community have helped pave the way for countless others. 

"To spend any time with Alan Becker was to know that his was a special intellect, with an interest in so many aspects of the world, and insights that brought a unique perspective. He was a man of accomplishment, conviction, stature and compassion and left an indelible mark on the firm." - Gary C. Rosen, Becker Managing Shareholder 

Click here for more information.

[COVID-19]  Citywide Public Health Emergency Extended through July 17

The City of Sarasota has extended its declaration of a local citywide public health emergency through July 17 following a weekly review, as required by the City Charter, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Face coverings are now required in all indoor and outdoor public spaces in City limits, whenever proper social distancing cannot be maintained in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines. The temporary regulation, which took effect July 1, will be in place for 60 days.

City buildings are open to the public by appointment only, and City business can be conducted either online via www.SarasotaFL.gov or by phone at 941-263-6000.

A state-run, walk-up COVID-19 testing site is available at Robert L. Taylor Community Complex, 1845 34th St., every day from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. or until daily testing capacity is reached. Testing is open to everyone, regardless of residency or symptoms, and no appointments are necessary. 

Click here for more information.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Virtual: Art Center Summer Art Camps , June 15 – August 7, Varied.

Summer Camp will be virtual this year from June 15 to August 7, 2020! We have decided for the health and safety of our teachers and campers that we will host camp virtually. Camp hours: 10am – 3pm. Cost: $75 for members | $100 for non-members (youth membership is $25) for one week. Space is limited please register for the weeks that your child is interested in.

The Creative Kids Summer Camp is for ages 6-9 years old. The Emerging Artists Summer Camp is for ages 10-13 years old. Contemporary Studies Summer Camp is for ages 14-18.

A Supply List will be sent to parents a few weeks before the camp week starts. The supply lists contain basic materials that your camper will be able to use more than once and where to find them. The camp project packet will be downloadable, for printing at home, on the Friday before the camp week starts and contains the projects for the next week. A printed version of the Camp project packet will be available upon request for pickup at the Art Center the Friday before camp from 10-2pm.

Art Center Sarasota, 707 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota

[SOON]  SCIENCE AND NATURE: Online: STEMventures with Mote , July 6 – August 31, 8am-9pm

Looking for fun and engaging programs that you and your child can do at home? Try these pre-packaged STEMventures. These themed packets delivered via email will include education materials and links to videos of our early childhood educators introducing topics and activities. Follow along with us from the comfort of your own home, pause when you need to and complete at your own pace. The Coast Counts: Join us to learn how humans and animals alike count on our coasts. Roleplay as a Mote scientist while learning how to monitor the health of Florida's coastal habitats and the inhabitants found there. Hide and SEAk: Ready or not, here we come: to learn all about how animals hide from predators and "SEAk" out their prey. Investigate the adaptations ocean animals have at their disposal like patterns, textures, bioluminescence, and more. Sea Shapes and Sizes: From the smallest plankton to the biggest blue whale; round pufferfish to arrow shaped barracuda; the ocean is filled with all shapes and sizes. Join Mote Educators to learn what this variety does for ocean animals then explore the shape of the ocean floor. Each Pre-Packaged STEMventure Theme: $45 for members, $50 for non-members. Upon registering for any OSM program, you will receive a confirmation email with a link to your weekly Guide to help prepare for a virtual week with us. Supplies for all of our OSM programs should be easily found around the home. The guide you receive in your confirmation email will detail what you need so you can prepare for your OSM week.

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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