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SRQ DAILY Feb 20, 2021

"Housing soft costs and how they affect the general housing market should be an important part of the discussion for government fees."

- Christine Robinson, The Argus Foundation

-Click here for the full SRQ Home & Design Flipbook feature article: Mid-Century Modern.
[Gulf Coast]  A Different Kind of Season
Mark Pritchett, mpritchett@gulfcoastcf.org

“A different kind of season.”

That’s how Richard Russell, executive director of Sarasota Opera, has understatedly described his company’s artistic output right now. The Opera just kicked off its Winter Festival of “chamber operas” with Rossini’s The Happy Deception. Newly discovered and appreciated by Russell and Maestro Victor DeRenzi, these works allow for fewer performers, smaller sets, no intermission and well-spaced audiences. The Opera also livestreams the performances and records them for patrons to enjoy from home via online subscription.

Sarasota Opera was among the fastest and most forward-thinking of our region’s arts leaders in responding to COVID-19. It put artist and audience safety first, while still finding fresh ways to connect the two. Before the Sarasota Opera House could reopen safely, the company took its talent to the community. It staged outdoor performances at partner sites like Selby Gardens and Historic Spanish Point. It also assembled a first-of-its-kind “Opera Mobile,” a muscular red pickup that can haul a piano and a few performers behind it on a flat-bed trailer. Meanwhile, it optimized the AC system in the historic Opera House and added technology to eliminate airborne germs and viruses. Russell even took a course in contact tracing.

As I’ve talked to passionate people on both sides of the artistic relationship over the past year, I’ve seen just how big a void is left in our community when its stages must go dark. It’s a cultural, social and economic loss. Remember, the arts represent the second-biggest employer in our area, as Russell is quick to note. But it’s not only a paycheck that resident artists desperately miss. It’s also doing what they truly love—what they were born to do. Thank goodness, then, for the boundless imagination and talent of our community’s creatives.

Asolo Repertory Theatre constructed an entire new outdoor stage, complete with ingenious lighting design projected on its building’s facade. The Terrace Stage debuted for a much-needed holiday show, but it’s now being used for an outdoor season full of enchanting productions. I bet it continues to shine long after this pandemic is over.

The Venice Symphony programmed four 30-minute concerts for a fully virtual season sponsored by Gulf Coast Community Foundation that is free for anyone to watch online. (Click here for a rousing Saturday morning “fanfare” courtesy of conductor Troy Quinn and his brass and percussion ensembles.)

Embracing Our Differences’ annual diversity-themed outdoor art exhibit might seem made for these times. Visitors can view its 50 billboard-sized images while staying safely spaced throughout a sprawling and breezy bayfront setting. But EOD’s year-round impact is rooted in its educational outreach programs, which it nimbly adapted last year to virtual platforms.

Another of our region’s arts leaders that took the pandemic head on is The Sarasota Ballet. Director Iain Webb’s team has embraced technology, not only for presenting performances digitally but also for giving patrons unique access to the dancers and sneak peeks at rehearsals and new productions. Now in its Digital Winter-Spring Season, the Ballet is performing the likes of Ashton, Balanchine, Taylor and Tharp along with resident choreographer Ricardo Graziano. Tickets have been purchased from 20 different countries—something that wasn’t possible in the past. The Ballet also plans outdoor performances on the Asolo’s Terrace Stage. In a pearl anniversary year unlike anything it expected, The Sarasota Ballet has handled this crisis with the same aplomb and agility as principal dancer Kate Honea doing the Fanny Elssler Pas de Deux.

Last Saturday evening looked very different from a Saturday in “season” just a year ago. As the sun set, Sarasota’s Urbanite Theatre staged an edgy outdoor play-reading on the sand beside The Hermitage Artist Retreat’s beachfront campus in Englewood. Around the same time, a Sarasota Orchestra ensemble tuned up to serenade a small audience in Holley Hall with its Valentine Pops concert—which remains available for streaming online through Tuesday. Orchestra president and CEO Joseph McKenna recently said, “This season has required an endless reservoir of resilience, a pioneering spirit of innovation, and the discipline and character to know that we will emerge stronger than ever.” Bravo!

Please continue to support our region’s arts and cultural organizations as they continue to cheer, uplift, and entertain us all.

Mark Pritchett is president and CEO of the Gulf Coast Community Foundation.  

[Higher Education]  SCF Launches Plan to Boldly Lead
Carol Probstfeld, presidentsoffice@scf.edu

In 2015 the State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota, declared its desire to Boldly Engage its faculty, staff, students, community partners and donors to build a stronger, more responsive community asset. Now, six years later, it is ready to set forth a new vision – to Boldly Lead. SCF is a resource for every member of the community and fulfills leading roles in multiple areas – economic driver, higher education and workforce education standard-setter, employer, innovator and cultural centerpiece.

The Boldly Leading 2021-2026 Strategic Plan is SCF’s vision to be the community’s first choice for higher education, economic development, philanthropic investment and cultural fulfillment in order to respond to an evolving higher education landscape. Student populations are more diverse and there is no longer an agreed upon version of the “traditional” student. Students demand flexibility in information delivery platforms, scheduling and curriculum. They also expect more return for their investment and for degrees that lead directly to meaningful, long-term employment. This plan leads us to meet those expectations.

SCF began its strategic planning process in the summer of 2018, conducting internal and external surveys, focus groups and interviews to gather the thoughts and opinions that helped shape the development of this plan. The feedback gathered through the planning process coalesced around four broad categories that became the plan’s four strategic priorities: Quality, Opportunity, Growth and Diversification.

Commitment to quality at SCF means that we will always do what we say, deliver on our promises, and provide a strong return on investment to our students, donors, and taxpayers. SCF will be the community’s academic cornerstone by providing the only four-year, full-college experience in our region and enriching the quality of life in Manatee and Sarasota Counties through workforce training, continuing education, visual and performing arts and athletics.

Opportunity is at the heart of our College. We create opportunities for a better future for our students and community members. As we focus on our strengths, we know that creating more opportunity is the pathway to taking a leading role in our region. SCF will lead with bold opportunities as our region’s first choice for higher education, employment, cultural enrichment, and as a high-impact choice for donors. 

The growth of our institution must mirror that of our service area, but our strategic priority of growth is about more than just physical expansion. We must effectively and impactfully manage the growth of our institution’s physical and virtual presence to best serve our community. We will expand our regionally relevant two- and four-year degree programs and develop and deliver the programs, services and activities required by a changing economic, social and educational environment.

SCF will reflect the socio-economic vision of Manatee and Sarasota Counties with its focus on diversification. With multiple physical campuses and the online campus, SCF will offer higher education and workforce training where our community members work, live and play. We will adapt with our community to serve targeted population needs and create an inclusive atmosphere where all are welcomed and supported.

SCF is setting forth a new vision – to Boldly Lead.  By prioritizing Quality, Opportunity, Growth and Diversification we will be a fiscally resilient institution that can readily withstand both economic and political changes, sustain an environment that will attract and retain students and employees from all backgrounds, and enjoy a concrete reputation for creating and providing high-quality educational opportunities.

Dr. Carol Probstfeld is president of State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota. 

[Argus]  Gov’t Fees Part of Affordable Housing Problem
Christine Robinson, Christine@argusfoundation.org

The Argus Foundation has written extensively about government regulation and its effect on affordable housing. Today, we are going to focus on government fees.

According to the community movement Strong Towns, the first of the five immutable laws of affordable housing is that “developers don’t pay the costs of construction: tenants and buyers do.”  

What this means is that fees don’t just magically disappear, and it’s not developers who absorb them. They are always paid by a buyer or renter, and that includes those who need affordable housing. Unless a government subsidy is involved or the housing is incentivized or partially paid for by government, fees fall on the consumer. 

This year, multiple government fees are being studied, reviewed, and updated. Mobility fees, fire fees, utility fees, and stormwater fees are among them in the county alone. City governments are doing the same, many looking at their fees. All of these fees add to the cost of housing and all will affect its affordability.

According to the Brookings Institute, soft costs, which include permitting and government fees, among other things, make up 30% of the cost of housing. This number is not insignificant. A house that is $250,000, contains about $75,000 worth of soft costs.      

It is important that each government take a moment and determine how a fee structure or cost will affect housing for our workforce and across the housing spectrum. Ignoring housing costs in the fee conversation is a recipe for disaster.

Just acknowledging affordable housing or trying to carve affordable housing out is not enough. You are then fighting the overall housing market and making things worse. 

You must try to control fees and costs for all housing types to create a complete step-up system of housing for the community. Doing this frees up affordable housing as owners gain more equity in their housing over time and use that equity to move into larger homes. 

If you shift the costs of affordable housing to other housing types, you then create large gaps in housing. The housing outside of what is deemed affordable jumps higher in cost, leaving those who want to graduate up from affordable housing unable to do so, and thus artificially keeping them in affordable housing. This then makes affordable housing hard to find as no one can move out of it to free it up.

Housing soft costs and how they affect the general housing market should be an important part of the discussion for government fees. It is not the only part of the fee discussion, but it should be a significant part of it. Governments can and do contribute to the problem by not looking at the overall market. The Argus Foundation encourages governments to have deeper discussions about the overall housing market when looking at setting government fees.

Christine Robinson is executive director for The Argus Foundation. 

[In This Issue]  Sarasota Seer

The Sarasota Institute will explore the future of humanity on a global scale. 

Click here for the full article in SRQ's February 2021 feature.

[SOON]  SCIENCE AND NATURE: The Lakewood Ranch Community Campout , February 20 – February 21, 3pm-10am

Join us for our 3rd Annual family-friendly campout in Adventure Park from Saturday, February 20 at 3pm to Sunday, February 21 until 10am at Greenbrook Adventure Park, 13010 Adventure Place in Lakewood Ranch. Bring your tent and supplies. $40 per family and space, first to register get the closer spots to the movie and campfire. Activities include: Tent Pitching Demos, Family Movie, Live Music, Nature Hike, and Food + S’MORES for purchase from Buonissimo Pizza.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: The Ringling: She's Beautiful When She's Angry , March 14, 7:30pm

Resurrects the buried history of the outrageous, often brilliant women who founded the modern women’s movement from 1966 to 1971. SHE’S BEAUTIFUL takes us from the founding of NOW, with ladies in hats and gloves, to the emergence of more radical factions of women’s liberation; from intellectuals like Kate Millett to the street theatrics of W.I.T.C.H. (Women’s International Conspiracy from Hell!). Artfully combining dramatizations, performance and archival imagery, the film recounts the stories of women who fought for their own equality, and in the process created a world-wide revolution. This program will take on March 14 at 7:30pm outside in the Benfer Courtyard, located just outside of the Kotler-Coville Glass Pavilion. Tickets will be available starting 30 days prior to the screening date. Available seating will be marked to ensure social distancing. Due to rising COVID cases and safety concerns this event is subject to cancellation. Ticket holders will be notified and refunded if the screening is canceled.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: The Ringling: Great Art on Screen: Modigliani , April 1, 7:30pm

The remarkable talent of the avant-garde artist Modigliani. This program will take place on April 1 at 7:30pm outside in the Benfer Courtyard, located just outside of the Kotler-Coville Glass Pavilion. Tickets will be available starting 30 days prior to the screening date. Available seating will be marked to ensure social distancing. Due to rising COVID cases and safety concerns this event is subject to cancellation. Ticket holders will be notified and refunded if the screening is canceled.

[SOON]  GALLERY: Blank Slate Featuring Multidisciplinary Artist Richard Kennedy , February 20, 5pm

Presented in partnership with Sarasota Art Museum on February 20 at 5pm. Hermitage Fellow Richard Kennedy presents a movement and listening workshop that explores alternative methods of self-actualization, performance ritual, and collective action by subverting the audience performer dynamic—collapsing the hierarchy of seeing through text, gesture, and composed epic failure; inviting the audience to engage with existing architectures to forge new paths of activation in and of the body. How can we remain activated in isolation? What does it mean to be together? How have the times forced us to reimagine performance to be alone yet together, and how will these new tools be integrated into live performance moving forward? Kennedy is a multi-disciplinary artist living and working between Berlin and Brooklyn. He has choreographed for SSION & Chino Amobi as well as collaborated on projects with NOWNESS, Nicopanda, and Hercules & Love Affair. Sarasota Art Museum, 1001 South Tamiami Trail. Registration information to be released soon; additional information will be available at HermitageArtistRetreat.org.

[SOON]  SCIENCE AND NATURE: The Bishop: Astronomy Viewing Opportunity , February 20, 7pm-8pm and 8:15pm-9:15pm

Opportunities abound for astronomy fun in February. Join us at one of these evening viewing sessions in The Bishop’s North Plaza, and you can use our telescopes (and the help of our astronomy experts) to view the stunning Orion Nebula, the jewel-like Pleiades star cluster, and the beautiful double-star Almach. On Saturday, February 20 (with a rain date on Sunday, February 21) we're hosting two sessions to stay within social distancing guidelines, one opportunity from 7pm to 8pm and another from 8:15pm to 9:15pm. Cost is $8 per person for members of the Discovery Society; $10 per person for all others. Masks are required for staff and guests, and we will adhere to social distancing measures.

[SOON]  HEALTH: Bridge A Life: 10th Annual Superhero 5k and Fun Run , February 20, 7:30am-11:30am

Our 10th annual Superhero event features a 1-mile fun run, a 5K, and a 10K on Saturday, February 20 from 7:30am to 11:30am at Nathan Benderson Park. We hold the race to show support for children in our community who come from hard places. We believe these kids, and the loving adults who advocate for them, are our community's heroes. Join us as a walker, runner, sponsor, or volunteer.

[SOON]  FESTIVAL: Anna Maria Island Privateers: Thieves Market , February 20 – April 17, 8am-3pm

Anna Maria Island Privateers will be hosting their annual Thieves Market on Saturday, February 20, Saturday, March 20 and Saturday, April 17 from 8am to 3pm. This year we are celebrating our 50th Anniversary and are working very hard to make each Market more spectacular and fun. Booth space will be 14’ wide x 35’ deep. Coffee and a continental breakfast will be provided by the Privateers for our vendors to enjoy. Vendor set-up begins at 6am. All to be held at GT Bray Recreation Center. We will try to accommodate special requests for medical necessity, but most spots are on a first paid first served basis. Donation per spot per Market is $50 and there are no refunds. Online registration and payment are requested and recommended should you want a spot reserved or you can pay by check or cash if using a paper application, the link to that is below.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Virtual: Art Center Sarasota: Painting Animals in Watercolor Workshop , February 20 – February 22, 11am-5pm

Painting Animals in Watercolor Workshop with Visiting Artist Dylan Scott Pierce February 20 through 22 from 11am to 5pm on Zoom. Dylan will guide the class in how to create more than the likeness of the animal but also to convey a mood and message. Demonstrating how the elements of art can be thoughtfully used to convey the feeling of an animal and the mood and message. Principles of creating depth and realism will also be demonstrated as well as Dylan’s technique for achieving beautiful skin tones by juxtaposing colors. Using sketches to establish a synchronized order of importance, Dylan will explain how to make artistic decisions to create and effective composition and communicate what is important to the viewer. Also, Dylan will demonstrate how using color studies will help discover unexpected ways of expressing ones message. This is an online course. When you register (and are paid in full), a Zoom link will be emailed to you. If your teacher has additional handouts, those will also be emailed to you.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Asolo Repertory: Fannie: The Music and Life of Fannie Lou Hamer , February 20 – March 3, 7pm

Asolo Rep continues its season in association with Goodman Theatre and Seattle Rep with the launch of a rolling world premiere of Cheryl L. West’s provocative and poignant new play with a bright future: Fannie: The Music and Life of Fannie Lou Hamer. Originally commissioned and developed by Goodman Theatre and Seattle Rep, Fannie tells the impassioned story of American civil rights activist and hero, Fannie Lou Hamer. Running February 20 to March 3 at 7pm and directed by Henry Godinez (Resident Artistic Associate at Goodman Theatre), Asolo Rep will start the “roll,” followed by productions to be announced at Goodman Theatre and Seattle Rep. E. Faye Butler, who gave a tour-de-force performance as Queenie in Asolo Rep’s 2013 production of Show Boat, will portray the title role in this deeply moving one-woman production.

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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