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SRQ DAILY May 29, 2021

Saturday Perspectives Edition

Saturday Perspectives Edition

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[Gulf Coast]  We’re on a Good Path
Jennifer Johnston

I may have found the path to enlightenment.

That’s what I thought when I followed The Bay’s winding walkway toward a glowing sunset. A blue jay landed in the mangroves beside me, the wind rustled the palms overhead, and golden sun warmed my skin. There was a young man walking his dog and a couple picnicking. I felt a lightness I have missed during the pandemic.

I enjoyed all the fun facts about native plants etched into wooden sections of the Mangrove Bayou Walkway. I read a sign about a denitrification trench buried beneath my feet. When it rains, polluted stormwater that would previously drain untreated into Sarasota Bay now filters through the ingeniously designed trench, which neutralizes harmful nitrogen and returns clean water into the environment for the first time in a century. This natural pollution solution is a strategy included in the Community Playbook for Healthy Waterways.

Working from home for the past year, I have taken a lot of walks, especially on the Legacy Trail. I drive to the parking lot on McIntosh Road. But soon the trail extension will be complete and it will come right by where I live. Walking the trail clears my head and has been a source of solace since I moved to Sarasota four years ago. I see more people biking and jogging on the trail now than ever before. Mother Nature has been our refuge during this challenging time.

I visited Bobby Jones Golf Club for the first time during the pandemic, when most everything else was shut down. As I walked the paths, I couldn’t believe the size of the property—almost 300 acres. Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast recently negotiated a conservation easement to protect and steward these natural wetlands and wildlife habitat. On Tuesday, the Southwest Florida Water Management District voted unanimously to fund half of the $3-million cost to return the wetlands to what they were before the golf course was built. This will remove pollutants from stormwater runoff before they enter Phillippi Creek and eventually Sarasota Bay.

Local government supported this important decision, as well as master plans for The Bay Sarasota and Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. Selby Gardens just announced it has raised over $38 million to create a path to the future for its downtown campus and protect the world’s best-documented collection of orchids and bromeliads. This week, The Bay Park Conservancy announced it has raised $20 million in philanthropic funding to build the first phase of the 53-acre bayfront park.

I feel lucky to live in a community where generous visionaries invest in the well-being of all of us and our natural surroundings. We have a long journey ahead to restore nature’s balance, but we’re on the right path.

No matter our age or the size of our bank accounts, we all can be a part of making Sarasota a heathy and fun place to live. Join the Friends of The Bay, volunteer to help plant the Venice Urban Forest, tour Selby Gardens, and support Conservation Foundation of the Gulf Coast. What we do today matters, for us and for our children’s children.

Hope to see you on a walk!

Jennifer Johnston is Senior Community Investment Officer at Gulf Coast Community Foundation. 

Photo courtesy Gulf Coast Community Foundation

[Higher Education]  New College focuses on outreach, diversity
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

At a socially conscious and dynamic institution like New College, the synergy between community outreach and diversity, equity and inclusion come naturally.

As a small liberal arts institution with a big vision, New College knows how to maximize its impact, even with modest resources. My team in the Office of Outreach and Inclusive Excellence (OOIE) is helping New College do just that.

Through the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation New College and the Cross College Alliance in the Community Grant (often referred to as Mellon II) and the Charles and Margery Barancik Foundation Grant, we have secured strategic (and, some would say, critical) support for New College while extending the reach and impact of our office. Totaling $1.25 million, these grants have provided valuable private foundation dollars to fuel institutional priorities. 

Mellon II has provided support for the Sarasota-Manatee Arts & Humanities (SMAH) Internship Program, created by the Center for Career Engagement and Opportunity (CEO) staff (Director Dwayne Peterson and Assistant Director Maddie Tympanick); the CARES Act-powered Multicultural Action Team led by Dr. Lisa Merritt; Professor Queen Zabriskie’s Black History Month; the “Visions of the Black Experience” film series partnership with the Sarasota Film Festival; local community historian Vickie Oldham’s “Newtown Alive”; Booker High School’s Visual and Performing Arts Program; Professor Nick Clarkson’s Trans-Cultural Production project; and the Urbanite Theatre. And these are just the completed projects.

Under the program leadership of OOIE Community Outreach Director Stacey Campo, the list of projects in the pipeline is even longer.

The Barancik Foundation Grant—a $500,000, four-year grant award received in March 2020—provides scholarships for 13 Barancik Scholars. But that’s not all. The Barancik Grant has enabled New College to launch a comprehensive financial literacy initiative, and to hire Ceci Linton as New College’s first financial literacy specialist.

Ceci is doing amazing work—creating and sustaining programming (including co-curricular leadership development and financial literacy programming for our Barancik Scholars), as well as offering one-on-one counseling for all students. Her efforts will ultimately make a meaningful impact on student retention.

The Barancik Grant is an excellent example of an internal partnership as well (Maneesha Lal, who serves dual appointments in the New College Foundation and the Provost’s Office, co-authored the $500,000 Barancik Foundation Grant).

A $15,000 Community Foundation grant award was the result of a multifaceted external partnership play. The grant proposal, which supported the “Visions” film series, was an OOIE collaboration with Sarasota Film Festival, the Multicultural Health Institute and the Boxser Diversity Initiative. The Community Foundation award unlocked incremental funding from the Barancik Foundation and the New College Foundation and funded a $12,000 donation to Booker High School’s Visual and Performing Arts program. Talk about partnership!

New College’s Making a Better [New] podcast—a project created by the Committee on Campus Climate and Culture (4C)—was created to give less-frequently-heard community members a voice, while modeling respectful dialogue and engaging challenging topics of campus climate and culture.

Building bridges with local and regional education partners has also been a critical focus of the OOIE.

The New College Guaranteed Admission Program has been expanded to include six local high schools this admissions cycle. We have also collaborated with Admissions to strengthen relationships with three community colleges: State College of Florida, Valencia College and Hillsborough Community College. We have called on their campuses and hosted visits on ours, developed new articulation agreements, and explored other strategies for increasing New College’s profile among their students.

It is only with the continued support of the entire community that the OOIE can guide our campus to realize our shared vision of a more inclusive New College.

Dr. Bill Woodson is the dean of outreach and chief diversity officer at New College. 

Photo courtesy New College of Florida



[SOON]  SEMINAR: Virtual: Manatee Chamber: Headliners: Does Your Workforce Know About 2-1-1? , June 9, 12pm-1pm

Join us for this FREE Headliners event on Wednesday, June 9 from 12pm to 1pm via Zoom. Presented by Christina Russi, Community Fiscal Agent and Liaison at The Glasser/Schoenbaum Human Services Center, you’ll learn how to make helpful connections for your organization’s employees, your neighbors, and yourself through 2-1-1. 2-1-1 provides real time, confidential assistance to hundreds of people across Manatee, Sarasota, and DeSoto Counties every day. These individuals find help for financial assistance, health programs, crisis support, and more. This free service is available by phone, email, chat or text. Reaching out will get you or your employees connected to a multilingual specialist in our area who can put you in touch with local organizations providing critical services to improve and save lives.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Manatee Performing Arts Center: Disney's 101 Dalmatians Kids , June 11 – June 12, 7pm

Based on the classic animated film, Disney’s 101 Dalmatians KIDS is a fur-raising adventure featuring Cruella De Vil, Disney’s most outrageous villain, and 101 of the most adorable heroes to set their paws onstage and will be showing on June 11 and 12 at 7pm. With a high-spirited score and lovable characters, this stage adaptation is certain to charm and delight all audiences. Pet owners, Roger and Anita, live happily in London with their Dalmatians, Pongo and Perdita, stalwart dogs devoted to raising their puppies. Everything is quiet until Anita’s former classmate, the monstrous Cruella De Vil, plots to steal the puppies for her new fur coat. The Dalmatians rally all the dogs of London for a daring rescue of the puppies from Cruella and her bumbling henchmen.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Manatee Performing Arts Center: Disney's Moana Jr. , June 25 – June 26, 7pm and 11am

Disney’s Moana Jr. is a musical adaptation of the 2016 Disney animated film, bringing the adventures of Moana and her village of Motunui to life onstage and will be showing on June 25 at 7pm and 26 at 11am. Moana Jr. features all the beloved songs from the film, written by Tony®, Grammy, Emmy, and Pulitzer Prize-winning composer Lin-Manuel Miranda, Opetaia Foa’i, and Mark Mancina, including “How Far I’ll Go,” “Shiny,” and “You’re Welcome.” This thrilling and heartwarming coming-of-age story follows the strong-willed Moana as she sets sail across the Pacific to save her village and discover the truth about her heritage. Moana and the legendary demigod Maui embark on an epic journey of self-discovery and camaraderie as both learn to harness the power that lies within. With empowering messages of bravery and selflessness, Disney’s Moana Jr. is sure to bring out the hero within each of us.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Manatee Performing Arts Center: Roald Dahl's Matilda Jr. the Musical , July 16 – July 17, 7pm and 11am

Rebellion is nigh in Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical Jr., a gleefully witty ode to the anarchy of childhood and the power of imagination that will be showing on July 16 at 7pm and 17 at 11am. This story of a girl who dreams of a better life and the children she inspires will have audiences rooting for the “revolting children” who are out to teach the grown-ups a lesson. Matilda has astonishing wit, intelligence… and special powers. She’s unloved by her cruel parents but impresses her schoolteacher, the highly loveable Miss Honey. Matilda’s school life isn’t completely smooth sailing, however – the school’s mean headmistress, Miss Trunchbull, hates children and just loves thinking up new punishments for those who don’t abide by her rules. But Matilda has courage and cleverness in equal amounts, and could be the school pupils’ saving grace. Packed with high-energy dance numbers and catchy songs, Matilda JR. is a joyous girl power romp. Children and adults alike will be thrilled and delighted by the story of the special little girl with an extraordinary imagination.

[SOON]  MUSIC: WSLR: HuDost , May 29, 8pm

HuDost will be performing on Saturday, May 29 at 8pm. Tickets are $15 for members and $20 for nonmembers. This is an outdoor concert. In the event of inclement weather the stage and most seats will be moved inside. The music of HuDost weaves a seamless tapestry of Folk, World, and Rock. As a duo their instrumentation includes vocals, harmonium (Indian Pump-Organ), NORD Keys, guitars, Dulcinet, percussion, and a slew of sonic ambient effects. Their music is a rich, eclectic blending of pop and rock with traditional Sufi music, Bulgarian, Croatian, Macedonian and Balkan folk music, Farsi, Turkish, Arabic, and folk. Their sound crosses all borders and barriers, taking the listener on a journey they will never forget. Their message comes from real experience, real emotion, and real concern for the world – from the birth of a child, to the healing of the body, to the healing of the planet, their words and music echo the human experience. HuDost’s most recent album, ‘of Water + Mercy’, received rave reviews and, as an independent release, reached #24 in the BILLBOARD SALES CHARTS for Folk/Americana. It just won The Independent Music Award for Social Action Song.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: The Ringling: Learn from a Grad: Carlee Sachs-Krook , May 29, 10:30am

You may attend this program in the Historic Asolo Theater or virtually via Zoom on May 29 at 10:30am. Seating will allow for social distancing. In the event of rising COVID cases or safety concerns this event is subject to be moved outdoors or cancelled. Ticket holders will be notified upon any changes made and refunded if the screening is canceled. Learn from a Grad is a Lecture Series at The Ringling featuring recent graduates from the FSU American Dance Studies program to speak at the Historic Asolo Theater. In this lecture, Carlee Sachs-Krook, an MA candidate in Florida State University’s American Dance Studies program, dives into the world of the USPSF’s Pole Classique competition to consider the race and class politics of women’s sexual self-display in the age of “raunch culture.” She strips away the judging criteria to expose the aesthetic hierarchies wrapped around this form of pole and considers the politics enacted by Classique competitors’ performances as they propose what is classic and classy about pole as they flaunt and saunter. To do so, she shares videos and engages in movement analysis of select Classique routines by Ray Ray Wang, Anna Nikki Repko, and S.T. Shimi, which slide between sticking to and confounding the logic governing the judging criteria. Her exploration of this subculture brings together theories related to post-feminism, “raunch culture,” and solo performances of fun, sexy, self-display most identified with neo-burlesque. In doing so, she invites the audience to reflect on the stakes of standardizing and hierarchizing performances of sexual self-display and the potential of flexible bodies to contort around and within seemingly rigid power structures to turn them on their head.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Reggae Block Party , May 30, 2pm-10pm

Join us Memorial Weekend, Sunday, May 30 from 2pm to 10pm at 1490 Main Street, Sarasota for our 5th annual Reggae Music Block Party to honor the late great musician Oswald Caines of Democracy Reggae Band. This event will be held downtown Sarasota at Lemon Ave and Main Street right in front of the Gator Club. There will be plenty of food, drinks, more live bands, and DJs, Kid activities, raffles, and much more. You can also listen to a live Band and DJs on the inside of The Gator Club. This is a Reggae Music Takeover. (Entertainment will be announced soon). In the past few years, we have had over 5000 attendees throughout the day. It's a great time for the entire family. Tickets are only $10 for ages 12 and up. Visit www.jahmovement.com to purchase. The drink of the night is Jamaican Rum Punch made with Jamaica's number 1 Rum, Wray and Nephew. A portion of the proceeds will benefit Queens of Domestic Violence Awareness. Thank you to our current sponsor by The Gator Club. Always remember to social distant.

[SOON]  MUSIC: 9th Annual Myakka River Blues Festival , May 31, 11am-6pm

Don’t miss the 9th Annual Myakka River Blues Festival at Snook Haven, located at 5000 East Venice Avenue in Venice, Florida, on Memorial Day - Monday, May 31. Rain or shine, the festival will be rockin' along the River from 11am to 6pm. Snook Haven, sitting smack dab on the Myakka River in a beautifully quaint Old Florida setting, is a perfect venue for this annual festival. Proceeds from the event will benefit Venice Challenger Baseball, a non-profit adaptive baseball league designed for children and adults with special needs. Admission is $10. Ticket sales will be limited to a maximum of 600 to keep audience size minimal and allow adequate spacing for social distancing. If tickets are still available the day of the event, they can be purchased at the door for $20. The lineup for this year’s festival will appeal to all audiences, with styles from Western New York, Americana and crossover blues to everything in between: 11:30pm – 12:30pm Steve Arvey, Rooster & Broccoli, 1pm – 2:30pm Tommy Z, 3pm – 4:30pm Dottie Kelly, and 4:45pm – 5:30pm Finale Jam Session, Featuring All Musicians.

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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