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SRQ DAILY Dec 10, 2021

Friday Weekend Edition

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Friday Weekend Edition

"You don't walk on the mountains, you walk into the mountains."

- James Griffin, artist

[New Exhibition]  Journeys on Canvas at ArtCenter Manatee
Philip Lederer, Phil.Lederer@srqme.com

Walking James Griffin’s latest exhibition at ArtCenter Manatee, The Road to Home, audiences may indeed feel as though they’ve been on the road themselves, exploring exotic and dramatic locales on an adventure the likes of which the pandemic has forestalled for most. Comprising a whopping 65 paintings, all made during the pandemic and all sporting Griffin’s characteristic bold color palette, the subject matter hops from Florida to Tennessee to Maine and back again, juxtaposing Sarasota scenes with dramatic looming mountains and historic river rapids. But under all that geography, The Road to Home is revealed to be something much more personal.

When the pandemic began, Griffin rarely left his neighborhood. But he didn’t need to. With a painting studio at home and inspiration right outside his window (“I just have to look out at my garden and it’s like a tropical jungle.”), the artist found solace “in a strange, peculiar way” by embracing the artist-as-recluse and focusing on working every day in this quieter world. And these soaring palms and glowing orange sunbeams find their place on the walls of Griffin’s exhibition at ArtCenter Manatee, but a neighborhood stroll taken twice daily still hardly amounts to a “road to home.”

Enter grandchildren, a road trip and a house in the mountains of Tennessee.

“You don’t walk on the mountains,” Griffin says today. “You walk into the mountains.” And into another world, quiet and secret, sacred under the canopy where the air is still and everything smells a little different. Thus a quick trip to Tennessee to visit the grandchildren turned into the spontaneous purchase of a new house and the beginning of a longer journey. “It was almost a spiritual change in me,” the artist says, and the impact is reflected on many of the canvases hanging in ArtCenter Manatee, where tropical foliage gives way to portraits of those great forested peaks that loom and beckon like mysteries.

One of the largest paintings, Magic Mountain, was a long road on its own, taking nearly six months to complete. It began as something Odyssey-inspired, an experiment in storytelling that took a turn for the illustrative—at which point Griffin hit the brakes. “I’ve done enough illustration,” he says. “So I attacked it with more paint.” Half a year later, working in fits and starts, the magic mountain began to take shape, thrust to the foreground by the tectonic workings of the artist’s creation. There is no real magic mountain, Griffin says, except on the canvas. “The culmination of all those mountains in my subconscious,” he says.

Of all the works on display in The Road to Home, only one is not for sale. There is no price to match what this painting means to Griffin. Entitled Sycamore Shoals, it’s a water scene, a wide capture of the rocky rapids where, centuries ago, native peoples would cross the river. And it was painted entirely with one eye.

By the time Griffin reached Tennessee, a growing trouble with his right eye had progressed to the point that he could no longer see out of it at all. Worried but not willing to quit, Griffin took his paints and went to the shoals to see if he could capture the feeling of the water, the emotion of the scene, if not the exact details of every drop. “I found I could still do it,” he says. “I became the water.” And Sycamore Shoals became more than just another painting. 

“It symbolizes that moment when I was painting from my heart,” Griffin says.

Currently on display at ArtCenter Manatee, The Road to Home runs through December 28.

Note: The artist has since recovered vision in his eye. 

Pictured: James Griffin's "Magic Mountain"

To learn more, visit

[Musical Performance]  FST Extends Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story

Due to audience demand, Florida Studio Theatre (FST) announces the extension of its opening Winter Mainstage production, Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story by Alan JanesOne of the most popular Rock & Roll musicals of all time, Buddy tells the inspiring story of the artist’s remarkable journey to stardom and his lasting impact on popular music. Featuring over a dozen of Holly’s greatest hits, such as “Peggy Sue” and “Oh Boy,” brought to life by a cast of ten actor-musicians, Buddy is a high-energy celebration of a bespectacled kid from Texas who changed the face of Rock & Roll forever. Buddy­: The Buddy Holly Story is now held over through January 8 in FST’s Gompertz Theatre. Called “Explosive” by the Sarasota Herald-Tribune and “Vastly entertaining” by The Observer, Buddy is an inspiring musical that taps into Holly’s determination and courage. At the start of his career, Buddy rejected expectations that he would become a country star and instead stayed committed to creating the music he loved: Rock & Roll. He also broke barriers when he was the first white act to play the Apollo Theatre, and when he married Maria Elena Santiago, a Puerto Rican-born woman he met at the New York offices of Peer-Southern music publishing company. 

Pictured Left to Right - Armando Gutierrez, Michael Perrie Jr, and Spiff Weigand. Photo by John Jones

For tickets or for more information click here

[Bank Opening]  First Home Bank Breaks Ground on Second Sarasota Banking Center

St. Petersburg-based community bank First Home Bank has officially broken ground on its eighth banking center in the Tampa Bay area and second in Sarasota – located at 2075 S. Tamiami Trail. The announcement was celebrated at a December 8 reception attended by City of Sarasota Mayor Erik Arroyo and Vice Mayor Kyle Battie. The 6,000-square-foot building will feature two drive-up banking lanes, an ATM, and an electric vehicle charging station, free to the public. Construction is slated to begin in January 2022, with an anticipated opening in late 2022 or early 2023. It will serve as First Home Bank’s eighth full-service banking center offering commercial, residential and consumer lending, as well as investment services and personal banking options. It will employ 10-15. Renderings and images from a ceremonial groundbreaking are available here.

“Expanding First Home’s presence in the Sarasota area has been a long-term goal for some time now,” said Tom Quale, First Home Bank’s Sarasota Market President. “We look forward to providing more area residents with the personalized service and high-quality products our customers expect and proving our on-going commitment to the Sarasota community as a whole.” 

The bank also recently announced it will open a loan production office (LPO) and Financial Resource Center in the Newtown community which will provide personal and commercial loans as well as financial education, programs and additional resources to community members and business owners. It also currently operates a banking center in Sarasota, located at 2033 Main Street, Suite 101. 

Rendering courtesy of First Home Bank

[Asian Studies]  The Elling Eide Center Welcomes New Director of Research

The Elling Eide Center, a private research library and nature preserve that is dedicated to the study of classical Asian literature and art, recently welcomed Dr. Matthew Wells as its new director of research. Dr. Wells brings over 20 years of experience in Asian studies to The Elling Eide Center. In his new role as director of research, Dr. Wells is tasked with managing the center’s programming, organizing professional meetings, preparing for conferences and organizing speaker series to bring in relevant scholars to the center, among other duties. The Elling Eide Center is a private research library and nature preserve overlooking Little Sarasota Bay. Dedicated to the study of classical Asian literature and art, the Center fills a unique role in the cultural and scholarly landscape of its Florida coastal location. Bequeathed by Sarasota resident Elling O. Eide, this 72-acre waterfront preserve brings together Old Florida and new architecture. Sarasota architect Guy Peterson, FAIA, designed the Center’s research library that shares the landscape with a rich assortment of native and exotic plants.  

To learn more, visit

[Fundraising]  Flanzer Trust Announces $100,000 Match For Forty Carrots Family Center

Flanzer Philanthropic Trust has generously raised their matching limit to $1,000 to encourage donors to invest in children, our community’s greatest asset. Beginning November 18- January 1, 2022, Flanzer will double every donation designated to Forty Carrots Family Center. Recently, a coalition of the nation’s leading experts in pediatric health, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, issued an urgent warning declaring the mental health crisis among children has become a national emergency.  Forty Carrots is grateful to Flanzer Philanthropic Trust for their commitment to the impact of Forty Carrots’ mental health services, early childhood, and parenting education for Sarasota and Manatee County’s most vulnerable families. 

Pictured: Forty Carrots Family Center Therapy Building Waiting Room

To learn more, visit

[Grants Awarded]  Sarasota Chamber’s Opportunities For All Program

The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce’s Opportunities For All (OFA) initiative is proud to announce the awardees for the Business Assistance Funds Program. This program was designed to assist minority, small business owners and non-profit organizations with resources that will help our local businesses grow and thrive.  Of the 150 applications submitted, 38 local businesses were chosen. The awardees were chosen by a selection committee made up of local business owners and leaders in our community.  Congratulations to all the grant recipients of the Business Assistance Funds Program. The Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce funded this experience through the Opportunities. For more information or to learn more about the Opportunities For All initiative, please reach out to Kaveecia Moore, Opportunities For All Manager, at KMoore@sarasotachamber.com.

[County Taxes]  Common Cents for Sarasota County Announces Campaign Committee, Website

Common Cents for Sarasota County today announced the formation of its political committee to encourage the continuation of Sarasota County’s penny tax to provide funding for public safety, water quality and the environment, and other community needs. The citizens of Sarasota County will be asked to continue the penny tax on the 2022 Nov. ballot.  The referendum passed with more than 66 percent of the vote the last time it was up for renewal with the Sarasota Herald-Tribune calling it a “solid-gold performer.”

 The committee is co-chaired by a bipartisan group of community leaders representing all regions of Sarasota County including past and present elected officials. The honorary co-chairs include:  Citizen Tax Oversight Committee Chairman Justin Taylor; former City of Sarasota Mayor Suzanne Atwell; Sarasota County Sheriff Kurt Hoffman; Education Foundation President & CEO Jennifer Vigne; former City of Sarasota Mayor and Sarasota County Commissioner Carolyn Mason; and former Sarasota County School Board member and Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Suncoast VP of Communications Gina Taylor. Benefitting the county since 1989, the penny tax adds one cent to each dollar spent on purchases of up to $5,000. An independent study conducted in August found that over 20 percent of the funds generated from the penny tax are paid by visitors. Proceeds from the penny tax can ONLY be used for major capital projects and infrastructure improvements. It has paid for numerous projects throughout the county and in every one of its cities, ranging from equipment and facilities for police and fire agencies to water quality improvements to beach renourishments to road repairs.   

For more information click here

[SOON]  SEMINAR: The Ringling: Literati Book Club December , December 10, 10:30am

Join The Ringling Art Library for Literati, a book group that discusses books about art and subjects reflecting the Ringling collections. The December 10 Book Club will take place at 10:30am: The Lost Painting: The Quest for a Caravaggio Masterpiece by Jonathan Harr. This program will be virtual via zoom until further notice. This program is free. For further information, contact the Art Library at 359-5700, ex. 2701 or elisa.hansen@ringling.org.

[SOON]  FESTIVAL: The Green Baker: Holidaze Winter Wonderland , December 11, 4pm-7:3ppm

Come out a celebrate the Holidaze season with The Green Baker and her misfits, TKSweets on Saturday, December 11, 2021 from 4pm to 7:30pm at Oasis Restaurant & Bar, 1525 4th Street. This event is a family-friendly Toy Drive event to give back to the local kids in the Sarasota/Bradenton and surrounding areas. They are taking unwrapped donated toys to Blaze of Hope Charity. BLAZE of HOPE is a non-profit organization that provides financial assistance to families of children with life-threatening medical conditions. They will be having the following: Infused Hot Chocolate, Cotton Candy, Marshmallows Churros, and more. This event will also feature a Winter Wonderland Photo Booth, Local vendors will be available for your Holidaze gift shopping, and a medication lounge. Tickets are $20 per person at the door. Bring Unwrapped toys at the door to get $5 off.  

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: WSLR + Fogartyville: Passerine , December 11, 8pm

Passerine’s distinctive sound combines vocal harmonies, the crisp rhythms of an acoustic guitar, the haunting voices of the fiddle and dobro (resonator slide guitar), the resonant lows of an acoustic bass. With inventive vocal harmonies and song-writing, supported by the sounds of acoustic strings, Passerine offers a fresh take on traditional folk and bluegrass music as well as a repertoire of original songs that range from sweet ballads to the edgier side of contemporary Americana. This performance will take place on Saturday, December 11 at 8pm.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Van Wezel: Sarah Brightman: A Christmas Symphony , December 14, 8pm

Accompanied by orchestra and a choir, SARAH BRIGHTMAN decks the halls with show-stopping renditions of classics from the Christmas canon, along with personal holiday favorites and her greatest hits. A Christmas Symphony is sure to be an unforgettable Christmas spectacle during the most wonderful time of the year. Previously announced as a HYMN In Concert tour, all tickets and VIP packages remain valid for the A Christmas Symphony performance. This show will take place on Tuesday, December 14 at 8pm.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: McCurdy's Comedy Theatre: Jim Breuer , December 14 – December 15, 7pm

The well-known cast member from "Saturday Night Live" + star of the cult stoner comedy "Half Baked”, Jim Breuer remains one of today’s top entertainers. He will perform on December 14 and 15 at 7pm in The Green Room. 

[SOON]  GALLERY: Adult & Community Enrichment at Suncoast Technical College: ACE Annual Art Sale , December 15

ACE is known in the community for Adult & Community Enrichment classes, but did you know that 40% of those classes are in the Arts? The ACE Art Program is so vibrant that we devote a day to celebrate the accomplishments of our talented teachers, students and staff, right before the holidays, with an art sale. Join us at our main location on the campus of the Suncoast Technical College, 4748 Beneva Road in Sarasota, in the Conference Center on December 15. With over 4,000 art students at ACE, we promise there will be a marvelous selection of handmade, original, reasonably priced artwork for that unique holiday gift. Come and enjoy the beautiful ceramics, paintings, fiber art, photography, baskets, jewelry and so much more.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Selby Gardens: The Art of Butterflies: Special Seasonal Workshop , December 15, 10:30am-4pm

Explore Sarasota County’s only Butterfly House through an artistic lens on Wednesday, December 15 from 10:30am to 4pm (with a 30-minute lunch break). Students will receive a brief natural history lecture introducing Florida’s native butterflies: why they are unique, their role in the ecosystem, and conservation strategies. After, students will learn painting techniques to capture the beauty of butterflies, flowers, and nature. Open to all ages/experience levels. Class Fee: Members $85/Non-members $100. Class Size: 9 Students. Instructor: Norma Albertha Winter.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: DreamLarge: Purposeful Holiday Evening in Support of Mothers Helping Mothers , December 16

DreamLarge, the first registered benefit corporation on the Gulf Coast of Florida and the organization behind PINC and RADD, is excited to announce a purposeful evening in the Rosemary District to celebrate the holidays and support those in need through a toy drive for local nonprofit, Mothers Helping Mothers. On the evening of Thursday, December 16, all are encouraged to bring a new, unwrapped toy to 600 Central Avenue, the western end of the RADD Night Market. In celebration, multiple free events will take place in the Rosemary Art & Design District including a festive RADD Night Market, BLVD Bike Rides: Merry on Main, and a storefront holiday display hosted by the Rosemary District Alliance. Mothers Helping Mothers is a local 501c3 organization committed to supporting families in need by fostering resiliency, self-sufficiency and family stability in our community. The entire community of visitors, vendors and riders can support Mothers Helping Mothers by bringing new, unwrapped toys to the market and participate in the free evening festivities. 

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Key Chorale: A Holly Jolly Holiday , December 17 – December 18, 7:30pm and 3:30pm

Your holiday season won’t be complete without attending this time-honored tradition as Key Chorale joins Music Director Troy Quinn and The Venice Symphony for “A Holly Jolly Holiday.” Classic carols O Come All Ye Faithful and O Holy Night, beloved standards Sleigh Ride and White Christmas, and music from The Nutcracker are just a few of the highlights. Key Chorale will bring you to your feet on December 17 from 7:30pm-9:30pm and December 18 from 3:30pm to 5pm and 7:30pm to 9pm at Venice Performing Arts Center with Handel’s majestic Hallelujah Chorus from Messiah. A sing-a-long with surprises, Chanukah music and holiday film favorites round out this festive program.

[SOON]  DANCE: Sarasota Ballet: Program 3 - Giselle , December 17 – December 18, 7:30pm and 2pm

In celebration of the choreographer’s 95th birthday anniversary, Program 3 brings Sir Peter Wright’s potent and enrapturing production of the classic Giselle to the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, after the ballet’s sold-out 2019 performances. Performed across the globe by many of the great ballet companies. Wright’s production is considered by many to be one of the most faithful and artistically rich, perfectly bringing to life this tale of young love, unrequited romance, and loss. Giselle will take place on December 17 2021 at 7:30pm and December 18 2021 at 2pm and 7:30pm at Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 North Tamiami Trail.

[SOON]  FILM: Virtual: This Light Of Mine: The Making of the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe , December 17 – December 31

The dream of one man became a cultural tour de force for Sarasota’s performing arts community. In 1999, actor and playwright Nate Jacobs founded the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe, establishing a unique dramatic company to present and explore the Black experience. After twenty years of challenges and hard-won triumphs, the troupe experienced one of its toughest years yet in 2020. The killing of George Floyd ignited a national reckoning on race, and the COVID-19 pandemic made theatres go dark. Drawing on the resilient spirit that carried the troupe across previous hardships, WBTT has reimagined ways to stage its performances and fulfill its mission to promote inclusion and diversity in the arts. As a new generation of artists comes onboard, the troupe also finds successful approaches to address racism and lift others up through opportunity, mentorship and outreach. Produced by WEDU PBS in partnership with the Community Foundation of Sarasota County with generous funding from the George J. & Alice Pugh Donor Advised Fund. The film is available at https://www.wedu.org/shows/documentaries/this-light-of-mine/

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Discover Sarasota: Circus Secrets Of Sarasota , January 1 – December 31

Learn about the rich circus history of Sarasota on an unforgettable trolley or van tour. Pass by key city landmarks as our informative and passionate tour guide, Bob Collins, tells stories about the colorful cast of circus characters, showmen, and performers who called Sarasota home. Meander through historic neighborhoods such as the Rosemary District, known for its vibrant food and art scene. Learn about the rich history of the Ringling brothers, the five brothers who owned and operated the circus renowned as the “Greatest Show on Earth.” Pass by the 21-gallery museum John Ringling constructed to house his extensive artwork collection, which opened to the public in 1931. Explore several other locations intimately involved in Sarasota’s circus history, including Sarasota Jungle Gardens, Circus Arts Conservatory, and the Circus Ring of Fame on St. Armands Circle. This 90-minute trolley or van tour is perfect for all ages and shows you a whole new side of Sarasota. Get ready for a fun-filled circus adventure during this show on wheels. It’s an illuminating experience you don’t want to miss. Tours with fewer than 10 guests will travel in our comfortably air-conditioned high-top van. Tour tickets are $34.99 and include FREE Parking.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Discover Sarasota: Haunted Sarasota Tour , January 1 – December 31

Hop on board our haunted trolley tour for a spellbinding, interactive, narrated adventure! Hear stories about famous murders, visit spirited buildings, and explore unsolved crimes during this 90-minute, air-conditioned nighttime tour. Sit back and listen as our entertaining Ghost Hostess brings the rich history of Sarasota to life on this fun and spooky tour—be sure to keep an eye out for surprise guests along the way. Tour includes complimentary beer or wine at the Trolley Cottage Tiki Bar before boarding. Ages 12+; young people ages 12-20 may attend if accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. Tours with fewer than 10 guests will travel in our comfortably air-conditioned high-top van. Tour tickets are $39.99 and includes FREE Parking. This tour departs from 1826 4th Street and happens year-round.

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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