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SRQ DAILY Dec 25, 2021

Saturday Perspectives Edition

Saturday Perspectives Edition

"The fine arts encourage this next generation of artists to cherish intuition, uncertainty, and creativity and to constantly search for new ideas and ways to express those ideas in our ever-changing world. "

- Dr. Larry Thompson, Ringling College of Art & Design
 

[Under The Hood]  Ziegler Impacted National Education Dialogue in 2021
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

Families today gather for the nation’s biggest holiday at a still turbulent time. As 2022 wraps, many surely will ask whether families have enough input on their students’ education. It’s hard to think of anyone who has delivered quite the impact on that conversation, whether you welcome it or not, as Sarasota County School Board member Bridget Ziegler.

As the state and country debated the place of critical race theory in public education, Ziegler often served as the face of the issue in national media and made the case for the topic’s exclusion from the curriculum. One of the founders of Moms For Liberty, she appeared regularly on Fox News to deride the academic philosophy, which studies the role of institutional racism in history. For those appearances, she earned a shout-out from the stage by Gov. Ron DeSantis at the Statesman of the Year dinner in Sarasota this fall.

But she said while that particular fight earned attention in 2021, she has fought a “undertone of progressive political agendas” pushed in schools for years, and plans to continue this battle. “I genuinely believe it has resonated and really taken off because of such an authentic concern from parents who have seen what is transpiring in public education,” she said.

Her activity on the issue has earned scorn as well. Media Matters criticized how Ziegler has often been presented in right-wing media as a concerned mother when she’s been active in Republican politics for years. Her husband is Christian Ziegler, a Sarasota County Commissioner and vice chair or the Republican Party of Florida. He’s worked with federal campaigns and political action committees, a level of savvy that surely helped in creating a federal PAC for Moms For Liberty as the movement serves as one of the most prominent motivators of conservative voters nationwide in recent months.

Christian Ziegler makes no bones he sees the energy around parental involvement in school as a matter that will energize GOP voters next year. 

“COVID has impacted children the most, even though the impacts on them have been discussed by the media the least. With that said, parents have had their focus on their kids throughout, causing them to be more informed about their school districts and frustrated with their school board members who haven’t acted in the best interest of their children,” he said. “This has expedited parents in their 20s, 30s and 40s’ engagement in politics and the August 2022 election will be their first opportunity to respond to School Board Members forcing mask mandates, shutting down schools and pushing leftist indoctrination.”

But what of when COVID fades from the headlines? Or when the topic of critical race theory runs its course? Education advocates have pushed back — rightly in my humble opinion — at the revisionism of prohibiting discussion of racism in schools, while also stressing use of critical race theory as an analytical lens doesn’t take place until college-level study.

For her part, Bridget Ziegler maintains the effort to impact curriculum isn’t about whitewashing the sins committed in American history, just a rejection at the idea progress wasn’t made and that racism remains so baked into the American story children should hate aspects of the country.

“It’s an important distinction this is not an indictment of teachers,” Ziegler said, stressing parents also feel more aware than ever the challenges of the classroom after many had to oversee their own children’s education at home.

She’s already turned her focus on a larger picture, liberal messaging in schools and textbooks. Support materials inject subjects beyond the control of teachers who often have no role selecting those tools.

“COVID lifted the veil and illustrated decades-long worth of policies that have gone away from the core functions of what many of us believe is the purpose of public education: reading, writing, arithmetic and critical thinking,” she said.

It will be interesting to see what that means in 2022. Ziegler won won re-election in an August primary four years ago by under 1,100 votes out of more than 92,000 cast. But 2022 seems to be shaping up to be a year where conservatives have the energy behind their message. Expect the outcome of this year’s School Board race to have repercussions beyond the county line.

Jacob Ogles is contributing senior editor of SRQ MEDIA. 

[Higher Education]  Turning Your Passion into Your Profession
Dr. Larry Thompson, lthompso@ringling.edu

When Ringling School of Art officially opened in 1931 (first as The School of Fine and Applied Art of the John and Mable Ringling Art Museum until 1933), there was no major in Game Art, no Computer Animation, no majors in Film, Photography or Entertainment Design. There were, however, a total of 50 courses offered in the category of “Art.”

Fast forward 90 years, the foundational art skills taught back then are still at the heart of the curricula at Ringling College of Art and Design. While we now offer 13 majors encompassing the ever-evolving world of art, design and technology, the fine arts continue to be at the core of what we do and how we teach.

From the earliest cave drawings to the magnificent art of the Renaissance, Impressionism, Surrealism, Abstract Expressionism and other forms of contemporary art, the fine arts have served to challenge us, help us grow and inspire us along the way.

The Ringling College of Art and Design Fine Arts BFA program gives students an opportunity to learn the rigors of critical thinking along with the techniques of painting, drawing, sculpture and printmaking, all while using the latest technology in enviable facilities. Ringling College’s outstanding program prepares students for success in the $67-billion international art industry. Students master both technical and conceptual skills, explore innovative modes of expression and develop an awareness of the historical and contemporary context of their work.

A number of spaces on campus support the Fine Arts program including Crossley Gallery. This is a beautiful, state-of-the-art gallery space exclusively administered by Fine Arts faculty in collaboration with students, allowing them an opportunity to develop gallery programming, curate professional exhibitions and participate as exhibiting artists.

A magnificent new opportunity to engage and inspire our student artists is the new Sarasota Art Museum (the adaptive reuse of the Historic Sarasota High School), home to thought-provoking exhibitions highlighting the ‘art of our time,’ along with educational programs. Studios North, a creative hub exclusive to the Fine Arts program, is housed in a 10,000-square-foot facility. Here, students have access to their own studio and project spaces allowing them room to experiment and create while having the support of an artistic, communal environment.

Reflecting the needs of those artists who are inspired by multiple mediums, a BA degree in Visual Studies at Ringling College is a relatively new major personally tailored to offer students maximum flexibility, allowing them to pick and choose a variety of courses alongside a rigorous liberal arts curriculum. Visual Studies students develop nimble thinking skills, while learning to communicate their ideas clearly and persuasively. Graduates go on to use their unique mix of media literacy and creative thinking to change how we see the world via multiple mediums, including drawing and painting, photography and film, stop motion, graphics and even immersive and interactive experiences.

At Ringling College, the trope of the “starving artist” has been replaced by scores of graduates who have gone on to work as critically acclaimed independent artists, industry executives, business owners and entrepreneurs while also serving as catalysts for cultural change in their communities and the world. These students’ passions are not limited to the canvases and sculptures they create. Their passions unleash the boundless creativity that leads to their work being displayed in museums, in commercial or nonprofit art galleries, international art fairs, in corporate and private collections, and even for TV, film and advertising. As these students leave Ringling College to begin their careers, they are equipped not only to be superlative artists, but with the entrepreneurial skills that will help them succeed in the professional world.

The fine arts encourage this next generation of artists to cherish intuition, uncertainty, and creativity and to constantly search for new ideas and ways to express those ideas in our ever-changing world. Or, as President John F. Kennedy said, “If art is to nourish the roots of our culture, society must set the artist free to follow their vision - wherever it takes them.”

Dr. Larry Thompson is president of Ringling College of Art & Design. 

Photo courtesy Ringling College. Crossley Gallery.

[On Incorporation]  All Cities Have Taxes
Capers Jones

At the Town Hall (on Siesta Key), one of the legislators said he was opposed to incorporation of Siesta Key because taxes would go up.  

After the meeting I told him that if he was concerned about taxes going up from incorporation why not disincorporate all 500 Florida cities and lower taxes for all cities in the state?  

He did not like the argument but it is obvious that his point about Siesta Key taxes going up after incorporation applies to every city in Florida. It seems obvious to me that the benefits from having control over zoning and other urban matters outweighs the small tax increases due to incorporation.

Capers Jones, vice president and chief technology officer of Namcook Analytics, is a resident of Siesta Key. 



[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Florida Studio Theatre Improv: Triple Play , March 20 – December 25, 8:30pm

Florida Studio Theatre’s resident improv troupe, FST Improv, will return to a weekly live performance schedule with Triple Play, a full-length show created specifically to entertain from a distance. Drawing inspiration from audience suggestions, a rotating cast of three improvisers will perform games, scenes, and songs—all made up on the spot. Starting Saturday, March 20, Triple Play will take place Saturday evenings at 8:30pm for socially-distanced audiences in FST’s Keating Theatre. Tickets are $15 per person and are now on sale. To purchase tickets, call FST’s Box Office at 941.366.9000 or visit FloridaStudioTheatre.org. FST's musical improvisers, Jim Prosser and Helena Rankin, will provide comical accompaniment as performers play some of Sarasota's favorite improv games - all while maintaining social distancing. In addition to live audiences, the cast of Triple Play will draw inspiration from prompts submitted virtually through text or via Twitter. With this added virtual element, FST Improv will engage with audiences in Sarasota and beyond. Triple Play performances will be socially-distanced and in compliance of all CDC guidelines, including socially-distanced seating, paperless ticketing, and limited theatre capacities. Facial coverings must be worn at all times - including throughout performances - when on campus at FST, aside from dining in FST's Green Room Cafe & Bar. Socially-distanced pre-show dining is available indoors and outdoors in FST's Green Room Cafe & Bar one hour before each Triple Play performance.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee County: 67th Annual Christmas Tree Lot , November 26 – December 25, Varies.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Manatee County will be hosting their 67th Annual Christmas Tree Lot at the Westgate Shopping Center (Publix), 3913 Manattee Ave. W. Bradenton beginning on Friday, November 26 from 9am to 7pm and will be open Saturday, November 27 from 9am to 7pm. It will be closed Mondays - Wednesdays, open Thursdays and Fridays from 5pm to 9pm, Saturdays from 9am to 6pm and Sundays from 12pm to 7pm.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Farmers' Market at Lakewood Ranch , January 2 – December 25, 10am-2pm

The Farmers’ Market at Lakewood Ranch is home to more than 90 curated vendors of the region’s best food and flavors, located at Waterside Place in Lakewood Ranch. It takes place every Sunday from 10am to 2pm at Waterside Place. It’s your weekend destination for organic produce, meat, poultry, seafood, bread, pasta, juices and prepared foods. Stay up to date on vendors and events by visiting TheMarketLWR.com.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Sailor Circus: Let It Snow , December 26 – December 30, 1pm, 6pm, and 7pm

Sailor Circus presents Let It Snow from Sunday, December 26 to Thursday, December 30, 2021 at Sailor Circus Arena, 2075 Bahia Vista St. Sunday at 1pm and 6pm and Monday through Thursday at 7pm. America’s longest running youth circus presents amazingly talented student performers in this highly anticipated annual holiday show. Thank you to our Presenting Sponsors: Shari and Stephen Ashman and Phyllis Siskel and Sweet Sparkman Architecture and Interiors.

[SOON]  GALLERY: Sarasota Art Museum: Hands-on for the Holidays , December 26 – December 31, 1pm-3pm

Hands-on for the Holidays will take place the Week of December 26 – December 31 at Sarasota Art Museum from 1pm to 3pm. It is FREE for Members and Included with Museum Admission. This year, the Museum is introducing a new lineup of art-making activities for all ages. Whatever your holiday traditions, Sarasota Art Museum is here to help you make new memories and revisit cherished ones. Visit our studios and enjoy drop in hands on art-making activities with a professional artist-educator. From snow globes to imaginary animal portraits, you’re sure to find activities to spark creativity and fun. Sunday, Dec. 26 – Create your own Winter Scene Snow Globes. We’ll play in the studio with oil pastels, watercolors, and fine lines. Monday, Dec. 27 – Inspired by the beauty of birch and aspen trees, we’ll paint together in our Into The Woods workshop. Tuesday, Dec. 28 – Lions, and tigers, and bears, oh my. Drop into our studio and make your own glittering Imaginary Animals. Wednesday, Dec. 29 – Celebrate one of our favorite spirit animals in the Turtles and Tides workshop. We’ll explore these magical creatures and the patterns and textures that define them. Thursday, Dec. 30 – Capture the essence of this adorable primate in our Lemur Portraits studio. Friday, Dec. 31 – Boom, crack, pop! It’s time to ring in the new year. Let’s create a sky full of light and color in our Cityscape Fireworks workshop.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Venice Theatre: Rocket Man , December 29 – December 31, Varies.

Rus Anderson has spent years perfecting the piano playing, vocals, and mannerisms of Elton John and has traveled the world over with thousands of performances to his credit. This insanely energetic performer is endorsed by the official Elton John Fan Club. Rocket Man will show from December 29 to 31 at the Venice Theatre.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe: Joyful! Joyful! , December 1 – December 30

During the holiday season, WBTT presents its Christmas card to the community, the world-premiere musical revue “Joyful! Joyful!” Enjoy high-spirited, uplifting songs of the season as only WBTT’s singers, dancers and musicians can perform them. A blend of new takes on traditional holiday tunes, gospel-infused classics and pop songs, the concert will include a twist on the carol “Joy to the World,” a version of “Carol of the Bells” that’s an homage to the O’Jays, and a lively gospel rendition of Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus,” to name a few. Some talented Stage of Discovery students will be featured; Jacobs will direct. Show runs from December 1 to 30, 2021. Ticket sales are scheduled to begin in the late summer. Call the Box Office at 941-366-1505 or visit westcoastblacktheatre.org.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: FST Improv: Resolution Rewind , December 30 – December 31

FST Improv celebrates the year’s end on December 30 and 31 in FST’s Bowne’s Lab with Resolution Rewind, two special New Year’s Eve performances providing a humorous look back at 2021. Audience members shape the show by voting for their favorite improv games from the past year online, determining which twelve will make the lineup for Resolution Rewind.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: McCurdy's Comedy Theatre: Bermuda Mavericks , December 30, 7pm

Les McCurdy and Ken Sons are.... The Bermuda Mavericks. With the perfect combination of stand up comedy and improvisation, they are a favorite of audiences all over the country. The Bermuda Mavericks will perform on December 30 at 7pm in The Green Room.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Selby Gardens: New Year's Eve at Selby Gardens , December 31 – January 1, 7pm-1am

Sarasota’s most sophisticated black tie New Year’s Eve experience includes private access to Lights in Bloom®: An Open-Air Holiday Light Show, an exquisite four-course dinner, view of the fireworks over the Bay, and entertainment by the Sarasota Ballet. New Year’s Eve at Selby Gardens will take place on December 31 2021 from 7pm to 1am at the Downtown Sarasota Campus. 

[SOON]  FOOD: New Year's Eve at Mattison's , December 31, Restaurant hours.

All three Mattison’s Restaurants will be open on New Year’s Eve featuring special holiday menus, festive drinks, live music, and fun for everyone to welcome the New Year. The newly renovated Mattison’s Forty-One offers a casual, elegant atmosphere with both inside and al fresco terrace seating. Live entertainment at Forty-One will feature The Randy Stephens Experience with room for dancing. Chef Paul Mattison has created a special a’ la carte holiday menu of delectable starters, entrees, salads, and desserts along with an extensive wine list and festive cocktails that will make your New Year’s Eve extraordinary. A pre-fix menu perfect for two is available featuring hand-carved Chateaubriand. If Bradenton is where you will be celebrating, reserve a spot at Mattison’s Riverwalk Grille. With plenty of parking and seating on the covered, outdoor patio, Riverwalk Grille is the perfect New Year’s Eve spot in Bradenton. Tropix, a 5-piece ensemble featuring Lisa Egan, will get you on the dance floor with their wide variety of genres from pop, classics, Latin, Motown, and dance tunes. Three reserved seating times are available at Mattison’s Riverwalk Grille. The menu will be sure to delight with many of Mattison’s Signature dishes as well as some holiday specials like the Surf and Turf, Truffle Sacchetti Pasta and New Zealand Rack of Lamb. It’s going to be Party Central at Mattison’s City Grille, in the heart of Downtown Sarasota. A Street Party featuring the high energy band, Big Night Out will get the night rocking. There will be dancing and a delicious holiday menu along with festive drinks to enjoy the evening. It is the perfect spot to watch the Pineapple Drop. 

[SOON]  FESTIVAL: Downtown Sarasota Block Party and Pineapple Drop Celebration , December 31 – January 1, 1pm-1:30am

Ring in 2022 at the Downtown Sarasota Block Party and Pineapple Drop at Five Points Park, 100 Central Avenue, starting at 1pm on Friday, December 31, through 1:30am on Saturday, January 1. Admission to this family-friendly event is FREE. The festivities will include amusement rides and games; live music; food, drinks and full bar concessions; and a Pineapple Drop at midnight followed by a fantastic fireworks display on Sarasota Bay. Enjoy a great view…without leaving the party. Enjoy performances by Kettle of Fish, the Dr. Dave Band and Twinkle. 

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: McCurdy's Comedy Theatre: New Year's Eve Al Romas , December 31, 9pm

Join us to toast in the New Year at McCurdy’s. Les McCurdy will be Hosting and the Headliner is Al Romas. Al's TV credits include "Standup Spotlight, "Evening at the Improv" + Comedy Central. There will also be a few guest performers. Al Romas will perform on New Years Eve, December 31, at 9pm in The Green Room.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Pier 22 New Year Celebration , December 31, 7pm-10pm

Ring in the New Year at PIER 22. Join PIER 22 in the ballroom for an elegant VIP dinner, drinks, friends, and fun as we say goodbye to 2021 and hello to 2022 on December 31, 2021 from 7pm to 10pm. This unforgettable night will feature an all-you-can-eat buffet, open bar, and the refined Gypsy Jazz tunes from Hot Club SRQ. After dinner, head to the terrace for a midnight toast overlooking the Manatee River. Buffet menu selections include a raw oyster bar, peel & eat shrimp, sushi, grouper cakes, filet with demi glaze and fried shallots, crab stuffed salmon, roasted sliced duck with cranberry sauce and crab & artichoke pesto pasta and more! Tickets are priced at $150 per person plus tax and gratuity. 

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Van Wezel: Jefferson Starship - Mother of the Sun Tour , December 31, 8pm

JEFFERSON STARSHIP has toured all 50 U.S. states, five continents and countless countries around the world, drawing from a massive setlist of hit after hit! In addition to original member David Freiberg, the band includes drummer Donny Baldwin (whose Jefferson Starship roots go back to 1982), keyboardist Chris Smith (who joined in 1998), guitarist Jude Gold (who joined in 2012), and singer and guitarist Cathy Richardson (who joined in 2008), after founding member Paul Kantner saw her tour with Big Brother and the Holding Company. This show will take place on Friday, December 31 at 8pm.

[SOON]  FOOD: Grove New Year Celebration , December 31, 9pm-1am

Ring in the New Year at GROVE. Join us in the Ballroom for food, drinks, friends, and fun as we say goodbye to 2021 and hello to 2022 on December 31, 2021 from 9pm to 1am, check in from 8:30pm to 9pm. This unforgettable night will feature an all-you-can-eat hors d'oeuvres buffet, premium open bar, a spectacular light show, lively DJ entertainment and dance floor, plus a midnight champagne toast and live ball drop. 

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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