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SRQ DAILY Jan 2, 2023

Monday Business Edition

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Monday Business Edition

"Significantly, this new Center will be in lieu of the existing Van Wezel Hall, the future of which is to be decided separately by the City."

- Morgan Bentley, attorney

[City]  Van Wezel Heirs Protest Using Name to Promote SPAC
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

The future of the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall now has its namesake family doing legal battle with Sarasota city officials. Family for Eugenia and Lewis Van Wezel sent a cease-and-desist letter demanding the family name will no longer be used to promote a new performing arts hall.

Tony and Ketherine Stone, the grandchildren of the Van Wezels, sent a letter to attorneys representing the City of Sarasota and the Sarasota Performing Arts Center Foundation. The letter references plans for a state-of-the-art venue and fundraising efforts to build the new facility.

“Significantly, this new Center will be in lieu of the existing Van Wezel Hall, the future of which is to be decided separately by the City,” wrote attorney Morgan Bentley, the Stones’ attorney.

The Van Wezel originally finished construction in 1969, funded by a bond referendum for the city and by a donation from the Van Wezels, local philanthropists. Its future has been arguably the most controversial aspect of redevelopment of Sarasota’s cultural district on public land as part of The Bay plan. 

The redevelopment of the public space includes a replacement venue for the Van Wezel, and the future of the “Purple Cow,” long the choice venue for traveling Broadway shows and major performances, remains unclear.

The Van Wezel Foundation in 2019 formally changed its name to the Sarasota Performing Arts Center Foundation as it shifted focus to raising funds for the new venue. But Bentley’s letter says promotional material, including some raising money for the new venue, have continued to use the foundation’s old name.

While the name of the foundation has been legally changed in public financial disclosures, a Google search for the foundation’s name still directs internet users to vwfoundation.org.

“The Foundation website has still not been changed to reflect the new name of the Foundation,” the letter says. As of Sunday, the website still identified the organization as the “Van Wezel Foundation: A vision for Sarasota Performing Arts Center.” The organization also still maintains the Van Wezel branding on social media on Twitter and Facebook.

“The mission of the Van Wezel Foundation is to create and sustain a vibrant performing arts center, advance education, and enrich communities by inspiring minds through the power of the arts,” the website lists as the organization’s mission statement.

The final slight for the Van Wezel heirs appears to have been a Dec. 17 signed by city and foundation leaders criticizing the Keep The Van Wezel group advocating against construction of a new venue. The city letter was signed Mayor Kyle Battie, City Manager Marlon Brown, Foundation Chair Jim Travers, Foundation CEO Cheryl Mendelson and Van Wezel Hall Executive Director Mary Bensel.

“We all agree that Sarasota needs and deserves a new, state-of-the-art performing arts center in the Bay Park and the current Van Wezel Hall cannot be upgraded to meet the needs of the ever-growing community’s demands,” the letter reads. “At no time has the City, the Hall or the Foundation suggested that the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall be torn down. Do not be misled by this false information.”

The letter is now placed prominently on the city website for the Van Wezel Hall. 

Image courtesy Visit Sarasota.

[County News]  Emergency Water Line Repairs Lead to Temporary Pressure Drop

Customers of Manatee County Utilities—especially those north of the Manatee River—may be experiencing discolored water and a drop in water pressure due to emergency water-main repairs. Manatee County Utilities crews are currently working with a contractor to repair a leaking pipe in a main transmission line near the County’s water treatment plant. During these repairs, some residents may experience discolored water and lower-than-normal water pressure. It is important to note that discolored water is still safe to drink. While the County does not anticipate customers being out of service at this time, residents will be notified where service interruptions may be necessary. If you experience a service interruption without a notice, please let the County know immediately by calling 311. Crews discovered the leak in a section of the water line from the 1970s on a prestressed concrete cylinder pipe that is an integral part of the water delivery system which will need to be isolated to be repaired fully. Crews have closed valves around the leak to enable emergency repairs to begin. Repairs are anticipated to be completed before the end of the day Sunday, January 1, 2023. For more information about Manatee County Government, visit mymanatee.org or call (941) 748-4501. Follow them on Facebook at Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @ManateeGov. 

[County News]  59th Street West Information Session Scheduled

Residents are invited to learn more about roadway improvements planned for the 59th Street corridor during a special Community Conversation Saturday, January 14, 2023, from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m., at the GT Bray Park Gymnasium, 5502 33rd Ave Dr. W., Bradenton, 34209. Manatee County is hosting this open house-style gathering to allow residents to fully investigate the strategies and contingencies being considered for 59th Street West—an important route through West Bradenton, connecting Cortez Road to Manatee Avenue. Guests are invited to view design boards and detailed plans. Project staff will be on hand to answer questions and provide other project-related information. There will be no formal presentation, and guests may arrive anytime between 9:00 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. to allow time to review. In addition to the January information session, Manatee County Public Works is pleased to point residents and interested parties to the specially designed Web portal for the 59th St. W. Improvement Project—designed to keep stakeholders educated and engaged with the latest official information, facts and most current plans. "Residents can stay informed about the project by choosing the Follow Option on our Website," said Manatee County Public Works Director Chad Butzow. "This option is recommended for people who want regular updates regarding design progress, future public meetings and news about future construction activities." For more information about Manatee County Government, visit mymanatee.org or call (941) 748-4501. Follow them on Facebook, Instagram and Twiiter @ManateeGov. 

[Sunshine From Darkness]  Sunshine From Darkness, a Non-Profit, Volunteer-Driven Organization

Sunshine from Darkness is a nonprofit organization dedicated to mental health education, raising funds for local charities that provide mental health and addiction disorder services in our local community, and providing support for cutting-edge research. A subsidiary of the Lee and Bob Peterson Foundation, Sunshine From Darkness is working to build on the Petersons' legacy of caring, compassion and advocacy.

Mental health services in the State of Florida are seriously underfunded: Florida ranks 49th among states for mental health programs and access to mental health care. The behavioral health system in Sarasota County has been unable to meet the steadily increasing demand for services, with unmet needs rapidly increasing.

Mental health services save lives, while improving the outlook for those who are struggling with mental health challenges, which can be devastating. Sunshine From Darkness is committed to stopping the adverse outcomes and the economic cost of untreated mental illness while also reducing the stigma of mental health and addiction disorders. 

Sunshine From Darkness P.O. Box 49201 941-504-6717 marlene@sunshinefromdarkness.org sunshinefromdarkness.org

Click Here To Learn More

[35 Under 35]  35 Under 35 Honoree - Ashley Waite at The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature

Meet the region's 35 Under 35 Awards Honorees for the 2022 program produced by SRQ Magazine to recognize young professionals who are taking a leadership position at their company and in the community. Learn more about Ashley Waite, Director of Museum Experience at The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature!


How and when did you know you wanted to be a leader in your field?

I’ve always found myself assuming leadership roles, something I attribute to 13 years of basketball. But knowing that I wanted to be a leader in the museum field only cemented itself a few years ago. I joined an internal team that was creating exhibitions, and I fell in love with that process. Turning an idea into an experience that people enjoy is incredibly fulfilling. It also comes with immense responsibility. Museums are trusted institutions. The stories we choose to tell, and how we tell them, carry a lot of weight. I feel so fortunate to share my love of science with our community in fun and engaging ways. I am also honored to be in a position where I can elevate other women in STEM—there still aren’t enough of us. I currently have a team of four, myself, and three brilliant, passionate women whom I feel so lucky to work with. Honestly, the best part of my job is work ing with folks who are just as weird and nerdy as I am. I feel like I finally found my people. 

To read the full article, click here.

[Event]  SB2 Luncheon

Join us on March 7, 2023 at Michael's On East for a dynamic luncheon symposium centered on conversations focused on regional philanthropic topics. The luncheon will include a panel discussion to explore the ever-changing world of non-profits and honor outstanding individuals who have made a meaningful impact within the community. 

Reserve Your Tickets Here

[SOON]  MUSIC: Sarasota Art Museum: Jazz Thursdays , January 13 – January 12, 5:30pm-8:30pm

Jazz Thursdays at Sarasota Art Museum will runs through January 12, 2023 from 5:30pm to 8:30pm. FREE for Members, $20 for Not-Yet Members. Sarasota Art Museum invites you to be our guest at our first Jazz Thursday at SAM, featuring Hot Club of SRQ. Sarasota Art Museum is partnering with the Jazz Club of Sarasota for Jazz Thursdays. Join us for our special late-night performances on the Marcy & Michael Klein Plaza. Jazz Thursdays will occur on the second Thursday of each month until January 12, 2023. Galleries + Bistro + Shop will be open.

[SOON]  : The Ringling - A Decade of Collecting , October 22 – January 22, Varied

A Decade of Collecting brings together a survey of artworks acquired for the permanent collection over the past eleven years. As the State Art Museum of Florida and a division of Florida State University, The Ringling’s collections are constantly expanding to provide our state and local community with access to current contemporary works in all media and thoughtful additions to our historic collections. Though the core of the collection has always been the works acquired by John and Mable Ringling, the museum’s holdings have been expanding ever since the State of Florida took full possession of the bequest in 1946. In the early years, these additions were mainly in pre-1800 European art and circus-related material, but over the second half of the 20th century, directors and curators also began acquiring works by modern and contemporary artists. A Decade of Collecting presents a unique snapshot of how The Ringling’s collection continues to evolve, allowing us to tell new stories of the past, present, and future. Visit ringling.org to plan your visit.

Museum of Art Searing Galleries

[SOON]  THEATER: Urbanite Theatre: That Must Be The Entrance To Heaven , June 9 – July 9

THAT MUST BE THE ENTRANCE TO HEAVEN by Franky D. Gonzalez. A World Premiere. June 9 - July 9, 2023. Urbanite Theatre. Glory. Survival. Legacy. Citizenship. Four Latino boxers all chase a world title to achieve their personal versions of heaven. But to get there, they must battle each other, their own battered bodies, and the universe itself. All four men walk the line between life and death in this poignant, poetic collision of combat and cosmos. For tickets and info contact - phone (941) 321-1397, email info@urbanitetheatre.com, website www.urbanitetheatre.com.

Urbanite Theatre , 1487 2nd Street Sarasota FL, 34236

[SOON]  FESTIVAL: Urbanite Theatre: 2023 Modern Works Festival , May 3 – May 7

2023 MODERN WORKS FESTIVAL Presented by Summer Wallace. May 3 - May 7, 2023. Urbanite Theatre. Back for the fourth time and returning to an in-person experience, the Modern Works Festival is a playwriting contest, reading festival and celebration of women in theatre. See all three finalist readings and become eligible to vote on the festival-winning playwright! Titles of finalist plays will be announced in 2023. For information contact - phone (941) 321-1397, email info@urbanitetheatre.com, website www.urbanitetheatre.com

Urbanite Theatre , 1487 2nd Street Sarasota FL, 34236

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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