Sarasota Performing Arts Center Foundation’s 21st Annual Inspiration Gala Raises $1.3 Million

The Giving Coast

Pictured from left to right: Susan Travers and Kathy Martella Photo: Cliff Roles Photography

On Friday, Sarasota Performing Arts Center Foundation, formerly Van Wezel Foundation, held its 21st annual Inspiration Gala, raising more than $1.3 million that will support the Foundation’s education and community engagement programs and planning for the new Sarasota Performing Arts Center. "We are grateful to our friends and contributors who generously support our mission to create and sustain a vibrant performing arts center, advance education, and enrich communities by inspiring minds through the power of the arts,” said Jim Travers, Chair, Sarasota Performing Arts Center Foundation Board of Directors. “As the Van Wezel Foundation transitions into the Sarasota Performing Arts Center Foundation, we can assure you that education will remain at the heart of everything we do.” The evening commenced with a cocktail reception and was followed by an elegant dinner, and inspiring program honoring local educators Stevey Jones, the recipient of the 2023 Appleton Arts Integration Award, and Mayra Ocasio Cuadrado and Kate Walsh, the recipients of the 2023 Van Wezel Foundation Merit Scholarships. “It’s all about the kids,” said Appleton Award Winner Stevey Jones. And indeed it was, with $1.3 million raised for the Foundation’s mission. Following dinner, guests enjoyed a rocking performance from music legend and Grammy® Award-winner Kenny Loggins at the acclaimed Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. A post-performance dance party brought the evening to an unforgettable close. Susan Travers and Kathy Martella served as co-chairs for this year’s Inspiration Gala alongside a host committee of devoted benefactors.

Pictured from left to right: Susan Travers and Kathy Martella Photo: Cliff Roles Photography

A full list of partners of the 2023 Inspiration Gala can be found here

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