« Back To SRQ Daily Archive

SRQ DAILY Sep 23, 2023

Saturday Perspectives Edition

Saturday Perspectives Edition

"While many institutions tend to push their international recruitment solely for the financial gains - in general, out-of-state and/or international students pay higher tuition fees - we recruit for the cultural benefits."

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

[Under The Hood]  The Easiest Vote to Cast?
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

Lawmakers turned back up in Tallahassee this week in part to name Daniel Perez as Speaker-Designate for the Florida House. The vote makes clear Perez will preside over the Florida Legislature’s lower chamber, presuming Republicans control the chamber after next year’s elections.  It’s a sort years-late certification of a behind-the-scenes election he won over Bradenton Republican Will Robinson four years ago.

The ceremony in the Florida Capitol prompted the normal kudos and building of good will from members. Included in that was a public expression of support for Perez from Robinson.

“Congratulations Speaker Designate Perez!” Robinson posted on social media. “A wonderful acceptance speech that hit on so many important topics, including the power of limited and efficient government. Easiest vote I will cast all year!”

One can’t help but wonder based on that if Robinson expects a whole lot of votes this year that feel bittersweet and wistful about what might have been. But speaking to the local lawmaker after the fact, he said the 2019 race between himself and Perez never turned hostile, even though it was very close.

In the term-limits era, Republicans in the Florida House have taken to deciding races years in advance. A couple months, a new class of freshman lawmakers picked Rep. Jennifer Canady, R-Lakeland, as Florida’s first female Speaker— in November of 2028. Plenty can happen in the meantime. While it’s difficult to imagine Democrats climbing out of super-minority status in the next 14 months, it’s really anyone’s guess how the next couple election cycles play out. 

For example, many of the lawmakers who participated in the race where Robinson defeated Perez no longer serve in the House, some elected to higher offices and other simply leaving the political process altogether. Local politicos may recall the battle generated a surprising amount of regional controversy, essentially being decided when Rep. James Buchanan, R-Venice, sided with Perez and rebuffed a media campaign to back Robinson and force a tie. 

Yet, the decision to name Perez as Speaker effectively was carved in stone in June of 2019, when Robinson withdrew from the race and pledged his own support to Perez. He secured a promise at the time Perez would “not be vindictive to anyone on the team.”

But Robinson shared with me a story suggesting that never was too great a concern. Speakers of the House typically provide lawmakers with a token gift at the start of their terms; Robinson still has the journal then-Speaker Jose Oliva gave him at the start of his freshman term. He revisited the pages shortly before the Speaker-Designate ceremony this week and saw a note he wrote to himself on the first page. “Danny is such a good person,” Robinson wrote, it seemed to his future self. “I hope the Speaker’s race doesn’t impact our friendship. I’ll never forget how nice he was to my Dad on the House floor.”

Robinson’s father, Bradenton businessman Will Robinson, Sr., was being treated for leukemia at the time his son started his first Session in the House. Last year, the disease claimed his life, adding additional sentimentality to the works scribbled in the lawmakers’ journal years ago.

For the record, Robinson hasn’t exactly languished on the backbench since his defeat in 2019 for House Speaker. He played a key role in the drawing of legislative districts last cycle. In the upcoming Session, he chairs the House Civil Justice Subcommittee, where he plans to tackle deed reform and a breadth of other issues this Session.

As for next year when Perez presumably wields the gavel, Robinson feels confident Perez has a strong feel of every member’s strengths, including Robinson’s penchant for overseeing committees. Come next winter, Robinson feels confident he will get a fair shake.

Jacob Ogles is contributing senior editor of SRQ MEDIA. 

Photo courtesy Robinson: State reps. Daniel Perez and Will Robinson.

[Higher Education]  Diversity Critical to Ringling College Mission
Dr. Larry Thompson, lthompso@ringling.edu

It’s hard to believe that our fall semester and the 2023-‘24 academic year is already in full swing at Ringling College of Art and Design. Reflecting on this past summer, it was a busy and productive one filled with excitement for the year ahead. From mid-June to mid-July, Ringling College’s PreCollege program was a huge success where we welcomed 216 high school students for a four-week, residential learning experience. On August 21, the first official day of fall semester, we welcomed a new class of over 500 incoming students. And of course, welcomed back our returning students, all talented artists and designers, for a record enrollment of approximately 1,730.

At present, international students make up 22 percent of the entire student population. They come from 60 countries around the world, including Argentina, Belgium, China, Denmark, Israel, Japan, South Korea, Turkey, and the United Kingdom. We are also a proud member of the United World College (UWC) Scholar Program, and are currently hosting over 40 Davis Scholars again this year.  

Diversity is so important to us at Ringling College and integral to our mission. We are committed to providing a multicultural learning environment that celebrates our students’ unique qualities, inclusivity, and peer-to-peer support. Creating this kind of environment is made possible through our domestic efforts to increase minority student enrollment, and also by our deep focus on international student engagement. While many institutions tend to push their international recruitment solely for the financial gains—in general, out-of-state and/or international students pay higher tuition fees—we recruit for the cultural benefits. As a private institution, every student at Ringling College is responsible for the same level of tuition, prior to their individual financial aid and scholarships packages. 

As part of the College’s ongoing efforts to further our global reach and partnerships, I traveled with two team members for two weeks in June back to South Korea for the first time since 2019, pre-pandemic. As President of a leading art and design institution in the U.S., I was honored to be invited to speak with prominent members of the arts and higher education communities, prospective high school students, and the media whilst in Seoul. For example, I participated in a panel discussion with President Yoo Tae-gyun of Seoul Institute of the Arts, one of the nation’s leading performing and visual arts institutions, on the importance of creativity—more so now more than ever before—and we discussed topical themes such as the implementation of AI and what this technology means for the future of art and design. 

An impressive exhibition of Ringling student artwork was featured at Seoul Institute of the Arts, displaying work across all 13 majors with video reels showcasing Computer Animation, Film, Game Art, Motion Design, and Virtual Reality Development. A memorandum of understanding was signed between our two institutions, promising collaborative research activities, academic program cooperation, and exchanges between instructors and students including visits and internship opportunities. 

During the trip, the team and I traveled to multiple high schools from Seoul to Busan, to speak with students about the importance of creativity. My favorite day though, was our Accepted Student Day. With over 200 people in attendance, the event celebrated over 30 new students and their families, as well as 30 current students and their families. The new students accounted for nearly 100% of Ringling’s incoming students from mostly South Korea, some traveling from as far as Busan in the south of the country, and even from Shanghai, China for the celebration.

This is such an important and pivotal time for art and design in higher education and its professions. As we enter this new and exciting era—the Creative Age—the skills of imagination, innovation, and authentic creativity will be paramount. It was an honor to have the opportunity to discuss these topics with our peer leaders in such an incredible and progressive country like South Korea. I truly believe that so much of Ringling College’s strength, and the high quality of our education and campus environment comes from our overall diversity, including our international diversity. Cultivating these relationships and welcoming students from around the globe is another stepping stone on our path to becoming the preeminent art and design college in the world. 

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

Photo courtesy Ringling College: Ringling faculty member Seongwoo Nam (left) and Dr. Larry R. Thompson, president of Ringling College of Art and Design, presented at the Ringling College exhibition hosted by Seoul Institute of the Arts in South Korea.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Sarasota Cars and Coffee at University Town Center , March 11 – December 9, 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.

This monthly gathering of car enthusiasts brings together automobile lovers from every walk of life, not to mention a wide array of spectacular cars. Bring your own vehicle (all makes and models are welcome) to show off, or check out the hundreds of cars on display. Each month, the event sponsors a different charity, and attendees are encouraged to donate $10 to benefit the charity. The event, occuring on the second Sunday of each month, will feature live music, complimentary coffee and more. To learn more, visit facebook.com/carsandcoffee941. Sarasota Cars and Coffee, The West District at University Town Center near Ford’s Garage, 295 N. Cattlemen Rd., Sarasota.

[SOON]  MUSEUM: Lorna Bieber, Natural World at The Ringling , May 20 – October 15, Museum hours

The Ringling presents a solo exhibition of works by Lorna Bieber in May that includes two new pieces making their debut in the Keith D. and Linda L. Monda Gallery for Contemporary Art. Her artwork first and foremost encourages us to indulge in the pleasures of looking and discovering anew the details of the visual world. Her artistic practice is grounded in appropriating, recycling, and manipulating imagery. The work reminds us of the image world that inundates our daily existence. Our experience of reality is mediated through a barrage of photographic digital images that supplants our connection to the natural world. Yet, Bieber is less interested in a critique of this condition than she is in offering her work as an antidote, a way to inspire viewers and reconnect with our shared sense of wonder. Included with museum admission. The Ringling Museum, 5401 Bay Shore Rd., Sarasota, ringling.org.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Fresh Harvest Farmers Market at Wellen Park , June 25 – December 29, 9 am to 1 pm

Visit Fresh Harvest, the newly launched weekly farmers market in Downtown Wellen. Fresh Harvest offers a selection of local goods from nearly 40 local vendors. Fresh Harvest takes place every Sunday in Downtown Wellen from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Attendees can peruse different vendor booths and stock up on a variety of goods. Vendors will offer a wide variety of locally grown and produced food, including herbs, spices, cut flowers, teas, canned and preserved fruits and vegetables, syrups, baked goods, pickled foods, fresh seafood, meats, poultry, eggs, milk and prepared food and beverages. A limited selection of craft vendors also participate in the farmers market. For a listing of participating vendors and more information on Fresh Harvest Farmers Market, visit wellenpark.com/events/fresh-harvest-farmers-market. Downtown Wellen, 19745 Wellen Park Blvd., Venice.

[SOON]  BUSINESS: Business Networking and Cowork Session , August 22 – June 25, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Attention all business professionals. Join us for a productive and inspiring coworking event every Tuesday at Out and About Coffee in downtown Sarasota. Take advantage of this opportunity to network and collaborate with fellow professionals in a relaxed and comfortable environment. Limited spots available, so register now on Eventbrite. O and A Coffee Supply, 1316 Main St., Sarasota.

[SOON]  MUSIC: Wellen Park Summer Music Series , July 19 – September 30, Various times

Wellen Park invites the community to come out and enjoy music from local bands and artists during the Summer Music Series every Wednesday through Sunday in Downtown Wellen. Now through September, Wellen Park is hosting different musicians throughout the week. Every week, Wind Down Wednesdays, Thursday Tunes and Saturday Sounds will feature music under the Heritage Tree from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday Night Live, the first Friday of the month, will feature a band on the Solis Hall stage overlooking the Great Lawn from 5 to 9 p.m. Friday Groove, the second, third and fourth Friday of the month, will feature music under the Heritage Tree from 5 to 9 p.m. On Unplugged Sunday, every Sunday, there will be music under the Heritage Tree from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 to 6 p.m. The series is open to the public. Guests are encouraged to bring lawn chairs for seating on the Great Lawn and around the Heritage Tree. For more information, visit wellenpark.com/events/summer-music-series.

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

Copyright © 2024 by SRQ Media Group, 331 South Pineapple Avenue, Sarasota, FL 34236.
Powered by Sarasota Web Design | Unsubscribe

Read More

Pirouetting Through Time

Pirouetting Through Time

Dylan Campbell | Jul 1, 2024

Looking to the Stars

Looking to the Stars

Dylan Campbell | Jul 1, 2024

Sail Away

Sail Away

Barbie Heit | Jul 1, 2024

Summer Sizzlers

Summer Sizzlers

Barbie Heit, Dylan Campbell and Laura Paquette. | Jul 1, 2024