« Back To SRQ Daily Archive

SRQ DAILY Dec 23, 2023

Saturday Perspectives Edition

Saturday Perspectives Edition

"It's the people in this community who have, in turn, been instrumental in our sustained growth and success."

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

[Under the Hood]  The Zieglers' Unfaltering Relationship With Scandal
Jacob Ogles, jacob.ogles@srqme.com

It’s always hard to say what makes certain news stories hold seemingly everlasting public interest. For nearly a month, the sex lives of Sarasota’s most prominent power couple seized headlines and spurred media investigations and revelations.

Maybe we don’t have an O.J. Simpson-style media circus parked outside Christian and Bridget Ziegler’s home. But it’s unclear when interest in the pair’s future will wind down. Why so much attention around this never-ending walk of atonement? Affairs aren’t new to politics, nor is hypocrisy. But the sheer novelty of this shame-fest feeds the appetite for schadenfreude held by an insatiable public.

This story broke with the words “ménage à trois” in a website headline. If we’re honest, that detail was always more sensational than even the accusation of rape that set off a criminal investigation of Christian Ziegler. Sure, powerful men have cheated on their wives before, but the term adultery doesn’t even easily fit here. The admission by all parties that Bridget and Christian Ziegler engaged in a consensual threesome with a Sarasota woman at least once puts this situation in a rare category.

When I googled “famous throuples” and “famous threesomes” (and weeded out fan fic), the only memorable headline I found involved Charlie Sheen, back from his tiger blood days living with two actresses whom I long ago had forgotten the names — though I did learn something I never knew about Tilda Swinton.

But there’s also the sheer duplicity. The Zieglers aren’t famous for business ventures of championing tax cuts, but for strident social conservatism. Just check the famous photo of Bridget Ziegler stridently wearing an anti-transgender T-shirt with the words “Real woman aren’t men.”

Moms For Liberty, a group Ziegler co-founded even if she did little with its afterward, became most famous for pushing books with LGBTQ characters off shelves. The revelation she might be engaging in a same-sex encounter, even just the one time she admitted to with police, was enough to draw fire. At a School Board meeting last week, attacks would be delivered to her face for hours as people asked a woman not accused of any crime to resign.

“Bridget Ziegler does not deserve to lose her job because she may be queer,” said Ida Smith of Women's Voices of Southwest Florida. “She should lose it because she's insincere."

But truthfully, this isn’t just about explicitly bigoted positions held by the Zieglers. Both politicians spent years presenting their suburban life raising three daughters as the great American model, rushing from political gatherings to children’s softball games. Now we learn evening children’s activities were supposed to be preceded by afternoon escapades.

Christian Ziegler has not so subtly hinted in political circles that he should be able to weather a sex scandal is the age of Donald Trump. This is a world where Matt Gaetz, less than two years after accusations of sex trafficking a minor, remains popular in Florida’s most conservative House district.

But numerous Republican operatives tell me he can’t easily play the part of the persecuted. Trump never presented himself as the picture of the perfect conservative family. Gaetz, who remained single throughout his 30s, always seemed as much libertine as libertarian. During his time under media scrutiny, the Congressman actually released statements making clear he got laid in high school and was “not a monk.”

But the Zieglers pretended to be Ward and June Cleaver when they weren’t scheduling trysts with a drunken Kelly Bundy. For that reason, the controversy continued to swirl even as evidence made criminal prosecution less likely.

Jacob Ogles is contributing senior editor for SRQ MEDIA. 

[Higher Education]  Catalysts for Creativity
Dr. Larry Thompson, lthompso@ringling.edu

Ringling College of Art and Design on Wednesday, Nov. 29, announced the public launch of our comprehensive fundraising campaign: Catalyst for Creativity. Since 2018, the College has been in the silent phase of the campaign and has raised over $128 million of a total $175 million goal. Pretty incredible. 

Over the last five years, Ringling College has accomplished so much. We opened the Sarasota Art Museum or Ringling College in 2019, which is truly an exceptional and world-class contemporary art museum for the community and our students, offering countless events and educational programming. We established more than 50 endowed scholarships totaling millions of dollars for deserving students who otherwise could not afford to attend college. We launched two new academic majors—Virtual Reality Development (in 2018) and Entertainment Design (in 2019). And, this year, we reached our highest enrollment of all time, with 1,722 students. As a result, we have considered ourselves very fortunate because Ringling College continues to thrive. 

What I just briefly described are only a very few of the many milestones that signify that Ringling College is on its way to achieving its vision: to be the preeminent art and design college in the world. But we still have some work to do, which is why we decided it was the perfect time to publicly share the Catalyst for Creativity campaign goals with our wider community.

In order to prepare our graduates for an ever-expanding global and creative economy, we know it is our responsibility to invest heavily in academic innovation and creative thinking. Thus, our Catalyst for Creativity campaign encompasses three essential priorities, all sharing equal importance and weight: Building Creativity, Igniting Creativity, and Connecting Creativity. 

Building Creativity refers to the expansion and upkeep of state-of-the-art facilities and technology on campus. One building in particular, which we are currently calling the Signature Academic Building, will be located on the corner of North Tamiami Trail and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Way—the entrance to Ringling College’s campus. This unmistakable iconic facility will serve as an entry point to the College and as a signifier for visitors that they have entered the cultural hub that is Sarasota. It will include the first-ever Campus Welcome Center for prospective students, families, and visitors. It will house four of the College’s high-tech majors and also offer a flexible event space available for our creative community. Located near the first-floor entrance will be the new Richard and Barbara Basch Gallery, featuring a rotating selection of the 300 unique pieces created by internationally celebrated glass masters. Plans for the building have been approved, and construction is slated to begin as early as fall 2024. 

Igniting Creativity is all about student and faculty support. Integral to Ringling College’s mission is attracting diverse students and faculty members who possess an array of perspectives, experience, and talent that is essential to the vibrancy of Ringling College. Strategic and sustained outreach and ongoing funding in the form of scholarships are required to support students through the entirety of their college years. This pillar also seeks funding to assist faculty, provide funding for academic departments, as well as fund faculty and staff professional development. Key investment components include student scholarships, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) programming and initiatives, endowed department head positions, and a new Center for Teaching Excellence. 

The Connecting Creativity facet of the campaign is focused on engaging our local community with Ringling College. Sarasota has long been a place for culture and the arts to flourish, attracting some of the world’s most exciting international artists, thought leaders, and authors to share their work and perspectives. Ringling College is a major force in that effort. Through more than 100 programs offered annually, the College provides opportunities for students, and for roughly 100,000 local residents and visitors from around the globe to gather, learn, and experience the power of creativity. 

I believe we have something truly unique at Ringling College. For many years now we have had the privilege of being an institution that has helped to provide creative resources for this community and helped shape it into what it is today. As a corollary, it’s the people in this community who have, in turn, been instrumental in our sustained growth and success.

Ringling College’s mission is to educate our students, our community and the world to understand art and creativity as essential dimensions to life. I have always said that creativity should be tangible and produce real and actual results. Meeting this campaign goal will help us continue to spark creativity in our students, community, and beyond for decades to come.

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

Photos courtesy Ringling College.

[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Sights and Sounds at Waterside Place , July 28 – May 31, 6 to 9 p.m.

Head out to Waterside Place for a rocking evening as part of the Lakewood Ranch Sights and Sounds Program. Enjoy a live concert in partnership with Easterseals and EveryoneRocks, featuring artists who are rocking their spectrum. This event is free and open to the public; there is limited seating at the Plaza, but attendees are welcome to bring their own seats. Food and beverages will be available from numerous Waterside Place merchants. For more information on shows, dates, and times, visit lakewoodranch.com/sights-sounds/. Waterside Place, 1560 Lakefront Dr., Sarasota.

[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]  MUSEUM: Working Conditions at The Ringling , August 26 – March 3, varied times

Explore labor through The Ringlings Working Conditions photography exhibit, running until March 3, 2024. The Industrial Revolution of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries radically changed the nature of human labor. That era is defined by a global shift from producing goods by hand to manufacturing by machines and technologies that emphasized efficiency. Working Conditions explores the myriad ways in which photographs have communicated ideas about labor since the nineteenth century through examples from The Ringlings photography permanent collection. For more information, visit ringling.org.

[SOON]  BUSINESS: Lets Connect at Oscura in Old Manatee , August 31 – December 26, 8:30-10am

Connect with local business owners at every Thursday at Oscura. Lets Connect is a community of collaborative business professionals from the Manatee and Sarasota County areas. RSVP on Eventbrite to attend, admission is free.

[SOON]  BUSINESS: Collaborative Coworking Meetup at UTC , September 1 – December 27, 11am-4pm

Attention all business professionals, join us for a productive and inspiring coworking event at Panera Bread at the UTC Mall every Friday. 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. Panera Bread, 215 N. Cattlemen Road, Sarasota.

[SOON]  FOOD: Siesta Key Rum Distillery Tours , September 2 – September 30, Various times

Siesta Key Rum runs free year-round tours for guests to learn the story of the craft distillery, the awards they have won and the secret to how they make their rums taste so good. During our 30-45 minute tour we will discuss the following topics: history of Siesta Key Rum, an overview of the awards our small company has won, what makes our rums taste so good, the rum-making process from mashing and fermentation to distillation, barrel aging and bottling of our rums. After the tour, we welcome you to sample a freshly made Siesta Key Rum cocktail, stock up on your favorite rums and browse our gift shop. 2212 Industrial Blvd., Sarasota.

[SOON]  FOOD: Farmers Market at Lakewood Ranch , September 3 – September 30, 10am-2pm

Experience some of the best food and flavors of the region with more than 100, and still growing, curated vendors. The Farmers Market at Lakewood Ranch has fast become a favorite weekly tradition for people from all over the region seeking farm-fresh produce, delicious prepared foods, and specialty items and gifts. Aside from all the goodies you can shop at the Farmers Market, find your flow in a free yoga class or have the kiddos get creative during weekly-hosted workshops. 1561 Lakefront Dr., Lakewood Ranch.

[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Bradenton Market Returns , October 7 – May 25, 9am-2pm

Realize Bradenton is happy to announce the return of the Bradenton Market to its weekly schedule. This beloved community gathering will be held Saturdays through May 25, 2024 from 9:00 am - 2:00 pm on Old Main Street in Bradenton. Founded in 1979, the Market has expanded to include more than 90 local vendors. In addition to the weekly shopping and music, the Market hosts special event days throughout the season. Halloween at the Market will be held on Saturday, October 28. This family-friendly event includes trick or treating with vendors, face painting with Manatee School for the Arts Academic Team from 9:30 am - 12:30 pm, and a dance performance by Slick Motion Studios at 10:00 am. For more information, visit RealizeBradenton.com.

[SOON]  GALLERY: Clyde Butcher: Nature Through the Lens , November 11 – August 31, N/a

Clyde Butcher: Nature Through the Lens will be on view through August 31, 2024 at the Historic Spanish Point campus. Selby Gardens is excited to present the extraordinary imagery of photographer and conservationist Clyde Butcher throughout the grounds of the Historic Spanish Point campus. Large-scale prints on aluminum of Butcher’s beautiful photographs of plants, animals, and habitats of Florida will be exhibited amid the natural landscape of the 30-acre waterfront preserve, enabling the public to engage with the artist’s work like never before. In the tradition of earlier landscape photographers like Ansel Adams, Butcher captures the beauty and majesty of America’s natural treasures in dramatic black and white. The unique environments of Florida have been subjects of particular interest to Butcher since the 1980s, when he was first introduced to the magic and mystery of sites such as Big Cypress National Preserve and Everglades National Park. Nature Through the Lens will include Butcher’s photographs of regional locales such as Myakka River State Park and Casey Key. This exhibition is presented in partnership with the Clyde Butcher Gallery & Studio in Venice, Florida. For more information, visit selby.org.

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

Balancing the Pressures and Needs

Balancing the Pressures and Needs

Jacob Ogles | May 1, 2024

Made in Italy

Made in Italy

Laura Paquette | May 1, 2024

Baking Bliss

Baking Bliss

Kate Wight | May 1, 2024

Filling the Knead

Filling the Knead

Laura Paquette | May 1, 2024