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SRQ DAILY Jan 26, 2024

Friday Weekend Edition

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Friday Weekend Edition

"This was just a silly fun idea that turned into a full-blown business within only a couple of years."

- Tim Steller, Artist.

[Arts & Entertainment]  The Artwork of Tim Steller
Dylan Campbell, dylan@srqme.com

A working artist is a unique type of person. Typically, their work can be found in galleries and museums or other fine art establishments, not in bars and restaurants and man caves. Typically, working artists have agents, who hawk their work to such establishments and pedigrees, dating back to college and graduate school. They have taken classes in formal color theory and composition, they are trained, groomed and educated to be “professionals”. But not Tim Steller.

Tim Steller was a bartender, working in Sarasota, when he hopped on Craigslist to search for wooden pallets in the hopes of making something cool for his son’s bedroom. The result? Ten years later he has a full-time woodworking business, specializing in creating lightbox constructions of coastal inspired designs out of reclaimed wood, backlit with LED lights. In the past couple of years, his wife, Ashley, a veteran of the restaurant business has joined him as well and specializes in ocean resin designs–anything from cutting boards to bar tops to dinner tables is on the menu.

“I have no technical schooling, but I’ve always been interested in art since I was a kid growing up in New York. When I was in high school, I delved into the graphic arts with illustrations and even tattoo design,” says Steller. “What started all of this, back in 2014, was that I was trying to make a wood cutout of a shark for our newborn’s bedroom. I cut the shark out and realized that the relief, the hollow, was so much cooler than just the wood shark itself. Then if you made a rectangular frame out of the original piece of wood it looked like a headboard.”

Not long after, Tim and his wife happened upon some battery powered LED lights at a store. Inspiration struck and Tim immediately backlit the shark in his son’s room and sent some pictures to friends. Not long after, people were clamoring for orders. “Never in a million years did I think I would be doing this full time. My wife and I still laugh about that. We’re really grateful and thankful for what we're doing,” says Steller. “We’re always telling people you don’t know how much this means to us. This was just a silly fun idea that turned into a full-blown business within only a couple of years.”

Tim and Ashley’s work can be found on their website, where they happily take commissions as well as at farmer’s markets and art shows around the region. Working out of their backyard, with no formal training whatsoever, the Steller’s are proof that you don’t have to have a pedigree to produce great art. You just have to give it a shot. 

Pictured: Ocean resin table, one of many artistic creations by Tim Stellar and his wife Ashley. Photo courtesy of the artists.

To learn more, visit

[Arts & Entertainment]  Fire Bubble Fusion at The Bazaar

Mark your calendars for an unforgettable experience at the Bazaar on Apricot & Lime this Saturday, January 27th. Be mesmerized by a thrilling combination of fire and giant bubbles that will heat up your New Year! Join us as we welcome the incredibly talented Smiley, a professional Fire Breather and Bubble Maker, who will showcase his breathtaking skills from noon to 2pm. Prepare to be dazzled by the sheer artistry and excitement that he brings to every performance! This spectacular display of fire and bubbles is absolutely free to witness! So bring your family and friends to 821 Apricot Ave in Sarasota. This is an event you don't want to miss! For more information about this incredible fusion of fire and bubbles, visit www.bazaaronapricotandlime.com.  

[Grand Opening]  Bayfront Park Playground and Splash Pad Grand Reopening Set for February 1

The Bayfront Park playground and splash pad grand reopening and ribbon cutting ceremony is set for Thursday, Feb. 1, at 10 a.m. at Bayfront Park, 5 Bayfront Dr. The public is invited to the ribbon cutting celebration of the newly renovated shipwreck-themed playground and splash pad. For the first 150 attendees, there will be a free gold doubloon to commemorate the occasion. The playground and splash pad have new features and amenities, such as new climbing structures, plenty of seating areas and large sails which offer shade. The new splash pad system allows children to control the flow of water instead of having a continuous flow like before. The original concrete animal sculptures from the previous Steigerwaldt-Jockey Children’s Fountain have been placed in the new landscaping after being restored by the artist. The playground and splash pad areas are ADA-compatible following the City’s ADA plan to update accessibility in City-owned spaces. Therefore, the new design raised the splash pad up by about seven feet to be level with the playground. This allows the playground and splash pad to become one entity instead of two separate ones like previously designed. As conceptualized and overseen by the Parks and Recreation Department, the restoration process started in Oct. 2020. The splash pad required a full renovation due to the Children’s Fountain needing increased maintenance and the cost of repair outweighing the lifespan. Hours of operation at the facilities will be: Playground: 9 a.m. – 11 p.m; Splash Pad: 9 a.m. – dusk. The project had a final budget of $3.3 million, with the majority being funded by the American Rescue Plan Act and the remaining balance coming from Penny Surtax III. For more information, contact Landscape Operations Manager, John Kretzer, via email: John.Kretzer@sarasotaFL.gov. 

[Event]  Unleash the Dragons Roars into Sarasota

Nathan Benderson Park (NBP) will light the lake on fire as they “Unleash the Dragons”, January 22-25, 2025 at the Dragon Boat Festival & Leadership Camp event. Nathan Benderson Park, in partnership with Linked in Pinks, is proud to announce the inaugural 2025 Dragon Boat Festival & Leadership Camp known as “Unleash the Dragons”. This international event is for All Cancer and Breast Cancer survivors from all over the globe and features multiple clinics and competitions, with a strong focus on building camaraderie. Keynote speaker is the world-renowned Dr. Don McKenzie, a leader in the science of cancer and exercise, since he questioned the dogma preventing women with breast cancer from engaging in meaningful exercise. Registration for the event opens on April 16, 2024 and space is limited. For more details and information, visit https://nathanbendersonpark.org/event/dragonboatfest/. Sponsorship opportunities are available. 

[Scholarship]  Application Open for Community Foundation of Sarasota County Scholarship Opportunities

The Community Foundation of Sarasota County has opened its Traditional Scholarship Application for students planning for the 2024-2025 school year. With a single application, a student may be considered for up to 79 different scholarships available to students residing in Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte and DeSoto counties. This year’s application cycle at the Community Foundation is extended due to changes in the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) that are expected to prolong the FAFSA experience for many students. As a part of its mission to provide access to post-secondary pathways, the Community Foundation prioritizes students who demonstrate financial need. Another key component of the Community Foundation’s scholarship strategy is assistance for non-traditional post-secondary education, such as community college or technical college. President and CEO Roxie Jerde said that investing in postsecondary education offers community-wide benefits. “While scholarships go to individual students to pursue individual goals, when they accomplish their dream of mastering skills and subjects, we all win,” Jerde said. “Not just for now, but for generations to come—the greatest predictors of a child’s success in life are their parents’ educational level and income. What we do now has major positive ripple effects down the line.” Applications are reviewed by nearly 90 local community volunteers in the spring months and scholarships winners will be notified via email by May 21, 2024. Last year, the Community Foundation awarded roughly $1 million in Traditional scholarships to applicants under the age of 24, including those enrolling for the first time in postsecondary programs as well as those who sought scholarship renewals to help them make it to the finish line. Overall, the Community Foundation awards more than $2 million annually to more than 700 recipients. More can be learned about the robust and varied scholarship opportunities available for adult learners, parents seeking higher education, and people aspiring to nursing programs by visiting the Community Foundation website.  The Adult Scholarship Application, for people 24 and older, runs Feb. 15 through April 15, 2024.  The Community Foundation is also seeking volunteers to serve on a scholarship review committee. This rewarding undertaking connects adults in the community with those up-and-coming leaders, allowing a glimpse into the lives and aspirations of college-bound students. Volunteer scholarship committee members fulfill a vital part of the Community Foundation’s mission of supporting the next generation of leaders, innovators, creators, and community caretakers. 

[Culture City]  An Anchor for the Arts
Philip Lederer, Phil.Lederer@srqme.com

AN ANCHOR FOR THE ARTS | After a rough year-or-10-it's a new day on Palm Avenue, as a whole cluster of new, relocating and returning galleries have set up shop near the southern end, threatening to revitalize the once-famous gallery scene that made Palm Avenue an art collector's destination, January 2024. 

Read Here!

[SOON]  MUSIC: George Thorogood and The Destroyers , May 1, 7:30 pm
The Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall is excited to welcome George Thorogood and The Destroyers to Sarasota on Wednesday, May 1, 2024 at 7:30pm. Five decades, 15 million albums and more than 8,000 performances later, few bands can still rock the house like George Thorogood and Destroyers. Tickets start at $41.50 and can be purchased at www.VanWezel.org, by calling the box office at 941-263-6799 or by visiting the box office Monday through Friday between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Groups of 10 or more should contact 941-263-6726.
[SOON]  MUSIC: Van Wezel Presents The Concert, A Tribute to ABBA , May 4, 8pm

The Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall is excited to welcome The Concert, A Tribute to ABBA to Sarasota on Saturday, May 4, 2024 at 8 p.m. The Concert: A Tribute To ABBA continues to be the top ABBA tribute group in the world, dazzling all who see with their fantastic performance while playing the most iconic hits from ABBA, including Mamma Mia, S.O.S, Money, Money, Money, The Winner Takes All, Waterloo, Gimme, Gimme, Gimme, and Dancing Queen. Tickets are $30-$75 and can be purchased at www.VanWezel.org, by calling the box office at 941-263-6799 or by visiting the box office Monday through Friday between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Groups of 10 or more should contact 941-263-6726. Pre-show dining is available through Mattisons at the Van Wezel which is located inside the theatre. Reservations can be made on VanWezel.org or through the box office.

[SOON]  MUSIC: Kenny G , May 5, 7pm

The Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall is excited to welcome Kenny G to Sarasota on Sunday, May 5, 2024 at 7pm.  Tickets start at $40 and can be purchased at www.VanWezel.org, by calling the box office at 941-263-6799 or by visiting the box office Monday through Friday between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Groups of 10 or more should contact 941-263-6726. Pre-show dining is available through Mattisons at the Van Wezel which is located inside the theatre. Reservations can be made on VanWezel.org or through the box office.

[SOON]  MUSIC: Sarasota Jazz Festival , March 17 – March 23, Various times

The Sarasota Jazz Festival returns this March. The event will feature concerts, the jazz trolley pub crawl, late-night jazz jams, jazz films and more. To learn more and purchase tickets, visit jazzclubsarasota.org.

[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]  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]  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

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