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SRQ DAILY Mar 27, 2024

Wednesday Philanthropy Edition

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Wednesday Philanthropy Edition

"It is wonderful to see how committed these farmers are to growing fresh food and putting healthy food on plates."

- Joyce Norris, Executive Director, Community Harvest SRQ.

[Nonprofit News]  Community Harvest SRQ Reduces Food Waste and Feeds the Hungry
Barbie Heit, barbie.heit@srqme.com

It's no secret that a local farmers market is the best place to find the freshest and most delicious selection of fruits and vegetables. You might wonder, though, what happens to the fresh produce left unsold at these markets.

Community Harvest SRQ, a non-profit organization dedicated to reducing food waste and addressing food insecurity comes to the rescue! By picking up unsold produce from farmers markets that would otherwise go to waste and donating it directly to local food pantries and other organizations serving food to the food insecure in our community, the group is committed to developing community-driven solutions for our local food system. Through their signature food-rescue initiatives, education events and annual Eat Local Week, they lead efforts to build a more sustainable future.

The pilot program started November 2022 when Executive Director Joyce Norris saw leftover produce being tossed into bins and loaded onto a truck, as if it were worthless. “This was all farm fresh produce and I couldn’t believe that it was being discarded when people are struggling to put food on the table,” she said. An idea sparked for Norris and her farmers market produce recovery program was born. The program addresses food waste and climate change (food is not left to rot and release methane gas), feeds people, helps the farmer because they do not have to bring the excess back to their farm, and provides meaningful connection between the farmer and our local community.

Every Sunday, Norris and her team pick up leftover produce at the Farmers Market at Lakewood Ranch. “We are extremely grateful to our farm partners Mondragon Farms, Honeyside Farms, and Peach Pit, who are vendors at the market,” Norris said. “Without their generosity and strong desire to be a part of our community, this program would not exist. It is wonderful to see how committed these farmers are to growing fresh food and putting healthy food on plates. Our Lakewood Ranch veggies are provided to local food pantries and organizations feeding those in need.” Some of the organization’s recipient partners include The Salvation Army, Church of the Palms food pantry, Second Chance last Opportunity, and more.

To date, Community Harvest SRQ has rescued over 14,000 pounds of farmers market veggies. That is equal to 43,000 servings of fresh healthy produce going to people in need. 

Pictured: These peppers have been rescued from the Farmers Market at Lakewood Ranch. Photo courtesy of Community Harvest SRQ.

To learn more, visit

[Food Program]  Young Changemakers Empty their Piggy Banks for Those in Need

Manatee and Sarasota County students combed between couch cushions and hunted through coin purses to find pennies and nickels to share with families facing food insecurity. By the end of the “Be a Change-Maker” Campaign, the youths had raised $16,000 for the non-profit Mayors Feed the Hungry Program. It took Publix employees two days to sort, count, and process all the coins, MFTHP Executive Director Scott Biehler said.  The students’ donations paid for hundreds of Publix $25 grocery gift cards, which will be distributed at food pantries throughout Manatee and Sarasota and counties. Many donations came from children who live in the very communities the food pantries serve. While food pantries are always happy to receive canned food and other non-perishables, it is a treat to be able to distribute Publix grocery gift cards. That allows families to buy fresh, healthy ingredients that they like and know how to cook. Many people who visit area food pantries are employed and just need a little help stretching their budgets during a lean period. Due to inflation and rising food costs, it is becoming increasingly difficult for many households in Sarasota and Manatee counties to afford basic necessities. As the need is rising, donations are drying up, Biehler said. Volunteers are asking everyone with the means to show the same generosity as the area’s young people. Donors can help by visiting mayorsfeedthehungry.org/index.php/donate-money/. 

[Preservation]  Sarasota Alliance for Historic Preservation's Heritage Awards Celebrated Achievements in Preservation

The 2024 Heritage Awards, hosted by the Sarasota Alliance for Historic Preservation (SAHP) and the History & Preservation Coalition of Sarasota County (HPCOSC), at the Sarasota Art Museum on March 21, brought together over 125 attendees. They convened to honor outstanding individuals and organizations whose contributions span, historic preservation, adaptive reuse, archaeological conservancy, historical research and notable achievements, both organizational and individual. The event was hosted by Dave Baber, SAHP’s new board president. The awards presentation was hosted by Andrea Knies and Mimi Cirbusova, co-owners and co-founders of Compass Rose History. Event sponsors included Architecture Sarasota, Community Foundation of Sarasota County, Gulf Coast Community Foundation, New College Foundation, Hall Darling Design Studios, Ringling College of Art and Design, and Archaeological Consulting, Inc. among others. 

[Leadership]  Tonika Conaway, Kelly Romanoff Named Co-Chairs of First 1,000 Days Suncoast Steering Committee

Parent advisor Tonika Conaway and Charles & Margery Barancik Foundation Senior Vice President Kelly Romanoff have been selected as co-chairs of the Steering Committee of the First 1,000 Days Suncoast initiative. First 1,000 Days Suncoast is a network of nonprofit agencies and healthcare providers that addresses system barriers, builds community partnerships, and coordinates free and affordable services for families during pregnancy and the first three years after birth.  Under Conaway and Romanoff’s leadership, the Steering Committee helps guide the initiative’s direction and expand the involvement of parents and partners. With Sarasota Memorial Health Care System as the backbone organization of the initiative, First 1,000 Days supports and connects families with resources during pregnancy and throughout a child’s all-important first 1,000 days, when critical development occurs.  A key component of the initiative is parent empowerment, helping parents to be their child’s first and best teacher as well as leaders in their own communities.  To model this commitment to parent empowerment, Conaway is the first parent helped by the initiative who will serve as co-chair of the Steering Committee. According to Conaway and Romanoff, shared goals during their two-year leadership term include: increasing the number of parents who share their lived experience with the initiative to help shape programs and partnerships; expanding the number of partner agencies throughout the 12th Judicial Circuit that participate; and collaborating with parents, nonprofit professionals, and initiative staff to develop a five-year strategic plan. A mother of two, Conaway was raised in Sarasota, attended the Roy McBean Boys & Girls Club in her youth, and graduated from Booker High School.  She is in the process of becoming a caseworker with a mental-health and addiction-treatment provider.  Romanoff is senior vice president for strategy and evaluation at Baranick Foundation.  She was the Foundation’s point person in researching, developing, and launching First 1,000 Days locally in 2018.  Romanoff has remained actively involved with the initiative, focusing most recently on research and evaluation to ensure continuous improvement and share lessons learned with other communities.  “Together, Tonika and I represent the joint efforts of parents and professionals in our community to help families provide a safe, stable, loving environment so every child can have a strong start in life,” said Romanoff. 

Pictured: Kelly Romanoff (left) and Tonika Conaway serve as co-chairs of the First 1,000 Days Suncoast steering committee.

[Donation]  Tom and Mary James Donate $2 million to Parc Center for Disabilities

Parc Center for Disabilities has announced a landmark gift of $2 million from Tampa Bay philanthropists Tom & Mary James. The gift is earmarked for the groundbreaking of Parc’s new Children’s Services Center and is the largest private donation ever received by the organization since its inception in 1953. 

[Fundraising Event]  Child Protection Center Hosts Signature Event During Child Abuse Prevention Month

The Child Protection Center, Inc. (CPC) hosts its 11th Annual Blue Ties and Butterflies signature event to raise critical funds for programming during Child Abuse Prevention Month. Blue Ties and Butterflies is a celebration of the transformational healing CPC brings to survivors of child abuse. On April 10th at six o-clock in the evening, community members are invited to join the Child Protection Center in the fight against child abuse at Michaels On East. The 11th Annual Blue Ties and Butterflies is chaired by long-time CPC supporters, Tammy Karp, Taylor Karp Teymuri, and Sarah Karp Renkliyuz. Three generations have supported CPC’s mission through the Arthur S. Karp Family Foundation. CPC has a remarkable program lined up that will inspire attendees and show how their support is a beacon of light for every child or adult that is on their healing journey. Attendees can expect not only a delicious meal by the incredible Michaels On East team, but also a jazz hour for dessert, an opportunity to meet the PAWS therapy dogs (Pet Advocates Working in the Suncoast), and the chance to partner with CPC to change lives, forever. There are multiple ways to get involved including an exhilarating live auction with unique packages, a chance drawing for a custom ombré sapphire butterfly necklace, and even client-created art pieces you can take home for a donation. Tickets, sponsorships, and chance drawing opportunities are available on the Child Protection Center’s website at www.cpcsarasota.org/events.  

Pictured: The three chairs/members of the Karp family from last year's event. Photo courtesy of The Child Protection Center, Inc.

[Speaker Event]  Cousin of Israeli Hostage to Speak in Sarasota

Leat Corinne Unger, the cousin of Omer Shem Tov, one of the 134 Israeli hostages still being held by Hamas in Gaza, will share his story here in Sarasota. Supported by numerous local Jewish organizations, “Bring Them Home” will be held on Wednesday, April 10, 2024 at 5:30pm at Temple Emanu-El (151 McIntosh Rd.). 21-year-old Omer Shem Tov was attending the Nova Music Festival on October 7th when the Hamas terrorists struck. He was one of dozens abducted from the concert and thrown in a dirty white pickup truck. He was able to share his location with his parents who noticed the location was moving and headed in the direction of Gaza. They never heard from him again but were able to identify him from tattoos seen on Hamas videos. One of the released hostages said Omer, who suffers from asthma and coeliac disease, was alive when she was freed on Day 55. Leat is speaking around the United States to raise awareness of the hostages still in captivity. She is a passionate humanitarian activist dedicated to advocating for human rights, promoting peace, and providing humanitarian relief. Temple Emanu-El’s Rabbi Elaine Glickman says, “We are honored to host Leat as she brings the plight of the Israeli hostages to our community. As evidenced by the many organizations who are partnering on this event, Sarasota is beautifully coming together to show their unified hope to bring the hostages home.” Partnering organizations are: American Jewish Committee (AJC), Aviva Senior Living, Congregation Kol HaNeshama, Hershorin Schiff Community Day School, Jewish Congregation of Venice, Jewish Federation of Sarasota-Manatee, JFCS of the Suncoast, Jewish National Fund (JNF), Temple Beth Israel, Temple Emanu-El, The Harvest Sarasota. The event is free, but reservations are required. To RSVP, visit sarasotatemple/events.org. For more information, email giselepintchuck@yahoo.com.  

[Mental Health]  Self Care Fair to Raise Awareness About Mental Health

The community is invited to a Self Care Fair from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 6th at Girl Scout Camp Honi Honta in Bradenton. The family-friendly event will feature a variety of hands-on activities focused on health and wellness for all ages. Activities will include arts and crafts, games, yoga sessions, parent resources, and more. Additionally, there will be pet therapy dogs and light and healthy snacks available. The Self Care Fair is one of several activities the Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida has undertaken recently in partnership with NAMI Sarasota and Manatee Counties to encourage mental wellness among families. The event is being offered as part of the 2024 Giving Challenge. The Giving Challenge is a bi-annual 24-hour fundraising event that will take place from noon to noon on April 9 to 10. Presented by Community Foundation of Sarasota County, the Giving Challenge is designed to build relationships, support diverse causes, and create enduring impact in Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte, and DeSoto counties. Donations between $25 and $100 are matched dollar for dollar through the generosity of The Patterson Foundation. All donations made during the Giving Challenge are unrestricted gifts to the nonprofit organization of your choice. In 2023, a study by Mental Health American reported that more than 1 in 10 youth in the United States are experiencing depression that is severely impairing their ability to function at school or work, at home, with family or in their social life. The partnership between the two organizations extends beyond the local level. NAMI National recently collaborated with Girl Scouts USA to create a mental wellness curriculum for the organization’s Junior (4th-5th grade), Cadette (6th-8th grade) and Senior (9th-10th grade) troops. The new Mental Wellness Patch program includes activities that foster resilience and help girls to better understand their world. The program reminds girls that they are never alone in facing challenges and further invites them to dive into and understand their emotions. On March 23, the two local organizations will join with HCA Florida Sarasota Doctors Hospital to host an event to help local Girl Scouts earn mental wellness and first aid patches. Therapists and nurses from the hospital and trained staff from NAMI Sarasota and Manatee Counties will lead a workshop for youth in 4th through 12th grades. In June, the local Girl Scouts will be hosting a gathering at the Plantation Golf & Country Club in Venice for their volunteers and troop leaders. During the event, NAMI Sarasota and Manatee Counties will facilitate a 30-minute wellness-based training activity that the Girl Scout leaders can then present to their troops. To learn more about the Self Care Fair and register for this free family-friendly event, visit bit.ly/Self-Care-Fair-2024. For more information about the Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida, visit www.gsgcf.org. For more information about NAMI Sarasota and Manatee Counties, visit NamiSarasotaManatee.org.  

[Grant]  A Grant from the Community Foundation of Sarasota County Will Boost Choral Artists Production of Considering Matthew Shepard

The Community Foundation of Sarasota County recently granted $20,000 from the Dallas and Elizabeth Dort Charitable Fund to Choral Artists of Sarasota to help fund its April 2024 concert “Considering Matthew Shepard,” a powerful musical journey about the life and legacy of Matthew Shepard, a young gay man who was tragically murdered in Wyoming in 1998. The work was composed by Craig Helle Johnson, premiered in 2016, and has been performed by more than 40 choirs across the world. This production is joined in partnership by Embracing Our Differences, Project Pride, ALSO Youth, and the First Congregational Church UCC. 

[Leadership]  Project 180 Announces the Retirement of Founder and CEO, Barbara Richards

Project 180, a leading prisoner reentry organization in Sarasota County, announces the retirement of its esteemed Founder and CEO, Barbara Richards, after 16 years of dedicated service. Richards has been instrumental in transforming the lives of countless individuals through Project 180's impactful programs aimed at reintegrating former prisoners into society. Under Barbara Richards' visionary leadership, Project 180 has grown to become a beacon of hope and rehabilitation in Sarasota County. Her commitment to the organization's mission has played a pivotal role in shaping the lives of those who seek a second chance after incarceration. "We are profoundly grateful for Barbara's unwavering dedication to our mission," said David Shuel, board chair of Project 180. "Her leadership has been the cornerstone of our success, and we are committed to honoring her legacy by continuing the important work she began." In light of Barbara Richards' retirement, Project 180 is excited to announce that the Search & Transition process for a new CEO is officially underway. The Search & Transition Task Force, comprised of representatives from the board and key stakeholders, will lead the search for the organization's next leader. This task force is committed to identifying a candidate who will carry forward the organization's mission and values, ensuring the continued success and growth of Project 180. Barbara Richards expressed her gratitude to the entire Project 180 community: "It has been a privilege to serve alongside such dedicated individuals and witness the transformative impact we have collectively achieved. I have full confidence in the capabilities of our exceptional team, and I look forward to seeing the organization continue to flourish in the years ahead." Project 180 remains steadfast in its commitment to providing support, resources, and opportunities for individuals seeking to rebuild their lives after incarceration. The organization looks forward to welcoming a new leader who will build upon Barbara’s legacy and guide Project 180 into its next chapter of positive impact in the Sarasota County community. 

[Event]  First Sarasota Church Presents Good Friday in Payne Park

The Downtown Baptist Church will present a free community event in Payne Park. The event will feature an inspirational message and high wire walk from world-famous wire walker Nik Wallenda, Good Friday service, food stations, a helicopter dropping thousands of candy-filled Easter eggs, inflatables and face painting for kids, live music, and more. This is the first-ever community-wide Good Friday event for First Sarasota, one that the event organizers hope will become an annual tradition. A church leader and friend of Wallenda’s invited him to perform; the hometown hero and international superstar enthusiastically accepted. In addition to his high wire walk, Wallenda will share his personal faith journey. With 11 Guinness World Records and a list of never-before-seen death-defying feats, Nik Wallenda – a 7th-generation member of the famed Flying Wallendas family of aerialists – has written his name in history as the “King of the High Wire.” He has performed live in every state in the U.S. and numerous locations worldwide. He has garnered the support of tens of millions of live viewers in network television specials on ABC, The Discovery Channel, and others. From crossing the Grand Canyon and Niagara Falls to walking blindfolded between two towers in Chicago, Ill., he personifies the Wallenda family legacy, with his personal tagline, “Never Give Up!” He is also well-known for his deep Christian faith. The timeline for the event is as follows: 5:30 p.m.: free food, inflatables, face painting; 6:30 p.m.: helicopter Easter egg drop and hunt; 7 p.m.: Good Friday service featuring Nik Wallenda and high wire walk This takes place on Friday, March 29, 5:30-8:30 p.m., in Payne Park (2010 Adams Lane, Sarasota). Guests are encouraged to bring lawn chairs or blankets. For more information about the event, visit firstsarasota.org/good-friday. 

Pictured: Nik Wallenda will be the special guest for the First Sarasota Church Good Friday in Payne Park event on March 29. Photo by Dan Minor

[Volunteers]  Promote Your Volunteer Opportunities in Lakewood Ranch

 Lakewood Ranch Community Activities, Lakewood Ranch Community Foundation, and Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance are proud to announce the launch of a new platform designed to connect non-profits with individuals looking to volunteer in the Lakewood Ranch community! The partnership between these three organizations aims to provide a centralized hub for all volunteer opportunities in Lakewood Ranch. By joining the LWR Volunteer network, non-profits can easily promote their volunteer opportunities and connect with individuals who are eager to give back to their community. The LWR Volunteetr network aims to streamline the volunteer experience, making it easier for community members to find and engage with local non-profits that are in need of support. The platform will also provide resources and tools for non-profits to better manage their volunteers and track their impact in the community.  Non-profits interested in utilizing the LWR Volunteer network to promote their volunteer opportunities can visit lwrfund.org/volunteer or email info@lwrca.org for more information. 

[SOON]  GALLERY: Embracing Our Differences , January 24 – April 14, Various times
Embracing Our Differences celebrates its 21st anniversary this year. Visit the exhibit at the downtown Bayfront Park in Sarasota. The winning artworks combine a deep understanding of both medium and message. Awards are given for Best-in-Show Adult, Best-in-Show Student, and Peoples Choice categories, with the last chosen by visitors to the exhibit. Adult winners each receive $2,000, and students receive $2,000 to be split with their school’s art or writing program. The statements accompanying each artwork are also vital and provide insight into our common humanity as well as the differences that make us all unique. For more information, visit www.embracingourdifferences.org.
[SOON]  GALLERY: Through Sorrow into Light , March 14 – April 20, Various times
Art Center Sarasota presents Through Sorrow into Light by Natasha Dikareva features a new body of freestanding and wall-hanging ceramic sculptures, expressing the perspective of the Ukrainian-born artist on the current sociopolitical climate. Artist Talk on Thursday, March 28, 5:30-7 p.m. To learn more, visit www.artsarasota.org or call 941-365-2032.
[SOON]  MUSEUM: Free Second Sundays , March 10 – December 8, 11am-5pm
Enjoy a day of art and family fun at Sarasota Art Museum. On the second Sunday of each month, we offer free admission for visitors, special performances, and art-making activities for the whole family. To learn more, visit sarasotaartmuseum.org.
[SOON]  SCIENCE AND NATURE: Family Saturdays , March 23 – May 25, 10am-12pm
Kids and kids at heart can enjoy fun art and nature activities on Saturday mornings, at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens on March 23, April 27, and May 25. Activities will run from 10 a.m. to noon each day, and participation is included in admission to the Gardens, which is always free for Selby Gardens members. These Family Saturdays celebrate the current exhibition on view, Yayoi Kusama: A Letter to Georgia OKeeffe. Several activity stations with different art-focused projects will be set up in the Ann Goldstein Childrens Rainforest Garden during each monthly event. The goal is to invite kids of all ages to explore the artwork of Yayoi Kusama and Georgia OKeeffe through activities that also connect them to the natural environment. Admission to Selby Gardens Downtown Sarasota campus is $26 for adults, $11 for ages 5 to 17, and free for children 4 and under. Tickets may be purchased online in advance at selby.org. Selby Gardens members always receive complimentary admission as well as discounts for guests. To learn more and purchase tickets, visit selby.org.
[SOON]  GRAB BAG: Fresh Fridays , April 5, 7-10 pm

Fresh Fridays is dancing its way into April and ready to sweep downtown Sarasota with a dance revolution on Main Street, its new location for the new month. The popular downtown community event is throwing a block party boogie on April 5, from 7-10 pm, between Palm Avenue and Pineapple Avenue, for their newest event, Dance Dance Downtown Sarasota. Attendees will enjoy electrifying live music from Society Hill, power up with fresh fuel from local restaurants, and bust a move with a special dance activity for the event. Guests can stay up to date by following Fresh Fridays on their social media channels or by visiting their website at www.downtownsarasotadid.com/fresh-fridays.

[SOON]  GALA: Conservation Community Luncheon , April 9, 11:30am
This community-centric luncheon will showcase Conservation Foundations local impact and the urgency and importance of land conservation here in our region. In celebration of twenty years of protecting Southwest Floridas land and water, the not-for-profit land trust asked individuals from across their conservation community to share their thoughts in a new 20th Anniversary video series. Featuring interviews with prominent community members and leaders reflecting on twenty years of collaboration and conservation, this compelling retrospective will premiere at the April luncheon. Immediately following the video premiere, Christine P. Johnson, president of Conservation Foundation will moderate a panel of local experts sharing their unique insights into land conservation, the environment, and our community. This captivating program takes place at 11:30 am on Tuesday, April 9, at Michaels On East. Individual tickets are $50. Sponsorships start at $500. Tickets and sponsorships are available now at conservatonfoundation.com.
[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Theresa Caputo Live, The Experience , April 11, 7:30pm

For more than a decade, Theresa Caputo, known worldwide as the Long Island Medium, and star of the new Lifetime Series Raising Spirits, has touched the lives of millions of fans, comforting supporters when they need it most. Now Sarasota fans will get their chance at healing when the acclaimed medium and beloved personality appears live at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall on Thursday, April 11 at 7:30pm. Known for her unique ability to communicate with those who have passed on, Theresa Caputo Live: The Experience brings Theresa face-to-face with her fans as Spirit guides her through the audience. A full-stage video display ensures that everyone in the theater has an up-close experience regardless of seat location. Through personal life stories, candid humor, and intimate details about her gift to communicate with those who have passed, the beloved television personality and best-selling author delivers healing messages to her audience, reassuring them with the revelation that their deceased loved ones are still with them, just in a different way. Recognized as one of the most renowned mediums for over 20 years, Theresa Caputo Live: The Experience is an awe-inspiring event you will not want to miss. Learn more about Theresa at www.theresacaputo.com. Tickets start at $64.23 and can be purchased at www.VanWezel.org, by calling the box office at 941-263-6799 or by visiting the box office. Pre-show dining is available through Mattison’s at the Van Wezel which is located inside the theatre. Reservations can be made on VanWezel.org or through the box office.

[SOON]  FOOD: Set the Bar Cocktail Competition , April 14, 4-7pm
The highly anticipated Sarasota-Manatee Originals Set the Bar Cocktail Competition is back for a 2024 edition, scheduled for Sunday, April 14, from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota. 25 accomplished mixologists, representing restaurants from across Sarasota and Manatee Counties, will present their innovative concoctions in five distinct spirit categories. In addition to a panel of industry experts, attendees will have the opportunity to sample these creations and vote for their favorites, with the judging criteria encompassing flavor, appearance, bartender presentation, and imagination. The competition is partnered with Children First, a local non-profit organization dedicated to supporting the healthy development of children and families. All proceeds from a silent auction will benefit this important cause. Tickets are now on sale for $85 each, with a limited number available. At-the-door tickets will be offered at $95 per person, subject to availability. For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit eatlikealocal.com/events/setthebar.
[SOON]  SCIENCE AND NATURE: Ranching Foundations , April 26, 9am-3pm
UF/IFAS Extension South Florida Beef-Forage Program is hosting Ranching Foundations on Friday, April 26 from 9 A.M.-3 P.M. This program is perfect for beginners new to ranching as well as established professionals looking to stay up to date on the latest research. Located at the Range Cattle Research and Education Center in Ona, participants will rotate through cattle management classes covering topics such as calf care, heifer management, cow management, bull management, and the legality of selling meat from the ranch. Admission is $40 per person and includes lunch and educational materials. Register at ranchingfoundations.eventbrite.com.
[SOON]  PERFORMANCE: Jimmy Failla , May 11, 8pm
The Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall is excited to welcome Jimmy Failla to Sarasota on Saturday, May 11, 2024 at 8pm. Tickets for the Everybody Calm Down Tour go on sale this Friday, February 23 at 10am EST. Tickets start at $20.70 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]  GRAB BAG: Not Your Typical Trivia Night , January 10 – June 12, 6:30-8pm
Trivia is back at Hamlets Eatery in 2024 with a twist. Not Your Typical Trivia with co-hosts Mark Klecka and Scott Malouf of Sarasota Street Talk Podcast starts Wednesday, Jan 10. These two will not only test your knowledge but keep you entertained throughout the night. There will be Weekly prizes for 1st, 2nd and Place and surprises throughout the night. You can also join the cool kids club and win prizes just for coming each week. Doors open at 5:45 for dinner. Trivia starts at 6:30pm and will end at 8pm. Reserve a table for your team by calling 941-445-1938. Hamlets is located in the courtyard of The Bazaar on Apricot and Lime. 821 Apricot Ave. Seating is outdoors under a covered patio. For more info visit www.Hamletseatery.com.
[SOON]  MUSIC: Jazz Thursdays , January 11 – June 13, 5:30 pm-8 pm

Join us for live jazz at Sarasota Art Museum, hosted by the Jazz Club of Sarasota, featuring Hot Club of SRQ, and extended hours in the galleries, Bistro, and SHOP. Sip on refreshing cocktails and enjoy small bites in the Bistro. Each second Thursday of the month features a different style of jazz, from straight-ahead to free jazz, bebop to swing-programmed in partnership with Jazz Club of Sarasota. Galleries are open until 7 pm on Jazz Thursdays. Learn more and purchase tickets at sarasotaartmuseum.org.

[SOON]  SCIENCE AND NATURE: Bird Photographer of the Year , February 13 – April 28, Various times
Prepare for an awe-inspiring journey into the world of birds. The prestigious Bird Photographer of the Year exhibition has landed at The Bishop, showcasing winning and finalist images that capture the beauty, drama, and intricate details of avian life. Travel to remote corners of the globe through stunning photographs: witness eagles soaring, hummingbirds hovering, and penguins waddling. Each image is a testament to the skill and passion of the photographer, offering a unique window into the lives and wonders of these feathered marvels. Beyond a visual feast, the exhibition is a powerful reminder of our interconnected planet and the importance of bird conservation. Prepare to be captivated, and inspired, and leave with a renewed appreciation for the birds that share our world. To learn more and purchase tickets, visit bishopscience.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]  GRAB BAG: Geckos Grill and Pubs Trivia , July 1 – June 1, 7:30 pm

Geckos Grill & Pub’s Award-winning Trivia-Think While You Drink! If you love Trivia, join the fun at Geckos all year round. All Trivia starts at 7:30pm. We will have prizes, giveaways and specials plus the Geckos made-to-order fare, signature cocktails and hospitality you love. Monday trivia will be held at the Clark Road location in Palmer Crossing and on Tuesdays at the SR 64 location in Braden River Plaza. The SR 64 location will be taking a break from Trivia in October, but will start back up in April. On Wednesdays, trivia will take place at the Hillview Street location in Southside Village. www.GeckosGrill.com.

[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]  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]  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.

[SOON]  FOOD: Late Night Happy Hour at Geckos on Hillview Street , November 29 – May 31, 10pm-Midnight
Join your friends, after-work buddies and the team at Geckos for our new Late Night Happy Hours. Every Friday and Saturday from 10 pm to Midnight, we will offer food, wine, cocktails and beer specials sure to prolong your weekend fun. Join us and ask your friendly barkeep or server about our Late Night Happy Hours. ONLY at Geckos on Hillview Street in Southside Village. GeckosGrill.com.
[SOON]  FOOD: A Taste of Art , February 1 – January 31, 5:30-8pm
Longtime friends Chef Charles Amherst of Chaz 51 Steakhouse in Venice and Barbara Gerdeman, co-founder of Creative Liberties Artist Studios in Sarasota, have joined forces to create a series of interactive live art dinner showcases called A Taste of Art. The first of these events takes place Thursday, February 1, 5:30-8 p.m., at Chaz 51 Steakhouse, 549 US 41 Bypass N, Venice. The events will continue on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday evenings. Guests who visit Chaz 51 on these evenings will be able to witness the creation of captivating works of art in real-time. To make a reservation, call Chaz 51 Steakhouse at 941-484-6200. To find out which artists are scheduled for February, check out the calendar at CreativeLiberties.net.
[SOON]  MUSEUM: Shinique Smith, Parade , January 4 – January 5, Various times

Enjoy the extraordinary opportunity to experience the work of contemporary artist Shinique Smith in conversation with the collection of European art at The Ringling. Unfolding across six galleries of the Museum of Art, the exhibition creates a series of unique stories that together form an abstract narrative of the parade as a metaphor for life. Well known for her monumental sculptures created from an array of materials, including luxurious textiles, personal clothing, dyed fabrics, ribbon, and wood, and for her abstract paintings of calligraphy and collage, Smiths work in this exhibition speaks to various facets of the European artistic tradition, such as classical drapery and religious iconography, while foregrounding notions of Black femininity and the history of the circus. Learn more at ringling.org.

[SOON]  SEMINAR: Global Issues , January 9 – March 29, Various times
2024 marks the 53rd anniversary of Sarasota Institute of the Lifetime Learning Global Issues series. This hard-hitting series, which runs January 9-March 29, features 24 internationally renowned experts discussing a vast range of domestic and global issues. The lectures are presented on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 10:30 a.m. at First United Methodist Church in Sarasota; Tuesdays at 2:30 p.m. and Fridays at 10 a.m. at the Venice Community Center in Venice; and Wednesdays at 11 a.m. and Thursdays at 5 p.m. at the Cornerstone Church in Lakewood Ranch. Lectures will also be available for purchase on video. https://sillsarasota.org/index.htm.

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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