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SRQ DAILY May 18, 2024

Saturday Perspectives Edition

Saturday Perspectives Edition

"By supporting this transformational project, you are partnering with local government, businesses and philanthropists to solidify your support for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in our community."

- Phillip P. Lanham, Gulf Coast Community Foundation.

[Architecture]  Downtown Sarasota: Hindsight, Insight and Foresight
Morris Hylton III

Over a six-week period beginning in January 2024, Architecture Sarasota hosted a four-part lecture series titled Downtown Sarasota: Hindsight, Insight, and Foresight. During a time of rapid growth and transformation, the series was conceived to spark an informed and constructive community-wide discussion about how the city has evolved over the past two decades, what is happening at the present, and what type of community we hope to be in the future.

The four distinguished experts and speakers traveled to Sarasota and spent 48 hours touring the city, visiting sites and projects, and interacting with key stakeholders including City of Sarasota officials and employees and downtown residents and business owners. Renowned architect and New Urbanist Andrés Duany, Founding Principal of DPZ CoDesign, kicked off the series. In the late 1990s, Duany was part of the team who helped develop the city’s current master plan, Sarasota 2020. Duany was followed by futurist David Houle, urban planner Mitchell Silver, a Principal of McAdams, and architect and urban planner Victor Dover, Founding Principal of Dover, Kohl, & Partners.

Aligned overall in their assessments and viewpoints, the speakers lauded, among other attributes, Sarasota’s distinct character and sense of place, vibrant lower Main Street, and green public spaces like The Bay. There are, however, challenges these experts identified that need attention: ensuring more affordable and attainable housing, improving public transportation, preserving the city’s architectural heritage, and attracting younger residents. In addressing these challenges, Mitchell Silver and Victor Dover both suggested creating experiences that would benefit residents and attract visitors. They also suggested enhancing existing and designing new urban spaces with street-facing buildings and amenities that encourage more social interaction and green space.

As part of the series that sold out at 500 tickets per presentation, Architecture Sarasota undertook an informal survey asking for a single word to best describe attendees’ hopes and fears for our community and their perspectives on the greatest opportunities and challenges. This was followed up by an online survey. While we continue to analyze the data, the overwhelming sentiment of respondents was to: Encourage development that allows Sarasota to retain and enhance its distinct character; Provide affordable and attainable housing that helps support diversity; Create a sustainable urban environment that addresses the impacts of a changing climate and increasingly vulnerable coastline.

Hopefully, these items can be addressed in a new master plan. Last month, Sarasota’s City Commissioners voted unanimously to initiate a new planning process, citing Architecture Sarasota’s Downtown Sarasota series as a catalyst and an example of how to engage leading experts to assist in this public-private collaboration and imagine the future.

Architecture Sarasota’s mission is to steward the Sarasota School of Architecture and to provide a forum for the education, advocacy, and celebration in the global built environment.

To view the Downtown Sarasota series videos and l earn more about organization’s work at www.architecturesarasota.org.

Morris “Marty” Hylton III is president of Architecture Sarasota. Architecture Sarasota’s mission is to steward the Sarasota School of Architecture and to provide a forum for the education, advocacy and celebration in the global built environment. 

Rendering courtesy 2020 Downtown Master Plan

[Gulf Coast]  Your Transformative Gift Can Redefine the Future
Phillip Lanham, planham@gulfcoastcf.org

There are many words that come to mind when I explore The Bay Park – community connection, environmental restoration, family fun, transformation, access for all and mental and physical wellness. But there is one word – more than any other – that resonates the most for me when I visit The Bay: tranquility.

At Gulf Coast Community Foundation, we believe it is essential to support The Bay in transforming a 53-acre parking lot into a thriving blue-and-green oasis. May is Mental Health Awareness Month and I’d like to share about how connecting green space to mental wellness benefits our community, while also sharing how to participate in our match by becoming a Friend of The Bay. Together we can uplift mental wellness resources and support this beneficial landmark for decades to come.

We have an exciting opportunity for you to be a part of restoring, preserving and activating a world-class park in the heart of downtown Sarasota. Our Board of Directors recently approved a $1-million challenge match that has been doubled by generous Gulf Coast donors, to make a $2 million matching pool available through the end of the year. You can double your impact now through December by visiting The Bay’s website to become a Friend of The Bay.Together, we can show the power of common goals and strategic focus, leadership and innovation by supporting The Bay – One Park for All.

The Bay needs community members like you to join together in partnership to ensure the continuous growth and activation of “One Park for All.” By supporting this transformational project, you are partnering with local government, businesses and philanthropists to solidify your support for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in our community. You can help create a park that will be a resource for our children and our children’s children.

In thinking about our signature public park and the word tranquility, did you know that there is substantial research on the benefits of green space to mental wellness, particularly having it close to where you live? Spending time outside can increase feelings of well-being and relaxation which can be very helpful particularly post-pandemic. The United States Surgeon General identified the public health crisis of loneliness, isolation, and lack of connection in our country. Strengthening social infrastructure including access to parks, playgrounds, trails, and programming that brings people together can reduce isolation by creating social connections that benefit our entire community. From cozy nooks, an ADA-accessible kayak launch, walking paths, a living shoreline, a fountain garden and generous acres of inviting green space, The Bay Park creates many possibilities for social connection and connection to mother nature.

Join us in celebrating all that The Bay offers during May, Mental Health Awareness Month. Together we can inspire a healthier, happier community. Be well, friends.

Phillip P. Lanham is President and  CEO of Gulf Coast Community Foundation. 

Photo courtesy Photography by The Bay

[Argus]  Business Tax Should Be Retained
Christine Robinson, Christine@argusfoundation.org

On June 4 in Venice, the County Commission will be having a discussion on eliminating the business license tax in Sarasota County. The Argus Foundation supports the continuation of the business license tax for a public-private partnership for economic development. 

According to the history as provided by the Economic Development Corporation of Sarasota County, the Committee of 100, the business leaders of our community at the time, partnered with the county in the early ’90s to ensure the business license tax went to economic development. This gave birth in 2005 to a great public private partnership which became the EDC of Sarasota County.

The public funding stream to the EDC from the county has remained flat with increases only experienced due to population and business growth.

The business license tax is an important dedicated economic development funding stream as requested by the business community that should not be done away with or absorbed into the general fund. A public-private partnership, which has been encouraged by the legislature, is the most effective and efficient way of administering these funds for a better return. 

I served on the Sarasota County Commission during the economic downturn, I took office when unemployment was 12.2% and workers were moving away for opportunity elsewhere as businesses were folding and our tax base dropped. Our main objective in the downturn was to preserve health, safety, and welfare before anything else. We worked hard to make sure we kept our deputies, firefighters, and county mental health funding stable. Economic Development does not fall within this label and would have been cut if it did not have a dedicated funding stream and was within the general fund. It would have been cut, even though an economic downturn is when you need economic development the most. 

Today, we are beginning to show falling economic numbers in tourist development tax collections and real estate numbers. This is not the time to eliminate this funding stream as we will need it if these trends continue.  

While the economic downturn was occurring, an economic development department existed within the county government. It was a huge failure. They had no initiative, they simply were contract monitors for the EDC, what is now Visit Sarasota County and the Arts and Cultural Alliance. These two existing agencies are not tasked with business acquisition/retention/growth.

During my six years in office, the county economic development department had no impact on the community other than some government outreach which did not result in any fundamental change in the county processes to make them more business friendly.  In short, we have tried having economic development in the county before, it was a failure. We should not repeat that mistake and create additional bureaucracy that has no idea how business works within county government. 

If the county should redirect their monies from the EDC to focus on a county economic development department, the economic development monies contributed by the private sector, which is over 42% of the EDC funding, and growing, would likely disappear. The business community would not invest in government for economic development-based upon its poor track record.

The Argus Foundation urges the County Commission to retain the business license tax for a public-private partnership in economic development envisioned by business leaders twenty years ago. Unfortunately, this important dedicated funding stream may be needed more sooner than anyone realizes.

Christine Robinson is executive director of The Argus Foundation. 

Graphic courtesy Pixabay.

[Higher Education]  Regalia, White Coats and Pins Signify New Beginning
Carol Probstfeld, presidentsoffice@scf.edu

The first week of May at State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota is always bittersweet. Ceremonies marking century-old traditions happen nearly every day for various academic programs. Students are preparing to graduate and begin their next journey while the faculty and staff celebrate this shared milestone and plan for the next semester. 

Honors convocations are among the first ceremonies. Held at SCF Bradenton and Venice, they celebrate and recognize our students for their distinguished academic achievements and service to SCF and our community. We take great pleasure in seeing students honored for their hard work, commitment to representing this college, and ability to overcome life’s challenges. 

Angell Jennings, the recipient of SCF Venice’s image award, graduated with an associate in science degree with an emphasis in Accounting and Budget Operations Management. A student veteran, she has continued her public service by dedicating her time to helping her fellow students by ensuring they know how to access vital services. In addition to Angell’s studies and a challenging schedule, she went above and beyond by volunteering her time for club events, student committees and recruitment efforts.

SCF’s health sciences programs, including Nursing, Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy host pinning ceremonies before our spring commencement. The pin signifies the student's shift from learning to the clinical setting. In addition to pins, SCF’s Dental Hygiene program honors each student with a white coat to signify their transition. A testament to each program’s quality and the students’ preparedness, 100% of the graduates pass their national licensure exam. Additionally, 100% of eligible Occupational and Physical Therapy graduates have secured employment in the field, showcasing these program’s success in preparing students for their careers.

At each commencement, we honor an Outstanding Graduate who has demonstrated exceptional achievements in leadership, community service, academic achievement and school spirit. Our Spring 2024 awardee, Braydon Bernard, an accelerated dual enrollment student, graduated with his associate in arts degree and a 4.0 GPA. 

“While most 10-year-olds were playing on the playground or eating lunch at school, I was preparing to have a craniotomy,” shared Bernard. He never let his health challenges deter him. Instead, his successful surgery and compassionate healthcare staff, particularly his surgeon, inspired his career goals. Bernard intends to transfer to the University of Florida in the fall to study biochemistry, continuing his arduous path toward a future in pediatric neurosurgery and as a mentor to other children in need.

“Starting college is challenging and scary, but starting college at SCF is far from this.” He always felt that at SCF, there was a resource he could rely on to ease his struggles. SCF’s personalized attention and faculty-to-student ratios helped him fall in love with the science of chemistry. As part of the dual enrollment program, he was able to be independent and harness his full potential. 

If you follow my column, you have frequently read about the dedication and grit of SCF students as I share their triumphs. This Spring's graduates are no exception—our beach volleyball athletes missed their own commencement ceremony to play the championships and placed third in the nation. 

On Friday, May 3, we bestowed more than 1,090 degrees and certificates, including our collegiate high school graduates who receive a high school diploma in the morning and their associate in arts degree in the evening. During my final commencement address, pending my July 1 retirement, I shared these parting words with the students that I would like to share with you. 

Aristotle said, “It’s the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought, but not accept it.” As SCF graduates embark on their future, enter the workforce and represent SCF, I am confident that everyone will see what I’ve always known-that the future is in capable hands. 

Dr. Carol Probstfeld is president of State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota. 

Photo courtesy SCF.

[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]  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: 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]  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]  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]  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]  GALLERY: Yayoi Kusama: A Letter to Georgia O Keeffe at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens , February 11 – June 30, n/a

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens will present Yayoi Kusama: A Letter to Georgia O Keeffe as the eighth iteration of its annual Jean and Alfred Goldstein Exhibition, which examines the work of major artists through the lens of their connection to nature. The exhibition, which will be on view from February 11 through June 30, 2024, at Selby Gardens Downtown Sarasota campus, will explore the unexpected yet profoundly impactful mentoring relationship that developed between iconic artists Yayoi Kusama and Georgia O Keeffe. The theme of the upcoming Goldstein Exhibition is the latest announcement of programming planned for Selby Gardens 50th anniversary season. 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]  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]  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]  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]  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: Watermelon Regatta , April 5 – May 19, Various times

The Ringling unveils the newly restored Watermelon Regatta painting on view for a limited time only. Over seven years ago, conservators at The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art began a comprehensive examination of the Watermelon Regatta, a fascinating early 18th-century Italian painting that had suffered significant damage. This extended study led to a painstaking conservation treatment that commenced in 2017 and has been carried out intermittently since that time. The painting conservators at The Ringling were assisted by several conservation Interns and Fellows, as well as contracted conservators. This oil painting on canvas has been attributed to The Master of the Fertility of the Egg, a name used by art historians for an as-yet unidentified painter active in northern Italy around 1700. His works typically represent the world reversed, with animals doing things that humans do. His absurd compositions satirize the madness, vanity, and ridiculous folly of human life, but in a spirit of comic levity and fun. To learn more, visit ringling.org.

[SOON]  SCIENCE AND NATURE: Mystery Reef , April 2 – June 30, Various times
Get ready to use your brain coral and start Kraken the case at the new Mystery Reef exhibit Mote Aquarium. Coral reefs, the rainforests of the sea, are in serious danger. Help us find out what is hurting the corals and how we can help. Become a coral detective and uncover clues throughout Mystery Reef while learning about real coral science and restoration at Mote Marine Laboratory. For more information: mote.org/mystery.
[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.

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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