With a season of performances and plays right around the corner, there is one more event that needs to be marked down on your calendar. Later this month, the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County will celebrate those bringing arts and entertainment to everyone’s weekend calendar.
“By any definition, Sarasota has one of the most vibrant art scenes in the country,” the Alliance's executive director, Jim Shirley, says. “We’re not as big as Chicago or New York, but our arts scene is on par with theirs.”
In addition to recognizing individuals who have made significant contributions to the arts scene in Sarasota, the 2018 Arts and Cultural Alliance Celebration of the Arts will be a preview of the season, highlighting a roster of performances to events set to take place for the remainder of the year.
Shirley describes the event as similar to the Academy Awards. Here a total of six Arts Leadership Awards will be given out in the categories of Arts in Education, Philanthropy, Artistic Achievement, Artistic Management, Volunteer of the Year and the Cultural Champion Award. The Cultural Champion Award will honor an individual who, over the course of their career, has done outstanding work in the arts to the point where they are now recognized as a visionary of the local arts and cultural community.
“In a community where great things are happening, it’s almost never an accident,” Shirley says. “It’s important to recognize these people because you don’t really see them, but you see what they do. You’ll see top-quality art happening because of their passion and it’s important to give people that recognition.”
The event is free and open to the public. The Jazz Club of Sarasota, Sarasota Contemporary Dance Company and Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe are all slated to perform.
The ceremony will begin with a mixer and cash bar at 6:30 p.m. on Oct. 22 at the main entrance of the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. The award ceremony itself will begin at 7 p.m. and will last for a little over an hour, followed by a wine and dessert reception in the grand foyer. Attendants can RSVP to the event on their website.