Jim Shirley with Maria Schaedler-Luera, Brian Hersh and Jessica Dilorenzo

Image: Staff

The Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County held its annual Celebration of the Arts event on Monday, October 21, at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. Hosted by Alliance executive director Jim Shirley, the evening brought the community together to recognize grant recipients and leading advocates for arts and culture. Guests were also treated to performances by Florida Studio Theatre Suffragist Project in partnership with Choral Artists of Sarasota, Westcoast Gospel Chorus of Florida, and the Sarasota Cuban Ballet School. 
 
The Alliance presented the Arts Leadership Awards to the following: Jennifer Boris, Brian Hersh, Jessica DiLorenzo, Maria Schaedler-Luera, Richard Russell, Larry and Debbie Haspel, Joseph Caulkins and Eva T. Slane. In addition, the Alliance celebrated Michael Martella, President of Boar’s Head and Chairman of Van Wezel Foundation’s Board of Directors, for his Arts Leadership Award from Americans for the Arts, and presented Dr. Henry Porter of Westcoast Gospel Chorus of Florida with a Lifetime Achievement Award. The Alliance also recognized the winners of the State of the Arts opportunity grants: Chamber Orchestra of Sarasota, Strings Con Brio, Diversity, Voices of Sarasota, Musica Sacra Sarasota, National League of American Pen Women – Sarasota, Center for Architecture Sarasota, Inc., and The North Port Chorale, Inc. In total, these grant recipients were awarded $20,000.

Also recognized were the winners of the John Ringling Tower Fund grants: Eugenia Titteringto, Carol Buck, Philippe Diederich and the Historical Society of Sarasota. The John Ringling Tower Fund was created to honor the spirit of the John Ringling Towers, where the visual, performing and applied arts were celebrated. This year, $12,000 worth of funds were awarded to these four recipients. 

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