Since 1949, the Sailor Circus has impacted generations in Sarasota. Now the Circus Arts Conservatory, the overarching organization that shepherds the youth training program, is the nation’s only nonprofit organization that uses circus arts to inspire community service, training programs for all ages and professional circus performances.

Executive vice president Jennifer Mitchell says CAC successfully started groundbreaking for renovations to its aging facility on Bahia Vista this spring due to the support of the Sarasota community, the state of Florida, Gulf Coast Community Foundation and over 400 donors that have contributed to the project so far.

Since the groundbreaking, the organization has raised over $3.6 million out of the $4 million needed for the fund-raising campaign. Renovations will include new performance flooring, air conditioning (long awaited), expanded offices, new bathrooms, lighting, ADA compliance and more.

Mitchell says the renovations are necessary to create a state-of-the-art training facility, since CAC’s programs are growing and the building is used as an educational tool to serve students.

Programs like the Sailor Circus Academy and Circus Summer Camp provide students with the opportunity to learn health and fitness activities while gaining self-confidence, discipline and other life skills.

“We are steeped in the history of the circus,” Mitchell says. “As an organization, we’re committed to preserving traditions, but also advancing the circus arts so it’s available to future generations.”

Renovations are expected to be completed by late 2018, meaning a fresh new home for the longtime organization and its many participants.

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