Art Advocate

The Exchange Awards $250,000 to Local Students and Arts Organizations

The organization has awarded more than $8 million in grants since its inception.

By Vanessa Blankenship June 13, 2018

The Exchange (formerly known as the Woman’s Exchange) announced the awarding of $250,000 to 22 students pursuing education in the arts and 19 local arts groups during an invitation-only event June 7. More than 250 guests from local arts organizations, volunteers and donors attended the celebration.

Founded in 1962, The Exchange is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping local cultural organizations around Sarasota and Manatee counties. The consignment shop on Orange Avenue is a must-visit for local shoppers, and the funds raised through sales are annually given as grants and scholarships. More than $8 million has been awarded in grants to aspiring art students and nonprofits since its inception.

Karen Koblenz, executive director and CEO of The Exchange, says the grants are given to projects centered around education initiatives, exhibitions, performances and more.

“We’re honored to play an integral role in our region’s rich arts and cultural tapestry,” says Koblenz. “These funds can be game-changing for our grantees, who often credit The Exchange for supporting pivotal moments in their success.”

The Exchange added an art gallery this past March that features art exhibitions and handmade jewelry from local artists. Koblenz says this is another way to support the art community, and The Exchange is currently looking for artists who design unique jewelry, pottery and glassware.

“With the recent state budget cuts, it’s more important than ever to support the arts, because without them we would be just another beach town,” says Koblenz.

The grant recipients for the 2018/2019 fiscal year are: 

* Arts and Cultural Alliance: Inspire Sarasota 

* Asolo Theatre, Inc.: 2018-2019 season 

* Florida Studio Theatre: 2018-2019 winter cabaret series 

* FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training: 2018 season of Dog Days Theatre 

* Gloria Musicae: Patriotic Showcase 

* Hermitage Artist Retreat: Hermitage Artists Programs’ live streaming project 

* Key Chorale: Misatango - Celebration of South American Music and Dance 

* La Musica di Aslo: La Musica educational outreach 

* Manatee Concert Band: 2018-2019 season 

* Perlman Music Program: Outreach programs 

* Players Theatre: Season sponsor

* Pops Orchestra: 2018-2019 concert season 

* Sarasota Ballet: World premiere by Ricardo Graziano 

* Sarasota Cuban Ballet School: On Stage program 

* Sarasota Opera: Sarasota Youth Opera's performance of Benjamin Britten's The Little Sweep 

* Sarasota Orchestra: Young Person's Concerts program 

* Selby Gardens: The 2019 Jean and Alfred Goldstein Exhibition 

* Van Wezel Foundation, Inc.: Schooltime Performances program 

* Venice Chorale: Expansion of apprentice and youth programs 

* Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe: 2018-2019 main stage season 

The scholarship recipients for the 2018/2019 fiscal year are: 

High school: Jessica Apatow, Zoe Heil, Beatrice Kelly, Ariana Koopman, Laura Elizabeth McKenna, Rachael Rice, Theo Shultz and Alyssa Volack. 

College: Margaux Albiez, Summer Altier, Victoria Byrd, Emily Cain, Marie Dull, Joshua Galindo, Melanie Gasparoni, Abigail Hodgson, Jessica Pope, Rachael Querreveld, Autumn Rose, Haley Rosenthal, Olivia Valek and Teia Watson. 

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