The Artful Child

7 Great Arts Experiences for Kids

Got a kid (or grandkid) itching to perform, paint or just discover the artist within? Sign ’em up for one or more of these opportunities.

By Kay Kipling October 29, 2018 Published in the November 2018 issue of Sarasota Magazine

Image: Cliff Roles

Sailor Circus Academy (above) The country’s oldest youth circus (“The Greatest Little Show on Earth”) provides after-school circus training for kids 8-18. Students perform for the public twice each year, winter and spring, at the arena on Bahia Vista Street. 556-5486,

Sarasota Youth Opera Open to everyone, regardless of skill level or ability to pay, this unique youth opera places singers in one of two chorus levels beginning at age 8. Members are selected to join the mainstage children’s chorus and also present their own fully staged production each fall. 366-8450 ext. 249,

Sarasota Youth Orchestra Musicians from third grade through high school receive training in classical and symphonic music, through a variety of ensembles and skill levels in this long-established Sarasota Orchestra program. Auditions required. 487-2731,

Sarasota Ballet School Your budding ballerina can find professionally instructed classes no matter the age level: 2-7, 8-12, and 13-18, with a “Hand in Hand” course designed for those 2-3 years old, including parent or caregiver. 359-0099 ext. 120,

Theater classes for all age levels (sometimes incorporating dance, playwriting, theater tech or other skills) and summer camps can be found throughout the area at Florida Studio Theatre (366-1350,, The Players Centre for Performing Arts (552-8879,, Venice Theatre (486-8679,, Manatee Performing Arts Center (749-1111,, and Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe, whose Stage of Discovery program, aimed at ages 13-18, runs for a month during the summer (366-1505, Usually classes culminate with a chance to perform in a production or two to show off the skills acquired.

Art classes for youngsters of all ages bring out the burgeoning creativity within, sometimes during Saturday programs, often during the summertime. Check out Art Center Sarasota (365-2032,, Venice Art Center (485-7136, and Art Center Manatee (746-2862, for current class offerings.

Booker High Visual & Performing Arts If art, whether it’s theater, dance, music or the visual arts, is already a big part of your youngster’s life, the training provided through this pre-professional program at Booker High will immerse him or her further in the field of their choice, during the school day. You don’t have to live in the Booker school district to apply. (355-2967, And Booker Middle School has its own VPA program, too. (359-5824,

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