The Van Wezel Foundation held its 20th annual Inspiration Gala on Thursday, Jan. 27, 2022, raising a record-breaking $1.7 million—the most successful fundraising event in the foundation’s history.
During the gala, it was also announced that the first $20 million in private funding for the future Sarasota Performing Arts Center was committed by the foundation board.
The gala kicked off with a cocktail reception and was followed by a dinner, live auction, and program, complete with an appearance by Harry Connick Jr. The event also honored local Maria Schaedler-Luera, the recipient of the 2022 Appleton Arts Integration Award, and Jillianne Abbott and Talia Casey, the recipients of the 2022 Van Wezel Foundation Merit Scholarships. The evening concluded with a performance by Connick in the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall.