Amazing Women of the Suncoast: Susan McLeod

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SARASOTA, Fla. - Installation is underway for the "Season of Sculpture", and Susan McLeod heads up the project. She says it shows what Sarasota is all about.

"It is an absolutely fabulous and strong statement about the artistic and cultural of our community."

Some 35,000 people will drive by the display every day for the 6 months it is up.

Susan was born in Michigan, and moved to Tampa with her parents in Junior High. She's always been involved in the arts.  "I attended Penland and did glass blowing and clay sculpting myself I'm a painter with water colors at this point."

She moved to Sarasota in 1971 with her husband and 2 sons. The marriage ended and Susan soon found herself raising her sons alone.

It was tough, but Susan says it made her strong.  "I think being a single mother of 2 boys in the early 70s was probably the source  of a lot of strength that in my life."

In 1975, she moved them all to Mexico. She says, "I  put a my boys in a van and we went down there and lived for a year, traveled the country they went to school came back  by lingual. I was working in the clay and sculpture  at the time.

When they returned to Sarasota, Susan jumped back into the art scene.  "I  had a gallery on  St. Armand Circle in the 80s and it was at the very beginning of the popularity of the glass movement and it was very influential and there ere about out of that has come the glass guild here in Sarasota."

She also had another demanding career.  "I have a 30 year career with Michael Saunders in real estate here ."

She is extremely proud of the season of sculpture. "There is rarely another exhibition in the county that is as strong and deep and  open  to the public as  as what we do."

She says her family is her greatest joy, her children and grandchildren.   Susan says she is a very happy woman.

"If you're not  happy yourself you're not able to be a good mother.  If you're happy yourself you're not able to give back to degree you'd like it.  I think the strength you gain for obstacles... is what builds our character and what gives us the strength."