Youth art festival in Sarasota tries to sway Tuesday's vote

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SARASOTA, Fla. – The Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County celebrated youths involved in the arts on Saturday. The event at Five Points Park downtown Sarasota showcased more than 500 students and their talents. Two outdoor stages were set up that featured 28 performances from local school groups and youth programs. The event also raised awareness for this coming Tuesday's vote in Sarasota County on the School District's one-million dollar referendum. Director of the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County, Jim Shirley, said this coming referendum “means about 41 million dollars a year to our school system. It helps us continue the arts, it helps us continue sports programs and it's so important to maintain the quality of school that we have." Shirley said he hopes Saturday's showcase of amazing artistic talents of the local schools will inspire the community to ensure the arts remain an essential part of a complete education for local students.