Van Wezel, City of Sarasota announce planning of new Sarasota Performing Arts Center

New Arts Center
New Arts Center(Bascom Communications & Consulting, LLC)
Published: Apr. 4, 2022 at 4:32 PM EDT
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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - The Sarasota City Commission has approved a new partnership agreement with the Van Wezel Foundation. The partnership will allow for the planning, financing, design, and construction of the new Sarasota Performing Arts Center.

The new center will be located in the heart of the Bay Park. The Foundation has assembled a team of global theater experts to bring the new performing arts center to life. The architectural selection process will commence, and ongoing community engagement will continue over the coming year. The Foundation will also begin transitioning its name to the Sarasota Performing Arts Center Foundation.

Additionally, as a public-private investment, the Foundation will launch a philanthropic campaign, of which the board has already committed the first $20 million. Public funding sources, including state and federal appropriations, will also be identified in collaboration with city management.

“Together, the city and the Foundation envision the Sarasota Performing Arts Center as a preeminent destination for the performing arts in the nation by offering extraordinary cultural and educational experiences that open a world of new possibilities for all,” said Cheryl Mendelson, CEO of the Foundation.

The Foundation and the city have had a thriving cultural partnership for over three decades, providing more than a half a million dollars annually to support the Van Wezel Hall. The Foundation remains dedicated to continuing and deepening its educational mission serving more than 58,000 students, educators and families each year.

“Now our partnership between the city and the Foundation enters into a new era that will shape the future of Sarasota and the greater Southwest Florida region,” said Jim Travers, Foundation Board Chair.

The Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall will continue to operate until a new performing arts center is completed. The city will form a blue-ribbon committee to determine its future.

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