Sarasota – The Cultural Center of South West Florida

Sarasota is not just offering some of the best beaches in the United States, Siesta Key Beach, but it´s also one of the best destinations in Florida if you have an interest in cultural events. With dozens of performing arts venues, renowned opera, theatre and ballet companies, numerous art museums, a thriving visual arts community and art festivals that draw visitors from across the globe, there is something for everyone to do “after beach”.

The foundation of art in Sarasota rests firmly on the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, housed on the site of the circus magnate’s former estate on the shore of Sarasota Bay. Did you know that one of the largest collections of Rubens canvasses in the world is in Sarasota?
The Ca d´Zan Mansion, a magnificent 56-room Venetian Gothic palace served as the Ringling’s residence and is now a museum open for tours. The Circus Museum shows the history of Sarasota’s relationship with the Ringling Circus.
Ringling’s Historic Asolo Theater was built in Italy in the late 1800s and then dismantled and reassembled on the Ringling grounds in the 1940s. It now serves as the home of a professional theater company that performs an array of award-winning programs in the Asolo Repertory Theatre complex. Art galleries are found in downtown Sarasota and along St Armand´s Circle. Thanks to Ringling College of Art and Design, Sarasota is home to a thriving community of young artists who regularly show their work at exhibits at the numerous galleries around Sarasota.

Performing arts of all kinds thrive in Sarasota. The Sarasota Opera in downtown Sarasota, now in its 52nd season, is housed in its newly renovated art deco building from 1926. The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation-designed Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, hosts travelling shows ranging from musical acts to Broadway revivals with world class performers. The Sarasota Orchestra is the oldest continuing orchestra in the state, while the Sarasota Ballet has featured several world premieres under the direction of internationally famed Iain Webb.
Sarasota is also hosting many local festivals and events, that have made Sarasota a destination for visitors and artists; the Sarasota Film Festival in April, the Sarasota Film Society Cine-World Festival in November, the Sarasota Music Festival in June and the Sarasota Blues Fest which rocks into town in September. Arts and crafts are highlighted at the annual Atomic Holiday Bazaar with its funky modern arts and crafts every December. Ringling Museum, in conjunction with the Baryshnikov Arts Center in New York, recently started its own event: The Ringling International Arts Festival, which brings together performers from across the globe for a week-long celebration of art in all its forms.

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by Helena Nordstrom, Sept 2013 – Team Nordstrom, sales associate,
Premier Sotheby´s International Realty, Sarasota, FL

Per & Helena Nordstrom

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