Sarasota artist William Wolk first learned to paint at age 14 from nude figures. He was the youngest student in his adult class, at Miami Day Jr. College, in the 1960s.
In 1979, he saw a photograph of world-famous dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov and decided to paint it. He’s been painting dancers since. His experience has brought him from a one-man show in 1982 at Lincoln Center Gallery in New York City, to a 17-state tour of ballets around the country.
A little over a year ago, he became infatuated with a handmade tutu in the Lemon Avenue-facing window front of The Sarasota Ballet School Studio.
“It was just such a beautiful thing! I must have looked at it for a year,” he says.
After he got around to painting it, Managing Director of Sarasota Ballet’s Mary Anne Servian caught wind and introduced Wolk to Director Iain Webb. In June 2012, Wolk finished his painting two of Sarasota Ballet’s principal dancers, Victoria Hulland and Danielle Brown.
On Thursday, Jan. 10, Wolk opened his home and attached studio to friends and patrons of Sarasota Ballet for a showing of the results. A percentage of each piece sold will be donated to Sarasota Ballet.
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Key to the city
More than 100 community members and leaders, friends and family surprised Paul Thorpe, one of the founding members of the Downtown Association of Sarasota, April 25, at The Gator Club, to show their appreciation and celebrate the strides he’s made for Sarasota over the past four decades.