Thanks to a compromise worked out between arts groups, the County Commission approved a $250,000 payment to support the Ringling International Arts Festival.
When organizers of the Ringling International Arts Festival, which is a partnership between the state-owned John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art and the New York-based Baryshnikov Arts Center, asked Sarasota County for $250,000 to fund its 2010 festival, locally based arts organizations bristled, because they don’t receive that kind of public funding.
The $250,000 the Arts Festival targeted came from a special $1 million Tourist Development Tax fund, which was meant to help “promote the cultural and fine arts of Sarasota County.”
The compromise, which local arts groups OK’d, sees just $125,000 coming from that fund and the other $125,000 coming from a Sarasota Convention and Visitors Bureau fund.
“It doesn’t take as much money out of the TDT fund,” said Jim Shirley, Sarasota County Arts Council executive director.
The Festival Steering Committee, which the commission formed to help direct the TDT fund, will now work to create a festival in which all local arts organizations can take part.
“I applaud the commission for working so hard to come up with this solution,” said Shirley.
The inaugural Ringling International Arts Festival was held in October, and by most accounts it was an overwhelming success. Organizers had hoped to sell about 8,000 tickets to its 40 performances of music, dance and theater. Instead, about 11,000 tickets were sold.
The event was intended to run every two years, but because of the first-year success, organizers are planning to make it an annual event. The next one is planned for October.
The Arts Festival has also secured $100,000 from the city of Sarasota and $250,000 from Manatee County.
Contact Roboin Roy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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