Committee to discuss $250,000 for arts fest


Committee to discuss $250,000 for arts fest


Date: December 14, 2009
by: Robin Roy | City Editor


After receiving $100,000 from the city of Sarasota, the Ringling International Arts Festival is asking both Sarasota and Manatee counties for $250,000.

Local arts organizations were not pleased with the first award from the city because the Arts Festival is run by the state-owned John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art and the New York-based Baryshnikov Arts Center.

“It’s a slap in the face to all of us,” said Richard Russell, Sarasota Opera’s director of marketing. “We’ve been here for 50 years, and we don’t get a penny.”

Former Florida Sen. John McKay, a Ringling Museum board member, has personally pitched for each donation. Tuesday, the Sarasota County Festival Steering Committee will discuss the request for $250,000. The Manatee County Commission will vote on its request the same day.

McKay said it takes $1.2 million to run the Arts Festival.

Sarasota County commissioners created the Festival Steering Committee to direct about $1 million in bed-tax money toward a festival or several arts events.

The Festival Steering Committee will meet at 3 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 15, in the third-floor Think Tank at 1660 Ringling Blvd.

Contact Robin Roy at

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