The pandemic dealt a blow to the region’s arts community, but it’s coming back strong. These arts happenings will definitely put a sunny smile on your face during the summer sizzle.
Spend an afternoon at The Ringling: There’s plenty to see at The Ringling this summer, including these two outstanding exhibits. “Saito Kiyoshi: Graphic Awakening” explores the work of a game-changing Japanese printmaker who was part of Japan’s modernist “creative print” movement in the mid-20th century. Saito created images of sinuous cats, brooding women, haunting winter scenes of his hometown and vignettes of contemporary and historical Japan. Although he was originally a frustrated painter, Saito fully exploited the possibilities of woodblock printmaking. Following in the footsteps of Edvard Munch, Saito incorporated wood-grain patterns in the textures and backgrounds of his prints and celebrated the serendipitous accidents of the printing process itself. The result is stark beauty, bold compositions and emotional power. Through August 15.
To get a closer view of the heavens, check out James Turrell’s hypnotic “Joseph’s Coat: Skyspace” at The Ringling. Turrell’s art is simplicity itself: a 24-foot oculus in the ceiling. That opening is both a window on the sky and a “camera obscura,” projecting the sky’s ever-changing drama on the floor below. This permanent installation deepens your perception of the sky with artful technology. When the sun goes down, a state-of-the-art LED system changes the color of the viewing area. Your sense of spatial distance subtly changes. Sun and sky seem close enough to touch. 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota; 941-359-5700; Ringling.org.
Life is a Cabaret at FST: Celebrate summer with three sizzling performances at Florida Studio Theatre. Jerry Lee Lewis burned up the keyboard — sometimes literally. In June, “Great Balls of Fire” lights up the FST stage in his honor. Led by Jason Cohen (who has channeled Lewis across North America), this tribute band always brings down the house. The hit parade includes “Good Golly, Miss Molly,” “Shake, Rattle, and Roll” and “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On.” This bad boy’s music never gets old.
In July, “Shades of Bublé: A Three-Man Tribute to Michael Bublé” offers a homage to the original Mr. Smooth. This three-man band gets into Bublé’s smooth groove with such songs as “Come Fly With Me,” “Everything,” “Feeling Good,” “Home,” “Moondance” and “Save the Last Dance for Me.” Expect to feel good. The 20th century was a gold mine of musical genres.
In August, “The Swingaroos: Jukebox” celebrates that musical legacy in this jazzy, jukebox review. The swinging hits include “Get Your Kicks on Route 66,” “Heart and Soul” and “There’s No Business Like Show Business.” This high-energy territory band will deliver the musical goods as only they can. (Check website for dates and times.) 1241 N. Palm Ave., Sarasota; 941-366-9000; FloridaStudioTheatre.org.
The Sarasota Music Festival has been a regional treasure since 1965, when it was launched as a one-week event with seven guest mentors. Over time, it grew to three weeks, drawing students and teachers from around the world. In 1984, the Florida Legislature designated it the “Official Teaching and Performing Festival of the State of Florida.” The reimagined 2021 Sarasota Music Festival, June 12-19, returns to the original one-week format and features SMF Artistic Director Jeffrey Kahane, along with Robert Levin, Clive Greensmith, SMF alumnus Angie Zhang and the Calidore Quartet. “We are determined to keep the festival’s spark and spirit alive and well,” Kahane says. “Our intention is to offer live events that serve as a celebration of the musical values that the festival has always stood for: musical integrity of the highest order allied with a consuming passion to communicate the magnificence of the chamber repertoire.” SMF’s 2021 live events are in Holley Hall; tickets will be limited. For tickets and info, visit SarasotaOrchestra.org/festival.
Kids do art! Young folk age 13-18 can do a deep dive into musical theater at Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe’s five-week Stage of Discovery Summer Camp, June 14-18. WBTT professionals will immerse them in acting, singing, dancing and improvisation. The best thing? The five-week program will culminate with a live performance. Oh, and it’s free. To register, email Myllanna McKinnon at [email protected], or call 941-366-1505.
Join the circus! The Circus Arts Conservatory is offering classes, camps and workshops that promote physical, athletic and mental training. Young campers learn such circus arts disciplines as triple and single trapeze, globes, silks, hula-hoop, low wire, clowning, flying trapeze, juggling and more. And while they’re having all of this fun, they’re also increasing coordination through acrobatics, testing their balance on the low wire and learning about courage on the flying trapeze. Whatever they do, they’ll be having the time of their lives. One- and two-week sessions run June 14 to Aug. 6. Visit CircusArts.org.
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