Sarasota made its mark as an arts colony in the mid-20th century. Its homegrown art is still world-class. Opportunities abound, but here are four outstanding arts spaces to view and buy works created by regional artists.
Talk about homegrown art. Madeby Gallery, located smack on the Ringling College campus, offers artwork by the college’s students, faculty and alumni. The eclectic selection ranges from fine art to functional. You’ll find paintings, sculpture and pottery, along with screen-printed wearables, jewelry, glass art, posters and greeting cards. Madeby also features inventive changing exhibits. “WOA-H! (Women of Age – Ha!)” demolishes the stereotypes confronting older female artists (Feb. 28 to March 21). The Spring Student and Alumni Show showcases original work, prints and fine crafts by the college’s up-and-coming talents alongside the more seasoned veterans. March 27 through May 1 at 2700 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota; 941-822-0442; MadebyGallery.com.
Jewelry is basically a form of wearable sculpture. For proof, feast your eyes on Nikki Sedacca and Montana Taplinger’s exquisite jewelry designs at 530 Burns Gallery, their shared exhibition space. Their creations shine alongside a dazzling array of paintings, sculpture and glass art by more than 35 artists. Be sure to experience Sarasota artist Andrea Dasha Reich’s latest series of exuberant resin paintings (opening Feb. 28). Abstract work, but hardly flat. Spaces of interwoven color, lucid, translucent and joyful. Each painting draws you into its hypnotic depths. Other don’t-miss creations include Katie Cassidy’s ethereal, transformative oil paintings; Bettina Sego’s colorful mixed-media pieces; and Laura Varich’s abstract, floral landscapes. 530 Burns Gallery, 530 Burns Lane, Sarasota; 941-951-0620; 530BurnsGallery.com.
Art Center Sarasota lives up to its name. This thriving art hub offers ongoing curated and juried exhibitions and educational programming — all designed to put our region on America’s artistic map. Sounds serious, but its new opening reception “Garden Parties” initiative is all about food trucks, craft beer, mingling and, well, plain party fun. “ASALH: Black Muse 2020” boasts the artistry of the Manasota chapter of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (through March 7); “Off the Wall” showcases off-the-wall postcards created by regional and national artists (opens March 13); “The Razor’s Edge” offers the whimsical, cut-paper creations of Philomena Marano (March 19 to April 18); “Serverus” showcases the cultural code-shifting of this Miami-based group of Cuban-American artists (March 19 to April 18). 707 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota; 941-365-2032; ArtSarasota.org.
After a 16-year renovation, the original Sarasota High School building is now the Sarasota Art Museum — and it’s been worth the wait. Ringling College’s new 21st century museum comprises 15,000 square feet of exhibition space, areas for site-specific art, a Great Lawn for sculpture installations and performances, a 110-seat auditorium, a cafe and a retail shop. All that, and art too, of course. “The Worker Project” features Barbara Banks’ black and white portraits of the workers responsible for the renovation. “Vik Muniz” offers a 25-year retrospective of the Brazilian-American artist’s transformative imagery. This eye-catching display includes Muniz’s large-scale photographic prints (which often re-create and deconstruct famous masterpieces) and subversive sculpture (including a full-scale recreation of a toy car). “Color. Theory. & B/W” is a group exhibition. Although it showcases many talents, it revolves around Sheila Hicks’ “Questioning Column” — a massive textile installation, interwoven from threads of blue and green. Installations on the grounds outside include Jean Shin’s “Celadon Landscape” and J. Patrick Walsh Ill’s “Zen Jail.” 1001 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota; 941-309-7662; Ringling.edu/museum.
Don’t Miss This!
Here are a few great reasons to get out of the house this spring!
‘Picasso to Hockney: Modern Art on Stage’
Live theater has depended on visual artists since the days of the ancient Greeks. “Picasso to Hockney: Modern Art on Stage” explores more recent theatrical collaborations at The Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg. This exhibition comprises 100 scenic, costume, stage and program designs created by noted artists from the 1800s to the present. You’ll see Pablo Picasso’s cubist sets and costumes for the Ballet Russes, including his 1920 scenic design for “Pulcinella.” There’s also a re-creation of David Hockney’s 1981 set and costume design for the ballet “Parade.” Work by Henri Matisse, Natalia Goncharova, Robert Indiana and Lesley Dill is also on display. This stunning traveling exhibit draws from the Tobin Collection of Theatre Arts. Through May 10. 255 Beach Drive N.E., St. Petersburg; 727-896-2667; MFAStPete.org.
‘Romeo & Juliet’ in the Gardens
This year marks the fourth since the FSU/Asolo Conservatory has been staging Shakespeare plays outdoors at Selby Gardens. What’s playing? That sad tale of two lovers in 12th century Verona, Italy. In “Romeo & Juliet,” directed by Shakespeare scholar Jonathan Epstein, the lovers’ love for each other is just right — but their feuding families make it all wrong. The result is a thrill-ride of life, passion, laughter, tears, swordplay and timeless love poetry. Expect no balconies but plenty of beauty. April 8-25 at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, 811 S. Palm Ave, Sarasota; 941-351-8000; AsoloRep.org/conservatory.
Listen to the Earth: Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day
Jane Alexander, a Tony Award winner, two-time Emmy Award winner and former director of the National Endowment for the Arts, will be the featured speaker for Choral Artists of Sarasota’s “Listen to the Earth” ecological initiative in April. The program commemorates the 50th anniversary of Earth Day and includes a panel discussion led by Dr. Terry Root, the environmentalist who shared a Nobel Prize with Al Gore for her contributions to “An Inconvenient Truth.” The initiative’s capstone is the world-premiere performance of Sarasota resident James Grant’s cantata, “Listen to the Earth,” which draws its inspiration from the words of astronauts, poets and environmental philosopher John Muir, at 7 p.m. April 19 at the Sarasota Opera House. Grant composed this 30-minute work for baritone soloist, mixed chorus, children’s chorus and chamber orchestra. ChoralArtistsSarasota.org.
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