So many philanthropic events, so little time — so here's the scoop on what you missed this week.
Fighting the stigma
National Alliance on Mental Illness Sarasota County proved Oct. 26 that, though a cause that often gets forgotten, fighting mental illness stigma is important to many Sarasotans.
NAMI Sarasota County hosted 400 guests at its inaugural Out of the Blue fundraiser at Sarasota Architectural Salvage. Chairwoman Doreen Sutherland said people “danced all night” to live entertainment provided by Rallo Pucci, featuring lead singer Shelley Maxwell.
Pam McCurdy emceed the silent auction and raffle, which in total valued more than $18,000. It even attracted a bidder from the Florida Keys, who called in to bid and eventually won a guitar signed by Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band for $3,100.
Based on the sold-out ticket sales, NAMI Sarasota County’s first fundraiser was a success. Doreen said there were people calling all the way up to the event asking for tickets, even though they sold out the week before.
“Clearly people in Sarasota are looking for a way to support mental health in our community,” Doreen said. “And as the umbrella organization for all mental health resources in Sarasota, we look forward to the continuation of our educational programs, support groups and helpline and expanding our capacity to serve the community.”
— Niki Kottmann
Building a creative community
Anne Patterson doesn’t usually wear sneakers to unveiling ceremonies, but there was something about her pair of bright pink Nike running shoes that just felt right Oct. 27 at the Community Foundation of Sarasota County. The ceremony was attended by many philanthropists such as Donna Koffman, Clara Reynardus de Villanueva and Community Foundation President and CEO Roxie Jerde.
Anne’s shoe choice was inspired by her latest piece “Circle of Thirds” — a combination of three, 5-foot-wide aluminum triangles and 1.5 miles of red, pink and burgundy ribbon — that now hangs in the Community Foundation lobby.
Sam Alfstad provided the primary funding for the piece. Donors Jane and Bill Knapp, Harry Leopold and Audrey Robbins and Charlotte and Charles Perret also contributed, along with an anonymous donor.
Anne collaborated with Alta Vista students while creating the piece. Students, and later donors, wrote their hopes and dreams for the future on the ribbons, which were hung from the portion of the piece that represented the community, donors or nonprofits. The combination of the groups show their connectivity — as one benefits, so does the whole.
The result is a cascade of ribbons, each 15 feet long, raining down from the Community Foundation ceiling. Its 14 shades of color create a new experience for onlookers. As viewers walk around the piece, light dances through the ribbons.
It’s appropriate, then, that of the wishes inscribed on the ribbon, three appear more than others — peace, happiness and love.
— Anna Brugmann
Spirit of the season...Guests at Giving Hunger the Boos, a costume party (and contest) on Oct. 27 at Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, kicked off the Giving Hunger the Blues and Jazz on the Bay music festival weekend in true Halloween fashion. Guests danced to the sounds of Reverend Barry & the Funktastic Soul — featuring the Hellacious Horns — and competed for a $500 prize for best costume.
Family fun...Many familiar faces traded their black tie garb for more casual ensembles — or a Halloween costume for the brave — to attend Marie Selby Botanical Garden’s Spooktacular on Oct. 29. Spotted with their little ones were Kelly Baldwin, Kyla Weiner, Hyatt Helmuth, Jessica Bringas and our former Black Tie Editor Stephanie Hannum.
Connecting industries...InspireSarasota! continued Oct. 26 with the Arts Mean Business Luncheon at Michael's On East. This partnership event between the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County and the Economic Development Corporation served as the ideal platform to report the outcome of the Arts & Economic Prosperity V Study. Featured speaker was Randy Cohen, vice president of research and policy for the Americans for the Arts.
— Niki Kottmann