What's going on the world of A+E
Change is in the air at the Sarasota Ballet. The board of directors announced last week it was releasing Mary Anne Servian from her position as managing director, after having been with the company since 2010. As it launches a nationwide search for a full-time replacement, the board of directors named Joseph Volpe interim managing director. Volpe, who is the former general manager of the Metropolitan Opera, will take a leave of absence from his seat on the ballet board to fill the position and assist in the search, which he anticipates to last about six months. Citing rapid growth under Director Iain Webb, who joined the company in 2007, board of directors Chairwoman Hillary Steele says the decision was rooted in a desire to fill the role with a managing director with more performing-arts related experience.
Big Wheel, Keep on Turnin'
As if a stunt named “The Wheel of Death” wasn’t exciting enough, 19-year-old Annaliese Nock upped the ante during the opening weekend of the Circus Arts Conservatory’s “Red, White and BELLO” by breaking a Guinness World Record. The daughter of popular local circus performer Bello Nock became the first person to complete four forward somersaults in the wheel — a feat that was validated by Guinness World Records representative Carlos Martinez, who was in the audience. “Red, White and BELLO” runs through Feb. 28 under the Big Top behind the Mall at UTC.
Asolo Rep announced this week that its Endowment Matching Challenge, launched in partnership with the Gulf Coast Community Foundation in 2013, reached its $6 million fundraising goal, ensuring the theater will secure $2 million in matching funds. Two anonymous donors will match gifts for Asolo Rep’s endowment of $5,000 or more that are paid in full by June 30, 2018, at which time the endowment will total an estimated $17 million.
A Taste of New York
After a whirlwind departure from the downtown deli he opened with his brother-in-law just three months prior, Solomon Shenker celebrated the opening of his new restaurant, Sol’s NYC Deli, Feb. 16. Citing business disagreements with his brother-in-law and business partner, Shenker left his former restaurant, Sol Meyer New York Delicatessen, in January and partnered with entrepreneurs Jesse Biter and David Chessler to open in the former Applebee’s location at 1991 Main St. The new, bigger restaurant has seating for 167, as well as a full kitchen and bar.
Combine the tastes of the Caribbean with the convenience of a casual restaurant, and you’ve got a winning recipe, if last week’s packed soft opening at Mojo’s Real Cuban on State Road 70 is any indication. The Cuban restaurant, which serves sandwiches, platters, rice bowls and traditional desserts, is already planning to open a second 1,800-square-foot, 55-seat location in the former Fleet Feet space on South Osprey Avenue within the next three months.
Pro tip: If you want to sound like a regular, don’t forget — the “j” in Mojo’s is soft.
Bayfront Big Bucks
Chances are you’ve heard of Bayfront 20:20. There’s also a chance you might not be totally clear on what it is. Not to worry; here’s the latest on how it affects our arts scene: The main goal of the grassroots initiative is to develop a plan for the redevelopment of 42 acres of city-owned land at Sarasota’s bayfront. The Van Wezel Foundation and the Sarasota Orchestra, both stakeholders in the initiative, recently underwent third-party facilities-needs assessments, both of which concluded the organizations need new facilities.
The Van Wezel Foundation’s study pointed to outdated, inefficient facilities and recommends constructing a new venue with 2,100 to 2,400 seats, at a price from $150 million to $525 million.
The Sarasota Orchestra is still assessing its needs, but has reached similar initial conclusions, saying all six of its concert venues have acoustic shortcomings.
Stay tuned for the latest as Bayfront 20:20 focuses on its next goal: creating a new organization to oversee the master planning process.