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Sarasota Thursday, Jun. 26, 2014 8 years ago

Your Neighbor: Susan Gabriel

by: Harriet Sokmensuer Community Editor

Neighborhood: Laurel Park
Your neighbor since: April

Susan Gabriel’s flute can be heard playing through the halls of her Laurel Park apartment building. The musician, journalist and artist has been practicing her music and collaborating with local artists in her apartment for her program, ARISE Music Arts Communication.

ARISE is a grassroots initiative that brings together a community’s creative types, including artists, musicians and performers. ARISE culminates in a collective performance that spotlights Gabriel’s students.

Gabriel has worked with local artists, schools and community groups throughout the U.S., including Malibu, Calif., New York City and Amagansett, N.Y.

Gabriel works one-on-one or in groups to help people develop themselves and their skills. Everyone has something in them, she says, they just need to know how to use it.

“It’s an organic evolution,” says Gabriel. “It’s getting to the heart in a way that’s organic, not intrusive.”
Gabriel started germinating ARISE in the 1980s while living in London; when she moved to the U.S. in the early 1990s, she launched the curriculum.

Recently, she thinks the need for programs such as ARISE in schools and communities is greater than ever.

“I thought, ‘What can I create to enrich high-quality entertainment?’” she says. “I designed ARISE: ‘Designed to entertain, destined to educate.’”

In January, Gabriel made her way down to Florida from New York to meet with local musicians while on tour. Due to an accident, Gabriel’s Inside Out New World Tour was postponed. After hearing so much about Sarasota, Gabriel decided to recuperate in Sarasota.

Although Gabriel has only been in town five months, she is already getting involved with the community.
She is preparing to work with Southside Elementary to bring her music/arts communication program to the school in the fall. She will also serve as The Out-of-Door Academy’s lower school chorus director starting in the fall.

This weekend, she will perform as the opening act for the Downtown Sarasota Farmers Market.
Gabriel thinks the change of location is meant to be.

“This is such a unique place because it’s so devoted to the arts,” she says. “It’s wonderful to have a conversation where the priority is already in place, the interest is already there.”

Contact Harriet Sokmensuer at [email protected]


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