More details on both studies will be presented at a City Commission workshop with Sarasota Bayfront 20:20 Monday evening. Sarasota Orchestra President Joseph McKenna declined to comment on the specific findings of the study until after that meeting.
The orchestra is still in the midst of its needs assessment process, working with the California-based Arts Consulting Group and New Jersey-based Stages Consultants on its planning efforts. So far, the study has found that all six venues currently used by the orchestra have acoustical shortcomings, according to a slideshow presentation for Monday’s meeting.
Additionally, issues with venues and scheduling are impacting the orchestra’s ability to achieve its artistic vision, the study says. Booking the Van Wezel, particularly for rehearsal time and in season, is a challenge for the orchestra.
A market study found room for growth in the region, but a lack of availability in the current conditions considering the competition for space among performing arts groups. As a result, the presentation states, the study supports the notion that a new concert hall is needed.
The next phase of the needs assessment study is focused on devising facility and programming concepts. Estimates on both capital and operating costs are scheduled to come in spring 2016. Afterwards, the study will concentrate on community engagement and funding.
In addition to the performing orchestra, the study also considered the needs of the Sarasota Orchestra’s other platforms: the Sarasota Music Festival and the group’s education program.
Bayfront 20:20 leaders have discussed finding room for synergy as the orchestra, Van Wezel and other arts organizations study their future needs. The Van Wezel’s study considered the possibility of sharing space with the orchestra, but recommended a multi-hall project if the orchestra is involved.