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Scene & Heard: 02.07.19

Here's a look at the A&E news of the week.

  • By
  • | 6:00 a.m. February 6, 2019
Doreen Renner of Longboat Key won an Open Aqueous Exhibit award for her piece “Loose Ends." Courtesy photo
Doreen Renner of Longboat Key won an Open Aqueous Exhibit award for her piece “Loose Ends." Courtesy photo
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Winner, winner

The winners of the Open Aqueous Exhibit at ArtCenter Manatee were announced Jan. 25, and amidst several winners from Bradenton, Venice and the Tampa Bay area, there were four winners from Sarasota, Longboat Key and Lakewood Ranch: Excellence in Transparent Watercolor winner William Perry of Lakewood Ranch for “Ponte Vecchio,” Lydia Kaeyer of Lakewood Ranch for “Dockside Reflections,” Doreen Renner of Longboat Key for “Loose Ends” and Sharon Rawlins of Sarasota for “Les Arbres.”

Just in time for V Day …

TripAdvisor announced its first-ever list of the most romantic restaurants in the U.S. on Jan. 31, and Siesta Key’s Summer House Steak & Seafood snagged the No. 9 spot. The eatery was one of three in Florida to get on the list, the other two being No. 7 The Forge in Miami and No. 11 the Beach Walk at Henderson Park Inn in Destin.

She is the champ, my friends

Congratulations to local artist Judy Robertson who was crowned Jan. 26 as Art Battle Champion at Art Battle International’s inaugural live painting competition in Sarasota. The event, which consisted of 12 local artists creating an original painting in just 20 minutes to be judged in a tournament, was held at Selby Library. More than 300 people attended, all of whom were able to vote on their favorite pieces of art. Robertson has more than 25 years of experience in photography, printing, and design, and she’s currently a studio artist at Art Ovation Hotel.

Peculiar locals

The Great Mr. Swindle’s Traveling Peculiarium and Drink-Ory Garden is a traveling circus produced by Englewood-based Salto Entertainment LLC that is running shows through Feb. 10 at The Sarasota Fairgrounds. There are six local (and seasoned) performers in the show, so here’s a look at four of them and their personal history with the circus arts. If you want to see them live, call 445-7309 for tickets.

  • Mr. B.S. Swindler is a Sarasota resident and fifth-generation performer turned producer who has a spot on the St. Armands Circus Ring of Fame.
  • Gena Shvartsman Cristiani is a fifth-generation circus artist from Russia who began training as a juggler at age 8. By 13, she was a star attraction for Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Circus, and she’s now a multitalented circus and visual artist with paintings at Sarasota gallery Art Avenue.
  • Sian Espana is a sixth-generation circus artist who started performing at the age of 6. He attended school in Sarasota County and has since performed in 49 states and four countries. Now, he performs the German wheel and the accordion in Mr. Swindle’s Traveling Peculiarium.
  • Zore Espana has traveled the world as a sixth-generation circus acrobat. She attended school in Sarasota County and is now a cyr wheel performer in Mr. Swindle’s Traveling Peculiarium.


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