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Still Modern. Still Here.

SarasotaMOD Weekend 2020 honors Carl Abbott’s architectural legacy. The pandemic couldn’t stop it — clever thinking saved the day.

The Butterfield house, designed by Carl Abbott, is one of the kayak tour stops. (Photo by Sean Harris)
The Butterfield house, designed by Carl Abbott, is one of the kayak tour stops. (Photo by Sean Harris)
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Thanks to the pandemic, most folks have been huddled indoors for months. That threw a curveball to SarasotaMOD Weekend 2020 — Sarasota Architecture Foundation’s annual celebration of mid-century modern architecture close to home. “Sarasota School” architect Carl Abbott is this year’s focus.

But how could visitors see Abbott’s great buildings if they’re stuck inside some other building? Not to worry. It’s all still happening from Nov. 6-8.

Thanks to out-of-the-box thinking, modernist mavens can still tour many cool “Sarasota School” structures by Abbott and others. We don’t mean virtual tours, either. We’re talking self-guided, outdoor tours in the physical world, with inventive modes of transportation. (You can walk, drive or kayak. But no hot-air balloons.)

However you move, safety first is always the rule. All tours are carefully timed, with small groups, mandated masks, and strict social distancing. (Go to for tickets, info and registration.) Once you peek above your mask, here’s some of what you’ll find:


SarasotaMOD Weekend 2020 Highlights


Friday, Nov. 6

MOD Live Kickoff with Carl Abbott

What: Abbott elucidates the tenets of the “Sarasota School of Architecture” and what he learned from Paul Rudolph in a live Zoom interview with Christopher Wilson, Ringling College’s architectural historian. An audience talkback follows. If you feel like more conversation, stay tuned.

When: 6 p.m. Nov. 6

Where: For Zoom link, RSVP at

Cost: Free .


In/Formed by the Land: Carl Abbott’s Architecture for Nature

What: Carl Abbott investigates the bond between ecology and architecture in a Q&A with Anne-Marie Russell, Sarasota Art Museum’s executive director. This Zoom conversation is recorded. It’s lively but not live.

When: 7 p.m. Nov. 6

Where: For Zoom link, RSVP at

Cost: Free.


SarasotaMOD Happy Hour

What: A thoroughly Mod shindig in a thoroughly modern hotel. Cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, groovy swag and Carl’s autographed book, baby.

When: 4-8 p.m. Nov. 6

Where: Sarasota Modern, 1290 Boulevard of the Arts, Sarasota.

Tickets: Beer: $6. MOD Cocktail: $7.


Carl Abbott Sculptor: Found Forms

What: Abbott’s architecture has a sculptural quality. This exhibit features his actual sculpture. More evidence of a great mind at work.

When: Nov. 6 – 9

Where: Art Center Sarasota, 707 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota.

Cost: Free. Registration required.

Info: Call 365-2032, or visit


Saturday, Nov. 7


Carl by Kayak

What: Architectural guided tours are typically earthbound. These kayak-powered excursions along the water offer a dolphin’s eye view of Siesta Key’s modernist architectural legacy. Highlights include many signature Carl Abbott residences and Paul Rudolph’s “Cocoon House.”

When: 9 a.m., noon and 3 p.m. on Nov. 7-8

Tickets: $50 - $75.

Sponsored by Williams Parker Attorneys at Law.


Gulf and Gardens Walking Tour

What: Self-guided, foot-powered group tours exploring the modernist icons of Lido Shores and Pansy Bayou. Highlights include Paul Rudolph’s Umbrella House and Carl Abbott’s Putterman Residence.

When: 1 and 4 p.m. on Nov. 7-8

Tickets: $50 - $75.

Sponsored by Michael Saunders & Company


Yoga Under the Umbrella

What: Lynn Burgess of Yoga from the Heart leads a sun salutation.

When: 8 and 9 a.m. on Nov. 7

Where: Umbrella House, 1300 Westway Drive, Sarasota.

Tickets: $40.

Sponsored by Sweet Sparkman Architecture.


Carl by Car

What: Self-guided road trips of Carl Abbott’s greatest hits. You start with the Summerhouse on Siesta Key, then hit the road for more masterpieces. (The Saturday tour heads north; the Sunday tour goes south.) Wheels move you to each destination, but you’ll need to start walking once you arrive. Includes tablet-friendly videos of Abbott’s creative ruminations. (Please don’t watch and drive.)

When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Nov. 7 (Start times every 20 minutes.)

Where: Summerhouse Clubhouse at Summer Cove, 1620 Summer House Lane, Sarasota.

Car Pass: $50 for two riders; $20 for each extra passenger.

Sponsored by Gulf Coast Community Foundation.


MidMOD Weekend Party

What: Another marvelous Mod party! Different spot, same joyful spirit. If you loved it the first time, you’ll love it again. The second iteration includes a first-time viewing of this museum’s Carl Abbott exhibition. You’ll love that even more.

When: 6-8 p.m. on Nov. 7

Where: Sarasota Art Museum, 1001 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota.

Tickets: $250.

Sponsored by Lisa Russo, Baird Wealth Management.


Sunday, Nov. 8

Carl Abbott: Architecture for Nature Exhibition

What: This second helping of Carl Abbott’s visual art offers a meditation on the symbiotic relationship of architecture and nature in a range of media. MOD ticket holders get all-day access.

When: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Nov. 8

Where: Sarasota Art Museum, 1001 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota.

Cost: Free with MOD ticket.


Sarasota MODweekend 2020; Nov. 6-8. Online and various locations. Visit or call 364-2199 for complete schedules, tickets and information. 


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