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6 arts events to look forward to in 2023

Check out these don't-miss events of this season in Sarasota.

Pilobolus brings its celebration of human movement to the Van Wezel March 7.
Pilobolus brings its celebration of human movement to the Van Wezel March 7.
Photo by Ben McKeown
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After a few years of, er, shall we say … recovery? We are happy to say that the coming year is packed with don’t-miss performances from our area arts organizations and traveling acts as well. From Jay Leno and Jerry Seinfeld making stops at the Van Wezel to the popular “Madama Butterfly” playing at the Sarasota Opera to the plethora of fun shows at Florida Studio Theatre, there are so many things going on, we can’t possibly mention them all. So we’ll mention a few — six, to be exact — to whet your appetite for the upcoming arts season. Get out your calendar and get ready to buy those tickets. There’s a lot to enjoy in 2023. 

Tiffany Laburnum Lamp will be showing as part of Selby Gardens' upcoming exhibit.
Courtesy photo

1. ‘Tiffany: The Pursuit of Beauty in Nature’

When: Feb. 12 to June 25

Where: Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, Downtown Sarasota Campus, 1534 Mound St.

Tickets: $21


It has become an annual event to look forward to: The Marie Selby Botanical Gardens’ Jean & Alfred Goldstein Exhibition Series, which marries works of art with the beautiful flora of the gardens. This year’s exhibit will be “Tiffany: The Pursuit of Beauty in Nature,” showcasing the work of Louis Comfort Tiffany, acclaimed American artist and designer (and the first design director at — you guessed it — Tiffany & Co.).

Known for his stained glass and lamps as well as his blown glass, jewelry and metalwork, Tiffany’s pieces will be the inspiration for horticultural displays throughout the gardens, including inside the Tropical Conservatory. The creativity and playfulness of these exhibits is always fun, surprising and not to be missed. 

The Dance Theatre of Harlem is coming to Sarasota Feb. 24-27.
Courtesy photo

2. Dance Theatre of Harlem

When: Feb. 24-27

Where: FSU Center for Performing Arts, 5555 N. Tamiami Trail

Tickets: $40-$105


Most years, the Sarasota Ballet season includes a special treat for its audiences by bringing a notable dance company to the community. This season it is bringing the world-renowned Dance Theatre of Harlem to Sarasota. 

The 18-member, multi-ethnic company performs everything from traditional classics to innovative contemporary works, all in the belief that the arts are for everyone.

Pilobolous performs during the American Dance Festival at DPAC in Durham, N.C. on Friday, Jun. 30, 2017.
Courtesy photo

3. Pilobolus – Big Five-Oh!

When: 7 p.m. March 7

Where: Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, 777 N. Tamiami Trail

Tickets: $22-$82


Some things are just fun and different and cool. Pilobolus is one of those things. Celebrating its 50th anniversary, the traveling dance company continues to stretch the boundaries of movement, dance and storytelling. Its creations are so clever you’ll find yourself forgetting at times that they’re humans and not some foreign lifeform. 

Pilobolus bills itself as a “rebellious” dance company, and you’ll see that spirit at work on stage as it tests the limits of the human body to explore the beauty and power of connected bodies.

The Ringling will highlight Seminole art in an upcoming exhibit.
Courtesy photo

4. Reclaiming Home: Contemporary Seminole Art

When: March 18 to Sept. 4

Where: The Ringling, 5401 Bay Shore Road

Tickets: $25


This group exhibition marks the first time The Ringling has presented Native American art with connections to Florida. It also is The Ringling’s first collaboration with Florida’s Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum of Seminole culture and history. 

In the exhibit, artists from the Seminole and Miccosukee tribes will be featured, as well as works from mixed-heritage artists from Florida.


Asolo Rep’s production of “Incident at Our Lady of Perpetual Help” runs March 15 to April 22.
Courtesy photo

5. ‘Incident at Our Lady of Perpetual Help’

When: March 15 to April 22

Where: FSU Center for the Performing Arts, 5555 N. Tamiami Trail

Tickets: From $29


In a simpler time, 1973, this story all starts with a simple ask: a mom asking her daughter to tell her sister about the birds and the bees. Little did she know how far things could go awry when this conversation happens within earshot of the parish priest.

As a group of women work to protect their reputation, Asolo Repertory Theatre’s comedic production weaves in tales of first loves, the pains of Catholic guilt and the power of family.

The Sarasota Orchestra’s Outdoor Pops concert will delight audiences May 5 and 6.
Courtesy photo

6. Dancing in the Street: Music of Motown

When: 8 p.m. May 5-6

Where: Ed Smith Stadium, 2700 12th St. 

Tickets: $15-$50


The Sarasota Orchestra’s schedule is packed with something for everyone — from its pops concert featuring the music of Billy Joel and Elton John to its Masterworks highlighting the work of Copland and Stravinsky. 

There are so many offerings it’s hard to narrow them down. There’s even a performance of “Peter and the Wolf” that is sure to surprise and delight parents and youngsters alike. 

But we still can’t help it: There’s no better way to celebrate the end of a successful musical season like the Outdoor Pops concert. This year’s concert will focus on the finest music of Motown, sure to be a crowd pleaser with music from Marvin Gaye, The Four Tops, The Temptations and more. Not enough? It ends with a spectacular fireworks show over Ed Smith Stadium. Now that’s how you go out with a bang.


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