Florida Studio Theatre officially opened the new residence on Dec. 4 at its location in the Rosemary District.
Every year, artists of all disciplines and from across the U.S. (sometimes even outside the U.S.) travel to Sarasota to create with our professional arts organizations.
We know where to find these people working, but what about life after the curtain closes, or after the paint brushes are put away? Visiting artists need places to relax and let their imagination run free, and Florida Studio Theatre now provides that to 20 visiting artists.
In October 2016, FST broke ground at the property on Cohen Way in the Rosemary District, backing up to Planned Parenthood. On the property sits the Kretzmer Artist Housing Project, which consists of five townhomes with four beds each, totaling 20 residential spots.
Artists could be in the residence as little as three weeks to as long as six months, and all are working on productions at one of FST’s five theatres.
On Dec. 4, top donors to the project gathered for a building dedication that began with drinks, light bites and residence tours before moving to the side of the building — next to a colorful mural with a modern take on “Hamlet” — for the building dedication ceremony.
FST Board Chairman Dennis McGillicuddy was one of several key players from FST to speak. McGillicuddy said he knows from conversing with many visiting actors that moving to Sarasota from somewhere across the country can be very stressful, so he sees this project as a way to show these individuals that FST cares about them and wants to make them feel at home.
“It’s a way to honor the people who have chosen acting as a profession,” McGillicuddy said. “It’s a way to say ‘we value you.’”
Florida Studio Theatre Producing Artistic Director Richard Hopkins spoke about how hard it can be to find donors for an artist residence, because donating to something like a theater is much more appealing — which makes him that much more grateful for their lead donor, Ernie Kretzmer (and his late wife Alisa Kretzmer, who he donated in honor of) and Ed and Susan Maier, who will match any donations received before the end of the year to help close the campaign.
“This is where the quiet work of creativity occurs,” he said of the residence.