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contents February 2020



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WORKING TOGETHER TO SAVE LIVES As the oldest blood bank in the state of Florida, and one of the oldest nonprofit blood centers in the entire country, SunCoast Blood Bank (SCBB) continues to cultivate a close-knit community of givers for those direly in need. Celebrating their 71st Anniversary this month, its tireless mission to collect, test, process, match, store and distribute a reliable supply of blood products, has continually served our community for decades. When O.K. Fike and Dr. Millard White founded what was formerly known as Lower West Coast Blood Bank in February 1949, they planted the seeds of a humanitarian idea that would blossom over the next seven decades. For more than 70 years, tens of thousands of dedicated volunteers have helped provide the critical lifesaving gift of blood to local hospitals and patients. In its inaugural year, the blood bank collected 551 pints of blood, now called “units.” Today, more than 1,000 blood drives are held in the region annually, and more than 40,000 units are collected. But what really sets SCBB apart from other blood banks is its local presence—blood bank board and management live in the communities it serves, and focuses on personalized and sincere interactions with every donor. The backbone of the nonprofit remains its continued support from blood donors, financial donors and volunteers. Its success has, and continues, to rely entirely on the generosity of its loyal and steadfast donors. L I V E

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THE NEXT GENERATION OF DONORS Cultivating a younger and broader generation of active donors. Many don’t understand blood to be a very perishable product with a very short shelf life. Much like food in the refrigerator, it will expire in just 42 days. Platelets are good for a mere five days. “When someone donates, it’s already got a clock ticking,” says SunCoast CEO Scott Bush. “And the demand for blood and platelets is growing tremendously here—there really is an urgent need to increase the number of donors.”

BUSH EXPECTS THE NEED TO GROW even more in the next two years when Sarasota Memorial opens its Cancer Institute, and so SCBB calls upon the community now more than ever to become educated and inspired on what a quick and painless visit can do to positively impact many lives. “With the rate of development in this area, there are more people needing treatment down here, especially in the wintertime,” he says. With seasonality coming into play, winter poses a higher demand because of retirees migrating from up north to escape the cold. “If they need a hip replacement, they’re not likely to do it up there,” says Bush. “You don’t want to go outside with a new hip or knee and trip or slip on the ice. They come down here to get treatment, and that more than doubles the need for blood and platelets locally in the winter.” According to Bush, even though there are more people moving to the area, only 3% of those people will end up donating. “It’s staggering when you realize that only 3% of our population is supplying 100% of the blood products for the community.” And when there’s only a sliver of people donating, there is never a large enough supply on hand. “We rarely ever have products that get to their 42-day shelf life,” he says. And of that 3%, the average age is 54 (and older for this area). Unfortunately, in more cases than not, many do not become donors until a loved one or someone they know has


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been diagnosed with a severe illness or been in a serious accident. For Kevin, a local Sarasotan, his mother died of cancer when he was just 13. He watched his mother go through treatment, which included many blood products. At a very early age he understood the importance of blood donation and started donating when he was 19 years-old. He has not stopped since. Kevin comes in to SCBB faithfully every two weeks to donate platelets, which are vital in the treatment of cancer. Kevin has made 697 donations and he is a 161-gallon donor. To invigorate more lifelong donors like Kevin, who has been able to save thousands of lives over the years, SCBB continually looks to educate and engage high school and college students. The nonprofit hosts mobile blood drives throughout the school year and also offers scholarships to encourage continued participation. Students who donate three times their senior year, or volunteer 30 hours, are eligible to apply. To date, more than $275,000 has been awarded to students from 14 local high schools. “We rely heavily on this age group to supply blood. They are great candidates because they are young and healthy. If they begin donating as a teenager, like Kevin, they are likely to become life-long donors,” says Bush. Major incidents that are heavily publicized, such as the mass shootings in Las Vegas and Orlando, or devastating natural disasters such as a hurricane bring donors out. “After 911, there

This spread, le to right: Alexander needed 70 units of blood when he was accidentally shot in the chest by a friend; SCBB Donors





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was a line out the door. It was great how many people responded and wanted to help,” says Bush. “But we shouldn’t have to have mass tragedies to feel inspired to donate. There are elderly, injured and sick people in the hospital every day that need transfusions.” Cancers, blood disorders, rare diseases, aneurysm or sustaining someone through surgery after a car accident so they don’t perish on the table, are all instances where blood transfusions save lives. “It seems everyone is impacted by cancer in some way, be it a family member, friend or coworker,” he says, noting over half of SCBB’s platelet donations are needed by patients undergoing chemotherapy. “Chemo just wipes you out. It kills the cancer cells, but it also damages the healthy cells,” says Bush. “So, we need to replace those blood products so patients can function and survive. This aspect of the need for blood is not publicized like mass tragedies, but it’s the everyday reality. Cancer strikes everyone from infants to grandparents and many would not survive without blood products. Quite simply, there is no substitute for human blood when needed for treatment.”

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BECAUSE OF A CARING, GENEROUS community that literally donates a piece of themselves to strangers, SunCoast Blood Bank couldn’t do as much good as they do. “It really is an amazing gesture for someone you’ll likely never meet,” says Bush. Fredd and Shelia Atkins are both well-known in Sarasota and have devoted their lives to their family and community. They are also life-long blood donors with SCBB. Fredd is up to 17 gallons and Shelia is at 3 gallons. Together, they encourage others to donate, especially the next generation. “We need to educate our children early about the importance of donating blood,” says Shelia. They note, “No matter how busy life gets, you can find the time.” For Hannah Marsh, she remains inherently grateful for people like the Atkins. Hannah’s story began in 2008 when she was five years old. She woke up one morning with a severe nosebleed, bruising, and purple spots all over her body. ER doctors found that her platelet count was fatally low and her organs were shutting down. Fortunately, a quick diagnosis showed that Hannah had hemophagocytic lymph histiocytosis (HLH). HLH affects about one in 1.2 million children and causes an immune system malfunction, destroying red and white blood cells and platelets. She didn’t respond to the treatment, and her only hope for a cure was a bone marrow transplant. “There was no match in our family or in the entire U.S. We finally got a match in Germany,” said her mom Kelly Marsh. “Hannah received the transplant one day before her sixth birthday, but for all the months leading up to that, she was totally dependent on blood and platelet transfusions to survive.” In all, Hannah received more than 400 life-sustaining units of blood and platelets. Hannah’s older sister Shelby, became a blood donor as soon as she was old enough, and the youngest plans to donate as soon as she turns 16. “Before this happened, I really didn’t understand the importance of having a local blood bank that provides the appropriate blood for transfusion as well as having an adequate, safe blood supply within the community,” says Shelby. “I did not have any idea that my family would would go through something like this.” To get the next generation on board with donating to save lives like hers, Hannah strongly encourages her fellow high school peers to get on board with becoming avid donors, as she herself is now an active and frequent donor. “I want to give back to the community and thank donors for what they did for me 11 years ago when I was a kid,” she says. “I was given hundreds of bags of blood for months on end. So, I just want to give back a little of what I received.”

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LOOKING TO THE FUTURE SunCoast Blood Bank looks to make waves in healthcare on a local and global level.

This page, le to right: New operations and donor center opening in March at 3025 Lakewood Ranch Blvd. Test tubes holding blood samples

CONTINUING TO REMAIN ON THE CUTTING-EDGE of bio research and cellular therapy, donors who come through the doors soon realize SunCoast Blood Bank doesn’t just host mobile blood drives around town—it’s what happens to the blood after. A new wave of therapy, called CAR-T, is going to use the patient’s own blood cells to actually fight their cancer. “These are the types of innovative cancer therapies and treatments we’re going to participate in,” shares Bush. “CAR-T is a form of immunotherapy that uses specially altered T cells and holds a lot of promise,” And come March, SunCoast Blood Bank will expand to a brand new 25,000-acre facility in Lakewood Ranch to conduct further bio research, along with all its operations. With the organization having completely run out of space—having to open four smaller facilities spread among four countries— consolidating all its components into one center will ultimately ensure higher efficiency. “We’re all going to be under one roof again,” shares Bush. “This will consolidate our operation and make us even leaner and more cost effective. We already have one of the most competitive cost structures in the United States, definitely in Florida.” The new headquarters will house product manufacturing and components, the warehouse, as well as a reference lab for patient testing. The lab will allow SCBB to test for patient compatibility and antibody identification at the DNA molecular level. The Lakewood Ranch facility will also encompass one central administration office, as well as a large donor center with state-of-the-art collection and testing instruments that will maximize blood donor and recipient safety and comfort. Upon completion, SCBB will concentrate on a long-needed renovation of its flagship donor center located at 1760 Mound Street in Sarasota. Additionally, SunCoast Blood Bank recently invested in a testing laboratory in Stone Mountain, Georgia. The partnership with 12 other nonprofit blood centers throughout the United States is the first of its kind. Testing and screenings are mandatory for every blood product collected and extremely expensive. “We have the safest blood supply in the world. But it comes at a cost,” says Bush. “Safety of the blood supply is our highest priority and having the testing center will allow us to dictate and control our own pricing—allowing us to be very competitive and actually keep the prices down, instead of pharmaceutical companies telling us to expect an increase.” With a dozen national blood banks banning together, testing can be done at cost. Effectively, this contributes to lowering the cost of healthcare in our community. The collaboration allows SunCoast Blood Bank to share the volume of over one million samples and utilize Atlanta as a tier one airport to get units shipped in from anywhere around the country. “I think it will create the most competitive pricing in the United States for any kind of donor testing in the U.S,” states Bush. “And those savings just get passed on to the community. It will have an immediate impact.”

To learn more about how you can financially support SCBB through gifts or bequests, please contact Jayne Giroux, 941-954-1600 ext 124, jgiroux@scbb.org To schedule a blood donation, contact 1-866-97-BLOOD, www. scbb.org, @suncoastbb.


1760 Mound St., Sarasota, 34236. LAKEWOOD RANCH PLAZA

1731 LWR Blvd., Bradenton, 34211 BIRD BAY PLAZA


6026 14th St., West Bradenton, 34207

To volunteer for SCBB, contact Joan Leonard, 941-954-1600 ext 150, jleonard@scbb.org SunCoast Blood Bank is a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization whose federal identification number is 59-0873275.

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SRQ360 14 Inside the Brand 106 CocoTele 110 RSVP MARKETING FEATURES 7 43 45 61 97

BRANDSTORY– Suncoast Blood Bank Provisionist Tribute to Business: Leadership in the Region FORUM 2040 The Future Vision for Philanthropy and the Arts. Nosh Restaurants

This page: Pantone’s Classic

Blue kicks off the year with goods to match, photography by Wyatt Kostygan. Siesta Key home by Traction Architecture, photography by Ryan Gamma. Cover: Calling All Angels, photography by Evan Sigmund. See the full feature on page 80.

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The new Women’s Sports Museum, the only museum in the world dedicated solely to women in sports, is due to make its mark in Sarasota. Go out on a limb with Sophie Hollingsworth is the female Indiana Jones of our time. SRQ-BEATS production company wants to connect the city to sound. Shiny Gumbo makes Louisiana cuisine a Florida family affair. Paul Caragiulo on Sarasota, sincerity and public policy.

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Sarasota’s Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe returns with a stellar new space and 20thanniversary season. In a

nondescript garage in Venice, sculptor Geza Gaspar rebuilds what he left behind. Four decorated illustrators and cartoonists dish on the art and legacy of Jack Davis. Florida Studio Theatre presents “Handle With Care,” a charming rom-com with an even more charming backstory.



A 3,200-square-foot new residence on Siesta Key is the contemporary work of Tampa’s Traction Architecture and a “forever home” for Domingo and Karin Galliano. Trendsetters, jet-setters and gal pals from France bring high fashion stateside with the MOI Concept Store. Pantone Color of the Year: Classic Blue is reminiscent of the sky at dusk, or the sapphire gemstone.



Heating up the streets of Downtown Sarasota is El Melvin Cocina Mexicana. From scoop to shot, the best local spots to grab the creamy coffee Italian treat affogato.

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Senate President Bill Galvano has one more legislative session, and he wants the Bradenton area to feel the benefit.

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CocoTele shares the love with local nonprofits and the programs they are producing.

last flight 112 Myakka River: A Florida Treasure, Clyde Butcher..

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Wyatt Kostygan






Ariel Chates


Phil Lederer, Jacob Ogles WRITERS Andrew Fabian, Abby Weingarten, John Witte COPYEDITOR Maude Campbell CONTRIBUTING ARTISTS Chris Leverett, Evan Sigmund, Woody Woodman. MARKETING INTERNS Annelise Adams EXECUTIVE PUBLISHER





Brittany Mattie


Ashley Ryan Cannon


Suzanne Munroe Julie Mayer Magnifico Rob Wardlaw



GET SRQ DAILY The magazine in your hands offers enormous insight into our community, but the most informed in our community follow our constant coverage of Sarasota and the Bradenton Area in SRQ Daily. The electronic newsletter is a must-read in thousands of inboxes. Check our special editions: the Monday Business Edition, the Wednesday Philanthropy Edition, the Friday Weekend Edition and the much-discussed Saturday Perspectives Edition, featuring a diverse range of opinions from the region’s top pundits and newsmakers. SIGN UP ONLINE AT SRQMAG.COM/SRQDAILY

ORIGINS OF “SRQ” The “SRQ” in SRQ magazine originates from the designated call letters for the local Sarasota Bradenton International Airport. “SR” was the original abbreviation for the airport before the growth in total number of airports required the use of a three-letter code. Letters like “X” and “Q” were used as filler, thus the original “SR” was revised to “SRQ,” much as the Los Angeles airport became “LAX.” As a regional publication committed to the residents of and visitors to both Sarasota and Manatee counties, SRQ captures the place that we call home.

Aidee Rodriguez


SUBSCRIBE TO THE PRINT AND DIGITAL EDITION Join our readers in the pleasurable experience of receiving SRQ magazine in your mailbox every month. To reserve your subscription, provide your information and payment online. You can set up multiple addresses, renewals and special instructions directly through your online account. When you subscribe online, your first print issue will arrive in your mailbox in 4–6 weeks. For immediate access to the digital edition, subscribe directly at our flipbook. Subscribe online at SRQMAG.COM/SUBSCRIBE. Contact us via email at subscribe@srqme.com Vol. 23, Issue 224 Copyright © 2020 SRQ MEDIA. SRQ: Live Local | Thrive Local. Sarasota and Bradenton is published 12 times a year. IMPORTANT NOTICE: The entire contents of SRQ are copyrighted by Trafalger Communications, Inc. Column and department names are property of Trafalger Communications, Inc. and may not be used or reproduced without express written permission of the publisher. SUBSCRIPTION: Subscriptions to SRQ are $36 for 24 issues. Single copies are $4 at area newsstands.

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INSIDE THE BRAND JOIN US—SB2: Regional Economy & Localpreneur of the year awards, Thursday, February 20, 2020




SB2: State of the Regional Economy and Localpreneur of the Year Awards Luncheon

Follow us @srqmag and join the conversation to see your comments here!

Facebook @Leaf & Lentil: SRQ Magazine you nailed it! Thank you so much for the awesome article. We feel so fortunate to be part of such a wonderful and supportive community. @Urbanite Theatre: SRQ Magazine gets the scoop on SENDER from director Brendan Ragan and actor Mary Williamson. @530 Burns Galley: Thank you to John Wie and SRQ Magazine for featuring artist Linda Richichi in January’s issue of the magazine!

JOIN SRQ MEDIA AS WE KICK OFF the very first SB2 Symposium of 2020: The State of the Regional Economy on Thursday, February 20 at the Hyatt Regency Sarasota. This economy-focused SB2 panel discussion and luncheon will delve into marketplace resiliency, the economic health of the region and will serve as a forum where pressing local business-related matters may be discussed. SRQ MEDIA is pleased to announce a stellar list of local business leaders and influencers from higher education as well as the financial, public services and tourism sectors. SB2 panelists include: Elliot Falcione, Executive Director of the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau; Rick Konsavage, Managing Director of The Longboat Key Club/Ocean

Properties; Chris Laney, Workforce Education Director of CareerSource Suncoast; Brian Mariash, Senior Vice President of Mariash Lowther Wealth Management, and Dr. Donal O’Shea, President of New College of Florida. Following what is sure to be an insightful conversation, SRQ Magazine will celebrate the 2020 Localpreneur of the Year Awards. Developed to recognize entrepreneurs who have made impactful regional contributions, the ‘Localpreneur of the Year’ program celebrates locally-owned business owners who have earned the respect of their peers in the following areas: corporate acumen, innovation, philanthropy, leadership and community impact. The SB2 State of the Regional Economy Symposium would not be possible without the support of event

Vote for your favorite local luminaries, dining hotspots and experiences—Best of SRQ Local Ballots Now Open. Celebrating the best locally owned establishments in the region, SRQ MEDIA asks our astute readers to vote for their favorite local eats, shopping, arts, luminaries and hotspots culminating in the buzzworthy special “Best of SRQ Local” awards feature published in the April 2020 edition. We look to highlight local experiences—from new restaurants to memorable theatre productions, from our community’s best achievements to seriously talented chefs. SRQMAG.COM/BESTOFSRQ

@The Windsor of Lakewood Ranch: Thank you to our friends at SRQ Magazine for honoring The Windsor of Lakewood Ranch as an Elite Retirement Community for 2020! @Ed Explore SRQ: Thank you to SRQ Magazine for this great coverage of the recent Exploration grants we made to area schools and teachers.

Instagram @tamarynkyladesigns Thank you so much @ srqmag for including our recent bathroom reno in your January issue. @holosarchitecturedesign: So excited for our first feature in @srqmag this month! Check out their article “Happy Spaces” for a glimpse of a Master Bedroom project. @graberhomes: We are honored to have pictures featured in the January issue of SRQ Magazine.

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inside the brand sponsors: Catalist Realty, The Longboat Key Club, and Waterworks Sarasota, as well the 2019-2020 Series Sponsors: Mariash Lowther Wealth Management, CareerSource Suncoast, JFCS, New College of Florida, The Hyatt Regency Sarasota, Sue Ellen Florals, and PSAV. TICKETS AND TABLES AVAILABLE AT SRQMAG. COM/SB2. FOR QUESTIONS, PLEASE CONTACT AIDEE RODRIGUEZ AT 941-365-7702 X221 OR AIDEE.RODRIGUEZ@SRQME.COM.

SRQ Media Holiday Soiree at Waterworks



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Below: DJ Antoinette Van Dewark producing the feels with SRQBEATS’ Nati Pitch.

LET THE BEAT DROP srq-beats production company wants to connect the city to sound. Brittany Mattie



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srqist FROM THE DUST PILES OF THE BLACK ROCK DESERT OF BURNING MAN to the tropical electronic beaches

of Ibiza, Nati Pitch brings the lights, the sounds and the ethereal experience of a stage for music festivals and events worldwide. He can thank his rebellious high school self for his career successes—skipping class most days to run off into the hypnotic city of Tel Aviv to train under the fancy keyboarding hands of Israel’s biggest DJs instead of sitting in geometry. Pitch eventually moved on to become his own brand. After traveling and making music internationally most of his life, he’s since settled in Sarasota, but by no means settled. His newly established company SRQ-BEATS produces unique experiences by organizing, filming and broadcasting pop-up concerts in unusual locations in and around Sarasota. The carefully chosen locations may hold historical importance or be artistically interesting; they may show off the natural beauty of a place or be under the John Ringling Bridge at Bird Key Park. “Our prime goal is to showcase cultural heritage and landmarks throughout the prism of music and videos,” says founder and producer Nati Pitch. With that goal in mind, SRQ-BEATS culls talent internationally— collaborating with artists from Israel, London, Italy and Brazil—to bring experiential events to the (941) so partygoers don’t feel like they have to go to Miami, Tampa or Orlando for a top-notch performance. Pulling from his arsenal of artist contacts, Nati invited Antoinette Van Dewark—a Los Angeles DJ and

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producer he met at a camp in a Burning Man art and music festival two years ago where he did the sound and lasers for three of the thousand-plus stages—as his special guest. DJ Antoinette flew to Sarasota to perform at SRQ Media’s holiday party last December in Waterworks Sarasota to mix upbeat and ethereal sounds for the room, and even perform her new EP release exclusively for the first time. Her newest EP under the Fantastic Voyage record label consists of five originals, as well as remixes from her first album. Although Antoinette has played for some of the largest and liveliest crowds from the biggest EDM stages— including the Dome set at Burning Man, Art With Me music festival in Tulum and endless underground parties throughout California—she admits that some of her most memorable shows have been the smaller, more intimate ones where she can truly connect and interact with the crowd. “There’s a reason music is universal and heals,” she shares. “When I sense the audience is connected to me and my music, it’s the best feeling in the world.” SRQ-BEATS plans to continue bringing “the crème de la crème” in the industry and cultivate the music scene here by putting on one live show or community event per month—each entirely different in location and DJ guest appearance. “I’m willing to do whatever it takes to get big-name artists here to educate the people of Sarasota about music,” says Nati. “I want to influence the way this city connects with sound.” SRQ


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This page: Rendering of the Women’s Sports Museum.

WHO RULE THE WORLD? The only museum in the world dedicated solely to women in sports is due to make its mark in Sarasota. Brittany Mattie

THE WOMEN’S SPORTS MUSEUM (WSM) WILL REVEAL ITS PERMANENT preview center this Spring of 2020 at the University Town Center (UTC) with hopes to build adequate fundraising support for a final build at Nathan Benderson Park. The idea for WSM sparked from a former All-American Girls professional baseball player, who initially wanted to build a museum for professional women baseball players. Once WSM’s founding board members learned there wasn’t a single museum in the entire world devoted uniquely to women in sports, well, the concept evolved across the board. The group of accomplished Sarasota-based women athletes, and their supporters, decided to celebrate the achievements of all female athletes and inspire young girls through the power of sport, culture, history, equality and education. The soon-to-come “living, breathing” museum will feature interactive, state-of-the-art exhibits that recognize badass dames of the stadium—including historic athletes of all abilities, broadcasters, referees, executives and coaches—who have defeated the odds in professional sports, defied gender stereotypes and lead all women to new heights. Outside its groundbreaking institution, the team at WSM also plans to celebrate annual trailblazers in present day who have achieved success in all different realms, far beyond the court or field. Among the all-star honorees who have received the Trailblazer award thus far have been Dr. Jen Welter, the first female coach in the NFL; Mackenzie Soldan, a wheelchair basketball and tennis player/medalist; and Renee Powell, one of seven African Americans to play in the Ladies Professional Golf Association. “We want to give girls the huge life advantage that comes with playing sports,” says President Beth Green. “The idea is ‘see it; be it.’ Though more and more girls are becoming involved in sports, there are many more who can benefit from learning about female athletes and their successes both on the field and in life.” SRQ

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This page: The family serves up Cajun gumbo from the window of their food truck.

Shiny Gumbo makes Louisiana cuisine a Florida family affair. Phil Lederer

WALKING UP TO THE WINDOW AT SHINY GUMBO with a hankering for some Cajun-style red beans and rice or a hot bowl of crawfish etouffee becomes something almost akin to strolling up to the Spencer family’s kitchen window itself and rapping on the pane for a taste of what’s cooking. And within the appropriately burnished and gleaming metal confines of this mobile gumbo galley, one’s as apt to find proprietors Patrick or Leigh smiling back as they are to find one of their bright-eyed children, all of whom serve important roles in the new family business—serving up homemade Cajun cuisine from the rear window of the food truck they all helped build. Gumbo, jambalaya, etouffee: everything comes homemade from family recipes crafted over the last 20 years and perfected through massive impromptu taste tests that saw the Spencers feeding neighbors up and down the whole street. The jambalaya comes rich and smoky, with Andouille sausage and shrimp leading a jazzy parade across the taste buds and leaving a slow burn that immediately invites the next bite. The titular gumbo earns its vaunted place with a dark butter roux swimming with sausage, chicken, onions, green pepper and celery, each added individually and given time to simmer so that the flavors mingle, but do not overpower each other. Customers are invited to mix and match, with the “gumbo-laya” already becoming a fast favorite. “Part of the Cajun attitude is that you gotta go with the flow,” says Leigh. “Just fill up the bowl.” SRQ

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SRQ goes out on a limb with the female Indiana Jones of our time. Brittany Mattie


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HOMETOWN HERO OF EXPLORATION SOPHIE HOLLINGSWORTH devotes her dirty boots to achieving a more sustainable future. When she’s not starting fires, camping on a solo expedition across the Australian outback, she’s putting out fires by disengaging a potential nationwide outbreak in a third-world village of Africa. The “modern day explorer” has already seen a century’s worth of the world in her quarter-century of living.

Hollingworth calls somwehere between Sydney, Australia and New York City her home base now, but the vivacious and worldly rambler hasn’t forgotten her indigenous roots in little ol’ Sarasota. Her passion for expeditions off the beaten track and discovering indigenous ways of life have led her to undertake uncharted treks and far-flung adventures most deem too inhospitable to bother. With a résumé that includes everything from trekking the mountains of Madagascar and traversing across the desert in Namibia, to meeting tribes in the Republic of Vanuatu to conduct ethnographic research and sailing across the Pacific Ocean as the youngest woman to obtain a 200-ton MCA Yachtmaster Captain’s License, her environmental advocacy work and writings have since been featured internationally by organizations like the United Nations and publications like Oceanographic Magazine and National Geographic. In 2017, she earned herself the revered title of New Explorer of the Year by National Geographic, and has since been dubbed by many media sources as “the Millennial Indiana Jones.” After a long-distance call from down under with SRQ, Hollingsworth discussed what excites her to share with hometown friends, newfound friends and followers of her online presence, including her blog The Sofia Log. “I get told a lot that I was born 200 years too late to be an explorer,” she laughs, sharing what it means to be an explorer in the 21st century and touching on the

importance of mindful exploration. “Exploration is not about planting your nation’s flag in an uncharted territory or being the first to summit the world’s tallest mountain,” she says. And although today’s tech-savvy era has spawned a new wave of social-media-starved explorers who crave “likes” for their brave adventure travels, she goes on to carefully note, “Exploration, at its core, is curiosity and action, it can still be used as an integral piece in helping build a more sustainable future.” Today, Hollingsworth holds the title of health security specialist for civil military relations in infectious disease outbreaks and biodefense, as well as the environment consultant and ocean campaign leader for Global Citizen. Meanwhile, Hollingsworth manages to find time to also operate her own nonprofit organization. As the founder of AquaAid International, she works with remote villages and local governments of Central America and Sub-Saharan Africa, helping to establish sustainable sources of, or access to, clean drinking water and basic sanitation needs. “I’ve been really fortunate to get out into these really remote places and experience cultures who have an alternative way of engaging with the planet,” shares the former Sarasotan. “I get that not everyone is interested in having these types of experiences, but I hope to encourage people to at least get out of their comfort zones, go outside more, slow down and see the world a little bit differently.” SRQ

This spread, left to right: Photo by Dave Hodge; photo by Corey Woosley; and, photo by Alan McNaughton.



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THE COURSE OF THE HEART Paul Caragiulo on Sarasota, sincerity and public policy. John Witte


both Sarasota’s City and County commissions. Now the longtime resident, family man, amateur singer and pickuptruck enthusiast is back in public life as the Chair of the Sarasota Chamber of Commerce. SRQ magazine had a chance to sit down with Paul and get deep about his philosophy toward governance, and the differences between being the Chair of the Chamber of Commerce and sitting on the County Commission.

SRQ: So, how did you transition from the County Commission to the Chamber of Commerce? Paul Caragiulo: A couple of years ago, I was on the Chamber of Commerce board. Initially, when I got on the County Commission, there was a seat that was sort of held—back when they did such things here—for the school board, for the city, for the county. All that stuff kind of has evolved since then. But I was on the board for pretty much the entire time I was on the County Commission as a representative of the county. Before my term was about to end, after I had determined that I wasn’t running again, the previous chair and the executive director approached me and asked if I would be interested in being the chair. When you’re on a board like this and you’re representing government interest—like I was, as a member of the County Commission—you are there representing other people technically. So one has to very selectively engage about taking positions on things, just because it’s really not about your position. You’re there as an official representation of a much larger group. Now that I’m back representing the private sector, I’m a little more free to engage. It’s what I really like doing. I love policy work. I mean, I don’t like politics, but I love policy work. When you’re doing constituent service and you’re an elected official, you really don’t get to work on policy in the same way—at least if you’re running your desk the way I did, which is coming from the restaurant business. For me it’s a customer service thing, so you don’t necessarily get to work on all the stuff that you want to. Well, here, in my position at the Chamber, things are a little more narrowly focused and it’s more participatory for what some of my stronger feelings and ideas are that have to do with the overall economic environment.

This actually hadn’t occurred to me until you started talking, but running a restaurant, even if you’re not personally waiting tables, is very front-facing. The County Commission is similar in that regard. It’s people work. One has to genuinely have an interest in people. I can tell you that one of the reasons why the Caragiulos have been successful for 30 years is because that’s who we are as hospitalitarians—we come from a “yes” culture. We come from the world of, “The answer is yes. What’s the question?” You can’t do that when you’re elected to the commissioner’s office, making promises that you can’t keep, speaking for other people, taking

positions on things or inevitably getting involved in the administrative level of government, which is not where you’re supposed to be at all as a commissioner. So there are some challenges there, but, still, I think I’m pretty honest with people. If you were to speak with the people that I’ve had contact with, in my professional life, I think that fact would be fairly conspicuous. I’m a person who just likes talking on the phone. I like to see people in person. I don’t have any interest in saying it into an interfacing device if I can avoid it.

So authenticity, it’s a big part of your guiding philosophy? More sincerity, I think, than authenticity. But it’s like anything else. It’s a skill set. I don’t think anyone really wanders into political office and knows what to do. Any normally wired person takes time to find their voice. They gain a little bit of confidence when you’re sitting there. What you’ll hear probably universally from just about anybody who does the job is that it is absolutely nothing like you think it’s going to be when you start. But gosh, I mean, you do the job. I wandered into the City Commission. I finished at the City Commission literally at like 9:30pm on a Monday night, and at Tuesday at 9am, I was on the County Commission. I can tell you there are a lot of things that if I went back into that world that I would do differently, because I would just know so much. Not philosophically, but just functionally, I would do things very differently. There’s no substitute for this cliché and campy as it might sound, there’s really no substitute for being truthful, not because I’m a good person, just because it’s easier. When you have to run around and try to remember what you said to which person and play that game, it’s like “Forget it.”

what are the risks and rewards of being a sincere politician, given that you represent the interests of other people? Let’s test the space out. Right? One of the things that’s very different about being in the local stuff is the level of access is completely different. Your constituent contact is at its most primal and organic sort of thing, which does have an effect. Let’s say you’re a CPA, and you go into your business and do what you’re going to do. You’re in your office. You get a fairly tertiary kind of interaction with people. That’s one thing. But, say, if you’re in the restaurant business, it’s a whole different thing. My point is that you’re never off, because you’re there, you’re out

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This page: Paul Caragiulo enjoys the sunset from a corner of Downtown Sarasota.

there, you’re at your kid’s school, you’re at church, or you’re at whatever you’re doing, and that never stops, whereas the extreme when you are higher in the tier, you might say, access is very limited and becomes very limited very quickly once you wander after a certain point. Which is why relationships matter, ultimately. I think I was able to do a pretty good job at what I was doing because I made relationships with people in the state legislature and the congress, and that’s where it kind of helps. But, again, it’s a difference. See, I don’t have any interest in doing that stuff because it’s too complicated. I don’t want to walk around and check the doors for heat everywhere I go. I don’t have the attention span for it. So it’s good and bad. I don’t belong in that world. You know why? Because I don’t have the discipline to say, “I’ll let so-and-so take care of that” or “Speak to so-and-so.” If I have to take the time to explain something to someone, I could’ve got it done myself which is not the most effective way to operate, but it’s the way that I know how.

So I’m sure I am not the first person to say this, but being good with people, it’s really hard to teach. So how did you wind up with that skill set? Hey, some people like trees, and some people like people. I don’t know. I’m the youngest of six kids. So there was never a shortage of people around. I have a very large, very close family. We lived next to my grandparents. I mean, there were always people around. I don’t know what it’s like to not have a bunch of people around. So I was doing an Eagle Scout board of review the other night, and one of the things that you spend a lot of time talking about in the program— the service project. So, depending on the scale of the project, one of the things that can come into the mix is fundraising. Some projects require a kid to go out and to raise $5,000 for a project—in this case, a gazebo for a church. I was looking at the document and I see the whole list of donations. It’s pages and pages of these names and $10 or $15 or $50 or whatever it was. I asked the kid, “Did you go and ask all these people for money?” As a politician, that’s fascinating to me, because if you want to know something that I absolutely hate, it’s that. I can’t ask people for money who owe me money, let alone people who don’t. So I asked the kid, “How did you do that?” He’s like, “No, I don’t have a problem. ” I’m like, “Dude, I know you want to be an engineer, but you’re in the five percentile of people if you can do this and it doesn’t bother you, or you don’t find it cumbersome or embarrassing or don’t have that vulnerability.

what’s the restaurant portfolio look like right now? If you don’t mind my asking. There are a bunch of places, but I only have a specific interest in two. I stepped out back when I was on the City Commission, but I was very fortunate that my siblings and business partners were very supportive of what I was doing. So now I’m kind of anxious to get back. I think you would be hard-pressed to find another bunch of Italian males who can work together so effectively and peacefully. In hospitality, at the end of the day, you are inevitably making an investment in people. I think the food part of what we do is sort of incidental because we’re about spaces and the feelings of where we are, this idea of sense of place. SRQ PHOTOGRAPHY BY EVAN SIGMUND.


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The new West Coast Black Theatre Troupe lobby

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BACK WITH A BRAND-NEW AESTHETIC AND A BUSTLING 20TH-ANNIVERSARY LINEUP, Sarasota’s Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe is freshly renovated and ready to wow. The company’s Heart & Soul Campaign—a capital $8 million fundraising effort—paid for a revamped theater with multiple beautified spaces and permanent seats. Construction began on May 1 and was completed in December, just before the season kickoff.


Sarasota’s Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe returns with a stellar new space and 20th-anniversary season. PHOTOGRAPHY BY WYATT KOSTYGAN.


Written by Abby Weingarten

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The 20thAnniversary Season Lineup Caroline, or Change (book and

“The renovation brings more patron comfort in terms of real seating, better sight lines, enlarged restrooms, and a larger and more beautiful lobby,” says Julie Leach, the Theatre’s executive director. “We can add more programming opportunities with the added black box stage, and we will have great rehearsal and cast areas to improve the comfort and working spaces of our artists.” The renovation included turning the 1926 Binz warehouse building into an education and outreach center. It now houses a full floor of rehearsal and instructional studios, a floor for the weekday box office and administrational protocol, and a rooftop terrace that is available for event rental. The project also included a complete transformation of the 1970s warehouse building theater into the Gerri Aaron and the Aaron Family Foundation Theatre Building, which encompasses the 200-seat Donelly Family Theatre, the main-stage theater and the Howard J. Millman 50-seat black box theater. “The renovation of the education and outreach building allowed us to expand our education programs, move onto one campus instead of renting office space elsewhere and invite the community in for a variety of programs and rentals,” Leach says. The main-stage seating increase of 40 extra seats allows more patrons to view the productions (the Theatre sold out its seating capacity early last season, leaving many potential ticket buyers unable to attend). Leach looks forward to accommodating more incomers and introducing the community to the Theatre’s offerings. And this massive upgrade has been a long time coming, she says. The 20-year-old troupe spent its first 10 years as a vagabond traveling group. In 2010, the company found its current warehouse building as a rental but, unfortunately, it went into foreclosure shortly after that. “We were able to purchase the warehouse and the Binz building for $450,000. Then we had a permanent home where our patrons could find us, we could sell subscriptions since we had permanent seating and we could expand our stage and education programs,” Leach says. “But renovating the space will really allow the Theatre to grow its programs and more fully accomplish its mission, which has always been to produce professional theater that promotes and celebrates the African American experience.” The main-stage season in the new space began on January 8 and will run through July 12, rather than the usual season of October through April. The lineup starts with Caroline, or Change and continues with such shows as Your Arms Too Short to Box with God, Ruby (a Nate Jacobs original), and Flyin’ West. “We

are celebrating women this season—women who face challenging circumstances, break through barriers and do so much to ‘carry’ families, society and cultures in all the meanings of that word,” says Nate Jacobs, the Theatre’s founder and artistic director. “Audiences will meet and be moved by memorable characters this season. I am especially excited to present the world premiere of a show that I wrote with my brother, Michael, called Ruby.” Jacobs is thrilled to pay tribute to the late playwright Vinnette Carroll, the first African American woman to direct a Broadway show, with the staging of Your Arms Too Short to Box with God. The Theatre’s education programs are also continuing, including the Jazzlinks initiative, which brings history to life for students in area high schools. Jazzlinks is an integrated arts experience that illustrates the role of African Americans in United States history through music and theater. Actors visit classrooms, become the iconic figures in African American history and jazz, and share their stories. The actors discuss instances of discrimination they encountered in spite of their fame and respond (in character) to questions from the students. A culminating performance brings the full ensemble back to each school, and it features a vibrant show of music, dance and poetry. This program was developed through a collaboration between the Theatre, the Jazz Club of Sarasota and Sarasota County Public Schools. Two curriculum specialists from the district prepared the content for 11th-grade students. The program connects three historical events with musical and dramatic illustrations, such as the Dyer Anti-Lynching Bill, with a performance of “Strange Fruit,” the emotional song Billie Holiday made famous; the Harlem Renaissance with “Take the A Train,” which The Duke Ellington Orchestra immortalized; and the trial of the Scottsboro Boys with the spiritual “Oh Freedom!” The Theatre even boasts a popular program for elementary students called Rhythm & Tales, in which educational lessons are learned through engaging fables like “The Supercilious Seed” and “The Alligators and the Flamingos.” The stories and songs teach young children about kindness, understanding, inclusion and how to do the right thing in school and in life. As Leach says, “Our goal as a theater is to attract diverse audiences, to support and develop African American artists, and to build the self-esteem of African American youth.” SRQ Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe: 1012 North Orange Ave., Sarasota, 941-366-1505, westcoastblacktheatre.org.

lyrics by Tony Kushner; music by Jeanine Tesori) January 8–February 16. Set in 1963 in small-town Louisiana, this show follows the story of Caroline, an African American maid, and her employers, the Gellman family. The score weaves together blues, gospel and traditional Jewish klezmer music.

Your Arms Too Short to Box with God (book by Vinnette Carroll; music and lyrics by Alex Bradford and Micki Grant) February 26– April 5. Based on the Bible’s Book of Matthew, this musical follows Jesus Christ, his apostles and the women who inspired and followed him. From parables to miracles, and crucifixion to resurrection, it is a tale of love, betrayal and redemption told through a trove of rousing gospel music. The show celebrates the work of its creator, the late Carroll, who was the first African American woman to ever direct a Broadway show.

Ruby: A World Premiere New Musical (book and lyrics by Nate and Michael Jacobs; music and direction by Nate Jacobs, with collaborating composer/lyricist Darin Atwater) April 15–May 24. On August 3, 1952, a black woman murdered a white doctor in Live Oak, Florida— guaranteeing a conviction for the woman bold enough to commit such a shocking crime. It brought the celebrated writer Zora Neale Hurston to the town to cover the story for a Northern newspaper. This musical explores the secrets that are hidden just beneath the surface of the idyllic, genteel exterior of a quaint Florida town, and it evokes the themes of the modern-day #MeToo movement.

Flyin’ West (book by Pearl Cleage; directed by Chuck Smith) June 3– July 12. In the 1890s, the lives of a small group of African American women changed after they left the oppressive South and settled in the all-black town of Nicodemus, Kansas. Their hope and determination to survive in a harsh region were tested as they built new lives for themselves and their families. With flashes of humor as well as serious themes, the show sheds new light on a chapter of American history that is seldom told.

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playwright Jason Odell Williams and wife Charlotte Cohn show that couples who work together can stay together. Andrew Fabian IF ’90S SITCOMS ARE TO BE BELIEVED, then marriage is largely a practice in strategic avoidance. As Roseanne, Married… with Children and

Everybody Loves Raymond taught us—with their bickering, eye rolls and slights mumbled under sighs—married couples should try not to rock the boat and should certainly never, under any circumstances, work together. But, for playwright Jason Odell Williams and wife Charlotte Cohn, whose lives both orbit the all-consuming world of theater, working together has become a regular part of their functional marriage, yielding collaborative bounty rather than rankling resentment. In their case, couples that work together stay together.


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Williams and Cohn first met in graduate school, each of them seeking degrees in theatre. Cohn would make her way into the highly competitive Broadway scene in NYC, while Williams would find his work in regional theatrer less than satisfying. “I wasn’t really vibing with it,” he says, “so I asked Charlotte, ‘If I wrote something, what kind of role would you want to play?’” She wanted to play a character that was misunderstood, so, in 2011, following this passing conversation, Williams penned a hybrid rom-com/holiday play called Handle With Care in which the female lead was tailor-made for the strengths of Cohn. The play’s story follows an Israeli woman named Ayelet (Cohn is half Israeli) who comes to America under mysterious circumstances. It opens with a scene in which Ayelet is yelling in Hebrew at a delivery driver that must call on his only Jewish friend named Josh to help decode her ranting. “I think Ayelet reflects Charlotte’s personality in that Israeli women are fiery,” says Williams. “That’s absolutely true,” says Cohn after a hearty laugh. “We tend to speak our mind.” And Cohn, who speaks Hebrew, Danish, Italian and English, also wrote all of the Hebrew dialogue. “It all fits her acting style and strengths,” says Williams. Though the parallels between Ayelet and Cohn stop there, the collaboration does not. During unofficial living room workshop sessions and bedtime readings, Cohn helped Williams develop some of the play’s action, campaigning for a heightened sense of belabored communication between the two leads. “I trust her to only want the play to get better,” he says. “When we started working together on this play, I thought it would be a one-off thing,” says Williams, “but it never stopped.” Since Handle With Care, the pair have gone on to collaborate on just about every screenplay Williams has penned, including other success-

ful plays like Church and State. And Cohn offers her expertise and support as actress, director, co-writer or in-house consultant for all of his work. “There are times, though, when I have to say ‘enough, at this time of night I am just your wife!’” she says. And when Handle With Care opened in Naples’ Gulfshore Playhouse in 2011, the married pair had an unexpected opportunity to deepen their collaboration further. Cohn was set to debut the play as Ayelet, naturally, but when the actor cast for Josh had to bail days before opening night, the director was left scrambling. Williams, torn between his mild disdain for acting and his excitement for the play’s first production, offered to fill in. The director, perhaps traumatized by one too many episodes of Married… with Children, opted for the understudy instead. “I think it worked out for the best,” says Williams, who went on to star as Josh for a production in Sacramento’s B Street Theatre in 2015 (without Cohn, unfortunately). Still, the two often wonder about what could have been. “I probably would’ve been close to breaking character the whole time,” says Williams, “but I still sort of regret we didn’t perform in the play together.” Cohn echoes that sentiment. “It would’ve been fun,” she says. “Couples can explore things onstage that other actors can’t.” Nonetheless, the play has enjoyed a long life since it was written, with more than 30 productions across the US since its debut, including a run at Florida Studio Theatre from December of last year to March of this year. The pair feel fortunate that a creation borne out of their passion for theater and love for each other has enjoyed so much success. And they both agree it has brought them closer together. “When married people keep their lives separate,” says Williams, “it just seems weird to me.” SRQ

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culture city


At Ringling College, a panel of aging fanboys remember the power of Jack Davis’s legacy. Andrew Fabian FOR KIDS THAT CAME OF AGE IN A POST-WWII AMERICA, fun

was a privilege doled out sparingly by parents that witnessed the horrors of war and a catastrophic economic depression. But at least one man born and raised in this period of scarcity transformed these cultural anxieties into a body of work that was full of life, untampered joy and a pinch of satire. That man was Jack Davis, a trailblazing illustrator whose iconic work in Mad Magazine, TIME Magazine and TV Guide gave permission to a generation of youngsters to pursue careers as cartoonists, caricaturists and illustrators at a time when the words “career” and “art” were seen as incompatible.

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This page: Images by Jack Davis; left: cover illustration for Football Hall of Shame, ink and

watercolor on paper, 1991; and right, montage of Jack Davis illustrations over the years.

PANELISTS The panel was hosted by the Ringling College of Art + Design as part of the “Jack Davis: Drawing American Pop Culture” exhibit this past fall at the Lois and David Stulberg Gallery. The panelists consisted of Rick Meyerowitz, American author and artist best known for his work in National Lampoon magazine; illustrator Bill Mayer, an RCAD graduate who has been commissioned by giants like Coca-Cola and DreamWorks; Alex Murawski, illustrator and professor emeritus at the University of Georgia Lamar Dodd School of Art; and Sam Viviano, caricaturist and former art director of Mad Magazine.

Four of these former youngsters, each of them now with heads of hair in various stages of decay, formed a panel at Ringling College of Art + Design’s Jack Davis exhibit this past November and spoke at length about their relationship with the man and the artist, sharing personal anecdotes and insights into how Davis helped lead them to fruitful and decorated careers as artists. The discussion waxed nostalgic, diverged into silly and made the case for Jack Davis as a giant in the world of American art. “I think Jack is up there with Norman Rockwell in recognizability,” says Mayer at the outset of the discussion. For Mayer, Davis’s work was an enormous part of his youth that helped shape his cultural literacy. “I overheard someone say, ‘Oh my God, I grew up with this stuff,’” he says, though many never knew that all of the famous caricatures of political figures, celebrities, athletes or historic moments were illustrated by the same person. Still, some made it a point to familiarize themselves with the man behind the kinetic illustrations, and Meyerowitz is among them. “I discovered Jack before Mad Magazine came out in ’53,” says Meyerowitz, who admired a lot of Davis’s early work with EC Comics, a comics publisher from the 1940s that specialized in horror and crime. “Those comics allowed me to want to draw all the craziness in my head,” he jokes. For Meyerowitz and his peers, the reputation of comics as perverters of America’s youth accounted for their magnetism, attracting budding subversives like a light bulb in a dark room. The same spirit of taboo followed Davis to Mad Magazine, where he would have the freedom to depict his subject matter satirically. “It came out of a sense of revolutionary foment,” says Murawski, who believes Davis’s work in Mad helped define a generation of dissidents. “It was about being critical while having fun.”

However, following the congressional hearings of 1954 on comics’ impact on juvenile delinquency, Davis allegedly burned much of his horror work from EC for fear he was being targeted. Mad Magazine and Davis’s career survived the hearings, of course, and his work would go on to elevate his stature as one of the most eminent and sought-after illustrators of his day. “By the time I met Jack in 1987, he had made cartooning legit,” says Viviano, who at the time was an up-and-coming illustrator in a field that Davis helped to invent. Viviano recalled how his mother would not accept the viability of a career in illustration until he bought his first apartment. “Then she finally got off my back,” quips Viviano. And Davis’s technique was a huge factor in the way he helped legitimize cartooning. “Before Jack, illustration was straight oil-painting and literal representations,” says Murawski. Davis managed to use his savantlevel skills with watercolors and pen to editorialize his depictions. That technique, though employed in illustrations that were always outlandish, still resulted in images that felt natural and believable, asserts Murawski. “People under-appreciate how sophisticated his work was,” says Viviano. Davis had it all: style, technique, boundless creativity, a great sense of humor and a willingness to put his nose to the grindstone. “I’ve never met an artist that lived and breathed his art like Jack,” says Murawski. “He even looked like his art.” And even though Davis affected each of the panelists differently, they all agree that his work is as relevant today as it was when it was first published. “Jack’s work is like a party,” says Murawski, “and everyone’s always invited.” SRQ

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A sculptor in a strange land rebuilds what he left behind.

Phil Lederer

SOMEWHERE IN THE NEIGHBORHOODS OF VENICE, off the main roads and in a nondescript garage full of sculptures and statuettes, ceramic molds and odd bits of artistic experimentation, lies the center of the universe. Or it may as well be for the sculptor Geza Gaspar, deep in focus as he circles his latest project, hands darting in deliberate spurts to stretch and glom sinews of rich, dark wax to the wireframe skeleton before him. Already the muscular form of a horse emerges, charging full speed from nothingness with a rider atop its back, destined for the immortality of bronze. And Gaspar will continue until the job is done, layering, smoothing and sculpting the wax to the precision of his mind’s eye, pausing only for a moment to carve the features of both horse and rider with Promethean skill and speed, breathing delicate life into shapen form. He works quickly because the wax dries quickly. He works quickly because the idea compels him. He works quickly because he’s been here before and knows that he has so very far to go. 40 | srq magazine_ FEB20 live local


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Gaspar works at stations in his workspace, each securing a place in his mind for projects as they develop through various stages of creation and completion.

Back in Budapest, more than 20 years ago, he could take his time. He could devote himself first to clay, harvesting his materials from the earth itself and erecting monuments to creation upon the latticework of a fallen tree. He could build his own studio, with a kiln to harness the fire he needed. Time was plentiful and Gaspar’s obsession only expanded to fill the void. He learned the art of casting bronze, working the wax and molding the metal, eventually constructing a forge to accompany the kiln, bringing the entire process under his mastery and control. “It was the best and greatest challenge of my life,” the artist says now. He could work on a whim in every sense of the word, specializing in the human form. And his reputation built as news spread, among collectors and commissions, to look for Gaspar. He was particularly known for his marriage of metal and stone. But all that changed in 2016, when the family moved to Bradenton and then Venice. It was a good move, for the wife’s career and the boys’ education, just not for an artist relying on reputation. Gone were the days of visiting collectors. No more public figures or museum curators knocking on the door, commissions and proposals in hand. The studio that was his sanctuary, and most of the tools that had been its saints, lay abandoned half a world away, replaced by a cramped garage workspace that he would share with a washer, a dryer and the family bicycles. From this foundation he would rebuild, bit by bit, with wire and wax and ceramic and bronze, the stature he’d lost.

That first year was far from easy, and Gaspar far from satisfied. He could deal with having few friends, and his English was improving, but his primary means of expression found little audience. Frustrated and impatient, he considered returning to Budapest many times, even going so far as to pack a bag and buy a plane ticket with a date that both he and his wife still remember, before ultimately changing his mind, unable to leave his family. And the shape of his new career slowly began to take form, first selling small ceramic statuettes at Art Center Manatee, then forging a relationship with Bronzart Foundry and showing large-scale metalwork in Galleria Silecchia. The commissions began to come back as well, with a gallery in Beverly Hills commissioning life-size statues of Eric Clapton, a triumphant Rocky Balboa and, fittingly enough, Don Quixote. Closer to home, Gaspar was specifically requested to submit sculptural ideas for a pair of roundabouts being constructed in Tampa this year. His maquettes, one a cyclist in motion for a nearby park and the other a haunting homage to Riverview’s first recorded settler, Methodist Pastor Benjamin Moodie, his ghostly figure looming over the steepled form of the church he built, are under consideration now. Gaspar hopes to hear the good news soon, but has already begun the next project, each a stepping stone up a mountain he’s climbed before and knows he can again. “I will never give up,” he says. “Sculpting is my life. Sculpting is like air. It is the only way I can express myself.” SRQ srq magazine_ FEB20 live local | 41


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As a locally grown, locally owned company, SRQ MEDIA pays tribute to our community’s visionary local businesses and the people behind them who work hard to create economic opportunities every day on the Gulf Coast of Florida.


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BERLIN PATTEN EBLING THE LAW FIRM OF BERLIN PATTEN EBLING was founded in 2002 as a boutique real estate transactional law firm. Evan Berlin’s passion for real estate law drove him to create a more personalized, client centric approach to real estate transactions. “We saw title agents, and not lawyers, representing buyers and sellers in what is inherently a legal transaction, and more importantly, a legal transaction that is often times the most important transaction of their life.” says Berlin. “We decided early on that our legal services should be provided at the same price point as traditional title agencies to allow buyers and sellers to have the added benefit of legal assistance throughout what can be a very complicated process”. The theory seems to have worked, as the law firm closed over one billion dollars in real estate transactions in 2019. That intense focus on the client experience has allowed the firm to grow from a boutique real-estate focused law practice into a practice that now includes a full range of legal services throughout Florida, including residential and commercial real estate transactions, estate planning, probate, tax, corporate, family law, and litigation. Furthermore, the firm has done so while remaining steadfast in its core commitment to deliver a concierge level of service in a boutique law firm environment. “As the firm has evolved, I never thought we would grow the




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“I am excited to take on this key leadership role with CenterState. It is an honor and a privilege to work with an incredible team of caring and committed CenterState associates who are focused

CENTERSTATE BANK WITH THE ACQUISITION OF PREMIER COMMUNITY BANK IN JULY 2019, CenterState Bank increased its number of locations in the Sarasota/Manatee market to nine branches. These full service branches are conveniently located and provide traditional retail banking services as well as commercial, mortgage, wealth management, and Small Business Administration (SBA) lending services. Following the conversion, Shaun Merriman, Regional President – West Florida, announced that Brian Hall was named as Community President for the Sarasota/Manatee market. Brian has 30+ years of banking experience and is a proven leader. His team includes:

• • •

Chris Perkins, Area Executive and Commercial Team Leader Cindy Denison, Retail Market Manager – Oversees branches in Manatee County Deborah Vaughan, Retail Market Manager – Oversees branches in Sarasota County

CenterState Bank is one of the largest community banks headquartered in the state of Florida and is based in Winter Haven with more than $17 billion in total assets. CenterState operates in 44 counties within the states of Florida, Georgia, and Alabama. Started by a group of bankers and entrepreneurs over 25 years ago, CenterState has continued its history of quality service and community focus throughout its strong growth. In addition to the local community bank branches, the Company also provides correspondent banking and capital market services to approximately 600 community banks nationwide. Most importantly, CenterState’s core values inspire how we operate – “Local Market Driven, A Long Term Horizon, World Class Service, Relationship Banking, as well as Faith and Family.” We believe that local ownership and local management translate to a better bank for our clients.


on providing exceptional service to our clients and the communities we serve.” - BRIAN HALL

For more information on CenterState Bank, please visit, www.CenterStateBank.com.


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DIAMOND VAULT EVERY PIECE OF HANDCRAFTED JEWELRY FROM DIAMOND VAULT is made with something very special: a story. From the moment a customer walks in to acquire something special, the Chokr family meets them with excitement and humility, a rare combination in the jewelry business. Diamond Vault’s story began in 1978 and ever since, it has raised the local standard of glittering gemstones and precious metals and garnered the attention of a global audience through their creation of one-of-a-kind pieces. Starting with a custom design isn’t the easy way to make jewelry, but it is the right way when purchasing a piece that is as meaningful as it is lovely. The talented team of GIA Graduate Gemologists and jewelry designers capture each exquisite piece through full-scale hand-carved wax molds or through intricate CAD designs to best reveal each stone’s unique personality. The finished product is hand-set, finished and polished with careful attention to preserve the quality and beauty as each setting takes its place as an instant heirloom for the wearer. While a far-reaching clientele (stretching from the United Kingdom to Norway to China) has established Diamond Vault as a premier purveyor of the finest diamonds, rare colored gemstones and watches along the Gulf Coast, the heart of this family-run business is evident to every customer that gazes at their illuminated cases.

“At Diamond Vault, we don’t simply sell jewelry. We’re in the business of celebration and making memories, something we’ve proudly been doing for over 40 years. When a guest enters our store, we want them to feel that their engagement, anniversary or special occasion is just as important to us as it is to them. We make sure that every detail is perfect so that when they leave,


their jewelry becomes part of their own story.” - MICHAEL CHOKR.

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Michael’s On East is renowned for our commitment to Legendary Hospitality through an elevated finedining experience, award-winning menu, dedication to the community, and of course, superior guest service. Michael’s On East is Sarasota’s only AAA Four-Diamond restaurant and has been recognized as one of Florida’s best places to dine as a member of Florida Trend’s “Golden Spoon Hall of Fame” since 1988. Co-proprietors Michael Klauber and Phil Mancini have staked their unmatched reputation and train their staff on this singular principle: to treat each guest the way that they would expect to be treated, throughout every moment of each restaurant visit or event experience. The culinary duo has been recognized regionally and internationally for their dedication to supporting more than 500 nonprofit organizations throughout Sarasota and Manatee Counties. Through donations, contributions, and partnerships, Klauber and Mancini are proud of the Michael’s On East family’s philanthropic impact of several million dollars to the area’s nonprofit community.

“Our MOE family is proud to be able to contribute to








special ways, none of which would be possible without







passionate team of hospitality professionals.” - MICHAEL KLAUBER & PHIL MANCINI


FOR MORE THAN 32 YEARS, Michael’s On East has served as a landmark in Sarasota’s culinary scene -and a staple of the greater Southwest Florida region.

The Michael’s On East brand extends beyond the Restaurant, serving the community through Michael’s Events & Catering, which hosts thousands of guests per year at onsite and offsite events and locations. Michael’s Wine Cellar, located adjacent to the Restaurant, boasts more than one thousand international wines, craft beers, and premium spirits available to shop in-store or online. Whether dining in the Restaurant, shopping in the Wine Cellar or enjoying our Legendary Hospitality at a catered event, you can be sure to expect highquality service and lifelong memories you won’t soon forget.


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MORTON’S GOURMET MARKET FOR OVER 50 YEARS, Morton’s Gourmet Market has been Sarasota’s go-to shop for all things related to fine foods and wine. A family-owned business led by father/ son Eddie and Todd Morton; the store has a reputation for offering exceptional customer experience. Their Osprey Avenue store is the center of their operation, with its full-scale deli and gourmet-to-go specialties, extensive selection of prime meats, seafood and wonderful bakery with a coffee bar. Morton’s has everything one might need for entertaining or hosting a fundraiser, including an impressive array of fine wines and craft beers, exotic cheeses, and beautiful floral arrangements. Local residents and visitors alike turn to Morton’s during the holidays for their bountiful gift baskets and the convenience of their complete dinner menus and fully prepared foods. Morton’s is also known for their award-winning catering department, which has handled events of all sizes with a full menu of party favorites, as well as custom planning services.








shopping experience and that will continue to be one of the most important items we offer. love when you shop and say hello.

Of course, we

Whether stopping

by for freshly baked cookies and gourmet coffee, shopping for the week or ordering those larger catered events and holiday dinners, we make sure your visit is efficient and memorable.” - QUOTE ATTRIBUTED TO EDDIE MORTON

A few years ago, Morton’s expanded its locations to include two storefronts on Siesta Key. Siesta Market is a smaller version of their original store, with an island twist, and offers a variety of staple groceries and fresh produce, meat and dairy. They stock a wide selection of beer and wine, as well as to-go prepared foods for easy picnics. Siesta Village Liquors is located next door to Siesta Market, offering top-shelf and name brand liquors, bar accessories and is the Village’s only full-service liquor store. With family members continuing to join the team, The Morton family will always be an integral part of the Sarasota community. An important anniversary celebrated this year was the Firehouse Chili Cookoff , hosted by Morton’s for the 20th year with proceeds benefiting the Sarasota Firefighters Benevolent Fund. Additionally, the family maintains their Morton Culinary Education Fund which awards scholarships to area students interested in pursuing a culinary career.


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THE CENTER FOR CAREER ENGAGEMENT & OPPORTUNITY (CEO) at New College of Florida is ready to help you find the smart, talented students and graduates that your organization wants to hire. As the state’s only legislatively designated Honors College, we strive to expand partnerships with employers and create employment opportunities for our students. The CEO staff provides employers customized just-in-time recruitment consultation and services to source talented students needed to meet workforce needs including part-time, internship, and full-time roles. Our goal is to partner with employers and assist in maximizing your organization’s recruiting efforts at NCF. Recruitment services include:

• • • •

Free job postings through Handshake at joinhandshake.com Networking events to meet with our students On-campus interviewing Internship development consultation

New College students are fearless learners who embrace new challenges, develop innovative solutions, and work hard to achieve goals. In small classes that average an 8:1 student-to-faculty ratio, our students work closely with our faculty to master critical thinking skills and embrace lifelong learning. New College offers more than 35 undergraduate majors in natural sciences, computer science, arts, humanities, and social sciences, and a master’s degree in data science. Approximately one-third of our graduates earn baccalaureate degrees in STEM fields. Beyond the classroom, our students hone their career-readiness skills through hands-on research, professional internships, international learning experiences, and community service projects. Just like in the professional world, they receive detailed performance evaluations from their professors - rather than letter grades - that assess their progress toward performance goals, skills development, and mastery of new knowledge. There’s a reason that The Princeton Review has named New College one of its “50 Colleges That Create Futures”.

“New with think

College the









and fast-

paced dynamic world. Employers are looking for candidates with these skills and we are happy to connect them with our talented New College students.” - DWAYNE PETERSON, CEO DIRECTOR, NEW COLLEGE OF FLORIDA


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SOTO’S OPTICAL BOUTIQUE “Soto’s Optical Boutique One



Optical Stores”


SOTO’S OPTICAL BOUTIQUE is the oldest optical store in Sarasota and was founded in 1949. Soto’s is a family-run business with top-of-the-line frames and lenses, that are fitted to your personal vision needs. We find it essential that you get individual service and we believe quality never goes out of style. Ron Soto, the second-generation owner, has been a Licensed Optician since 1976. As a teenager, Ron would come in the store and help his father after school and learned the trade by assisting and observing his late father. Ron bought the family business in 1986. After over 44 years of being in the industry, he decided to bring on a partner in 2018, Mahsa Abbassi. Mahsa Abbassi started working with Ron Soto as an optician in 2013. She studied Opticianary in The Netherlands and started working in the optical business in 2004. Mahsa graduated in 2008 as a Refracting Optician Manager. In 2012 she moved to the United States and started working at Soto’s Optical Boutique. Mahsa is nationally certified, licensed and board certified in the state of Florida. In a time when a lot of stores are cutting their quality and service back, Soto’s Optical Boutique remains interested in top quality frames, lenses, and customer service that fits your vision needs. Ron and Mahsa personally cut and edge the lenses into the frames. Ron laughs and calls it “old school”, but that’s how personal their business is. They believe in doing one thing and doing it right. At Soto’s Optical Boutique you will find professional Licensed Opticians with lots of experience and personal service. Since 2001, Soto’s Optical Boutique has acquired 18 Readers Choice Awards and Best of the Best of SRQ Magazine. Soto’s is truly Sarasota’s leading independent optical retailer and it would be their honor to serve you.


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STUDIO SOUTH FITNESS “Studio South Fitness is dedicated to offering a recognize that wellness means more than a workout and are dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for our clients by promoting a whole-life approach to wellness.

We offer individuals and organizations

a unique health and fitness facility with programs and services that focus on renewal... personally, professionally and physically.” - TIFFANY LIASHEK

With a spa-inspired environment, free on-site parking and nationally recognized, top qualified trainers, Studio South Fitness is the place to achieve your fitness goals. Applying a program individually tailored to the client is a skill that is learned through proper education and experience. These top female trainers can take your fitness to the next level. Seven Boggs has been a fitness celebrity and certified personal trainer for over 19 years. As a Miami native and a bilingual speaker you will find this high-energy expert to be inspiring, knowledgeable, and creative. She has trained hundreds of individuals and celebrities including, Al Roker, Tom Arnold, Meredith Viera, Britney Spears, and many others. She’s been featured on multiple international television programs as well as in Shape Magazine, Glamour, Allure for her expert tips and advice.


fitness experience like no other in Sarasota. We

SINCE 2012, Studio South Fitness has been one of downtown’s best kept secrets. The studio is a full service facility that has been locally-owned and operated for 8 years.

Patricia Dore has been a certified personal trainer since 2000. Her certifications come from the top and include the National Academy of Sports Medicine, American Council on Exercise and numerous others. Patricia understands and specializes in body transformation and customizing workout programs for each unique individual. Veronica Rasicci, holds some of the top certifications in the nation. Veronica’s passion for wellness started in her youth and inspired her to earn a Master of Science degree in Exercise and Health Science. Veronica keeps her clients’ vision in focus and mixes up her fitness routines to keep clients inspired. Health is about balance and Veronica isn’t afraid to enjoy a meal of pizza and champagne after a great workout. Come and see why our clients rave about these amazing women and experience the difference!


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Inspired by the 2020 Pantone Color of the Year. Brittany Mattie, Annelise Adams

BACK TO BLUE EMMA V.S.N.P. “I Don’t Want to Be an Actress” vegan, cruelty-free nail polish, $6; Suite Nails by JC, 200 Central Ave., Ste. #1, Sarasota, 941-402-8407, @suitenailsbyjc_ srq. Doe & Rae chiffon pleated high-neck blouse, $37; Pineapple Laine Boutique, 407 S. Pineapple Ave., Sarasota, 941-330-8771, @pineapplelainboutique. Roller Rabbit navy rainbow clutch, $65; T.Georgiano’s Boutique, 1409-B 1st St., Sarasota, 941-870-3727, @tgeorgianos. Eileen Wallace Carloo file folder, $38; Eileen Wallace cobalt pebble leather journal, $55; LAMY Studio fountain pallad pen, $90; Write-On, 1423 1st St., Sarasota, 941-953-2800, @writeonsarasota. Dark blue vinyl textile; courtesy of Boca Bargoons, 130 N. Orange Ave., Sarasota, 941-366-1331, @bocabargoonssarasota.


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OUT OF THE BLUE Billabong Summer High Hike bikini bottom, $50; Billabong Summer High tank, $56; Ethem Vera Pelle platform wedge sandals, $199; Parafina plastic bottle recycled sunglasses, $75; T.Georgiano’s Boutique, 1409-B 1st St., Sarasota, 941-870-3727, @tgeorgianos. Handmade wood painted retro dangle earrings, $40 each; Philosophy & Vines, 606 South Pineapple Ave., Sarasota, 941-544-8171, @philosophyandvines. Sand-colored, linen fabric; sourced from Boca Bargoons, 130 N. Orange Ave., Sarasota, 941-366-1331, @bocabargoonssarasota. 56 | srq magazine_ FEB20 live local

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This page: The two women along the Sarasota Bayfront with their pop-up products.


Moiconceptstore.com, @ moiconceptstore

Trendsetters, jet-setters and gal pals from France bring high-fashion stateside with MOI Concept Store. Brittany Mattie


close by in the stunning port city of Marseille. Not having known each other whilst living in France, the two French quaintrelles both somehow ended up migrating to sunny-side Sarasota. Upon meeting through mutual friends, they became close friends themselves. Ahd after a vision-sparking trip to Geneva this past summer together, Aurelie and Florence decided to create a fashion “concept shop”—primarily digital and/or experiential, as opposed to a standard brick-and-mortar. Concept stores, the fashionistas say, are popular throughout Europe—known to offer elements to enhance their appeal to shoppers seeking a particular lifestyle. “Through both of our world travels and personal connections, we have some amazing contacts in the world of fashion and decided to make our dream become a reality,” they share. Soon after, the women used their industry connects to reach Laureen Haag, a Parisian digital art director 58 | srq magazine_ FEB20 live local

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and content creator/designer who specializes in beauty, luxury and fashion campaigns. Thus, MOI Concept Store was born. Launching in October 2019, the fashionistas have since curated multiple community popups, local trunk shows and built a strong online presence through their website and Instagram. With fine-combed French taste, and an eye for the elegant, MOI Concept Store became an ever-changing offering of luxury brands from around the world—often with limited collections and exclusive pieces—by working closely with contemporary designers and artists to coordinate distribution. Each couture piece is carefully and personally selected to bring something unique and exquisite to the store and is likely not able to be found anywhere else in the US. The pair continue to travel the world for fashion and connection—including international trade shows like COTERIE in NYC and Who’s Next in Paris. In January, the posh pair traveled to Rome, just to meet with top costume jewelry house Alcozer & J

to exclusively carry its custom, intricate and vintage-inspired designs. Aurelie and Florence are constantly in search of items for MOI that “elevate the everyday and bring joy through elegant design,” they say. “When we open each package that arrives at our office, we are always overwhelmed by the beauty and quality of our pieces that we have just purchased.” The latest package arrived from Brussels—100 percent twill silk Nastritos, an elegant ribbon to wear around your neck, in your hair, as a bracelet or on your purse. These Nastritos, along with scarves and pocket squares, were made exclusively for MOI by Roseline d’Oreye in Belgium. Auerlie and Florence have also sought out haute utility handbags from Le Snob in Paris, France; cuffs and jewelry from designers in Norwalk to the Netherlands; different apparel lines from places like Korea, San Diego, Vancouver and Brooklyn; and even handcrafted slip-on Oxfords from Blackstone Shoes right here in Venice. “We want our customers to feel privileged and we want to go the extra mile to make it happen.” SRQ PHOTOGRAPHY BY WYATT KOSTYGAN.

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This page: Crafty couple Luke and Jessica in their home studio, mixing colored resin to in-lay “river” in wood. @JLProductionsCustomWoodCrafts, etsy.com/shop/ShopJLProductions


A couple of eco-minded craft carpenters form JL Productions Custom Woodcrafts. Brittany Mattie

WHEN LUKE THEMA AND JESSICA MARTIN MET, sparks flew with the sound of a

band saw. Beyond their combined love of craftsmanship and carpentry, the young Venice couple both shared degrees in environmental science and family histories in woodworking. So when the couple moved in together, instead of taking a trip to IKEA, they decided to build all of their own home furniture. And from the scraps of wood left over, they made themselves some custom cutting boards, not knowing the results would soon be in high demand among family, friends and beyond. When it became clear that a weekend hobby was quickly becoming a small business, they joined their first initials to create JL Productions Custom Woodcrafts. From cedar end tables and mango river wood serving trays to teak teaspoons, rugged bottle openers, a custom ladder bookshelf, an Indian rosewood clock and a rad coaster 60 | srq magazine_ FEB20 live local

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set, JL Productions utilizes only recycled wood and upcycled materials, so every piece is as sustainably produced as it is exquisitely executed. Luke and Jessica always source their wood from local carpenters and retailers, who are grateful to part with their unusable remnants and know it’s going to a creative cause. And when JL Productions needs to purchase materials from local mills, they only pull from the scrap bin of slabs which may range from ambrosia maple, sycamore and teak. The bread and butter for the crafting couple still remains the intricate paneled cutting boards that started it all. Beginning with an assortment of wood remnants, they clean the wood to ensure that glue will bond correctly. Edge details are added—either rounded or beveled—and sometimes dramatic embellishments like aluminum bowtie accents, chevron-stripe inlays or colored epoxy resin splashes to create “rivers” (some even glow in the dark). The boards are then

finished with multiple coats of food-grade mineral oil, or some sort of an organic finish if a piece of furniture, and all are burned with the signature JL brand stamp. “It is amazing to see what we start with and what we finish with,” says Jessica. “The process itself is cathartic, but the best part is seeing the end result. It is a true transformation.” Today, JL Productions supports pediatric cancer research by providing The Benjamin Gilkey Fund with cutting boards for guests at the foundation’s annual Boards for Bravery: A Charity Charcuterie Event. The couple is also responsible for the heavy-duty cheese/ charcuterie boards at 99 Bottles Taproom & Bottle Shop. Meet the crafty couple as a vendor at the newly launched Market at the Tap, hosted by Tamiami Tap monthly, as well as at the rotating breweries for 73degreeFlea pop-up markets. Luke and Jessica also welcome the challenge of custom orders. SRQ


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his past October, SRQ Magazine hosted a private gathering of some of our area’s most influential super-donors and key community stakeholders to engage in a dialogue about Visionary Philanthropy and its impact on Arts and Culture in our region over the next two decades. This first in a series of conversations were held at the end of 2019 as part of SRQ Forum 2040, a continuing editorial and community engagement project produced by SRQ Media, and generously underwritten by the team at Seaward Development. The donors were offered an opportunity to speak anonymously, knowing their words might be quoted for this wrap-up article and other reporting, but that their names would not be used. The discussion was facilitated by SRQ Magazine Publisher, Wes Roberts, and we were joined by the sponsor of the Philanthropy and the Arst installment Seaward Development partner, David Hargreaves. Philanthropy is a titanically powerful part of the Sarasota and Bradenton region’s DNA, and a commitment to giving back is evidenced by the generosity of our community towards the many people and organizations that rely on the kindness of others. The influential city fathers and mothers, such as John and Mabel Ringling, Bertha Potter Palmer, and Marie Selby, left behind tremendous legacies and endowments. Even more importantly, they, and many others, built a community with a tradition of giving and deep appreciation for the arts and culture that make this coast so special. SRQ FORUM2040 is an exploration of the health of this legacy today, and the opportunities afforded us going forward. SRQ MAGAZINE FORUM 2040 SPONSORING PARTNER | SEAWARD DEVELOPMENT

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FORUM 2040 VISIONARY PHILANTHROPY AND ITS IMPACT ON ARTS AND CULTURE Our goal was to leave the discussion with a series of tent-pole issues- ideas and concerns that our guests identified as vital to the future health of our community and the role that philanthropy plays in preserving our rich arts and cultural legacy. These donors and community leaders gave us a rather uncommon and unique perspective, and it was clear that they were glad to have an opportunity to share their accumulated wisdom. From our discussions, we identified the following areas of focus. PUBLISHER’S NOTE “It was an honor to lead the discussion with this group of individuals who make endowments, pay for new buildings, fund new endeavors, and serve as game-changers for the organizations that receive them. Their names may or may not be commonly known - some appear on buildings and well-known community funds, others give quietly, their names only are known to donation agents. All of them have made the lives of hundreds, if not thousands and tens of thousands of people better with their generosity and leadership.” — EXECUTIVE PUBLISHER WES ROBERTS

Access to the Arts is Good for Young People Our donors were selected because of their generosity to Arts-related organizations and initiatives and their future-focused passion for nurturing a love of the Arts in the younger generation who will be making the decisions about society in 2040 and beyond. Of major concern and priority for our guests was providing young people with the opportunities to broaden their artistic and cultural horizons. Noted one participant, “I think the passion for the arts and for culture has to start at a younger age. Early education is such a critical element. I’m involved in student organizations, all of which, focus on their mission exposing children to arts.” Many, if not all, of our local arts organizations have programs and partnerships that bring thousands of students to their programming at no or low cost. “Will this be enough, though?” our guests wondered. A guest commented on the importance of cultural appreciation. “The issue for me is 40 years from now. If we don’t start with young people, then in 40 years, we’re not going to have [the arts the way we do today]. The money is just a consequence of the passion. It is not driving the passion. We’ve got to get people actually passionate about arts and culture, and therefore willing to support with their time, money, talent, skills, whatever. What attracted us to come to Sarasota was not just the natural beauty, which is just phenomenal, but also the culture. Why can’t we set up Sarasota to be the preeminent arts and cultural community for the West coast of Florida, the way Larry Thompson talks about Ringling College being the preeminent college of arts and design?”

Big Donors Need to be Invited, and Connected Locally Our guests noted that at the highest end of giving, there are many donors in the area that can and do make an impact well outside our immediate region and that we need to find ways to engage them more deeply to invest locally: “I think there’s a lot of capacity here, but the capacity doesn’t necessarily respect the boundaries of Sarasota. You know, there are people here who support organizations all over the country. Maybe all over the world. So a lot of our local organizations are trying to appeal to people who have the capacity to give anywhere, but we want to entice them to make a difference right here.” All agreed that the right cause would resonate with those mega-donors. “This community is very philanthropic. The fact that Ringling College has effectively no local alumni base, but it’s able to raise some $100 million over a six or seven-year period, is pretty amazing. The people that are giving didn’t go to school there. This isn’t their college, but they were able to raise the money because people cared about the school and museum.” This observation sparked a story with another donor, “I went to two schools: grad and undergrad. My grad school actually got me involved and got me going into the classrooms before they asked me for anything. Then they asked for a donation. I give two zeros more to my grad school than my undergrad because I’m involved. I want them to be successful. If you feel the affinity first, then you give big. It’s when you are really vested.”

Appreciation and Giving are Learned Practices Something that came up, again and again, was the idea that philanthropy is a principle that was instilled in our guests when they were quite young. Many of the affluent donors of today, grew up in modest beginnings, some in poverty. All of them had parents that demonstrated the importance of generosity and an appreciation for the arts. One of our guests discussed how her giving is structured to keep the spirit of charity strong in her family. “I have two adult children who are also trustees. [They live in other states.] So we divide the resources that we have to distribute annually amongst the three of us. Mostly they are still contributing to the arts because that’s the way they were brought up, but they also contribute to education and medical problems. The question is, ‘how do we get the children of today to want to enjoy the arts?’ When we are talking about people who don’t have a lot of money to spread around, how do we encourage them to buy tickets or to go to galleries or theaters or whatever? I think that is very much a problem.”

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FORUM 2040 How Can Our Community Attract Those Who Love What Has Been Built Here? A concern many of our donors expressed was a question about what would become of the work they had done to secure the future of arts and culture after they were gone. Our donors reflected on the importance of leaving a legacy and a sense of urgency to find those “big-givers” to carry their contributions and support into the future. “I believe between five and six million people are moving to Florida every year. We hear a lot about how the younger donors are more interested in giving ‘now’ and less interested in legacy giving. That’s a big thing. I think one of the challenges for our community is bringing in people who will carry on that legacy of what we have built here.” One donor noted that it was possible to encourage the community to bring an audience that will appreciate the established qualities. “The community up until now has done a great job of selling the weather and the beaches. We’ve done a wonderful job of selling the culture that we have. We have not done a very good job of attracting people with an interest in lifelong learning. If we can bring in the people that we would like to bring in, they will come with the resources that we’ll need to be able to continue to grow what we are best known for.”

Arts and Culture-Based Giving to Organizations—Needs-Based Giving Through Local Foundations. We discussed the push-and-pull that sometimes goes on between the cultural/ artistic charities and the needs-based causes. Our donors had no problem separating the immediateness of giving to causes that confront hunger, abuse, or life-threatening situations, while at the same time keeping an eye on the long-term benefits to the spirit of our community by keeping the Arts alive and well. “There are only so many arts groups, and most of them are pretty wellorganized. When it comes to causes that support people who have individual needs, especially from a purely mechanical standpoint, looking at it as a donor, it’s hard to deal with so many organizations. There’s a hell of a lot of them. Some of them have nuances that separate them from others.” One donor shared an anecdote from experience about how they feel when they directly interact with people in the direst of need. “My wife and I volunteer as court mediators, mostly with Sarasota County. When you hear some of the stories of how people exist in our community, it affects you powerfully. I think if I lost a $20 bill from my pocket between the time I walked out the door and got to my car-I’d feel bad about it, but it’s not going to impact me today at all. But then I think back to when I am in court, assisting, and somebody tells me that $20 will feed his family for two or three days. It puts things in perspective.” Our guests shared that in their experience, the “need” causes were better supported by centralizing efforts and that it was the sense of community purpose that was missing when it came to the arts and culture community. “I want to give to help the needy, sure, but that’s where I give to the Gulf Coast Community Foundation, the Sarasota Community Foundation, of the Barancik Foundation. They are going after education, homelessness. These are their priorities. If you want to talk about the arts, then it’s a conversation about if you want to give what will make the arts thrive. It’s part of a larger issue regarding our community. When I came to Sarasota, it was clear that we are viewed as a retirement community, and that’s gotta be converted. It’s gotta be communicated that we’re a community of wisdom and art and something else.”

Young People: Attracting Them, Engaging Them, and Keeping Them. Our super-donors welcomed the challenge to find ways in which the community could be more welcoming to younger people, provide the support structure and opportunities needed to make them feel there is a place for them here and involve them in the process of preserving a rich arts and cultural heritage. “Do we have the jobs here, but also do we embrace youthfulness? There’s really not a coordinated effort to look at the next generation. But the question is how do we get them to become involved? How do we get young people voting, because they don’t vote? Young people, forty and under, are less than 3% of the vote. When so few participate, then their voice won’t be heard.” A donor mentioned the community of Savannah, Georgia’s leveraging the brand and value of the Savannah College of Art and Design as a possible template for how our area could move towards a more youth-friendly expression. “You know, over 80% of the students at the major colleges here leave when they graduate. There is a big brain drain. There are programmatic ways we can get the kids integrated into this community so that we keep some of that youth. Look at how they have used the college to turn Savannah into what Savannah is. Somehow they have communicated that Savannah is not only a great place to study and to visit; it’s also a great place to stay in and in which to live. We can learn from Savannah and build our community as a place where the graduates want to stay.” The specific ideas of holding onto an innovative and youthful population brought our guests back around to the question of how a community expressed what it is about, what it’s common causes are.“Everything seems to loop in and out of this concern about the value of culture and the importance of each individual’s relationship to our culture. Where do young people learn to value the arts, to value their fellow man? That comes from our community; how our community looks, how we want to express ourselves as a community, what we let or encourage our elected officials to do, our architectural standards. All of these are cultural issues that one would imagine are in some capacity expressed through artistic choices. I think there’s a virtuous circle phenomenon.” A very special thank you to all the donors who participated in the first Forum 2040 Conversation. Stay tuned for future installments of SRQ Forum 2040 dialogue as it continues throughout the 2020 calendar year.

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EPOCH A boutique community of just 23 residences set within the enviable tree-lined South Palm neighborhood in downtown Sarasota - there is EPOCH, then there is everything else. With sweeping views of Sarasota Bay and the city, life at EPOCH is convenient and carefree. Here you will find personalized 24-hour services and resort-inspired amenities including a rooop terrace for sunsets and stargazing, social room designed for intimate gatherings and events, 70’ lap and recreation pool, fitness center, mas-

sage room, steam showers and guest suite for visiting friends and family. Each spacious residence features soaring ceilings and floor-to-ceiling glass that frames forever water views, private elevator entry and sophisticated kitchen with Italian cabinetry, Gaggenau appliances, Dornbracht fixtures, smart home technology and generous storage. Indulgent owners’ suites and a wide variety of finish selections make your EPOCH home a true reflection of your personal style. Move-in 2021, from the $3 millions.

SEAWARD DEVELOPMENT LLC For Seaward Development’s Patrick DiPinto and David Hargreaves, real estate development is more than just building structures. It’s about forming a team of the best and brightest design and construction professionals and building long-term relationships with clients who want to live in the area’s most exceptional new communities. It’s about doing things right, even when it means the task is a bit more complicated. And, it’s about finding new and innovative ways to enhance the owner experience, with an eye to surpassing expectations every step of the way. Seaward’s goal is to deliver an extraordinary experience from the first meeting through move-in and beyond. Patrick is a Florida licensed, state-certified building contractor with a passion for his work and the knowledge and experience to bring his visions to life. For nearly three decades he has developed, reconstructed and built hundreds of residential and commercial properties throughout Connecticut and Florida. Patrick takes a hands-on approach to all his real estate endeavors, constantly focused on delivering the highest quality products and level of workmanship. David’s background as an international business executive complements Patrick’s real estate proficiency. A former chief financial officer and chief operating officer of a Fortune 600 public company, David brings a wealth of financial and management experience to Seaward’s projects. He has overseen numerous commercial office development projects during his 40-year business tenure. In Sarasota, Seaward’s portfolio is a collection of superlatives — from custom single-family waterfront homes, where the team developed its bespoke orientation — to exceptional condominium residences. Recent projects include Park Residences of Lido Key, 7 One One Palm and now, EPOCH, a collection of just 23 bayfront residences nestled between South Palm and Gulfstream Avenues. Most importantly, Sarasota is home to Patrick, David and the entire Seaward team. They each have strong ties to the community both in business and their personal lives. This connection is seen through the firm’s commitment to projects that reflect the character of Sarasota as well as their many philanthropic endeavors.


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Ask anyone and they’ll tell you: Sarasota is revving its engines for the future. With more growth, more jobs and an increasingly youthful cultural footprint, what started as a quiet little beach village has become a full-blown city looking to pass along its entrepreneurial legacy to the next generation. These six young millenial locals are looking to define the experience of this future and undoubtedly shape our hometown in the years and decades to come. WRITTEN BY JOHN WITTE | PHOTOGRAPHY BY WYATT KOSTYGAN

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The Prodigy

BRI DINE, THE DAILY DOSE JUICE GARDEN, AGE 18 Bri Dine is a born contender. She spent her high school years as the engine room on an eight-person crew team, and she’s always liked the thrill of the tournament. But her newest sport is The Daily Dose, a downtown Bradenton vegan café that specializes in cold-pressed juices and healthy salads. Dine started the business with an investment from her aunt and now manages every aspect of the operation. With help from the nonprofit organization Realize Bradenton, which focuses on bringing fresh, youthful ventures to Manatee County, Dine is now serving a solid clientele of downtown regulars and suburbanites who make the drive to Dine’s shop just for the healthy juices they can’t get anywhere else in town. “I liked the competition. Honestly, I like to win.” Maybe that’s what it takes to start your own vegan juice bar, in a city that’s never had a similar business, at the age of 17. But Dine is anything but naive: Possessed with a world-weary manner and a businesswoman’s eye for detail, Dine carries herself like a true professional. She hopes The Daily Dose is just the first wave of healthier food options in Bradenton. She sees a city full of potential, and a cadre of peers that would like to stay in Florida, if only they knew the culture would grow along with them. Dine wants to make Bradenton’s energy kinetic. Like the clean cut of a scull through the shimmering green of Sarasota Bay, her establishment is full of straight lines and polished white surfaces. It’s an expression of a particularly forceful personality and a sense of confidence that would be enviable at any age. The Daily Dose Juice Garden, 536 13th St. West, Bradenton, 941-741-2383, @juice.dailydose

The Salesman

DONALD CARLSON, TWEEDS SUIT SHOP, AGE 27 “I like to sell suits.” Step into Donald Carlson’s shop and ask him what he likes to do for fun and that’s the only answer you’ll get. It’s easy to find him, since his storefront is a matte black moving truck, customized within an inch of its life. He might even be down your street as you read this. Once Carlson slides open the loading door for business, the crisp exterior reveals a stylishly modern storefront. “Open for business” is a permanent condition for the Sarasota native. Something of a vintage specimen, Carlson’s art is the tête-à-tête, and his paintbrush, the firm handshake. But this traveling salesman pushes a product with a bit more panache than encyclopedia sets or vacuum cleaners. The Tweeds experience includes a session for consulting, measurement and—after the suit has been ordered—Carlson contacts a local tailor who perfects the garment’s dimensions. And he’s been busy: He’s already investing in a second truck, to remain stationary at the Siesta Key mall. “It takes about 30 minutes to get dressed in the morning,” he says of his striking pinstripe wool suit. Carlson’s clothing looks great, but he’s selling a lifestyle. The ritual of donning one’s armor in the morning, of knowing that you stand out in a crowd; Carlson wants to sell these ideas not just to an older crowd that already believes in them but to his peers in Sarasota. He wants his generation to start dressing for the jobs they want. If you ever find yourself in the same neighborhood as his mobile boutique, you may find his pitch irresistible. Tweeds Custom Suits, tweedssuitshop.com, 941-343-7606, @ tweedssuitshop

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The Visionary


Like the Pevensies in C.S. Lewis’s classic Chronicles of Narnia series, you might not set out looking for adventure when you head north on Orange Avenue, amidst the concrete facades and chain-link industrialism that one will find north of Fruitville Road. But a step into Kara Nelson’s Fixxation Boutique feels like nothing short of a passage into the magic wardrobe. Amongst the kitschy LPs and local designer goods, you’ll find Nelson—ethereal, focused and eminently interested in helping you find the clothing that will make you feel more like yourself, not less. Fixxation is a brick-and-mortar boutique that specializes in what’s come to be known as “slow fashion” by only including brands that eschew the potentially harmful methodologies associated with mass production in favor of labor equity and ecological sustainability. Nelson only includes brands that meet these criteria, and she also endeavors to include products from as many local artisans and designers as possible. In addition, she offers yoga lessons and is working to integrate a juice bar into her space. “You should be yourself, but I think you also need to manifest what you want to see in the world. You should express yourself. That’s what fashion means to me.” The daughter of an inventor, Nelson cycled through interests in architecture and clothing design before deciding to open her own storefront. Her ambitions for Fixxation are a total evolution of the people who come into her store. She wants, through sheer force of will, to bring her community’s greatest attributes— self-possession, beauty and health—to the fore. When it comes to Fixxation, fashion is pure magic. Fixxation Boutique, 1108 North Orange Ave., Sarasota, fixxationboutique.com, @fixxationbtq

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The Realist

TYLER FUSHIKOSHI, FUSHIPOKÉ, AGE 26 Tyler Fushikoshi had a quiet lifestyle growing up. Maui isn’t a big town, and most of the fun you have in Hawaii happens with your friends, roaming outdoors and staying out until the sun sets. Here in Florida, the water’s different, and so is Fushikoshi. The boy has become a driven, practical man. Starting on the back-of-house cookline as a teenager, Fushikoshi proved himself time and again, eventually becoming one of the Caraguilo brothers’ most trusted managers. When they encouraged him to move on and start his own business, he took the advice to heart. Now he’s got his own restaurant, with his own food concepts. He’s got a hard eye for what makes businesses work—and he made damn sure that there was a market for his Hawaiian-inspired poke bowls before pulling the trigger on his new idea. “I used to sit on a bench and watch who was eating what. I wanted to see what people were getting for lunch.” He saw an opening in the lunch market for innovative, healthy food that appealed to young professionals who work downtown. Fushikoshi has seen the business grow bigger, month by month. As Sarasota’s real estate development boom has pushed the downtown population to new heights, FushiPoké’s market has grown proportionally, putting the restaurant at the forefront of Sarasota’s rapidly developing young professional culture. But Fushikoshi’s poke bowls, full of raw seafood and crisp veggies, are just as fresh on the weekends as they are on a Tuesday lunch break—and the fresheyed restaurateur plans to be a part of Sarasota’s growing downtown scene for a long time to come. FushiPoke, 128 North Orange Ave., Sarasota, fushipoke.com, @fushipoke

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The Works

ALYSSA GAY, ALYSSA GAY CONSULTING, AGE 25 In 1941, Italy, Germany and Bulgaria finally completed their conquest of the Greek peninsula, forcing George II, the king of Greece, to evacuate to Egypt. Their occupation of democracy’s ancient birthplace would last until the last days of the Second World War. In the ensuing chaos, Alyssa Gay’s grandparents made an escape of their own—to the east coast of the United States, where they reinvented themselves as restaurateurs. Serving fine Mediterranean cuisine until the 1980s, when they retired, like many Americans, they moved to the sunshine and sandy beaches of Florida. When Alyssa came along, she picked up more than just a taste for roasted lamb (her favorite dish)—she picked up their self-reliance and entrepreneurial spirit. Now in its second year, Gay has spent her postcollege years building a business of her own. “We used to joke that even though it was my grandpa who did all of the cooking, they used all of my grandmother’s recipes.” In her business, Gay likes to play both with setting the menu and being the chef. She runs a full-service operation for fellow entrepreneurs to have the dfreedom to run their own business. Alyssa Gay Consulting is a full-service digital marketing agency, providing local Sarasota businesses with a set of advertorial content, social media management, SEO analytics and marketing campaign strategies that would be impressive even for an organization with more than three employees. In her previous jobs, Gay learned to respect what she calls “the organic power of social media,” and decided to carry on the family tradition of going her own way. The clientele that she’s passionate about are the ones that reflect her own family history: small business owners, local treasures and people trying to do something special all on their own. Alyssa Gay Consulting, 941-920-3340, alyssagay.com, @alyssagayconsulting

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Dylan Patterson thought she’d like Dallas. The Palmetto native had always wanted to live in a bustling city and, like many young people, she yearned to leave her home state. But Dallas is crowded, and it’s hard to find things to do outdoors. Worst of all, it’s landlocked. Patterson’s home office is packed with inventory—stylish, sustainably produced swimsuits, designed by Patterson herself. Always armed with a notebook and a pen, Patterson is perpetually prepared for inspiration to strike. Particularly enamored with mid-century clothing design, she has drawn up an entire line of beachwear updated for the modern era. But she sees her business as more than just an act of individual expression: She takes great pride in responding personally to her customers over the social media platforms she uses to take orders. She sees this flexibility as a part of her larger ethos. “I guess my parents knew what they were doing when they named me.” Dylan is a Welsh name, meaning “son of the sea” or—big reveal—“born from a wave.” By the time Patterson had finished her first year in Dallas, she already had plans to return to Florida and start a line of swimwear. The clothes, made from recycled, sea-born plastic, share an origin with Patterson herself and are something of a notebook of the return to her native land. The swimsuits, for Patterson, are meant to produce a similar effect for the women who buy them. She wants a renaissance for women’s sense of selfconfidence. She wants her customers to feel like they’ve finally come home. SRQ Born From A Wave, bornfromawave.com, @bornfromawave

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home” on Siesta Key in a newly built modern retreat just two blocks from a beachside village. Embodied in the décor is the couple’s warm family heritage, and the residence has quickly become a central gathering spot for visiting children and grandchildren. At 3,200 square feet, the 3-bedroom, 2 1/2-bathroom structure (complete with a mother-in-law suite) was a collaboration between Tampa’s Traction Architecture, general contractor Ampersand Construction, Borden Landscape Design and interior designer Schuyler Galliano. The project was completed in 2018 on an idyllic, lightly wooded lot near the Gulf of Mexico. “The homeowners’ initial vision was of a modern courtyard house with Latin American and Scandinavian influences—a place where they could relax together, spend time with extended family and guests, and occasionally throw huge parties,” says Traction architect Ross-Alan Tisdale. The Gallianos first considered making the Peaceable Way house a weekend getaway but ultimately decided to reside there full time. Karin Galliano, PhD, is a clinical psychologist who owns Peace River Psychology Center (with offices in Punta Gorda and Port Charlotte). Her husband, Dr. Domingo E. Galliano, is a board-certified general and colon-rectal surgeon with Galliano Surgical Group in Port Charlotte. The two commute to work in Charlotte County, and when they both return home after their respective 45-minute drives, their customtailored space provides sanctuary. “We wanted this house to reflect our combined heritages. My husband is of Italian descent but born and raised in Cuba, and my father was a displaced person who fled communism in Estonia,” Karin Galliano says. “So our home’s balconies and outdoor courtyard give it a Latino taste. And the Scandinavian encasings of cypress wood soften and enrich the stark, simple, modern design, and give it a Baltic stamp.” Structurally, the Siesta Key house spills out onto its site from a set of stacked, interlocking volumes that hold interwoven spaces together. Organized around a central breezeway, clad in thin planks of warm wood, the spaces are split into two zones: a primary living area for the Gallianos, and a set of private spaces for the couple’s children and grandchildren.

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The site’s location (in a flood zone) necessitated a six-foot elevation change between the first floor and grade, so Traction designed a courtyard at the first-floor level to connect the interior to the pool area. A series of concrete plinths cascade from the courtyard level gently back down to the land. Large glass panels create a delicate line between the courtyard and the interior living space, which disappears when the panels are opened, folded and stacked. Upstairs, carefully placed openings capture the sea breezes and surrounding views, while a large window on the third floor filters northern sunlight into the main living spaces three stories below. Recessed, wood-clad balconies provide private exterior nooks for each bedroom and mitigate the effects of west-facing sunlight. Interior and exterior staircases connect the home’s spaces and culminate in a roof deck (where a Gulf view is visible through the treetops). “The lot is actually a few blocks away from the beach, which gave us an opportunity to create inward-looking views onto the landscape and pool area. A series of steps bring the visitor up into a dramatic breezeway, which frames the views of a linear pool,” Tisdale says. “A delicate aluminum bar grate bridge spans over the breezeway and connects the main living area with the guest suites. I also love the stacking glass door system on the first level which, when opened completely, dissolves the boundary between the interior of the house and the pool deck.” The design now accommodates the Gallianos’ lifestyle so ideally that the couple cannot imagine living elsewhere. They adore the proximity to the Siesta Key Village and the walkability of the district. “As former New Yorkers, we like to walk around a neighborhood. I have a Bernese mountain dog named Axl and wanted an area where I could walk the dog and encounter other pedestrians and their dogs,” Karin Galliano says. “We are literally two blocks away from all the local restaurants and the heart of the village. We are in this quaint tourist town with its whimsical flair yet within a short ride to the hub of Sarasota with its cultural and historical richness.” The Gallianos love to entertain and both come from large families, but their previous residence in Punta Gorda lacked the exterior patio space to accommodate crowds. At the Siesta home—which is actually 1 1/2 lots—the Gallianos often invite live music acts to perform on-site and boast plenty of room for guests to mingle and dance. The homeowners are avid cooks, so a spacious kitchen with a huge island and top-ofthe-line appliances was mandatory. Having an openconcept plan with a seamless flow from the dining to the living area was also paramount, as were high ceilings with abundant light. An enclosed guest suite for family members and friends maintains privacy.

“The Gallianos wanted a space that they could feel comfortable in alone but could also accommodate long visits from family members, so the house is organized around the central breezeway that separates the couple’s primary living area and master suite from a series of spaces for guests,” Tisdale says. “The guest areas can be shut down when they are not in use so that the owners can relax in the main part of the house, which is perfectly scaled for two people. When children and grandchildren visit, the guest spaces across the breezeway give them privacy. And when it’s time to host a party, the owners can open up the entire home to the pool area, creating a dynamic space for dinners, music and dancing.” With these deliberately separated spaces in mind, the grand entranceway to the house was equipped with two doors. The right door leads to the guest suite, the left door opens to the main house and there is an elevator from the garage to the roof. “The guest suite is an ingenious private dwelling for family and friends,” Karin Galliano says. “They can sneak in and out anytime of the night without disturbing us.” Keeping the home tranquil was essential for the Gallianos, who look forward to their daily post-work unwinding routines. “Both of us spend a lot of time in our offices helping patients in our different ways. When we get home, it’s important for us to destress and recharge our energies,” Karin Galliano says. “Enjoying the outdoors is one of our favorite pastimes. Indoor– outdoor living allows us to enjoy the beachy breezes without living right on the water.” When the Gallianos are savoring their out-ofoffice hours, they soak up the water views as well as the home’s built-in water features. “Our rooftop [overlooking the water] is a great place to watch the stars and sip a glass of fine wine while listening to our favorite tunes. Our bathrooms are funky and full of design surprises—true sanctuaries where you want to soak in a modern basin or linger in a shower that has numerous water spouts,” Karin Galliano says. “My husband insisted on an infinity pool; the edge folds over to a continuous waterfall. At night, the various bodies of water are set to different colors, which brings a South Beach element to our party atmosphere.” The pool area and backyard has a vibe all its own. Originally, the plans for the house did not emphasize this outdoor space, but the Gallianos asked the architects to create a more dimensional area with different levels for groups to gather. Bifold doors now offer the option to completely open up the living and dining rooms, virtually putting both outside. Inside, the artwork and furnishings are impeccable. The bulk of the furniture is from Scan Design and Restoration Hardware.

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“I have a few favorite items. My entire family insisted I get a supercomfortable couch. The modular sectional sofa I purchased from Restoration Hardware is called the Cloud. The invitation is to sink in and stretch out [with two ottomans on the ends] and enjoy the TV or the dual gas/electric fireplace,” Karin Galliano says. “Relaxation is the theme of this home. Another favorite item is the dining room table by Scan Design. There are buttons that allow you to control the height of the table. The setting can be custom-fit for dining purposes or converted to a high elevated buffet table for party entertainment. This is an enticing feature, especially for the children in the family.” The Gallianos did not want to play it safe with the home’s palette but rather lusted for bold splashes of color. “A basically all-white modern canvas screams for strokes of playful hues. Salmon pink, bright lime green and eggplant purple are our primary colors,” Karin Galliano says. “Purple columns stand boldly as front pillars for the house and a massive bright pink chandelier looms over our living room.” An impressive collection of modern art, mostly abstract, adorns the walls. “Every piece of art in this ultramodern home has to be abstract. And every work in this home has personal significance for me,” Karin Galliano says. “I like being surrounded by original creations of artists I personally know.” Some of the cherry-picked paintings

come from New York City. There are multiple works by artists Cecily Barth Firestein and Olga Kitt (from Karin Galliano’s days in Manhattan and the Bronx). “Florida brought an introduction to another local favorite artist, Raida Lopez [a Cuban abstract expressionist], who is a good friend of mine and recently exhibited her works at Art Basel in Miami,” Karin Galliano says. “Her two abstract original paintings are highlighted in prime locations in the living and dining room areas.” As much as the Gallianos wanted the house to be packed with color, they also made it the pinnacle of green. To be as eco-conscious as possible, they ensured that half of the flat roof would hide rows of solar panels. The home has an underground well that is strictly for irrigation purposes, designed to conserve water, especially during the hottest summer months. The garage is equipped with battery chargers for electric cars. The landscape, of course, is the home’s greenest feature and its own natural work of art. “Living in our Siesta Key home is like living in a tree house. We have these clean, simple lines that are enveloped in green treetops, and the windows are frames for nature throughout the two-floor structure,” Karin Galliano says. “There is a rectangular window above my bed in the master bedroom that allows me to check out the stars and moon at night, and to awaken to the early morning clouds drifting over my head.” SRQ

Credits: Traction Architecture: 3412 W. Bay to Bay Blvd., Tampa, 813-992-2798, tractionarchitecture.com. Ampersand Construction: 650 Central Ave. #1, Sarasota, 941-366-8899, ampersandconstruction. com. Borden Landscape Design: 1348 Fruitville Rd. #203, Sarasota, 941-4043161, bordenlandscape. com.

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Above, clockwise: Wendi Chapman, John Cranor, Dean Eisner and Rachel Wei West.

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Florida may have the third-largest population in the country, but only about 3 percent of venture capital comes from sources in the Sunshine State. That’s a number many start-up and technology enthusiasts would like to change. Many say it must, if Florida can ever become competitive as a commercial power and not just a place wealthy people come when they leave the rat race. ON THE SHORES OF RETIREE-RICH SARASOTA,

where wealth per capita has been above average for years even if working-class salaries trailed the rest of Florida, there’s a particular interest in turning retirees with thick investment portfolios into funders and angels for bright business ideas originated here. “We are not seen as a business state. It’s a visibility and a perception problem,” says Wendi Chapman, executive director of Bridge Angel Investors. “But I do also think that’s becoming less so.” The thing is, while Sarasota may be known for its beaches and waterfront views, it’s also a community with a half-dozen colleges working in concert to boost the skill sets of workers. It’s home to a growing number of coworking offices perfect for housing start-ups. And it’s a region brimming with investible wealth if its many well-to-do denizens feel like taking the chance on bold business visions. There’s challenges as well, not the least of which is many of those retirees with brokerage accounts and dreams of investment made their money in an era before email and they don’t understand the economy of Facebook acquisitions and Google experimentation. Many are at a stage of life when seeing one’s name on a park bench can bring personal gratification, and when investment strategies tend to skew toward the conservative. So what will it take for Sarasota’s wealth holders to turn into regional start-ups’ benefactors? The same thing it takes to be a successful entrepreneur in the first place: vision, optimism and some serious guts. Since his arrival in Sarasota, former Cox Enterprises President Dean Eisner has seen the region’s potential. Living on Longboat Key, Eisner’s neighbors include Fortune 500 executives and hedge fund managers, many with their own rags-to-riches tales. In his

eyes, that meant a surplus of mentors for the talented business leaders graduating from area colleges like Ringling College of Art + Design, where he served on the board for many years. He’s been involved with efforts like Bright Ideas on the Gulf Coast, an effort to encourage start-up culture in the region. But often those dwindle within a few years and the region continues to suffer from brain drain as talent leaves the region. Part of the reason, surely he feels, stems

“There’s a cadre of people who understand angel investment, but it’s a fairly small group.” —John Cranor from an asset the region lacks—venture capital. Attending a recent presentation at the University of South Florida in Tampa, he took note of the places where major businesses go to find seed funding and second-round investors. Florida doesn’t rank high. “When you are talking about where venture capital lives, we are the third-most populous state but have 3 percent of the pie,” he says. “That’s pretty small compared to a California or a New York.” Statista estimates that in 2018, Florida saw upward of $1.7 billion invested as venture capital. New York, with a slightly lower population, saw more than $14.3 billion by comparison. The far less populous Massachusetts had about $11.9 billion in venture spent. California, home to Silicon Valley and more people than any other state of the union, saw roughly $77.3 billion put

by venture capitalists into firms across the nation. So what can change that? For one, a change in mindset about the virtue of investing in start-ups. It’s something John Cranor, a fast-food titan who earned his college degree at New College and still bases himself in Sarasota, has preached for years. He’s worked with angel funds in Kentucky and in Florida, and was an early member of the Florida Tamiami Angel Funds. He’s always enjoyed the thrill of backing start-up companies, getting big dreams off the ground that have the potential of making founders into millionaires and creating jobs that redefine a region. But he knows not everyone will feel drawn to this type of investment. “There’s a cadre of people who understand angel investment, but it’s a fairly small group, and that’s not surprising,” he says. “It’s a highrisk, potentially high-reward opportunity. But frankly, more angel money is lost than is gained. Dealing with start-ups, those are pesky little things.” That’s not to say there aren’t plenty of successful businesspeople in the region with the stomach for putting money into a company. Cranor has found a literal appetite for those who want to support a concept for a restaurant—“We are all eaters,” he notes. But when it comes to unproven concepts, many millionaires would rather let their money sit in a brokered fund than to risk it on an idea more likely to fail than succeed. There’s at least some trendiness to the idea of start-ups today. The popularity of shows like Shark Tank has led to local events like Venture Pitch, held at locales from Sarasota to Naples for entrepreneurs to pitch their business plans in a public forum in the hope of winning prize money to invest in the next srq magazine_ FEB20 live local | 81

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CALLING ALL ANGELS stage of business. But it will take a lot of weekend exhibition events and $50,000 giant checks to catch up to the West Coast. Joy Randels, CEO and board chair for New Market Partners, talks about venture capital in Florida the way Jacksonville Jaguars fans talk about their favorite football team. There always seems to be potential there even if no one else in the world sees it, but every time a dream comes into sight, it seems to rush away faster than Nick Foles getting out of a contract. Without question, Randels knows the entrepreneurial minds in Southwest Florida have as much potential to produce a good idea as the ones flocking to Austin. She’s invested in businesses for 25 years and believes she has put more into tech companies in Florida than any other angel in the state. But the Sarasota businesswoman has also raised some $400 million in venture capital for various companies, and nearly every penny has come from beyond the state border. “There’s just not that much risk capita here,” she laments. There’s other barriers to success, too. In the midst of the Great Recession, the state saw its share of high-profile Ponzi schemes and corporate scams that created a trepidation within the investor class that lingers today. And a state more rich in marketing majors than industry veterans grasps quickly to buzzwords like “start-up” and “tech,” sometimes with little concern if such terms apply to secondstage businesses or concepts that merely have an Internet-based component. So, some of the shifts in the climate in Sarasota have to do with entrepreneurs and the case they make to investors. For a company to develop any type of technology asset, that means finding capital sources already invested in related firms. “You may not have to generate money before being acquired, but whoever acquires you has to look and say the technology you have will augment what they already have,” Randels says. “Or you have a customer base they can use and that they want to sell other products.” For many firms in Boston or San Francisco, that means companies where they put venture capital must also make existing investments more valuable. That’s why it helps to have sectors cluster in a single geographic area, the way Sarasota has tried to build up health care technology support products like Voalte or BioLucid. Those companies were both founded locally and sold to Hill-Rom and Sharecare, respectively.

But many baby boomer investors have never worked in technology, and don’t understand the ways in which company products can work in conjunction. Even if there’s an allure to investing in the tech sector, there’s no intuition on what companies will work and what may be doomed for failure. And Randels says if investors aren’t putting money in tech, they aren’t ever going to see earth-shattering returns on investment. The average technology company generated $1 million for every individual on payroll. That dwarfs most other industries. Real estate typically provides a 9 percent return for investors, while good investments in tech can produce 20- or 30-fold returns in five years.

“You may not have to generate money before being acquired, but whoever acquires you has to look and say the technology you have will augment what they already have.” —Joy Randels It’s ailment that Bridge Angel Investors hopes to fix from the investor class down. Based in Sarasota and investing in the entire state, the company touts the assets of the area. That MoneyRates in 2017 listed Sarasota as the best place to launch a business. That incubators are popping up around the state and universities have produced talent for years. That the quality of life has more natives who want to stay in Florida to run a business and more transplants who want to move headquarters here. Founded by Tom Gardner, the fund today is led by Chapman, who also chairs the executive committee. She previously worked in Silicon Valley but moved to Sarasota full time four years ago after visiting the region throughout her life. She started at Bridge in 2017. She noted that for the moment, Bridge represents more angel funding than capital investment. “Angels are usually a round after friends and family,” she says. “And it’s usually about mentoring in addition to writing a check.” The fund in 2018 made its first

major investment of $1 million into Rewired Solutions, a recruiting company founded and headquartered in Sarasota. But it’s also been building member investors, and now has 22 people chipping in capital. Linda Jellison, a former president and CEO of LTC Engineering Associates, was among the early members of the fund. “I’ve been through the start-up and growth process and I know some of the struggles,” Jellison says. She understands the difficulties of cracking into government contract bidding and of building up private-sector clientele. After retiring from her engineering firm, she found angel investments allowed her a way to stay involved in the excitement of entrepreneurship but without having her whole life entangled in a business. Similarly, Rachel Wei West worked for years in finance and investment, and after moving to Sarasota full time seven years ago, she wanted to stay involved in launching new business ventures. “Personally, I am an active angel investor, as well as a mentor and advisor to businesses,” West says. So the opportunity to be involved in Bridge seemed immediately rewarding. Both West and Jellison have many of the long-term goals typical in the angel world, most notably the belief that helping other start-ups launch businesses produces its own type of good for the world. And they see a desperate need in Florida for that type of development of commerce. “In Florida, there aren’t as many clusters of venture capital as Silicon Valley or Boston or New York, or even Austin,” West says. “But there are certainly a lot more emerging ventures, looking at not just writing checks but in cultivating an ecosystem as a whole for Florida.” She points to projects like Tampa Bay Wave, a co-working environment and business accelerator founded in 2008 and now boasting 70 mentors to work with startups. The Sarasota–Bradenton community has seen any number of similar efforts—Spark Growth, The Hub, Bold—that also try to incubate start-ups. And West believes there’s sectors, like education, technology and health care, that naturally compete better in Florida for a variety of reasons. What’s still lacking is an appetite to invest. And that may be the most challenging change still in the works at Bridge. The absence of investment in the Greater Sarasota area can’t be written off completely as millionaires sitting on their money. The region,

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CALLING ALL ANGELS after all, hosts two of Florida’s most successful foundations in the Gulf Coast Community Foundation and the Community Foundation of Sarasota County. Oftentimes, it’s been these nonprofit entities, part of a sector best known for supporting social charities or arts organizations, that often played the most central role in workforce development and business mentorship in the region. But for seasoned investors like Randels who work with venture firms outside of Florida regularly, that’s not a natural organization for a business community. Those employing people have a direct stake in developing talent, and those backing entrepreneurial visions stand the most to gain from keeping talent in the community where they live. It’s capital that should be promoting a better business climate, not the nonprofit sector. Profit, after all, provides a uniform measure of a business’s success. So why is this so? Part of it may simply be the stage of life of many holders of wealth, Chapman notes. People come to Sarasota to retire, not in search of business opportunities, and many have investment portfolios still at work in the communities from whence they came. Then there’s tax deductions. Investments in philanthropy immediately provide one benefit to donors in that they can be written off and cut the money given to the federal government each year. Similar incentives don’t exist for investing in business. And then there’s the factor of gratitude. “Giving on a social level is a little bit easier because it’s connected to a cause,” Chapman says. A major donation that advances an arts organization may be touted through permanent shrines, or at least public accolades. Plus, there’s not a level of perceived risk or loss. While philanthropists do increasingly ask for visible impact from donations, there’s not an expectation a charity will ever provide a personal return on investment. The very nature of a business investment creates a tension, one where the investor constantly awaits a payday and expects an explanation if that never comes. In one sense, Chapman says it’s her job to shake that. “There’s a heart piece,” she says. “It’s like giving a loan to a family member; you don’t necessarily ever expect to see that money back. You should think beyond social and emotional ideas like not getting or expecting a return. If you invest in angel funds or just individually give

a company money, I say don’t expect it back.” When investors expect a return like they see in real estate or a stock portfolio, they get disgruntled, especially if they just do one-offs. Cranor often tells angel investors the typical hope is that if you invest in 10 companies, a few will outright fail, some will barely break even, and one or two will produce serious returns. But even that may never happen. And there’s another different mindset in the world of entrepreneurship compared to charity work. Randels has worked with area foundations on commercial-minded efforts but often found less appetite for risk among

“I’m proud of creating some hightech jobs in Sarasota. Those are all degreed jobs, many of them advance degreed.” —Linda Jellison foundation trustees than she sees on boards of directors for venture capital firms outside of Florida. She notes a project she worked on with the Gulf Coast Community Foundation, where she had been recruited for a type of technology accelerator where the foundation provided certain seed funding and resources. But the foundation ultimately deemed the plan to prone to risk and the potential of losing money put in by donors. “They said it was not a part of their mission,” she says. “I kind of understand that, but I do think it had an education factor. I do not think the Gulf Coast Community Foundation should support a technology accelerator in perpetuity, and that it just be involved for just one, maybe two years. If it cannot support itself, a technology accelerator should not be here.” But that’s where lacking an investor mindset as a region can hamper the entire economy, Randels says. Jellison, for her part, remains active both in the local nonprofit sector and in capital investment. She’s active with the Education Foundation of Sarasota County and has funded scholarships to help students in the region pursue careers in STEM-related fields, something she sees as a direct benefit to the regional economy in the long run. But she

says the opportunities available in venture capital lured her to get involved in angel funding. Her goals in many ways are similar— returning the wealth accumulated from her own professional success to help other’s achieve similar goals. “I’m very proud of creating some hightech jobs in Sarasota,” Jellison says of her engineering firm. “Those are all degreed jobs, many of them advance degreed.” Her work at the Education Foundation will help many individuals get degrees to fill that kind of job in the future, and Jellison sees that as a worthy use of her time and skills. But it’s the work in venture that feeds her more ambitious and adventurous side as a veteran business owner, the one that prompted her to start LTC in the first place. “I believe there are a lot of smart, young, entrepreneurial people that want to start small companies, and they need help,” she says. West sees a critical role for venture and angel capital in keeping the economy of the region, even the entire state, vital in the long term. And like any investor, she’s excited by the prospect of growth. Florida in the last 10 years has seen dozens of capital funds pop up, and every one shows West a reason to think Florida’s future as a place to launch a business is brighter than its present or past. “It’s really growing a mature ecosystem as a whole,” she says. “Quality deals are happening with investors that are recognizing the future of Florida.” Those deals will expand a network of optimistic investors and business owners anxious to spawn more success. As homegrown businesses create jobs for students coming out of Florida colleges and universities, word will grow that this is a state to receive an education and start a prosperous business. West imagines a bright future for the companies benefiting from capital infusions today. She expects upstart businesses with the help of angel investors and venture capitalists to grow and engage in interstate commerce not imagined at launch time. Then she pictures CEOs living in Florida traveling the country to speak at entrepreneurial conferences, appearing on the cover of business magazines and telling their stories to a growing audience of other investors anxious to tap into the growing Florida market. “It’s very exciting to look at Florida and see the wave of opportunities capital can provide,” she says. “I will follow it into the heavens and even higher.” SRQ srq magazine_ FEB20 live local | 83

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Bill Galvano presides over the Florida Senate in his 16th and final session. FLORIDA SENATE PRESIDENT BILL GALVANO, FROM HIS OFFICE IN FLORIDA’S CAPITOL, wields tremendous power with his gavel. The Bradenton politician helped secure millions for red tide research and Southwest Florida construction projects. He managed in 2019 to win approval for a massive (and controversial) expansion of toll roads, and helped usher an ambitious education reform package along the way. After climbing the ranks of House leadership 86 | srq magazine_ FEB20 live local


before coming to the Senate, Galvano now heads into his last legislative session. SRQ magazine spoke to him in his Florida capitol office about what’s left to do. SRQ: It's felt like civility has been the real hallmark of your time as Senate President. Why is it such a priority? Bill Galvano: Because the world today is becoming less civil daily, whether it be through social media or the 24-hour news cycle. We watch folks fighting

Jacob Ogles

with one another, making accusatory statements about each other, debating personalities as opposed to getting work done in politics for the people who are their constituents. Washington, DC, is the worst offender in that regard. I’m very proud of the work we’ve done in the Florida State Legislature. As the atmosphere becomes more challenging, it is more important that we show the world that we conduct ourselves in a manner that the people of Florida deserve.


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agenda Are there regional priorities you want to make sure get approved while you still have the power of the president’s gavel? We will continue to work on infrastructure issues and regional transportation projects for the Tampa Bay area. Everything from the colleges in the region to the universities that we have out there. There’s some environmental issues that are important to me, not the least of which is continuing work on red tide and some restoration of sea life.

When the Red Tide Institute at Mote Marine Laboratory won funding last year, we heard government often provides funding after algal blooms but then ignores the issue. Is there still political will for research and water-quality projects? I think so. That’s why the funding for the red tide initiative was a three-year commitment. I had an opportunity to spend some time with Dr. [Michael] Crosby [Mote CEO] about the status of where they’re going. He himself said it’s mixed. The good news is we haven’t had a major outbreak, but the bad news is some of these ideas, it’s hard to test them without one. But the focus is still there. Overall, environmental issues are going to still continue to do very well in the budget and from a policy perspective, as they did last year. Red tide is a water-quality issue itself. I am interested in how we’re capturing runoff from the northern part of the state and capturing it in the storage wells north of Lake Okeechobee. As those releases come out of the lake, those nutrient spikes that change when it goes from fresh to brackish to salt water connect everything to each other from a water-quality standpoint.

Ahead of session, we’ve seen Republicans in Tallahassee want to address climate change, which seemed like a dirty phrase a few years ago. Is there a greater reception in Florida to addressing matters like sea-level rise? Yes, but more about asking what are the impacts with sea-level rise? That leads to coastal resilience and how we plan. I’ve had enough conversations with elected officials from coastal areas, local and otherwise, to know we are making sure we are resilient in many different ways. If we are steady and reasonable and not creating some sort of panic or trying to overly assign blame, the steps we take will help us be more stable.

Will we continue to see expansion of school choice in Florida? We took some significant steps last session. I’m proud and supportive of the work the Senate did in that regard. What I also appreciated was that we did

it in a balanced approach because I believe in empowering families and providing choice, but we also recognize the value of our traditional public schools and we provided significant funding. There very well may be an effort to expand, streamline and build, but the big lift was done last session with the empowerment scholarship itself. The individual at the Delegation meeting you are talking about wants our teachers being paid what they think should be paid. There’s work to be done, however, in terms of what the appropriate number is and how it works mechanically. You will recall

“My plan right now is to be the best possible Senate President I can and empower the senator. I'm playing the hole I'm on.” —Florida Senate President Bill Galvano Representative Newt Newton [a Democrat] got very engaged in that conversation and pushed back [Manatee School Board Member] David Miner, saying don’t come point the finger at us about raises when we had significant increases in the base student allocation. The collective bargaining that takes place is a local issue.

You were an advocate for consolidation with the University of South Florida. How do you feel things are going with that? It’s starting to move in a much, much smoother direction. I give Speaker-Designate Chris Sprowls a lot of credit for engaging and making sure recommendations are being followed to the largest extent possible. I keep in touch with [USF Sarasota-Manatee Chancellor Karen] Holbrook and others, and they are quick to let me know when things are on track or when they’re off track. One of the motivators for me that people overlook was we had a budget year where USF “Proper” received in the 30s of millions of dollars, and USF Sarasota-Manatee was actually going into its reserves. So this is a merger in access and in funding. It’s a merger of a lot of the attributes that weren’t necessarily shared with the other campuses. If you have a university with merged satellite campuses that is dependent upon the success of all of those campuses in order to maintain its performance funding, leadership is going to share resources.

Do you have plans to seek another office when your time here is done? My plan right now is to be the best possible Senate President I can and empower the senators. I’m playing the hole I’m on, as my dad [golf pro Phil Galvano] would advise.

Looking back at two decades of work here in Tallahassee, what do you think have been the most important things you’ve done for your community? Some of the most meaningful legislation I’ve worked on has come from constituents I represent. I think about the contamination notification issue when we had the spill in the Tallevast area. This community was unaware there were toxins in their water, and they helped me change the law. There’s the transfer station authority that we created for our region, the creation of the Bay Area Legislative Delegation, the Tampa Bay Regional Transportation Authority. There’s been a coalescing of work as a region in regard to red tide. I’ve enjoyed representing the area that I have. My district, at one point, included seven counties, interior counties. There was a lot that we did there in terms of job creation, rebuilding some schools, citrus research. I’ve always had great teammates on the stuff I’ve done and the legislative process is a collaborative process. Nothing gets done unless you’re able to work with each other and the local folks back home.

How can you balance the work of Senate President and still do your job as a regional lawmaker as well? By taking what steps I can to stay connected. I remind my district staff that at the end of the day, the most important work we do is constituent service. The reality is most people don’t follow the complex issues that take place. But to the person who’s trying to get an occupational license or may have a problem in their neighborhood, or wants help, needs help navigating an agency, that’s going to make a real difference. You are right to point out that it’s a balancing act. One of the challenges of American politics is that the higher you rise in leadership, the less time you’re able to spend with the people who elected you there in the first place. There have been examples throughout the nation where powerful politicians, who could have done tremendous things for their constituencies, end up getting unseated because of a lack of presence. I have tried throughout my whole career not to allow that to happen. We specifically scheduled time for me to talk with my commissioners publicly and privately, to meet with other interested community leaders. It helps if you also have a delegation that works together and understands what the local issues are—and most of those are funding, so they find their way to my desk one way or another. SRQ

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Carne Asada Tacos

MAKE IT MELT MELVIN Heating up the streets of Downtown Sarasota with funky mexicana fusion. Brittany Mattie

A HARD-TO-MISS BUILDING FACADE OF MAIN STREET’S HISTORIC DOWNTOWN DISTRICT, El Melvin Cocina Mexicana lures you in with the sound of a Latin-fueled fiesta, the scent of housemade tortilla chips, the sight of bright, festive décor and the feel of its warm, welcoming vibe. Taking over the former residency of Two Senoritas, new owners Jeffery Good, Mitchell Good and Matthew Hess revolutionized the space to become the enlivened El Melvin—named after the late family matriarch Melvin Good.

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WITH AN ELEVATED, MODERN rebranding and a total makeover with the help of a consulting team consisting of designer Kurt Lucas and restaurateur Mark Caragiulo, the interior transformed into a bright white inscape with splashes of festive furniture, a colorfully cushioned lounge area, Bajainspired motifs and an eye-catching mural of Mexican culture symbols, along with the quote “Crea tu propria historia” weaved in— translated to “Create your own story.” Which is exactly what Jeff, Mitch and Matt have the intention of doing; not only new to Florida from up north, but new to a restaurant venture quite like this. “The name El Melvin is a bit funky,” admits Matt Hess. “When we were thinking of a name, we didn’t want to box ourselves in with a really authentic Mexican name, or with strictly traditional cuisine. We wanted to broaden the theme, use it as a catalyst to expand upon with different design concepts, open the window to a more eclectic menu that’s a little funky too.” That funkified menu ranges from savory TexMex items like fajitas, burgers and burritos, mixed with traditional Hispanic imprints like Carne Asada, street tacos and ceviches, then 92 | srq magazine_ FEB20 live local

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Left to right:

The Farmhouse Margarita, El Mel’s Mercado and lounge area, Pescado Moctezuma entree.El Melvin Cocina Mexicana, 1355 Main St., Sarasota, 941-3661618, @elmelvinsarasota.

thrown in with some twists. “We especially wanted items that you can’t find anywhere else here in Sarasota,” Hess goes on. Take “Aperitivos” like Avocado Fries with jalapeño aioli, sous vide Street Corn dashed with smoked paprika and the Chorizo Albondigas, housemade meatballs served with chipotle salsa and torta bread. Meanwhile, “Entradas” like the Duck Enchiladas sizzle—duck confit in a guajillo sauce and charred poblano rancho crema, queso oaxaca, radish and cilantro in warm corn tortillas—and the Pescado Moctezuma—a sustainable whole fish, fried or grilled, served with rice, peanut butter mint sauce, lime sweet chili and pico de gallo. For “Postres,” extinguish the fever with sweet Mexican Flan, cinnamon sugar Churro Dona and a three-milk Tres Leches pastel, served with strawberry gelato and marshmallow whipped cream. Spicing up the fusion of these innovative dishes and Mexican fare is Executive Chef Jonatan Alberto. Chef Alberto believes “passion is an art of expression,” which was instilled in him through long-held family recipes from his home city of Puebla, Mexico. Those very same recipes now take shape on the El Melvin menu, including his mother’s

guacamole and father’s mole sauce. And at El Mel’s Mercado—the open-window counter adorned with colorful flowers and shelves of Jarritos’ natural flavored sodas—you can opt to create your own guacamole. At each table, a pencil and checklist reside so you can mark off various fresh ingredients to toss in for the making of your ideal chip dip—including proteins like carnitas, chicken tinga and lobster; sweet, tropical fruits like pineapples and mangos; and a brigade of peppers like habaneros and jalapeños to uptick the spice level. The restaurant revamp also saw an upscale craft cocktail menu come together by the bartending expertise of Cocktails By Spence Consulting, and includes a fleet of top-shelf tequilas like Hiatus, an all-agave azul tequila brand with a strong local presence and dangerously smooth capabilities. With salsadancing classes occasionally on Mondays, taco specials every Tuesday, live Latin music on the weekends and a killer happy hour daily which features Sangria Roja, Coronitas and the household cocktail of choice, El Mel Margarita—no matter the day or time, El Melvin brings the fuego spirit with fun, flair and flavor. SRQ PHOTOGRAPHY BY WYATT KOSTYGAN.

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Ariel Serrano, reetings, At The Sarasota Cuban Ballet School, Artistic Director anyone can enjoy the benefits of dance Wilmian Hernandez, e are truly honored to welcome you to The Sarasota Cuban Ballet Managing Director training! Classes at all levels for students Delia Ballart Arcia, Master Teacher chool’s 2019/2020 Performance Season. ages 3 through adult. If you dream of aTania Vergara, Resident Choreographer and Master Teacher ooking back on these past eight years, are humbled by award the fact winning career inwe ballet, join our Morgan Rivers, Children’s Program at students young and old, from all walks of life, and from every international pre-professional program. Director and Instructor rner of the earth have stepped through our doors. Some have come Emilio Borjas, Dance Conditioning and Fitness Instructor experience the fun, freedom, and joy of dance recreationally, and Renate Suttle, Instructor Callreason or email to register for a me pre-professionally. No matter the our mission has alAna Julia Bermudez, ays been to serve the individual andcomplimentary help them to become stronger class today! Master Teacher

embers of the community through growth and achievement.

Ian Tanzer,

Ariel Serrano, Artistic Director Administrative Director e have made amazing strides in our short time. SCBS is receiving Francesca Macbeth, Wilmian Hernandez, Managing Director ternational awards and recognition for teaching and performing; Production Manager umni are rising to great heights in arts, academics, and business; Janis Wasserman, Fundraising & Grants Consultant nd programs have been built to reach some of our community’s The these Sarasota Cuban Ballet School, Inc. Magaly Hernandez, ost vulnerable youth. We credit successes to the unbelievAdministrative Assistant Town andparents, Country Shopping Center ble support we receive from our dedicated volunteers, and aff, the commitment we have from ourNorth BoardBeneva of Directors, and of 501 Rd, Suite 700, BOARD OF DIRECTORS ourse the amazing students who work harder and more passionSarasota, FL 34232 Michael J. Shelton, Chairman ely than we ever thought possible. John Simon, Vice-Chairman www.srqcubanballet.com info.sarasotacubanballet@gmail.com Mary Anne Servian, Treasurer

he Performance Season we present to you serves to be our most am941-365-8400 tious yet and as a school it is an incredible feat. We extend our sinre gratitude for the support, generosity, and philanthropy you have hown us as an audience and community because without it none of is would be possible. This is just the beginning of what SCBS has to fer to the world and we are proud to have you by our side. V3_AD_SRQ_FEB20_SarasotaCubanBallet.indd 1

ithout further ado, we welcome you to your Sarasota Cuban Ballet chool’s 2019/2020 Performance Ads-FEB20.indd 95 Season.

Terry Romine, Secretary James Griffin, Member Peter Kretzmer, Member Clolita Vitale, Member Barbara Worth, Member Rolando Yanes, Member Leonard Kesten, Member Emeritus Ariel Serrano, Ex-Officio Wilmian Hernandez, Ex-Officio


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NUOVO CAFFE’ FREDDO Sumatra cold brew flavored ice cream with Nutella ganache and torched marshmallows, espresso shot, $8, Local Chill Artisan Ice Cream.

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SRQ’s Foodie Content Channel

CROW’S NEST MARINA RESTAURANT 1968 Tarpon Center Dr., Venice, 941-484-9551. CASUAL FINE DINING The Crow’s Nest is a casual fine dining restaurant, serving fresh seafood, steaks and other traditional Florida favorites. Located on the Island of Venice and nestled between the Gulf of Mexico on the west and the Intracoastal Waterway on the north and east, Crow’s Nest has become a waterfront fixture for surf ‘n’ turf. M–W 11:30am-10pm. Th 11:30am–11pm. F-Sa 11:30am–12:30am. Su 12–10pm. DUVAL’S FRESH. LOCAL. SEAFOOD. 1435 Main St., Sarasota, 941-312-4001. SEAFOOD Duval’s Fresh. Local. Seafood. is excited to announce: Duval’s Free. Local. Shule! Your experience at Duval’s should be what you’re expecting. For dinner, try the Chef Selected Fresh Catch, an offering of the freshest fish in the market, and fillet your fresh catch in-house. Featuring a 3-5-7 Happy Hour and late night. M–Th 11am–9pm. F–Sa 11am–10pm. Su 10am– 9pm. ELEMENT 1413 Main St., Sarasota, 941-724-8585. MODERN MEDITERRANEAN In the heart of downtown Sarasota, you don’t want to miss the upscale Mediterranean grill, Element. Try their Sambuca shrimp with bacon crème, crisp prosciuo, tomato fennel compote and pine nuts. For dinner, their 12 oz. bone-in center cut porcini-encrusted veal chop is delectable. For a large party, order the table an entire roast suckling pig; which serves four to six guests and is cooked with apples, figs and shallots. Equipped with an extensive wine list and an enticing array of cra cocktails, dining at Element is a must-try experience. M-Th 4:30pm-10pm. F-Sa 4:30pm11pm. Su 10:30am-2:30pm, 4:30pm-10pm. F-Sa. GECKO’S GRILL & PUB 6 convenient locations. Serving AMERICAN PUB FOOD WITH A GOURMET TWIST Fresh fare, smooth spirits & exceptional hospitality since 1992. Locally owned and operated, Gecko’s polished casual atmosphere, fantastic food, service-forward culture and specialty cocktails make it an enduring community gathering place. Serving Lunch, Dinner & Late Night and a favorite of Locals and visitors alike. Voted “BEST SPORTS BAR.” Featuring daily Happy Hours, weekly Chef’s Specials, locally sourced seasonal produce & beef from our farm and ranch partners, all your favorite sporting events, award-winning Kids Menu and teams of friendly hospitality professionals. There’s always something happening at Gecko’s -- Bingo; Team Trivia Night; All Day & All Night Happy Hours and special events. See you at Gecko’s!

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GROVE 10670 Boardwalk Loop, Lakewood Ranch, 941893-4321. CONTEMPORARY GOURMET DINING GROVE Restaurant, Patio and Ballroom is the newest offshoot of PIER 22, the award-winning waterfront destination headed by restaurateurs Hugh Miller and Greg Campbell. A full-service restaurant and events venue offering contemporary gourmet dining. The menu is elevated yet approachable and locally inspired. Housemade dishes emphasize fresh seasonal ingredients as well as innovative cooking methods, and with 27,000 square feet of dining space including casual patio dining, private rooms, a relaxing lounge space and an elegant 400 person ballroom there’s room for everyone at the table! M-Th 11:30am-10pm, F-Sa 11:30am-12am, Sun 11am-10pm. LEMON TREE KITCHEN 1289 North Palm Ave., Sarasota, 941-552-9688. HEALTHY CASUAL DINING Lemon Tree Kitchen’s all day menu highlights American Classic dishes that li the body and mind while providing a comforting meal that will appeal to the everyday diner. With wholesome clean ingredients and hand-craed dishes that meet every lifestyle choice, Lemon Tree Kitchen uses locally-sourced ingredients whenever possible and ensures that their vendors align with their mission to serve food that you can feel good about. Open daily for lunch and dinner. M–Su 11:00am–9pm. LIBBY’S NEIGHBORHOOD BRASSERIE 1917 South Osprey Ave., Sarasota, 941-487-7300. CASUAL FINE DINING Libby’s serves bistro classics and seasonal New American cuisine. Named aer the restaurant’s unforgeable family matriarch, Libby, this modern American brasserie evokes style and uniqueness with a welcoming warmth. Start with the Brasserie Tartare or the Crispy Brussels. Entrees include the Double Brined Porkchop, served with yukon gold mashed potatoes and Steak Au Poivre, a wood grilled NY Strip steak. Indoor, bar, and outdoor seating is available at this Southside Village favorite. Open daily for lunch and dinner. Su–Th 11:00am–9pm. F-Sa 11:00am–10pm. MARINA JACK 2 Marina Plaza, Sarasota, 941-365-4232. SEAFOOD, STEAKS AND PASTA The Sarasota landmark offers its customers exceptional food and great atmosphere while dining on the water. Come to the dining room on the second floor and try some new items on the dinner menu. Start with braised mussels in a chorizo broth or short rib tostadas, which feature Gouda cheese and pulled slow-braised short rib. Open daily for lunch and dinner. M–Su 11:15am–11pm.

MATTISON’S - 3 Locations: Maison’s City Grille, 1 N. Lemon Ave., Sarasota, 941-330-0440/ Maison’s Forty-One, 7275 S. Tamiami Tr., Sarasota, 941-921-3400/ Maison’s Riverwalk Grille, 101 Riverfront Blvd., Bradenton, 941-896-9660. AMERICANN, EUROPEAN, PROVINCIALLY SOURCED MENU ITEMS Chef Paul Maison, executive chef and proprietor of Maison’s, operates a successful culinary group on Florida’s Gulf Coast. Located in Sarasota and Bradenton, each Maison’s restaurant location is unique to its neighborhood, offering Chef Paul Maison’s signature menu items, outstanding service, and quality ingredients, while supporting the community, regional farmers, and culinary suppliers. Each Maison’s location offers outdoor dining, happy hour and live music. Maison’s Catering Company is an award-winning, chef-owned and operated company procuring fresh, natural, and local ingredients. Catering in-house and off-site, Mattison’s Catering Company offers certified wedding and event planners, experienced professionals, and custom menus. Hours vary by location. MORTON’S GOURMET MARKET 1924 South Osprey Ave., Sarasota, 941-955-9856. GOURMET GROCER It’s the place where you can spend a lazy Sunday morning sipping coffee and breaking off pieces of a scone, a frenetic Friday evening collecting rare cheeses, meat and wine for Saturday’s soiree or a quick lunchtime bite to go. For the laer, Morton’s fresh-made sushi, salad bar or ready-to-go tea sandwiches are longstanding local faves. M–Sa 7am–8pm. Su 9am–6pm. MUSE AT THE RINGLING 5401 Bay Shore Rd., Sarasota, 941-359-5700. CONTEMPORARY CASUAL DINING Upscale local cuisine with international flair is the inspiration for Muse’s concept and development. Muse at The Ringling provides a comfortable and contemporary dining experience in a magnificent, artistic setting. Muse creates menus with an eye for presentation, using fresh and high quality products. Intriguing combinations and variations on cuisine anchor the innovative menu. The ideal dining spot to complement a day in the galleries or a night at the theater, Muse offers diners a culinary adventure where dishes are approached as works of art. Open daily for lunch and dinner. Su–M 11:00am–5pm. Tu–Sa 11:00am–8pm.

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OAK & STONE - 2 Locations: University Park, 5405 University Pkwy., Sarasota, 941-225-4590/ South Sarasota, 4067 Clark Rd., Sarasota, 941-893-4881 PIZZA AND CRAFT BEER At Oak & Stone, artisanal wood-fired pizzas are handcraed and diners can select to B.Y.O.P. (build your own pie) or choose from the menu’s many custom cra pizza options. The standard tavern fare is elevated with options such as Smokey Gouda Mac n’ Cheese and Pretzel Crusted Tuna. Fresh offerings such as delicious salads and hummus plate round out the menu. Oak & Stone boasts the largest RFID technology self-serve brew wall in the region, with 56 taps that showcase local and American cra breweries, self-pourable by the ounce. Open daily for lunch and dinner. Su–Th 11:00am– 11pm. F–Sa 11:00am–12am. OPHELIAS ON THE BAY 9105 Midnight Pass Road, Siesta Key, 941-349-2212. FINE DINING With indoor and outdoor dining options boasting incredible waterfront views of Lile Sarasota Bay, Ophelia’s On The Bay is the perfect place to relax and enjoy a delectable meal. From their PEI mussels presented in a saffron-anisee broth to incredible cocktails such as the Pink Lady, you can’t go wrong. Happy Hour M–Su 5pm–6pm. Dinner M–Su 5pm–10pm. Sunday Brunch 11am–2pm.

PIER 22 1200 1st Ave W, Bradenton, 941-748-8087. CONTEMPORARY AMERICAN Pier 22 takes waterfront dining to a new level. On the mouth of the Manatee River, the picturesque seing is relaxing and the perfect backdrop for any outing. With over 26,000 square feet of space, Pier 22 also offers catering and space for events. They focus on fresh, homemade fare and unique twists on everyday dishes. For lunch, try their so-shell crab sandwich with jalapeno tartar sauce, with a side of poutine. While watching the sunset on the patio, dine on their fresh game of the day, sourced from around the world and always a surprise. M-Th 11:30am – 10pm. F-Sa 11:30am-10:30pm. Su 11am-10pm. Happy hour daily 3pm7pm and Sunday Brunch 11am-3pm.

TSUNAMI SUSHI & HIBACHI GRILL 100 Central Ave, Suite 1022, Sarasota, 941-366-1033. ASIAN FUSION In the heart of downtown Sarasota Florida, Tsunami Sushi and Hibachi Grill stands alone for creative sushi, fresh sashimi and a new spin on asian fusion--all at remarkable prices. The Tsunami team focuses on ensuring every meal exceeds your expectations. FRESH SUSHIMade fresh before your eyes by their talented chefs. FULL BAR- They feature a full bar, with specialty cocktails like the Hibiscus Rose, Japanese Julep and Shinsu Sour. ASIAN ENTREES- Fresh and flavorful with the unique taste of Japan. M-F 11am-Close; Sat/Sun 12pmClose; Closed Daily 2:30-4:30pm.

SHARKY’S ON THE PIER 1600 Harbour Dr. S, Venice, 941-488-1456. SEAFOOD Aer just one visit to Sharky’s On the Pier, Fins at Sharky’s or Snook Haven, you’ll understand why all three restaurants have become Venice-area landmarks, smack-dab on the water. Boasting unparalleled views of the 720-foot long Venice Fishing Pier and Gulf of Mexico for over 30 years, Sharky’s has made a name for itself as Florida’s No. 1 Beach Bar with complimentary live music and entertainment, family friendly fun and a whole lot of ocean. M–Th 11:30am– 10pm. F–Sa 11:30am–12am. Sun 11:30am–10pm.

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To enhance the potential of students, promote excellence in teaching and inspire innovation in education, guided by strategic philanthropy.

PROMOTING EXCELLENCE IN TEACHING IGNITE EDUCATION TEACHER OF THE YEAR AWARDS CELEBRATION Recognizing excellence in teaching with those who demonstrate commitment, leadership, and who motivate students to learn through innovative methods and passion.


EDUCATE SRQ TEACHER GRANTS PROGRAM Igniting a lifelong love of learning in students by giving educators the funds to create and execute imaginative learning projects in their classrooms and schools.

Please join us at edfoundationsrq.org. Contact Diana Dill at ddill@edfoundationsrq.org to go on a tour and learn more.

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College, Career and Life Readiness The Education Foundation of Sarasota County is working to instill a College, Career, and Life Readiness (CCLR) mindset throughout the education continuum from early childhood through postsecondary years in an effort to ensure more students graduate from high school with purpose, prepared to pursue and complete an intentional postsecondary pathway, and with appreciation for the value and necessity of lifelong learning. NAVIANCE We are working with Sarasota County Schools to utilize this soware platform that helps students identify their strengths, skills, and career interests. We connect students at eight middle schools and five high schools resulting in academic achievement reaching postsecondary goals.


MENTORING AND SCHOLARSHIPS Helps students achieve college and career goals by providing academic funding. A caring mentor provides encouragement throughout their postsecondary completion.

Central hubs for high school students, managed by us with our fulltime College Career Advisor, to access postsecondary guidance and resources to prepare them for college, career and life. Currently available at Riverview, Sarasota and North Port High Schools. SUPPORTING OUR STUDENTS AND TEACHERS Fresh tag. Same great cause. The new Support Education license plate directly supports Sarasota County students and teachers. Get yours now. We invite you to make a gi. Our annual fund ensures flexibility when opportunities arise, provides for operations, and goes to the Education Foundation’s greatest needs.

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giving coast

The Bishop Welcomes Two New Manatees to Rehab

Two new manatees—Viva and Collie—arrived at The Bishop’s Parker Manatee Rehabilitation Habitat to receive prerelease conditioning before they return to the wild. Viva is a female manatee about 6.5 feet long, weighing about 332 pounds. She was rescued in November from Pine Island Sound near Captiva Island in Lee County suffering from the effects of red tide. Collie, another female manatee, is about 7 feet long and weighed about 551 pounds when she was rescued after a boat strike from the Gordon River near Naples in Collier County in June. Viva and Collie are the 41st and 42nd rehabilitating manatees that The Bishop has housed since 1998 and they join the current manatee residents, Felicia and Doscal. bishopscience.org

SMH HealthFit Earns Recertification as Region’s Only Medical Fitness Facility SMH HealthFit recently announced that it achieved recertification as a Medical Fitness Facility by the Medical Fitness Association. HealthFit remains the certified facility in Sarasota, and one of just two in the state. The SMH facility was the first in the state to achieve the certification in late 2016. It was effective for three years. To retain the designation, facilities must pass a rigorous recertification process, including an on-site inspection of its medically supervised exercise programs and a review of its outcomes. As part of the Sarasota Memorial Health Care System, HealthFit is medically integrated with one of the top hospitals in the nation for quality, safety and patient care. For its members, that means a better, safer and more productive fitness experience. smhfit.com

All Faiths Food Bank Receives $165,000 in Grants in Support of Mobile Distribution and Children, Family and Veterans Programs All Faiths Food Bank received grants from the following foundations: $105,000 from The Stone Foundation in support of the Mobile Farm Market, Backpack and Veterans Pantry programs; $40,000 from the Harry Sudakoff Foundation in support of the Backpack and School Pantry Programs; and $20,000 from the Roberta Leventhal Sudakoff Foundation in support of the Mobile Pantry and Mobile Farm Market programs. The foundations donated grants in support of Backpacks, which provide students with nutritious snacks over the weekend and holidays; School Pantries, which provide fresh produce, meats and groceries to

families at schools; Mobile Farm Markets, which distribute fresh produce in our community; and the Mobile Pantry Program (including the Veterans Pantry every second and fourth Tuesday of the month), which provides access to fresh produce, meats and groceries to those in need. allfaithsfoodbank.org

FCCI Charitable Foundation Makes First Gift The FCCI Charitable Foundation, the charitable arm of FCCI Insurance Group, distributed its first donation over the holidays. Representatives delivered an $80,000 check to All Faiths Food Bank. The funds for this contribution were raised through a month of fundraising events in October 2019. Activities included the Joe Keene Golf Classic Tournament, the raffling of gifts donated by senior company leaders, an officer luncheon, bingo, dodgeball and a game night. The FCCI Charitable Foundation Committee selected food banks from each regional location—covering 19 states— to receive the money raised from its fall 2019 fundraising campaigns, All Faiths Food Bank was selected as this region’s beneficiary. The purpose of the FCCI Charitable Foundation, which was formally established in April 2019, is to maximize the impact of each donated dollar. This Foundation was formed in partnership with Gulf Coast Community Foundation. FCCI leadership notes that this is a highly efficient and cost-effective way to operate the Foundation: Of every $1 that is placed in the Foundation, there will be more than 99 cents available to donate to organizations focused on bettering the lives of others.

Sheriff Awards Inaugural Community Impact Award Sarasota County Sheriff Tom Knight presented the agency’s first-ever Community Partner Award to Mike Quillen, co-owner of Gecko’s Hospitality Group yesterday. He and his business partner, Mike Gowan, are philanthropic leaders in the community as key supporters of Sarasota and Manatee county schools and several local nonprofits including the Y Youth Shelter, Operation Second Chance, Sarasota County 4-H Foundation and UnidosNow. Quillen became first to receive the Community Partner Award, which was created to recognize a company, organization, or individual for their contributions in support of the sheriff ’s office’s mission and the citizens of Sarasota County. Quillen serves on the sheriff ’s advisory board and is credited with working with other local business owners to create the SCSO Charitable Foundation. The goal of the nonprofit

is to assist individual employees of the Sarasota County Sheriff ’s Office who are experiencing extraordinary personal or family need. Since its inception a few years ago, the foundation has helped several sheriff ’s office members through personal and financial loss, and major medical expenses due to serious illness. In April 2019, Quillen provided meals for more than 25 agency members who staged for more than 10 hours at a critical incident, in full gear. Because the crime scene was active and secure, Quillen arranged for a cab company to transport the meals to the scene so first responders were able to have a meal. In addition to his day-to-day support, Quillen contributes annually to the agency’s Corporate SWAT Challenge which benefits local youth programs. “I am honored to present this inaugural award to Mike Quillen and the Gecko’s Hospitality team,” commented Sheriff Knight. “The Charitable Foundation that Mike helped create has impacted so many lives at the sheriff ’s office and their contributions are beyond anything we can ever repay. Mike is a friend, an advocate, and a staunch supporter of first responders. We could not ask for a better partnership.”

Lakewood Ranch Medical Center Partners with Walk with a Doc Lakewood Ranch Medical Center (LWRMC) is encouraging local residents to take a step toward better health by partnering with Walk with a Doc, a health program that brings doctors and patients together to walk at The Mall at University Town Center. Walk with a Doc is an international nonprofit organization whose mission is to inspire communities through movement and conversation. Lakewood Ranch, Bradenton and Sarasota will join a growing list of communities worldwide that have started a local Walk with a Doc (WWAD) program. Founder of Walk with a Doc Dr. David Sabgir added, “Walk with a Doc is honored to team up with the Lakewood Ranch Medical Center and The Mall at University Town Center. By incorporating this program into the practice, the Lakewood Ranch Medical Center is demonstrating an exceptional level of care and commitment to their community.” lakewoodranchmedicalcenter.com

William G. and Marie Selby Foundation Grants Vision for the Future The William G. and Marie Selby Foundation awarded a $77,000 grant to Children First for improved building security at four of its location campuses to further enhance the safety of

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hundreds of children and their families each year, as well as staff members, volunteers and supporters. Access control doors and upgraded security cameras will be placed in every classroom and public space at the Dr. Elaine Marieb Early Learning Center, the Venice campus (a partnership with Suncoast Charities), Our Mother’s House (a childcare partnership with Catholic Charities, Diocese of Venice) and the North Port campus. The improved building security will be put into place to further enhance the safety of more than 250 children and their families each year, as well as hundreds of staff members, volunteers and supporters. childrenfirst.net.

Ear Research Foundation Resolution for Hearing Health in the New Year ONE— The compelling conductor of Sarasota Orchestra’s next Masterworks, Mozart and Mahler, Steven Sloane, was appointed professor of conducting at the Berlin University of the Arts in 2013, where he founded the International Conducting Academy Berlin.

TWO— Among Sloane’s most influential teachers was Eugene Ormandy, the celebrated conductor and violinist who famously led the Philadelphia Orchestra from 1936 to 1980. THREE— Sloane currently serves as principal guest conductor and artistic advisor of the Malmö Opera in Sweden. FOUR— Under Sloane’s leadership, the Bochum Symphony Orchestra has partnered on performances with the likes of Jethro Tull frontman Ian Anderson and the a cappella gospel group Take 6. FIVE— Sloane also played a key role in the development and construction of the Anneliese Brost Musikforum Ruhr, the concert hall that became the Bochum Symphony Orchestra’s home in 2016. Sarasotaorchestra.org

The Ear Research Foundation’s resolution is to elevate its research, education and community care. With donations from individuals, the Gulf Coast Community Foundation CCDHH Fund and a team of volunteers, the Foundation is elevating its reach at expos and at speaking engagements to care for those in need with physician trainings and preschool visits—testing 1,200 children annually. Dr. Herbert Silverstein, president, shared, “We also have an active study for hearing restoration. It’s an incredible time medically and technologically. Baby boomers and future generations will greatly benefit from our work.”. earrf.org

Florida Department of Environmental Protection Recognizes Tervis The Florida Department of Environmental Protection joined the Florida Recycling Partnership and other stakeholders in the fall to celebrate Florida Recycles Week with a press conference and educational displays at the Florida Capitol in Tallahassee. DEP Deputy Secretary John Truitt presented a Recycling Recognition Award to Tervis, recognizing the company’s 83.72 percent recycling rate, outstanding reuse efforts and commitment to Florida’s environment and recycling goals. Tervis, located in Sarasota County, has been making sustainable drinkware since 1946. floridadep.gov

SMART Receives $3,415 Donation from the Living Lord Lutheran Church Sarasota Manatee Association for Riding Therapy, Inc. (SMART), has received an unrestricted gift of $3,415 from the Living Lord Lutheran Church of Lakewood Ranch.“Support like this from the Living Lord Lutheran Church makes such a difference in the lives of the children, adults and veterans who participate in our programs. Their continued support through the years helps us

keep our commitment to changing lives forever,” said Melissa Spillenkothen, interim executive director of SMART. Living Lord is a community of people with varied backgrounds and experiences who are sharing life together. They are a family who supports and encourages each other on a lifelong journey of faith. smartriders.org

EdExploreSRQ ED-stravaganza Grant Winners Named Tuttle Elementary School, Woodland Middle School and individual teachers from Bay Haven School of Basics Plus, Sarasota Middle School, Wilkinson Elementary and Tatum Ridge Elementary were all big winners at this year’s EdExploreSRQ ED-stravaganza. Thanks to the generous support of the Community Foundation of Sarasota County and The Patterson Foundation, each was the recipient of a grant ranging from $500-$1,000 to be used toward active learning experiences in their classrooms this school year. Hosted by Sarasota County Schools’ EdExploreSRQ program, ED-stravaganza is an annual event that brings together representatives from nearly 50 local arts, culture, history, science and environmental organizations and teaching artists to showcase the experiential learning opportunities, or explorations, they have available to area teachers and schools throughout the year. edexploresrq.com

Local Veteran Receives the Gift of a Car for the Holidays In December, Abel Gutierrez—a veteran who has been through very rough times but has received significant assistance from several area nonprofit organizations—was surprised with the gift of a car by SRQ Vets and the Goodwill Manasota Veterans Services Program team. Gutierrez had moved to Florida with a promising job prospect that did not pan out. He found himself broke and hungry but several area nonprofit organizations helped to get him back on his feet. Gutierrez found shelter at the Salvation Army; housing through JFCS’s Operation Military Assistance Program; furnishings through Streets of Paradise; and job search assistance, clothing vouchers, a monthly bus pass, and much-needed support and empathy from team members at Goodwill’s Veterans Services Program office. The gift of a car—donated by a veteran to SRQ Vets and fixed up by veteran-owned and operated shop Freedom Auto Repair—has already further supported his independence and financial stability. Shortly after receiving the vehicle, he was offered a land surveying job, with more responsibility and better pay, in Clearwater. With his new car, he was able to accept the position and now commutes each day to his new workplace. experiencegoodwill.org SRQ

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SARASOTA CONTEMPORARY DANCE JANUARY 30–FEBRUARY 2 The third performance series, “Dance Makers” features new imaginative dance pieces by nationally acclaimed contemporary choreographers. This year’s crop includes Terrence Henderson, Bliss Kohlmyer, Maria Bauman-Morales and Adele Myers. Sarasota Contemporary Dance (SCD) is proud of the caliber of choreographers gathered for this performance. The choreography is diverse, the impact profound and the dancers uerly captivating. Sarasotacontemporarydance.org

SUNCOAST ALLIANCE FOR LIFELONG LEARNING EXPO FEBRUARY 5 SunCoast Alliance for Lifelong Learning’s (SCALL) mission is to stimulate greater interest, appreciation and support for personal growth and enrichment opportunities available through present lifelong learning organizations in the Florida communities of Sarasota and Manatee counties. Suncoastlifelonglearning.org

ART OF PERFORMANCE ALINE KUPPENHEIM FEBRUARY 7–8 Chilean director/puppet artist Aline Kuppenheim’s “Feos” (“Uglies”) is her first collaboration with renowned playwright Guillermo Calderon and is based on Mario Benedii’s short story “Noche de los Feos” (“Night of the Ugly”). Ringling.org

BRADENTON AREA RIVER REGATTA FEBRUARY 8 World-class entertainment and one giant splash of free family fun! Now in its sixth year, the Bradenton Area River Regaa, presented by LECOM, delivers a riveting spectacle of champion performers and thrills to fans of all ages. A full schedule of activities in Palmeo/Bradenton, powered by speed and showmanship, is packed into one gigantic day of free family fun. See F-2 powerboats ravage the river at speeds over 120 mph. Bradentonarearegatta.com

SARASOTA INSTITUTE OF LIFETIME LEARNING JANUARY—MARCH The Sarasota Institute of Lifetime Learning (SILL) is preparing for its 49th year of popular global issues lectures and musical

conversations. In 2020, these programs will begin in January and continue through the end of March. Speakers of global issues lectures are wellknown, highly experienced experts, and guests on musical conversations are internationally renowned musicians, singers and performers. sillsarasota.org.

SWAC LECTURE EVANS REVERE FEBRUARY 11 Join the Sarasota World Affairs Council (SWAC) for the next program in its 2019–20 lecture series, “Not with a Bang: Moving toward the Endgame with a Nuclear North Korea,” featuring Evans Revere, senior director at the AlbrightStonebridge Group. Mr. Revere will discuss whether the US is prepared to live with a nuclear North Korea and the implications for America’s security. Sarasotawac.org

SUPERHERO 5K FEBRUARY 15 The ninth annual Superhero 5K and 1-mile Fun Run will be held on February 15 at Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota. This is a foster care awareness event. More than just a race, the Superhero 5K brings together child welfare agencies and the community to highlight the nearly 1,500 youth who are in local foster care in Sarasota, Manatee and DeSoto counties, while providing a family-friendly event with music, a kiddie zone, food and giveaways. Runsignup.com

LOVE IS IN THE AIR! FEBRUARY 16 Join the Humane Society of Manatee Country (HSMC) for a fun-filled day! Watch dozens of awesome pups soar through the air during a dog dock-diving competition! Watch an exhilarating polo match from the Sarasota Polo pavilion—the best seats in the house! Eat/drink, visit with vendors, see search and rescue dogs and win prizes! One hundred percent of your ticket purchase will be donated to HSMC (aer credit card fees). Hssc.org

ART OF PERFORMANCE INEZ BARLATIER, FEBRUARY 21–22 Beginning just before sunset, join multifaceted Miami artist Inez Barlatier on The Museum’s Campiello for a lively and rhythmic celebration of the full moon. All are welcome to

this fun and family-friendly event at the Ringling Museum. Ringling.org

THE ELIXIR OF LOVE FEBRUARY 22–26 Love is intoxicating. Nemorino’s love is unwavering, but Adina won’t give him a second glance. All is saved by Dulcamara’s love potion—or is it? Come watch “The Elixir of Love” at the Sarasota Opera House. Sarasotaopera.org

ANYONE’S GAME: TABLETOP GAME CONFERENCE FEBRUARY 7 -9 Anyone’s Game is a tabletop game conference that explores Creativity, Design, and Openness in gaming. Here, up-and-coming tabletop game developers can test their game designs with players from the community and industry professionals from around the country. The game conference will be hosted at Ringling College of Art and Design. Ringling.edu

BELIEVE: A GALA CELEBRATING 30 YEARS FEBRUARY 29 Thirty years ago, Dr. Kay Glasser believed it was possible to build a campus that would help to improve the quality of life for all people in our region. This year on leap day, we celebrate those who believed in her vision to get us here, and those who believe in our future. This fundraiser will support our mission as we sustain Dr. Glasser’s vision for a healthy, connected community. gs-humanservices.org/event/believe

SARASOTA MEMORIAL HEALTHCARE FOUNDATION: WOMEN & MEDICINE MARCH 27 This year marks the eighth anniversary of Women & Medicine and will feature informative presentations and lively interactive discussions by Sarasota Memorial physicians. To date, Women & Medicine has raised more than $415,000 to support various programs and departments at the Sarasota Memorial Health Care System. This year’s proceeds will benefit orthopedics and rehabilitation at SMH.. Smhf.org

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THE STORY OF MYAKKA As told in images by clyde butcher. Brittany Mattie

for more than two decades, world-renowned landscape photographer Clyde Butcher has explored the deeper regions that extend nine miles east of I-75. There, lies the alluring, exotic and primal locale of Myakka River State Park. From rainy, swampish seasons when tannic waters rise and flood, to the dry, muggy seasons where wildlife line along the banks to bask in the sun, Butcher spends secluded sessions experiencing its climate changes and dabbling with its rugged ecosystems. This month, The Bishop Museum of Science & Nature will launch Myakka River: A Florida Treasure, a special exhibition featuring large-format black and white, scenic photographs taken by the legendary Florida photographer and environmentalist. The exhibition will open to the public in the East Gallery on February 7 and remain through September 6, 2020, and is included in the price of admission to The Bishop. SRQ

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