SRQ Magazine | October 2022 Season Preview/She Roars Magazine

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season preview


THE ARTS AND CULTURE SCENE this season promises

to be one worth celebrating. Capturing the local arts and cultural exhibits, performances and events of the 20222023 season, our incredibly comprehensive season preview is your guide to local entertainment. From award-winning theatrical premiers to breath-taking art and floral exhibitions and more, SRQ will fill your calendar with must-see events. Written by Dylan Campbell and Abby Weingarten.

Contents October 2022

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tic Director Michael Donald Edwards and Managing Director Linda DiGabriele wrap up their time with the organizaion this coming June, Edwards will have been a part of Asolo Repertory Theatre for 18 years and DiGabriele for 50. Edwards and DiGabrielie’s shared time together allowed for them to build a professional relationship seemingly unique to the industry: one of untold trust and respect, that propelled Asolo Repertory Theatre to new heights. In Michael, Linda saw an artistic vision on which to build the organization into the largest repertory theater in the Southeastern United States. Interviewed by Dylan Campbell | Photography by Wes Roberts

Cover: Sarasota Contemporary Dance’s Monessa Salley, photo by Sorcha Augustine. This page: Asolo Repertory Theatre’s Producing Artistic Director Michael Donald Edwards and Managing Director Linda DiGabriele, photo by Wes Roberts.

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A former software engineer, Martinez is constantly looking to create the “perfect user experience” for her customers at Elevation Tea Company. Tiffany: The Pursuit of Beauty in Nature marks the first time Louis Tiffany’s stained glass artwork is shown in a botanical setting. Director of the FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training Andrei Malaev-Babel shares his “best kept secret.” An enlightening discussion with best-selling author, Dr. Michele Borba as she talks about her new book, Thrivers.

culture city


Steven and William Ladd have spent their careers drawing artistic inspiration from their childhood memories. Now, in their new exhibition, they give credence to the people that shape their present day lives. Asolo Repertory Theatre’s Producing Artistic Director Michael Donald Edwards and Managing Director Linda DiGabriele look back on their time with the institution. Find out what it’s like to take the stage as an improv comedy actor.

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Usher in fall with lush home goods from Pansy Bayou.

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By offering a place of belonging, connection, and freedom, Harvest House CEO Erin Minor helps create a second chance for those who need it most. .

This page clockwise: Steven and William Ladd, photo courtesy Sarasota Art Musuem. Elevation Tea Company’s Siesta Sunset Hibiscus Tea, photo by Wes Roberts. Flowerpot portable table lamp VP9 in pale sand—The Flowerpot, a vividly colored lamp embodies the experimental attitude that Danish designer Verner Panton took to home items. Now, this beloved piece has been reimagined as a portable lamp that follows its owner from indoors to outside, $315, Setago Portable Lamp, Rust and Thunder, Pansy Bayou, 1533 Dolphin St, Sarasota, 941-413-5115,

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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

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Left: Jennifer Martinez shows off her area of loose leaf teas at her downtown storefront. Right: House microbrewed London Fog with Lickity Splits Vanilla Ice Cream topped with a French macaron. Elevation Tea Company, 1383 McAnsh Square, Sarasota,


At Elevation Tea Company, owner Jennifer Martinez is taking loose-leaf tea to new heights. Dylan Campbell “IN MY PREVIOUS CAREER, I WAS ACTUALLY A HYBRID UX DESIGNER AND SOFTWARE ENGINEER. At the time,

I was working for a financial technology company in Austin, Texas and I would make the mobile apps for banks and credit unions,” says Jennifer Martinez, founder and owner of Elevation Tea Company. “I always designed for other people. One day I just sat there and thought, “I do this for everybody else. I want to do it for myself.” That urge to change not only the way she worked, but the way she lived is what drove Martinez to start Elevation Tea Company in 2018. “At the time I was dealing with some different health issues and got into the Teavana scene back when they existed. That was really my introduction to tea,” says Martinez. “So I eventually switched over to some more natural things, started exploring some herbal teas and different, more natural versions of loose leaf tea. That’s where I found a lot of the healing process began in my body and tea became a gateway into a more healthy lifestyle.” From there, Elevation Tea Company began its journey as an online business, only selling bags of loose leaf tea from Austin, Texas before Martinez and her partner made the move to Sarasota. Then came the ten by ten square foot popup tent in the Venice and Englewood farmers markets, eventually replaced by a trailer and an offering of iced, hot, and tea-based mixed drinks, PHOTOGRAPHY BY WES ROBERTS.

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and finally a storefront in downtown Sarasota, which opened on May 14th. Amongst some of the offerings that include over 40 loose leaf teas that can be brewed to one’s liking, are Elevation Tea’s signature mixed drinks and Tea Floats. Yes, that’s correct, a typical ice cream float, but with special tea-flavored ice-cream dunked into an iced tea, topped with a macaroon cookie. “You have the ice cream, you have the tea, and then you have a French macaroon. One of the newer ones is our Fruity Pebbles float which has Earl Gray ice cream–a vanilla ice cream with lemon oreos and has the bergamot flavor, which is what flavors Earl Gray tea. Then it’s topped with our Reb Rooibos loose leaf tea and a blueberry lemon macaroon.” says Martinez. The process of creating these flavor profiles, like Elevation Tea Company itself, does not happen overnight. Whether it applies to the Fruity Pebbles float or the Mint Julep mixed drink, born from Martinez’s memories of enjoying the drink on trips to Disneyland during her childhood in California, Martinez will stop at nothing to create that “perfect user experience”. “There were months of drinking really nasty concoctions of what I was trying to make. You’ve just got to stick it out and keep doing–that patience for failure is something from my past career that has really helped me out in multiple ways for Elevation Tea Company,” says Martinez. SRQ srq magazine_ OCT22 live local | 13

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Below, left to right: Tiffany Dragonfly lamp and Tiffany window, images courtesy of Marie Selby Botanical Gardens.

THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS Louis Tiffany’s stained glass is shown in a new light at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. Dylan Campbell

“I LIKE TO THINK THAT THERE ARE THREE TYPES OF ART: visual art, performing art, and what we do, which is living art,” says Jennifer Rominiecki, President and CEO of Marie Selby Botanical Gardens. “There’s really no greater art form than nature, which is why so many world renowned artists have used it as inspiration,” she adds. That concept will be highlighted in Tiffany: The Pursuit of Beauty in Nature, which will arrive at Marie Selby Botanical Gardens in February 2023 as the next installment of the Jean and Alfred Goldstein Exhibition Series. This iteration of the annual exhibition series, which explores the works of major artists through their connection to nature, will focus on American artist and designer Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933), founder of the decorative arts company Tiffany Studios and the first design director of his family’s iconic luxury jewelry retailer Tiffany and Co. 14 | srq magazine_ OCT22 live local

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srqist Below, left to right: Tiffany Labernum lamp and Tiffany mosaic window, images courtesy of Marie Selby Botanical Gardens.

Although Tiffany began his career as a painter, his name became synonymous with the Art Nouveau movement through his work –his use of the “copper foil” technique allowed him to pioneer a unique style of stained glass that featured a level of detail never before seen in the industry. That style was evidenced through the products of Tiffany Studios from their stained glass windows, mosaic installations, luxury items, and most notably, Tiffany Lamps—which featured camed glass shades and have become synonymous with all stained glass lamps, regardless of their production origin.


“Our museum will feature samples of Tiffany’s work such as the renowned lamps, a mosaic, a stained glass window, and other objects. Throughout the Tropical Conservatory and Downtown campus, our horticulture team will draw inspiration from the kaleidoscope of colors in Tiffany’s work to create concepts and vignettes with the flowers and foliage,” says Rominiecki. Although much of Tiffany’s work was inspired by the natural world, many of his lamp-shade designs mimic flora and fauna. Tiffany: The Pursuit of Beauty in Nature will mark the first time that Tiffany’s work has been shown in a botanical setting. “We like to reveal surprising connections–in this case, I was rather surprised that Tiffany had not been shown in a garden setting before because if you look at his works, they really do highlight all natural motifs,” attests Rominiecki. Another surprising connection the exhibition will explore is the significance of the “Tiffany Girls”—a group of unnamed and until recently, uncredited female artisans who worked under Tiffany. These artisans were encouraged to draw inspiration from the natural world and proved critical to carrying out Tiffany’s vision. “We want to present a new way of looking at the artist. While Tiffany was brilliant, he also had this collaborative relationship with these phenomenally skilled women artisans. It’s important to present what actually transpired,” says Rominiecki. SRQ 16 | srq magazine_ OCT22 live local

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Malaev-Babel talks about his vision for the FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training graduate program. Dylan Campbell


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Malaev-Babel’s time as Head of Acting, a title he still holds even after his promotion to Director of the Conservatory, granted him a unique opportunity in his career: the chance to facilitate an incubator for what was to many a new methodology of acting. “For three hours a day, Tuesday through Friday, with these twelve actors that we selected from thousands, I was practically recreating this work. We were able to not only develop this technique, but to actually put it on the map internationally,” says Malaev-Babel.



Babel, Director of the FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training. It’s a secret that Malaev-Babel, who joined the Conservatory, an elite three-year graduate program for actors in 2006, has been happy to share. “Demidov was the closest associate of Konstantin Stanislavsky, who is basically the father of contemporary theater and certainly the father of contemporary actor training. But Demidov, having worked with Stanislavsky for over 30 years, disagreed with Stanislavsky on some of the key issues concerning actor training,” says Malaev-Babel. “However, when Stanislavsky died, his disciples decided to do away with Demidov because they saw him as a competitor. And so after 1938, they basically wiped him out of the history of the Russian theater–you cannot publish his books and you cannot teach his work.”

Malaev-Babel was drawn to Demidov’s methodology because after years of teaching different styles, he had finally found a technique that spoke to the actors’ instincts. “I was never satisfied with the results that I was able to achieve when I used the Stanislavski System or the techniques of Michael Chekov. Something was missing,” attests Malaev-Babel. “It felt like I’d been banging my head against the wall for a very long time and suddenly someone opened a door and said, stop killing yourself, just enter through the door.” Demidov’s techniques have allowed Malaev-Babel to empower his students, creating spaces in which they are not afraid to fail but instead thrive organically within the performance. Unlike the Stanislavski System, in which action is the origin of the actor’s creative process and emotion the resulting byproduct of that, Demidov teaches that action and emotion are both byproducts of an actor’s perception. “That focus on perception versus action, on the subconscious versus rational mind and analysis is something that just completely changes the acting universe. Demidov’s process speaks to the actor’s instinct, which is why all of our actors, and all actors who ever were introduced to Demidov, immediately take to it because Demidov is not telling them anything that their instinct has not already known,” says Malaev-Babel. SRQ

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Thrivers: The Surprising Reasons Why Some Kids Struggle and Others Shine. Interview by Wes Roberts. EDUCATIONAL PSYCHOLOGIST AND BEST-SELLING AUTHOR, DR. MICHELE BORBA DISCUSSES HER NEW BOOK Thrivers: The Surprising Reasons Why Some


Kids Struggle and Others Shine. Dr. Borba spoke at Forty Carrots Family Center’s 20th Annual Free Educational Community Speaker Event last month presented in partnership with the Community Foundation of Sarasota County.

boosting resilience in a child, it's not a cookie-cutter approach. You have got to find what works for your family and what works for the child. You have to keep repeating the experience so the child eventually can learn to love it without you, and pretty soon, he's pulling you, you're not pulling the child. And as a result, he is developing the first skill of a thriver, which is confidence. “I know my own strengths. Here's what I discovered about myself.” I think we've got to keep in mind that it's who our child is, not what we want them to become.




in this day and age, is to give them opportunities, like sports and other after-school activities, where they are able to handle challenges and handle them on their own. A “thriver” is a child who says, "I got this," and it's a child who, first of all, is not assisted by the parent to develop that confidence, and second, each little challenge is going to be within the child's means. The child begins to realize “I can handle the stress,” and that's what we need. We can't protect our kids and sugarcoat things for them. He's discovering something that he's going to enjoy doing. As a result, he can use that for the rest of his life.

question because number one: We parent based on the culture we are raising our children in. Our kids haven't changed, they arrive pretty much the same as they have throughout time. The culture that we are raising them in has dramatically changed. Our children are dealing with more adversity, more uncertainty, more fear, not just ours, but theirs. And it's a very different world, where they're seeing such visual images that are so graphic and so disturbing. Those alone would be a wakeup call for us to say, “The world is changing, it's not like we're going back to the regular old normal. It's a new normal, and we've got to upgrade our sense of our parenting." The second thing is we need a new parenting roadmap. In all fairness to us, we all love our kids desperately and we all want them to succeed. That's the given. And I think for the longest time, we were also told that the GPA and the test score was the certain path to success, but there was more to the story. I started looking at this over ten years ago when I saw some very disturbing changes in American kids. One in five American children was going to be diagnosed with some mental health disorder. We realized that it’s vital that our kids are able to handle challenges and adversity to succeed. Then came the pandemic, and the CDC told us it's now one in three. Many of our kids tell me when I do focus groups, "But we haven't been raised to be resilient. We've been raised to beat the test score." So, there's the wakeup call. What I'm trying to do is give you a slightly different roadmap. Don't throw out everything here, but let's also realize that our kids need to be able to handle challenges, adversity, and handle stress. Otherwise, it rises. Those anxiety levels go up, up, up. Depression goes up, up, up, and that's not a healthy, happy child.

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we've all learned— the grownups and the kids alike—is that one of the things that really boosts our stress is not being able to control the dynamics of what's happening in life. You can't change the outside world. That's for sure. You can't change and get rid of the pandemic. That's for sure. But how you choose to respond is on us. We've got to give our kids different ways to manage stress and stop the pessimism. So it doesn't erode them. The schools are also saying this. I talk to schools all over the country. I was just in Sarasota last week and they're seeing changes. The kids' behavior is more irritable, on edge. They're a little more socially anxious. Their separation anxiety is going up again with the five-year-olds. There's behavior regressions–that is not a natural phenomenon. It’s the result of stress building and kids feeling unable to control it. HOW CAN A PARENT THINK ABOUT BUILDING INTEGRITY IN THEIR KIDS WHILE NOT FALLING INTO A TRAP OF THINKING THEIR KIDS HAVE TO BE PHOTOCOPIES? BORBA: Let's look at the “why” factor. When

I was writing Thrivers, my goal was to identify the strengths that are teachable, that are highly

correlated to resilience, that also improve mental health, but also raise up good people. I ended up finding that there are seven that really seem to matter most that we can teach at any age. It's a rare kid that has all seven, but one of those is integrity. Children who are able to bounce back have a strong moral code, because some kinds of challenges aren't going to be the bump in the road. That comes down to us as the parent, because you're not born with any of these strengths. You have to teach them and nurture them. And maybe the first question for us is to ask ourselves, let’s pretend that our kids are grown and they're 40, and we're at a family reunion and the kids are describing our family and what we stood for–what are they describing? And what do we think are the most important things that matter to them? Yes, we want them to be successful and happy, those are the givens, but what are the traits we want to see in those kids? I'd hope integrity would be one of them. Now, how do you get that way? Number one, “example”. I'd always watch my dad or my mom. And they were the epitome of kindness. Or my grandmother–she really demonstrated respect. The second thing was it was “expected”. Kids with high integrity, say, "In my family, we were expected to be honest or kind or respectful or responsible." Whatever it was, it was expected. The third thing that was fascinating is “experiences”. The children that had experiences doing charitable deeds. They might say, “We went across the street and we gave to the homeless person” or “We invited people who didn't have enough dinner each night to our house.” They experienced virtue. So, it became a verb, not a noun. And as a result, they saw themselves being the virtue and they caught it and became it. I think that's powerful and a lesson to all of us. So, ask yourself, when's the last time you did any of those? IN YOUR BOOK, YOU TALKED ABOUT MODELING VIRTUE, AND KINDNESS. THERE ARE PARENTS WHO WOULD SAY “IT ISN'T A VIRTUOUS WORLD AND I DON'T WANT MY CHILD TO BE VULNERABLE. I DON'T WANT MY CHILD TO BE A VICTIM.” HOW DO WE ANSWER THAT CONCERN? BORBA:

Well, the last thing you want is your child to be is a victim. You want your child to have the virtue, but you also want your child to be able to figure out

how to stand up and speak for himself. Teach the skill “CALM”, C-A-L-M. Anytime you disagree with someone, you can speak up and defend yourself, but also remember “C” which is to stay calm. Stay calm when you want to defend yourself. “A” is assert yourself. Figure out why you feel that way and what matters to you. So you can stick up for yourself or the other person. “L” is when you want to stick up for yourself, look the person in the eye. This is fascinating. What we discovered is today's kids are looking down, not up, because they've been looking at those screens so often. And when we also look at children who are more likely to be assertive and advocate or be strong and be bold and actually defend themself or another, they don't look down. They hold their head up and their whole body, as a result, looks more confident. We've looked at hundreds of footage of which kids are less likely to be bullied. It's a child who always looks into other people's eyes. “M” is to make your voice be strong and firm. You can have your child practice this, use your voice and practice saying, “Stop it. Stop it.” And from age two on, follow the rule, don't speak for your child, let your child speak for themselves. IN THE CHAPTER ON INTEGRITY, YOU TALKED ABOUT HAVING FAMILY MEETINGS. BORBA: It is intimidating. All of this is, but

here's a little trick that we all got to keep in mind. I don't care if it's you as a parent with your expectations and what are you going to implement in your own home or is it your expectation for your child or a teacher's expectation for a child, your expectations are always what I call the rubber band technique. Your goal is to figure out where you are right now and gently stretch yourself little bit, little bit, little bit without snapping your spirit or your children's spirit. You begin with, "Okay, I'm going to start with 30 seconds, around the dinner hour, and we're just going to have 30 seconds of 'how was your day?’” and gradually stretch yourself. Many parents say the best thing that they've discovered is the carpool. Use those moments. Turn off the radio, put the phone down, and just talk until finally you start rebuilding the relationships with you and your child. By the way, the coolest thing is that anytime you want to have a conversation with your child, and they haev a different idea than you and you want them to have their voice, turn to your child and say, "Convince me, why do you think that way?" And when you do that, you're going to have children who can also be open to ideas and possibilities. SRQ

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Berkshire Hathaway Florida Realty 7231 S. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota c: 941.800.SOLD (7653)

RE/MAX Alliance Group 5221 Ocean Blvd., Siesta Key Joe Kesslak | c: 941.321.8585 Wendy Kesslak | c: 941.321.7484

Engel & Völkers Florida c: 941.387-5676; o: 941.388.9800

Fine Properties 5224 Paylor Ln. Sarasota






Premier Sotheby’s International Realty Sarasota Downtown 50 Central Avenue, Suite 110 Sarasota FL34236 c: 941.685.1086

Coldwell Banker Realty 8334 Market Street Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202 Pat Warren c: 941.350.7044 Julie Warren c: 941.350.7439 Patrick Warren c: 941.400.4436


JOHN BRINK SRQ Premier Realty 409 St. Armands Circle, Sarasota o: 941.777.0424 SRQPR.COM

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Sarasota Gulf Coast Realtors

DANIELLE DIETRICH Coldwell Banker Realty 100 N. Tamiami Trl. Sarasota, c: 603.767.9166 o: 941.493.1000 DANIELLEDIETRICHSELLS SARASOTA.COM

Alexis Zibolis The Milbank Team COMPASS Sarasota and Lakewood Ranch 1343 Main St Ste 703, Sarasota c: 941.720.5174

Keller Williams on the Water Sarasota Sandy Mazzarantani, Matt and Laura Rode, Molly Laramie and Melissa Sherk 1549 Ringling Blvd. Ste. 600, Sarasota Matt Rode c: 941.241.7949

Coldwell Banker Realty 8334 Market Street Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202 c: 941.725.3060 ZIBOLISGROUP.COM


Julianna Burns Passionate, trusted and professional. Julianna is a Florida Licensed Realtor® and Sarasota native. Julianna is a Pricing Strategy Advisor & Real Estate Consultant who focuses on helping her customers build generational wealth and find a higher quality of life.

BURNS specializes in waterfront properties, e-sale properties, investment properties and relocation both in and outside the United States. Julianna is the 2022 President of Womens Council of Realtors Sarasota, was named Entrepreneur of the Year 2021 and voted REALTORS® to Watch Class of 2022 by the REALTORS® Association. She is on the Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium President’s Advisory Council and a key part in increasing awareness for several non-profit, not-for-profit and charity organizations in an effort to give back to her local community she loves so much.

Julianna Burns c: 941-800-SOLD (7653) e: 7231 S. Tamiami Trail | Sarasota, Fl 34231 Instagram: Juliannarburns Facebook: JuliannaBurnsRealtor

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Besides marketing, we provide all clients who are selling a property with International reach on the top Real Estate outlets all across the globe. LUXURY MARKETING Our prestigious in-house marketing team provides first class resources for selling your home. SRQ Premier Realty offers impeccable presentation, social media and luxury home advertising with global reach. aBOUT US SRQ Premier Realty bring premium service to home sellers and buyers. Our clients work with the best marketing and real estate professionals. Knowledge, creativity and our team is what makes us unique. INTERNATIONAL REACH

JOHN BRINK is the Broker-Owner of SRQ Premier Realty. He fell in love with the world of real estate and the Sarasota market back in the late 1960’s, when John’s family moved to the Sarasota area and began investing in the real estate market. Shortly after graduating college from the University of Wisconsin, John made Florida his full time home. As an avid boater and as a NAR Certified Water Front Specialist, he enjoys taking clients out to see Sarasota and its surrounding areas from the water. John personally coordinates the company’s real estate Agent training and oversees all operations with the assistance of his full-time staff. John ensures both clients and agents have the support necessary to deliver premier service in all that they do. He is a proud member of the Sarasota Yacht club, the St. Armands Circle Association and the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce.

John Brink 409B St Armands Circle Sarasota, FL 34236 c: 941.777.0424 e:

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DANIELLE DIETRICH, PA 2021 Coldwell Banker International President’s Elite 2022 Coldwell Banker Global Luxury Agent 2021, 2022 Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist Danielle Dietrich, PA, began her career in Real Estate in Brentwood (Los Angeles), CA in 2009, where she began working for The Solomon Team specifically as their Marketer, while creating and branding them at the highest national level. Danielle’s luxury real estate background began at a young age, right out of college, yet never intimidated her. She won several awards in her 20’s and nothing was stopping her. In 2016, Danielle had made what she thought would be a hard decision, moving to Sarasota, FL to be closer to her parents who reside in Venice, FL and starting her career over from scratch in a new territory and on a different coast. Danielle’s success in Real Estate upon moving to Florida only floored and she quickly became named amongst the top 15% agents nationwide! As she made the adjustment to beautiful Sarasota, FL Coldwell Banker Realty was the firm that would allow her to grow exponentially as she had done in CA, except this time individually not in a team atmosphere. Danielle brought not only her Marketing and Advertising Degrees with her, but her strong work ethic along with her celebrity business management expertise from the most cut-throat industry in the US, Los Angeles, CA. Danielle’s highest priority has always been her clients. She values her relationship with her clients and prides herself in guiding her clients to that close table successfully and making sure her clients trust in her every step of the way. The communication, support, services, and expertise that Danielle provides to her clients is of an elite status. The commitment she has to her clients shows in her numbers. In 2021 Danielle closed out over $22 million in sales and over 54 units; sent over $10 million pending for 2022 and has even closed over $5 million in the first month of the new year, January 2022! As the uncertainty of the real estate market builds, it is important to work with a luxury REALTOR® that has skin in the game, experience, elite negotiation skills and serves her clients whether it is buying, selling, or investing, Danielle’s passion to exceed her client’s expectations and commitment to serve each client with exceptional services is demonstrated by her results, ethics, and her in-depth local market knowledge of the Greater Sarasota real estate market. Danielle’s global connections set her apart from other agents and her exceptional guidance makes her invaluable to her clients. There is never a situation or a transaction that Danielle will not think outside the box and do all she needs to get the deal done. Locally she specializes in the Sarasota, Venice, Nokomis, LWR, AMI, LBK, Bradenton, Parrish, Palmetto and Englewood areas. Nationally throughout the entire US and yes, she is a Global real estate expert as well! She just sold brand new construction in the Dominican Republic and Mexico! Call Danielle to assist you with all your real estate needs, whether it is residential or commercial, Danielle specializes in both as an RCC and she assists all her clientele, both nationally and internationally.

Coldwell Banker Realty Danielle Dietrich, PA CLHMS RCC REALTOR c: 603.767.9166 | o: 941.493.1000 e: 30 | srq magazine_ OCT22 elite agents 2022

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JOE AND WENDY KESSLAK For Joe and Wendy Kesslak, their real estate business is built on knowledge, communication, dedication, passion and integrity. WE LOVE IT HERE! We are Joe and Wendy Kesslak, a husband and wife realtor team, proud members of the RE/MAX Alliance Group Family. Like most people living in Sarasota, we vacationedhere over 25 years ago and were immediately captivated by the beauty and allure of Sarasota and her barrier islands. We fell in love with Siesta Key and proceeded to to purchase our first piece of paradise allowing us to vacation here with our two daughters. Over the course of the past 25 years, we have bought, sold, and invested in numerous properties on Siesta Key. We have since moved from our home in Western Pennsylvania to make Siesta Key our permanent home. With our passion for Sarasota and all of it’s charms, we were inspired to help others with their buying, selling, and investing needs. Enthusiastic about real estate in Sarasota, we enjoy sharing our knowledge and experience to assist and educate aspiring investors, buyers and sellers with their own goals. We carry the values of hard work, integrity and outstanding customer service into every aspect of our business. When we’re not making our customers’ home buying dreams come true, you’ll find us out enjoying our city: boating, biking, walking, exploring the food scene, hanging with friends and family or simply beaching it! It’s easy to sell something you’re passionate about. A vibrant arts scene, beachy atmosphere, unique charm. We love Sarasota!

Joe Kesslak c: 941.321.8585 Chartered Financial Consultant Resort and second-home property specialist Wendy Kesslak c: 941.321.7484 Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist Certified Waterfront Specialist

RE/MAX Alliance Group 5221 Ocean Blvd. | Siesta Key #1 RE/MAX in Florida and the Southeast #14 RE/MAX in the World

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Rebecca AND Toma Milbank Together, Toma and Rebecca bring over 20 years of residential real estate experience and have represented buyers and sellers in transactions in excess of 500 million dollars. They attribute their success to superior personal service, extensive experience, a broad international network, marketing savvy and sharp negotiation skills.

The Milbank Team COMPASS Sarasota and Lakewood Ranch 1343 Main St Suite 703 Sarasota, FL 34236 c: 941.720.5174 Languages Spoken | English, French

Toma and Rebecca believe that understanding the needs of a client and walking them through every step of the process, whether they are buying or selling their primary home, a vacation home or an investment property, is paramount to providing the highest level of service. This informed, pressure-free approach is appreciated by everyone they work with. The Milbank Team understands that real estate is one of the most important financial investments one can make, and approaches every transaction with the highest level of care. They are dedicated to achieving the best results on behalf of their clients and are always willing to go the extra mile. Joining Compass Real Estate in October 2021, Toma continues to offer his clients a wealth of real estate experience. Toma began his real estate career while studying at the University of Western Ontario where he bought, sold, and managed several investment properties. He soon established himself in Manhattan’s real estate world after joining Edward Lee Cave, a boutique luxury real estate firm. He later joined Brown Harris Stevens where he made a name for himself as a top agent by achieving record prices for many of his clients. He has represented Fortune 500 clients and has a large network of international clients. Additionally, the Milbank team owns a staging company with over $300,000 in inventory which they use along with their inhouse designer/stager to help prepare listings. Having listed and sold over ten $10,000,000 to $20,000,000+ properties over the years and being well known for setting record prices in communities both known and new to them, their track record with sales is hard to match. When you work with Toma and Rebecca, you work with them and not an assistant. The team consists of two proven agents whose dedication never wavers.

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VICTORIA STULTZ Engel & Völkers Florida is expanding in Southwest Florida with Engel & Völkers Venice Downtown and Engel & Völkers Sarasota; marking the brand’s fifth and sixth locations in the region. Local market expert, Victoria Stultz will lead the new brokerage as License Partner and Broker.

Originally from Boston, Victoria STULTZ started out her career working in sales for

a Fortune 500 company in Cincinnati before shifting into real estate with a distinguished brokerage. Since that transition over 22 years ago, she has established herself as a leader in her chosen industry, one who has been recognized with the Five-Star Professional Award for 13 years in a row, and who has garnered over $150 million in sales volume and over 350 closed transactions. Among the many credentials she has earned, Victoria has been awarded designations such as the Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), awarded to only 1.5 % of agents nationwide, and the Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist (CLHMS), an achievement that is recognized as the hallmark of accomplishment in luxury markets around the world. Her enthusiasm for creating beauty in her workspace to her skill and solid business experience contributes to her success. Just as importantly, however, her vibrant personality and her style of daily communication with everyone she engages is commanding and inviting. Understanding that real estate is a relationship business, Victoria believes in offering a white-glove concierge service with a bespoke approach. Corporate relocation is also part of her portfolio, successfully transitioning businesses such as manufacturing, hospitals, medical groups, and professional athletes.

ENGEL & VöLKERS is a global luxury real estate

brand that delivers a fresh approach to luxury real estate with a focus on creating a personalized client experience at every stage of the home buying or selling process. Engel & Völkers currently operates approximately 260 shop locations with 5,000 real estate advisors in the Americas, contributing to the brand’s global network of over 15,000 real estate professionals in more than 31 countries, offering clients a professionally tailored range of luxury services, including real estate, yachting and aviation. For more information, contact Victoria Stultz at 941.388.9800 or email at

Victoria Stultz Engel & Völkers Florida c: 941.387-5676 o: 941.388.9800 e:

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JUDI TAULBEE My goal to exceed everything you’ve ever known about working with a realtor and help you find your new Florida address. I am truly committed to serving each customer with exceptional personal, first class service.

JUDI TAULBEE With 19 years In the real estate industry. I feel it’s crucial to be dedicated to providing in-depth local market knowledge. I enjoy providing each customer with individual attention, enthusiasm, and my years of knowledge into the Greater Sarasota real estate market. From Sarasota to Lakewood Ranch, Bradenton, Parrish, Venice and across to The Islands, I thrive on this coastal lifestyle and want you to do so as well. Whether you are listing or buying, I’m here for you. I’ve been fortunate to earn over 200+ FIVE Star Zillow reviews as well as being the #1 Top Volume Sales producer at Fine Properties for many years running. I’m thoroughly committed to offering you an informed, solution-oriented and responsive approach to each and every unique listing for my sellers and everything involved in working with buyers in this dynamic market. I’m accessible to answer each and ever one or your timely questions and you can trust my guidance, Contact me if you’d like to chat about your real estate goals. I’m here for you and interested. Recognized in Forbes Magazine in 2020 and 2022 as one of the top agents in the country. FINE PROPERTIES is a full service Brokerage with over 280 agents selling over 2200 homes per year in the Manatee/Sarasota area. All of our agents experience full service from marketing to top of the June websites and full cloud based transactional management service. in addition we also own our own title company and have a full time attorney on staff. Currently we have 3 fully staffed locations from Venice to Upper Manatee. With over $750 million in annual sales, we rank in the top tour brokerages in this area.

Judi Taulbee Fine Properties 5224 Paylor Ln. | Sarasota 34240 e:

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The Warren Group has built a reputation for the highest level

Warren group sarasota Warren Group Sarasota prioritizes quality of relationships over quantity of transactions. This ensures a personalized client experience that instills confidence and promised results. Warren Group Sarasota prides itself on more than 19 years of dedicated service to the Sarasota, Bradenton, and Lakewood Ranch Communities. Our sincere desire is for all our clients to love where they live. Coldwell Banker Realty Warren Group Sarasota 8334 Market Street, Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202 Pat Warren c: 941.350.7044 Julie Warren c: 941.350.7439 Patrick Warren c: 941.400.4436

of integrity and diligence for their clients over 18 years of dedication to their local Sarasota and Lakewood Ranch communities. PAT WARREN left a career as a CPA and entrepreneur after 10 years in Vail, Colorado and along with his wife JULIE WARREN and their three kids, relocated to Lakewood Ranch over 20 years ago. Julie, a seasoned sales professional from the pharmaceutical industry and a successful interior design consultant in Vail, brings next-level energy and professionalism to the team, plus unmatched marketing and staging expertise. Pat’s financial experience, market knowledge and negotiating acumen, combined with Julie’s marketing and design passion make for a powerful team, dedicated to their clients’ realization of their Real Estate goals as part of a family, the Warren Group family. THE WARREN GROUP recently announced the addition of Patrick Warren to the team! Patrick graduated from the Uni-

versity of Florida with a degree in Advertising and Marketing, bringing another level of marketing power to help sell your home quickly and efficiently. Patrick has a tremendous level of commitment to his clients and an unmatched work ethic, all targeted to help serve his clients’ real estate needs. Patrick was born in Vail, Colorado and moved with his family to

Lakewood Ranch when he was three years old. He’s always been a hard worker and committed to his education and athletics. Patrick competed in golf and lacrosse in high school, eventually landed a lacrosse scholarship at Rhodes College and ultimately received a Marketing degree from the University of Florida. He currently works on new client development and marketing as well as listing and selling homes in this amazing market. His talents combined with the experience and expertise of Pat and Julie combine for a powerful family team, all targeted to help you achieve your Real Estate goals! LET OUR FAMILY VALUES BRING


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alexis zibolis Dedicated to excellence, Alexis Zibolis holds the distinction of Coldwell Banker’s Top 100 agents in Florida and is one of the top Listing Agents in Sarasota and surrounding areas.

With over $45 million in sales last year alone, Alexis’ clients choose to work with her because of her attention to detail, unmatched ethics, professionalism, unparalleled marketing skills, experience, and her “down to earth” disposition. Compared to the competition last year, Alexis closed on 9 more listings than any other listing agent in the area, and sold her listings for 5% more on average. With these impressive stats, Alexis consistently demonstrates her ability to exceed client expectations. Her listings sell faster and for more money because she understands the individuality of each listing and how to make them stand out above the competition. Her marketing plans are tailored to fit each listing and to highlight the distinctiveness of every detail including design and staging. She is able to anticipate the ebb and flow of the area’s market to plan and guide her sellers accordingly. Her knowledge about the area, communities, and the constantly fluctuating market help her buyers to make informed decisions. Because of Alexis’ concierge approach, unique strategies, cutting edge approach, and innovative marketing style, she has become the area’s “go to” luxury agent. Her uncompromising commitment to her clients’ needs makes her truly unique and the ideal person to assist in buying or selling your next home.

Alexis Zibolis, Realtor® Coldwell Banker Realty Lic#: SL3371142 8334 Market Street Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202 c: 941.725.3060 e:

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DEBRA GARRETT Everyone deserves the extraordinary, because luxury is not about price— rather it’s about an experience. And when it comes to real estate, experience matters.®

BORN IN VIRGINIA , Debra moved to Sarasota in the 80s and has called it home ever since. Over 30 years ago, Debra decided to make real estate her career and focused on the skills she viewed necessary to help sellers and buyers make informed decisions. She did this by offering the Sarasota area’s diverse lifestyle choices available, current market trends in each segment, including local factors affecting pricing and negotiation. When marketing a property for sale, the tried-and-true strategy starts with a one-on-one customer consultation, which leads to effective preparation and staging. This supports Debra’s innovative marketing with the common goal to attract the best buyer in a preferred timetable. She believes this is the key to capitalizing on today’s market. Debra’s successful track record is the product of a wealth of experience, which gives her a solid understanding of the Sarasota/Manatee market. Within the region, she has developed considerable knowledge of Sarasota and Manatee’s many waterfront communities, aided by her years on the water and boating along the Gulf Coast. With over 20 years of commercial and retail development, Debra provides an extensive commercial capability in addition to her residential real estate background. This occurred by working closely with a vast list of Fortune 500 companies and developers who develop retail, hotels and multifamily properties throughout Florida. She believes that straight-talk, integrity, ethics and great customer experience are the keys to success for any buyer or seller. Debra is an exceptional listener who is detail-oriented, tenacious and always well-prepared to meet her customers’ needs. For personal time, she loves the beach, boating, golf, working out at the gym and spending time with her family.

Debra Garrett, Realtor® Premier Sotheby’s International Realty Sarasota Downtown 50 Central Avenue, Suite 110 Sarasota FL34236 c: 941.685.1086

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is to deliver excellence and aim to exceed expectations in everything we do. For the majority of people, the purchase or sale of a home is their largest single investment. Our goal is to guide you successfully and easily through the contractual investment and emotional decisions involved in the real estate process. We are committed to providing you, your friends, and family with superior service and expertise. The team’s commitment to their clients shows as the Sarasota Gulf Coast Realtors quickly became one of Sarasota’s top producing teams in just two years. In 2020, the team sold over $70 million worth of real estate and helped over 180 families with their real estate transactions. This full-service team strives to modernize the experience of buying and selling real estate while serving their clients at the highest level.

Laura & Matt Rode began their career selling real estate in Sarasota, FL in 2014. In 2018, they joined Keller Williams on the Water Sarasota and established their team, Sarasota Gulf Coast Homes. Pictured here are the teams’ top performing agents, each with over 10+ million dollars in real estate volume sold each year. From left to right they are Hallie Roberson, Melissa Killion, Stephanie Bronzino, Molly Higdon, Matt Rode, Sinead Magennis, Laura Rode, Molly Laramie. This elite group of professionals includes several members of Keller Williams Luxury International and CLHMS (Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialists). They are your market experts for all things real estate in both Sarasota & Manatee counties.

Keller Williams on the Water Sarasota | 1549 Ringling Blvd #600, Sarasota Matt Rode c 941.241.7949 |

MARIANNE LEBAR Raising the BAR in Real Estate Services. “A Passion for the Profession.” A real enthusiast for the great outdoors you will find me golfing at Prestancia, paddle boarding bayside on Siesta Key, or dining at one of Sarasota’s fine restaurants or outdoor cafes, we have many. You will be excited to meet my wonderful training partner, Skyway. She is a Southeastern Guide Dog who aspires to a guide for the blind one day. Skyway is the epitome of Sarasota’s charitable community as our SEGDs’ are funded by community support. These are just a few reasons WHY I have enjoyed selling Sarasota Real Estate since 1994. Many of our customers relocating to join the Florida lifestyle. Do not worry you don’t have to decide exactly where you want to live because our customers will buy and sell every 5-7 years. Whether your passion is Golf or the Gulf, buying or selling; I cannot wait to meet you to discuss your next move.

Marianne LeBar, Broker Associate ColdwellBanker Realty c: 941.650.0337 e: Thank you for Elle Boutique & Spa for styling and makeup. 38 | srq magazine_ OCT22 elite agents 2022

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culture city


Brothers Steven and William Ladd interweave experiences past and present into their textile-based artwork. Dylan Campbell


9/15/22 7:56 PM

culture city This page: “Purple Maquette,”

2012. Archival board, fiber, and metal. Steven and William Ladd. Courtesy of the artists and Cristina Grajales Gallery.

“WHEN WILLIAM AND I WERE IN HIGH SCHOOL–he was a freshman and I was a sophomore–we had the same lunch period. We didn’t have enough money to really buy lunch, but we did have 50 cents to share a Nutty Bar. So we would get a Nutty Bar from the vending machine, split it, and instead of sitting there at lunch, watching everybody else eat, we would pull our socks over our pants, skip through the hallways from the first floor all through the fourth floor, just as a little moment of joy. Our friends in the classrooms would look out for us. We called it the Nutty Bar Brigade,” recalls Steven Ladd.

Stories such as this–the Nutty Bar Brigade came to life as a piece in 2012–are rife throughout the Ladd’s career: the brothers Steven and William, have long used materials such as beads and textiles to create abstract elicitations of their shared memories. In their new exhibition Steven and William Ladd: Lead with a Laugh, debuting this September at the Sarasota Art Museum, the brothers will be venturing into new territory–chronicling the people and experiences that shape their present-day lives. “Since before the pandemic, we’ve been developing this whole new body of work of intricately beaded large landscapes that are all about the present and the future–where are we headed in our lives? What’s our impact in society and what’s our impact in the world?” says William. This shift in focus has resulted in twelve new landscapes –large scale abstract works featuring hand sewn boxes with various beaded objects in and around them–that will be on display in Lead with a Laugh, along with the Ladd’s newest direction: Portraiture, but with their own unique spin on it. “In the past, we were working on portraits of memories and of people, but they took the shape of these abstracted landscapes. Now, we’re really interested in exploring how to represent the people and experiences that have influenced us in the present in a more figurative way,” says Steven. The title of the exhibition is not only a reference to the Ladd’s infectious energy and joyous spirit, but also an ode to the exhibition’s larger function as a visual memoir of the brothers’ career. “If you were to write a memoir, where would you start? A lot of memoir authors actually suggest that you lead with an anecdote that makes you laugh,” says curator Emory Conetta. Lead with a Laugh, which traces through the brothers’ artistic history, will include past works in addition to new pieces making their debut. “When you look back on all the significant moments of your life, what do they tell you about who you are as a person and how do they inform how you’ll live in the future?” says Conetta. The result is at once a retrospective on their career progression–chronicling a pivot in style from hand-sewn boxes encapsulating intricately beaded objects to open-topped boxes containing ‘landscapes’ evocative of childhood memories and a freer style–and a look toward their future. “When we first started, we were making these hand sewn boxes that contained intricate accessories and design objects. In 2008, we really pivoted to no longer including the design object within the boxes and just making these artistic landscapes about our shared memories,” says Steven.

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culture city This page top to bottom: Detail view

of “ The Hill Side”, 2022, Archival board, fiber, beads, metal, plywood, courtesy of the artists. Installation view of “Steven and William: Lead With a Laugh” at Sarasota Art Museum, September 4 - February 5, 2023, photo by Ryan Gamma.

Then in 2012, the Ladd’s made the Nutty Bar Brigade, which was emblematic of another shift to a more stripped down style that featured just the hand sewn boxes themselves. That transition led to the brothers experimenting with different materials, such as paper mache. “The boxes had become more and more intricate - everything was hand stitched and had to be perfect. Eventually, we started doing more things that were still really intricate, but a little bit more free, like pinning beads into paper mache and allowing the pieces to be a little bit rougher and larger

as opposed to a hand stitched box,” attests William. In recent years, the Ladd’s style has come full circle as their subject matter has become more topical. The “major career pivot” from sewing beads to pinning them has once again shifted to sewing–evident in both the brothers’ intricately beaded landscapes and hand sewn portraiture. It’s a fitting transition for the pair, an acknowledgement of their growth into a different stage in their lives–that their art will always return to the people and the places that have shaped them, from childhood to middle age. SRQ

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DYNA Asolo Repertory Theatre’s Producing Artistic Director Michael Donald Edwards and Managing Director Linda DiGabriele look back on their time with the institution. Interview by Dylan Campbell

Photography by Wes Roberts

In June 2023, Asolo Repertory Theatre’s Producing Artistic Director Michael Donald Edwards, and Managing Director, Linda DiGabriele, will resign from their positions at the end of their contracts. When that day arrives, Edwards will have been a part of Asolo Repertory Theatre for 18 years and DiGabriele for 50. Edwards and DiGabrielie’s shared time together allowed for them to build a professional relationship seemingly unique to the industry: one of untold trust and respect, that propelled Asolo Repertory Theatre to new heights. In Michael, Linda saw an artistic vision on which to build the organization into the largest repertory theater in the Southeastern United States and one of the most established in the country. In Linda, Michael found the freedom and trust to cultivate an artistic presence that brought artists and directors from around the world to the institution.


— Michael Donald Edwards


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NAMIC DUO Together, they have presided over Asolo Repertory Theatre’s latest chapter: becoming an artistic monolith in the arts-centric region of Sarasota and beyond. From DiGabriele’s assumption of the Managing Director position in 1980 until Edwards’ arrival in 2006, Asolo Repertory Theatre went from being an artistically renowned institution that was struggling financially to the calling card for repertory theater in the South East. Since Edwards’ arrival in 2006, the institution has not only transformed the way it produces theater, receiving national recognition for its diverse and relevant repertoire, but it has also transformed the scale at which it operates: Asolo Repertory has seen rises in attendance, operating budget, and endowment; created guest housing for artists, built an entire production facility and rehearsal space, and created The Ground Floor, an incubator program for new play development.

SRQ: IN 2023, LINDA YOU’LL HAVE BEEN AT ASOLO REPERTORY THEATRE FOR 50 YEARS AND MICHAEL 18 YEARS. CAN YOU CHRONICLE FROM A BIRDS EYE VIEW YOUR TIME HERE? LINDA DIGABRIELE: I was hired into the marketing department of Asolo Rep in 1973, and I didn’t stay there very long because I almost immediately moved to touring operations. Asolo Rep had significant touring operations. So I was tied up with tours for about 12 years and we were one of the largest of the touring operations in the theater world for that period of time. And then I took on some stage management when we had the theater downtown which was fun because I think we had three women’s stage managers going at one time. Then in 1989, I moved back firmly into management and became managing director of the theater, which has meant different things over time because of different organizational structures.


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MICHAEL DONALD EDWARDS: I was invited to direct

a show here The Smell of the Kill in the 2004-05 season . I was an associate artistic director elsewhere at the time. Once the show was completed, I was asked if I’d be interested in applying for the job of producing artistic director which at first I was reluctant to do. However, I signed a three-year contract and all of a sudden it’s 18 years later and I’m still here. I started pretty much as a director, often directing three shows in a season and really wanted to transform the product on stage. There was no history of doing musicals and I knew that I wanted to be working on classic American musicals along with newer productions as well. One of the things that appealed to me about the job was figuring out how to do rep in a world where that is increasingly impossibly expensive to do. It was a truly unique opportunity to be at the helm of an institution where all of these things come together. The final component that I didn’t expect was the relationship I would have with the community of Sarasota. I was now being asked to lead a beloved institution and the decisions that I was making were not just my own personal passionate choices as an artist or director, but part of a larger dialogue with the community. Every production became an opportunity to deepen that conversation and engagement with the community. The reason I’ve stayed for 18 years instead of three, is because my relationship with the community, the board directors and Sarasota blossomed. DIGABRIELE: I think another piece that was very important for me was the community of Asolo Rep itself. Prior to COVID, it was a very stable network of staff members and artists who worked so hard for so many years together that it became a meaningful piece of the community. That internal community as well as the Sarasota community has always been so supportive and caring. HOW HAS THAT RELATIONSHIP WITH THAT OUTSIDE COMMUNITY GROWN OVER THE YEARS? DIGABRIELE: I would start that by saying that Michael has an amazing ability to connect with our donors and our community. And that’s not always the case. Not everybody is as accessible and as comfortable in that situation, but Michael really has a gift for that. And I think that has deepened our relationship with the community significantly and built incredible bridges between ourselves and the donors, different organizations, and foundations. He’s had an incredibly positive effect on building these external relationships and we work great together as a team.

EDWARDS: Prior to joining Asolo Rep, I was an

itinerant artist, often directing nearly ten shows in a season at different theaters. I knew how to put on a show, but what I didn’t know was that I would really enjoy the other critical part of the job, which is encouraging people to get involved in any capacity that they can: from volunteering to donating and raising money, which enables us to do the work that we do. I also didn’t know that Sarasota was going to become my home, not only artistically, but my actual home as well. The job of any arts organization is to build a sense that this is a community worth living in, raising your children in, and investing in. HOW HAS ASOLO REP NOT ONLY BEEN ABLE TO GROW EXPONENTIALLY OVER THE COURSE OF YOUR SHARED TIME, BUT ALSO WEATHER CHALLENGES SUCH AS NAVIGATING A GLOBAL PANDEMIC? EDWARDS: Yeah. I mean, it’s like anything. It’s in

any organization where people are under pressure to produce. The curtain must go up. Now the two years of COVID have proved to be unrelentingly brutal in the pressure that’s been put on all of us to keep the curtain up. It’s been a challenging thing to steer through, but having already weathered a lot of storms in the past, we had the internal toolkit to cope with this. DIGABRIELE: One of our real strengths is having that

internal community, so that when we hit COVID-19, we were able to continue to produce and manage the situation. I think if we hadn’t had that internal strength that wouldn’t have been possible. We were one of the few professional theaters in America that continued producing a season that year. We built the Terrance Stage, which was the equivalent of a touring stage that you’d see for a rock and roll show. The company was able to get the lighting, projection, and sound systems necessary for the stage and our staff had the technical know-how to rig it all together. We performed for audiences of 250 in and did a season of five events, which was unheard of in the rest of the country, but it kept our connection with the public going. MICHAEL, HOW HAVE YOU GROWN ARTISTICALLY WHILE AT ASOLO REP? EDWARDS: What happened at Asolo is that I transitioned from being a very focused director with a particular idea about what theater was and what it should be to being a producer. I’ve given Linda a lot of credit for that, because of the trust she’s placed in me. As a producer, I’m in the position of

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— Michael Donald Edwards

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assembling creative teams, especially other directors and not telling them, not micromanaging them, but trusting them with the institution. When we hire a director, we’re basically inviting them into the family and telling them that we are going to try and realize their vision. I’ve kind of become, what non-theater people would understand as, a sports coach in that I have to push people to do things. And I have an idea of what they think should be, but sometimes my ideas aren’t necessarily the right ones and I have to be willing to listen to the artists I hire and bring on board. I’m also now in the position where I understand and think about the audience. I’m like a stand in for them. I know that there’s a certain tolerance for bad language or sexuality that they will accept as long as there’s a really good story and it’s done in the right context. They have a great sense of safety and respect for the art. So we’ve done a lot of outrageous things at the theater and our audience has stayed with us. A lot of people say, “I cannot believe you’re doing this play in Florida.” I say, “Sarasota and Asolo Rep, that’s not Florida. We’re Americans. We’re expansive and embracing and inclusive and that’s the kind of art that we have been doing.” Another part of it is that when you’re a visiting artist, you don’t develop the relationships with the staff, the family that runs everything in the theater. I’m going to really miss that, because there’s a degree of intimacy in an institution which few people understand that comes from making work under such incredible pressure and solving problems together for such a long time. SHARE WITH US HOW THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN YOU AND LINDA FUNCTIONS? EDWARDS: I feel like

there’s not a single artistic choice I would be thinking about making that I wouldn’t test on Linda because I know that she loves art as much as I do. If I ask her to read a play that I’m interested in she is going to give me an honest reaction. I want her instinctive reaction to things. And sometimes I say, “you’re gonna have to suck it up. I really wanna do this play.” DIGABRIELE: We don’t always agree. EDWARDS: We don’t. But we’ve always had a good

relationship in that way. As Managing Director, Linda’s incredibly good with the technical producing side: the budgeting, logistics and expansive notions of how to think about all our unions and everything else with that. So I have confidence that I don’t have to worry too much about nuts and bolts. She’s always saying to me, “think of your passion as what this is built on. We’ll get lost in the weeds of production, we need your passion for the work.” However, she’ll still bring me into the financial world of Asolo Rep so that I can really understand exactly where our vulnerabilities are, how to address them and how to negotiate with the board

(of trustees) so that we are completely transparent. We have to be ready for any questions or challenges coming from our Board, who’s primary responsibility is the financial stability of the institution. We have to inform them at the deepest level about every stress and vulnerability, but they’re only doing it because they’re excited by the vision. Linda and I have to marry those two components. DIGABRIELE: As Managing Director, I need to make


— Linda DiGabriele

sure that the organization has the capacity to produce the vision that Michael is putting forward. I need to be sure that the staffing and the resources and the governance are in place that gives us the stability and the depth to be able to actualize Michael’s vision. For me to go off and make budgetary decisions without Michael’s input about what’s really important to him would be foolish. The financial and technical aspects have got to ride together with the artistic influence. EDWARDS: Absolutely. We’re one of the rare

examples in our business of a producing artistic director and a managing director that have had a long term positive relationship. Gary, Linda’s husband calls me her professional spouse because we communicate all the time. I feel like we’re a model for this kind of professional relationship, which in turn leads to a healthy institution, a healthy understanding of what’s at stake for everybody and a healthy relationship with the board. LINDA, WHAT IS IT ABOUT MICHAEL THAT HAS ALLOWED YOU TO PLACE SUCH TRUST IN HIM? DIGABRIELE: I think that every good relationship is based on huge respect and admiration for one another. I love his visions and I love the way he thinks about the art, the artists, and the care of the people who come together as a family to do this. From the outset, he deserved all the resources that we could put at his disposal and all the support. When I say resources, I mean, everything, not just money. One of those resources is the incredible skill of our staff and crafts people. Without that, you can’t offer the same level of support. We’ve had artists come from all over the country who have come here to produce work or direct or co-produce and they’re amazed at the level of skill and experience that we have in our people here. And that’s not a money thing, but rather the incredible dedication, professionalism, experience that is there to help support what Michael wants. SRQ

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This page: Sarasota Contemporary Dance’s Monessa Salley; photography by Sorcha Augustine.

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The arts and culture season promises to be one worth celebrating. Capturing the local arts and cultural exhibits, performances and events of the 2022-2023 season, our incredibly comprehensive season preview is your guide to local entertainment. From award-winning theatrical premiers to breath-taking art and floral exhibitions and more, SRQ will fill your calendar with must-see events.


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Voices | Rising Choreographers Sarasota Contemporary Dance (SCD) is stepping forward with confidence into its 17th Mainstage Season, RECLAIM. This year, the company is prioritizing diversity through collaboration with local musicians, reviving the SCD repertory, and presenting nationally acclaimed guest choreographers by bringing their never-beforeseen original works to Sarasota. Opening the SCD’s 17th Season is “Voices: Rising Choreographers.” For the past eight years, this program has presented rising choreographers who were selected from SCD’s Summer Intensive Programs by SCD Artistic Director Leymis Bolaños Wilmott. This year’s range of work reinforces SCD’s vision: to support and develop artists ranging from emerging to mid-career. “We aim to provide a performance platform that empowers these choreographers,” Bolaños Wilmot says. This year’s choreographers are Alexis Diggs (Dayton, Ohio), Rebecca Eurom (New York City), Matthew Sommers (Austin, Texas), Sarah Emory (St. Petersburg, Florida) and Xiao-Xuan Yang Dancigers (an SCD company member who is entering her eighth season). A highlight of this production is the pre-show performance by the SCD Ensemble—the training company for aspiring dancers. A residency program was also added this season for the Ensemble and selected Laura Chambers (from Sarasota) as the artist-in-residence. Her new work on the Ensemble will open the production. “For Voices: Rising Choreographers, we are increasing residencies for rising choreographers to share their stories, by presenting more artists than ever before,” Bolaños Wilmot says. “These offerings continue to incite our spirited vision—being a versatile contemporary dance company and training ground that nurtures and provides resources for dancers and artmakers in various stages of development.” —A.Weingarten Sarasota Contemporary Dance: 1400

Below: Sarasota Contemporary Dance’s Melissa Rummel, photography by Sorcha Augustine

Boulevard of the Arts Suite 300, Sarasota, 941-260-8485,


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Below: Carlos Miguel Prieto , photo courtesy of Benjamin Ealovega


Grammy Stars Honored the Legacy of Bramwell Tovey

Above: This cinematic program highlights composers whose classical masterpieces made movie moments truly unforgettable. Think the hair-raising fanfare from Richard Strauss’ Also sprach Zarathustra in 2001: A Space Odyssey, or Out of Africa’s savanna vistas underscored by the lyrical Adagio from Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto. And what symphonic “movie night” would be complete without a tribute to the great John Williams? Relive the thrilling action through film scores from Jaws, Jurassic Park, Harry Potter, and Star Wars.

Despite the unexpected passing of Bramwell Tovey in July of this year, the Sarasota Orchestra will be welcoming a dazzling group of Grammy stars to its lineup this season, honoring the legacy of their beloved music director. “We’re proud to present some of the finest artists in classical music,” says Sarasota Orchestra President and CEO Joseph McKenna. “Our 2022-2023 season brings five Grammy-winning and Grammy-nominated guests to the stage.” Among the musicians will be pianist Joyce Yang, who earned a 2018 Grammy nomination for “Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance.” Her recording partner, violinist Augustin Hadelich, will join Yang as she launches the Masterworks season with Grieg’s emotional Piano Concerto. Conductor Paul Daniel currently leads the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra of Galicia, and he was nominated for a Grammy in the “Best Classical Compendium” category in 2015. Daniel will conduct Masterworks 5: Emperor for the Sarasota Orchestra, which will pair Beethoven’s epic Piano Concerto No. 5 with Prokofiev’s Fifth Symphony. Violinist Gil Shaham earned a Grammy this year for “Best Classical Instrumental Solo” with his album that pairs the warhorse concertos of Beethoven and Brahms. Shaham will join the Sarasota Orchestra for the Masterworks season finale, A Hero’s Life, performing Korngold’s Violin Concerto with conductor Carlos Miguel Prieto. Another violin superstar, James Ehnes—a Bradenton-area resident—shared a long artistic partnership with Tovey, with whom he won a Grammy in 2008. Ehnes will perform Sibelius’ Violin Concerto in Masterworks 3: Mahler: A View of Heaven. With his 19 Grammy wins and 29 nominations, cellist Yo-Yo Ma is a classical music legend. This year, he shared the prize for “Best Chamber Music/Small Ensemble Performance” with pianist Emanuel Ax. Ma will be the guest of honor at Sarasota Orchestra’s “Special Concert and Gala,” performing Dvořák’s Cello Concerto. As the oldest continuing orchestra in the state of Florida (operating since 1949), the 76-member Sarasota Orchestra performs classical, pops, chamber music and community outreach concerts. —A. Weingarten Sarasota Orchestra: 709 North Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, 941-953-4252,

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Below: Gods and Lovers: Paintings and Sculpture from India, Nov 12, 2022 – May 28, 2023. The Goddess Kali in the cremation ground, ca. 1850. Northern India, Pahari region. Opaque pigments with gold on paper. The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Museum purchase, 2022.17.

Gods and Lovers: Paintings and Sculptures Arriving at The Ringling Museum of Art on November 12th, 2022 and on view until May 28th, 2023, will be Gods and Lovers: Paintings and Sculpture from India. The exhibit, named after the diversional themes common in Indian art, will feature 26 objects: 18 paintings from private collections and The Ringling’s collection, from artists affiliated with royal courts across northern, central, and western India between the 16th and 19 centuries; in addition to five or six Hindu and Jain sculptures from The Ringling’s special collection ranging from the 4th, 5th, and 14th centuries. “I wanted to follow up The Fabric of India, our first exhibition devoted to Indian art, with another exhibition highlighting the different aspects of Indian art as well,” says curator Rhiannon Paget, who also serves as The Ringling’s Curator of Asian Art. “These paintings from two private collections gave us the opportunity to bring out some of The Ringling’s Indian sculptures not on permanent display, which were collected by John and Mabel Ringling in the 1920s.” Although the small-format paintings are often described as “miniatures”, Paget is loath to employ that terminology, as it approaches a style of painting from a preconceived Western notion of how large a painting should be. “I avoid calling these paintings ‘miniatures’ just because they are miniature compared to other types of Western paintings that newcomers to Indian art might be more familiar with. When compared to other Indian art of their time, they are not miniscule in size,” says Rhiannon. “The paintings were designed for intimate viewing and often painted as sets to be accompanied by manuscripts.” Many of the scenes depicted in the paintings are diversional, drawn from Hindu scriptures and literature, illustrating the adventures of the Hindu gods and goddesses. The paintings themselves are highly detailed and vividly colored, creating a fascinating intersection between meticulous realism and otherworldly subjecture. —D. Campbell The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, 5401 Bay Shore Rd, Sarasota, 941 359-5700, ringling. org

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Asolo Repertory’s Cabaret How does one of the region’s, if not the nation’s, most established repertory theaters stamp their mark on the new year? By reinvigorating audiences through shedding new light on old favorites. For all the highlights across Asolo Repertory Theatre’s 2022-23 season, one stands out in particular: Cabaret. In fact, the season’s motto, “In here, life is beautiful” is a direct quote from the musical. “It’s the flagship production of the season. It’s been such a rough two years with the pandemic, war in Ukraine, climate crisis, that we found it really inspiring to think about a story where people came together in a really fraught time in their history to survive, make art, and embrace joy where they could,” says Associate Artistic Director Celine Rosenthal. Directing Cabaret is Josh Rhodes, who has previously worked with the company in the past. “What Josh always does which is so brilliant is that he really goes back to the text, reinterrogates it and thinks about it with the designers and the creative team, and thinks about how it resonates with us today. He’s really wonderful and works with artists who excel at taking the larger themes and metaphors of a piece and building them to a size that fills the Asolo theater and has a beautiful aesthetic resonance to the story,” —D. Campbell Asolo Repertory Theatre, 5555 N. Tamiami Trail, 941.351.8000, 800.361.8388.

Left: From the Ringling Museum exhibit, “ As long as there is light, as long as there is sun.” Selections from the Bring Gift and The Ringling Collection of Modern and Contemporary Art. Gene Davis (American, 1920–1985), King of Spades, 1978, Acrylic on canvas, 88 3/4 × 123 1/4 × 2 1/4 in. Gift of Murray Bring and Kay Delaney Bring, 2020, 2020.12.3. The Ringling received a significant gift of art from Murray Bring and Kay Delaney Bring, in support of the modern and contemporary collection. This exhibition presents selections from this gift in dialogue with rarely seen works from The Ringling’s collection. Highlights of the gift include an important minimalist work by Anne Truitt and a monumental work on canvas by Gene Davis, both artists affiliated with the Washington Color School. The exhibition brings together artworks that probe the themes of spirituality, nature, and perception through explorations in abstraction, minimalism, geometry, and form. Above: Josh Rhodes, courtesy of Asolo Repertory.

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Below top to bottom: Sandy Cameron in Cinematic Romance, The Venice Symphony and Troy Quinn of The Venice Symphony.

Next to Normal Cinematic Romance This February, the Venice Symphony will present Cinematic Romance, a concert series highlighting some of the most legendary modern cinematic scores to date. The series is a chance for not only the old guard of audience members to come and enjoy the best of what the Venice Symphony has to offer, but also an opportunity for newcomers and film fanatics to be introduced to the world of symphonic music through the lens of film scores. The program will feature music from Casablanca, Romeo and Juliet, and Gone with the Wind, in addition to a guest performance from violinist Sandy Cameron, who will perform Danny Elfman’s Edward Scissorhands Suite, Love Theme from Cinema Paradiso, and the Tango from Scent of a Woman. The program will conclude with the Venice Symphony’s premiere of Leonard Bernstein’s Symphonic Dances from West Side Story. “ We haven’t played Symphonic Dances from West Side Story as an orchestra before. It is glorious music, at the heart of which are these symphonic melodies. While it’s something that is very much within our capabilities, it’s still a difficult undertaking– it requires a big orchestra with lots of percussion and big brass. It requires a lot of force which sometimes causes smaller orchestras to be reluctant to take on a piece of this size and grandeur,” says conductor Troy Quinn, music director of the Venice Orchestra. Quinn’s connection with Hollywood, he’s a member of the conducting faculty of the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music, has granted him somewhat of an inside track towards getting both artists and scores that come from the film world. “I happen to have good connections with some of these Hollywood producers, which has allowed me to go straight to them and get the licensing for this music. In some cases, the composers themselves such as Bill Conti and John Williams have given us the original scores,” says Quinn. My relationships with these people have also helped me bring in guest artists like Sandy Cameron.” —D.Campbell The Venice

Sarasota’s rich history of the arts lives on not only through its professional theater companies, but also through its community theaters as well. Since 1947, that artistic spirit has been alive and well at the Manatee Performing Arts Center. In the 2022-23 season, legacy will live on with six new productions - perhaps most notably in Next to Normal, a musical by Brian Yorkey. The musical, which focuses on a suburban family dealing with the effects of mental illness, is tonally different from the majority of the productions at the Manatee Performing Arts Center– it’s emotionally heavier, as it features a mother struggling with a worsening bipolar disorder. “It may be a little bit of a stretch for our die-hard usuals, as it deals with heavy issues like mental health and how it affects families. However, I try to get a season that gets our actors well as our patrons. Actors in the area seem to be really excited because Next to Normal is done so rarely–it’s a great opportunity to showcase some local talent here,” says Rick Kerby, the Producing Artistic Director of Manatee Performing Arts Center. Part of the reason that the show is such a rarity to the area is because of licensing issues. In what Kerby describes as a particularly difficult season in acquiring licensing for productions, the ability to produce Next to Normal was a pleasant surprise. “We’re locked out by licensing companies if a professional production is doing that show within a 60 mile radius of us - so if a touring company does that show in Tampa, then I can’t get an opportunity to do it. Next to Normal has been one of those shows on my wishlist and that I tried again and again and again to get the licensing to do it and finally we’ve gotten the opportunity to do it,” confesses Kerby. —D.Campbell Manatee Performing Arts Center, January 19–9, 2023

Symphony, 700 U.S. 41 Bypass N. Suite 4, Venice,, February 3–4, 2023

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Sugar Plum Fairy The Tchaikovsky score. The dances. The quintessential spirit of the season. Christmastime is filled with the sounds of Waltz of the Flowers, Waltz of the Snowflakes and the Dance ofthe Sugar Plum Fairy whenever The Nutcracker commands the winter stage. On December 3, The Sarasota Cuban Ballet School will present this classic at the Sarasota Opera House. The traditional choreography will be fully performed by the school’s dancers, not modified to accommodate the students. “We challenge our dancers to rise to the beautiful level of the choreography and they never disappoint,” says Ariel Serrano, the artistic director of The Sarasota Cuban Ballet School. Also unique to this rendition of The Nutcracker will be the scenery and costumes, which have been conceived exclusively for the school by legendary theater designer Steve Rubin. Audiences will be transported into Clara’s dream world through the perfect marriage of dance and design. “I’m always moved by the Sugar Plum Fairy’ pas de deux. It’s Tchaikovsky’s finest moment,” Serrano says. “Every time I rehearse this pas de deux with my dancers, I am filled with emotion. This is ballet: the music, the choreography, the magic.” —A.Weingarten. Sarasota Cuban Ballet, December 3,

A New Twist on Guys and Dolls When Nate Brown, founder and artistic director of the West Coast Black Theatre Troupe (WBTT), went about determining what productions the company would showcase during their 2022-23 season, he had a lot to consider. How would their productions embody what the company stands for? How do they appeal to loyal fans while also breaking ground on new territory? “We had talked about doing something new with a twist, which is kind of our signature. We develop a lot of new pieces because as the WBTT, we are the steward for black American, Caribbean and African culture in the region,” says Brown. “We have a reputation of developing a lot of unique musical revues and stories, because as representatives for a diverse mix of nationalities and races, we have many stories to tell,” he adds. Brown and the minds at WBTT decided upon a season that chronicles the stories of those who sought out their own versions of the American Dream—noting that the universal pursuit for a better life and a better world is more relevant than ever today. The season opener, Guys and Dolls, embodies that thematic tone WBTT has set for the season. “It’s about a group of guys trying to achieve the American dream–through gambling. It’s a microcosm of what we’ve tried to do here and accomplish at WBTT,” says Brown. The decision to do Guys and Dolls, about as classic a musical as it gets, it won the 1950 Tony Award for Best Musical, was spurred on by the WBTT’s history of making the traditional modern. The director of this season’s production, Jim Weaver, WBTT’s Director of Education and Artistic Associate, was particularly inspired by an all African American version of Guys and Dolls that he saw in person on Broadway in 1976. The production featured Motown-style arrangements of the original showtunes, something that WBTT looks to emulate in this season’s iteration of the musical. “We were initially inspired by the thought of doing a classical musical with a twist,” says Brown. —D.Campbell Westcoast Black Theatre, October 5–November 20, 2022,

Above: The West Coast Black Theatre Troupe interrogates the idea of the American dream in their 2022-23 production of Guys and Dolls. Michael Mendez and Derric Gobourne Jr., Photo by Sorcha Augustine.

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Disney’s Aladdin at the Van Wezel Audiences can expect a whole new world of magic carpet rides and wish granting when the Sarasota premiere of Disney’s Aladdin comes to the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. “We are thrilled to bring the incredible production of Disney’s Aladdin to Sarasota. The magic carpet will fly across the Van Wezel stage. The costumes are stunning, and the audience will love the high-energy and comic brilliance of the beloved Genie,” says Mary Bensel, the executive director of the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. “He steals the show with acts like Friend Like Me, Prince Ali and the all-new song called Somebody’s Got Your Back. It’s a full-blown Disney spectacular that everyone will enjoy.” From the producer of The Lion King, this hit Broadway musical tells the timeless story of Aladdin—in a thrilling production filled with beauty, magic and comedy. Aladdin features new music written by Tony and Academy Award winner Alan Menken (Newsies), with lyrics penned by Howard Ashman (Beauty and the Beast), Tony Award winner Tim Rice (The Lion King) and book writer Chad Beguelin (The Wedding Singer). The musical is directed and choreographed by Tony Award winner Casey Nicholaw (The Book of Mormon) and features sets, costumes and lighting from Tony Award winners Bob Crowley (Mary Poppins), Gregg Barnes (Kinky Boots) and Natasha Katz (An American in Paris). —A.Weingarten Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, January 24-29, 2023,

Quartet for the End of Time Olivier Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time comes to the Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota on February 28, 2023, in the Historic Asolo Theater. The concert will feature the Grammy-nominated Lincoln Trio (violinist Desirée Ruhstrat, cellist David Cunliffe and pianist Marta Aznavoorian) with Sarasota Orchestra principal clarinetist Bharat Chandra. “My first experience with this piece was when I performed it myself on the fifth anniversary of 9/11,” says Daniel Jordan, the director of artist programs for the Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota. “There was an emotional impact beyond the usual concert experience, and that struck me as something I wanted to bring to the Sarasota audience.” French composer Olivier Messiaen wrote Quartet for the End of Time while being held in Stalag VIIIA—a World War II German prisoner of war camp. A few of Messiaen’s fellow prisoners, captured in June 1940, were professional musicians. Messiaen managed to obtain paper and a pencil, and he wrote this piece for the group to perform. It premiered at the camp on January 15, 1941. What makes the Quartet particularly special? It is a piece of significant musical history. What can the audience expect? To be moved and mesmerized. “These artists have immersed themselves in that particular period of time,” Jordan says. “To hear Lincoln Trio and Bharat Chandra perform this piece in the ambiance of the Historic Asolo Theater is a once-in-a-lifetime experience.” —A.Weingarten Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota, April 20, 2023,

Clockwise: Disney’s Aladdin at Van Wezel Performing Arts, guitarist JIJI, selected by the Washington Post as “one of the 21 composers/performers who sound like tomorrow,” and Quartet for the End of Time’s Lincoln Trio.

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Below left to right: Florida Studio Theatre’s Light My Fire; FacultyExhibition, MatteoCaloiaro, Ringling College Galleries.

Light My Fire Sometimes moving forward involves looking back onto the past. After all, it’s where we can learn from our mistakes and triumphs to gain a sense of where we are headed today. This season, one of the productions in Florida Studio Theatre’s Cabaret Series will do just that. The ‘70s: More Than A Decade is a spiritual sequel of sorts to 2019-20’s production Light My Fire, which saw its run cut short by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Cabaret Series, which features three shows in both the Winter and Summer seasons that run for 18 weeks, was created in 1996 by Richard Hopkins, the Producing Artistic Director and CEO of Florida Studio Theatre. Housed in the company’s Parisian-style dinner theaters, the musical revues are developed in-house by Hopkins and other members of the Cabaret development team—to date, Hopkins and his team have created over 40 original musical revues. While Light My Fire focused on the social change brought about by the cultural and musical revolution of the 1960s, featuring hits such as Somebody to Love and California Dreamin’, The ‘70s: More Than A Decade will focus on the subsequent decade. “The pop music for that era really outlines and reflects the cultural revolution that was fermenting through the 70s. People that lived through it like me, realize that the ‘70s was when that social change enveloped society as a whole. Clothing, hairstyles changed, people’s attitude towards sex changed, eating healthier changed,” says Richard Hopkins.. “The ‘70s was when everything changed at a mass level instead of the youth level which is where it originated in the decade prior,” he adds. The show will chronicle the decade’s music and its influence on the events of the time —weaving in historical context between each song number. Hopkins’ inspiration to delve into the 1970s through one the company’s cabarets was drawn from the similarities between that decade and our current time period. “The ‘70s were so reflective of what’s going on today. Now in the 2020s, we are in the midst of another major cultural revolution,” says Hopkins. “ We look at that decade with a backwards lens saying that we survived it, but when you’re in the midst of it, you’re not sure how it’s gonna turn out. Some of the biggest social conflicts in American history, from the Vietnam War to the sexual revolution are a great reflection and mirror to the divisiness we find in our country today,” Hopkins adds. —D. Campbell Florida Studio Theatre

Head to Toe To try and nail down just one exhibition to highlight in the Ringling College Galleries amongst a season that spans the entire academic year is no easy task. There isn’t just one exhibition that stands as the model for the rest—from the sketch pads and thesis projects of Ringling College students to the best of their faculty and alumni artists to high-profile artists outside of the institution, it’s a season lineup that is as varied as it is dense. “Every year we have 30-35 exhibitions, each with their own programming and events. In addition, we also feature a really popular art walk three times a year. I’m personally excited that we’re fully welcoming everybody back now that we’re mostly out of the pandemic,” says Tim Jaeger, Director and Chief Curator of Galleries and Exhibitions at the Ringling College of Art and Design. While all seven on-campus galleries are free to visit and have a different intention, the Basch gallery will be featuring a particularly unique exhibition this fall: Head to Toe. “The exhibition will feature a collection of New York City fashion influencer Marie Colbert’s different fashion materials when she was a mover and shaker in the New York arts scene in 1970s, 80s, & 90s, says Jaeger. “There’s lots of material to work with from videos to marketing material, paints, sketches, drawings, fabrics and things of that nature,” he adds. The show, which opens on November 7th, marks the first annual Halloween Fashion Runway Extravaganza—an inaugural event that will be held every year to highlight not only the work of fashion designers, but of students as well. It continues the Galleries’ tradition of bringing in high-profile artists to work with the students in conjunction with their curriculum.“ We’re basically turning the gallery into a Prada showroom— working with both her collection and designs of the students,” says Jaeger.—D.Campbell Ringling College Galleries

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Below: Brassia maculata and Laelia tenebrosa rainforst, photography by Wade Collier, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens.

Capturing the Orchid Show The subject is placed in a pristine studio space, framed by a black background and painstakingly illuminated by a professional lighting set up. A digital camera clicks away, beginning with wide establishing shots before moving closer to bring small details to life. This might sound like a fine art photography shoot but it’s not. For the subject is not a person or an inanimate object, but rather a plant–an orchid to be specific–and the purpose of the photoshoot is scientific, not just artistic. The work is that of Marie Selby Gardens’ orchid photographers, a critical team of volunteers that photograph the Gardens’ renowned rare orchid collection for research purposes. “They look at each plant as a unique subject for a portrait,” says Greg Luberecki, Vice President for Strategic Communications at Selby Gardens. “We realized that this is competitive with fine art photography. It’s done for scientific purposes, but the photographers bring an artistic sensibility along with their technical expertise. They’re so much more than just pretty pictures of plants, they’re beautiful images of living things.” That realization is what prompted the team at Selby Gardens to focus this Fall’s annual Orchid Show—subtitled Capturing the Perfect Show—on the scientific photography of their orchid collection. “What we try to do is highlight orchids in our live collection as well as our research collection in creative ways each year,” says Luberecki. “The Show will feature scientific photography in the downtown campus’s Tropical Conservatory and in the Botanical Museum of the Arts, along with specimens from the living collection.” While this year the photography of the Gardens’ orchid collection serves a dual purpose, historically it has been done for research purposes by a team of dedicated volunteers. “As a research institution, we document the plants in our living collection to have a permanent record and also to capture rare and ephemeral moments—a certain plant may only flower once. For our scientists it can be important to snap that as it’s happening in real time,” says Luberecki. This photography element is critical to the Selby Gardens’ Botanical team’s research. “Our scientists can use those photos to capture rare flowerings, enlarging tiny details you might not be able to see with the naked eye. The scientific photography also highlights the collection’s worldwide significance - sharing photos is a much easier and safer way to disseminate the information gained from studying the orchids,” attests Luberecki. —D. Campbell. Marie Selby Botanical Gardens,

World Premiere of Original Musical Revue Up on the Roof It can be difficult to put into context what the Venice Theater means to the communities of Venice, Sarasota, and the surrounding region of Florida’s Gulf Coast. In its 73rd season, the Venice Theater has grown from a tiny, volunteer-operated endeavor to the largest community theater in the country, per capita, with a yearly operating budget close to four million dollars. Part of that growth, however, involves managing the responsibility of providing an ever-increasing audience base opportunities to view and become involved with theater. “In our 73rd season we’re providing opportunities for our community to gather together to reflect on our lives and dreams, with nostalgia and laughter, deep thoughts and great music,” says Artistic Director Benny Sato Ambush. “We do a lot and within it, there’s both the familiar and the new. The season truly has something for everyone and at the core of all of it is the human heart. We’re offering a wide range of entertaining dramatic stories that will delight your fancy, tickle your funny bone, and inspire thought provoking conversations.” One of the productions that embodies the mission of the Venice Theater is Up on the Roof, an original music revue from Director Scott Keys and Venice Theater’s Music Director Michelle Kasanofsky. Up on the Roof, which will run from January 13th, 2022 - February 5th, 2023 in the company’s 432-seat Main Stage Jervey Theater, focuses on a group of singers who retreat to a rooftop at first seeking isolation, but eventually finding companionship with one another. It’s a production that, while simple in its story, feels right at home in today’s post pandemic climate. “Up on the Roof is a world premiere of an original musical revue of the songs of Carol King and James Taylor, who were friends and colleagues,” says Ambush. “The idea first bubbled up last Fall, with the music of King and Taylor being the main inspiration for it. Those great late ‘60s-early ‘70s singer songwriters are kind of my era of music. It’s also the songbook of many of our audience members, the music they grew up listening to.”—D.Campbell Venice Theatre, January 13–February 5. 2023,

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Six That Matter This year, for their 93rd season, Sarasota’s historic community theater The Players Center has entitled their production season “Six That Matter” – five musicals and one Pulitzer prize-winning play that hold particular significance to the company and hopefully, audience members as well. While the season is punctuated by various highlights such as Sondheim’s Side by Side and Little Shop of Horrors, one performance, arriving just in time for the holiday season, should catch your eye. The Players Centre company premiere of Miracle on 34th Street, directed by Director of Marketing Amanda Heisey, marks a very exciting and different addition to the season: a musical in the round, disguised as a 1940s radio broadcast. “The audience functions as the live studio audience of this “live broadcast” –back in the day these radio broadcasts would be accompanied by live studio audiences, like what eventually happened with television,” says Heisey. Miracle on 34th Street, as with the rest of the season’s productions, will be presented in the round—courtesy of an off-season reconfiguration of the performance venue. For Heisey, it brings a new perspective and set of challenges to directing the production. “It’s really about going in and figuring out what’s the best way to tell that story. How am I going to do that in the round, which is more difficult than the traditional theater setup. There’s a lot more movement, as we don’t want to have the actors’ backs to somebody for too long,” says Heisey. Part of making the production feel like a radio broadcast from the 1940s is the addition of a Foley artist - the person who made the sound effects for radio broadcasts prior to modern-day digital innovation. “A whole separate concept that we don’t think about in the digital age–now you can just add in sound effects—but before, someone had to physically make them. In Miracle on 34th Street, it’s a radio broadcast that is a combination of the actors telling the story— some playing multiple characters—and functioning as a foley artist, adding that other layer of practical sound effects on the stage as if you were listening on the radio,” says Heisey. “You’ll get to watch them make those sound effects in front of you, which will be really cool, especially when paired with the very jazzy, 1940s Christmas music, some of which has been spruced up for the show.” —D.Campbell The Players Centre, Dec 1-3, 4 and 6-10,

Above: Installation view of Journeys to Places Known and Unknown: Moving Images by Janet Biigs and peter campus, Sarasota Art Museum photo by tierney campus ©muggenborg 3v2.

Journeys to Places Known and Unknown There’s a first time for everything and as it turns out, the Sarasota Art Museum (SAM) is not exempt from the laws of the universe. The Museum, still in its infancy after officially opening their doors in December of 2019, will feature its first exhibition dedicated to video and digital media this fall, when Journeys to Places Known and Unknown: Moving Images by Janet Biggs and peter campus arrives on October 2nd. The exhibition, organized by independent curator Terrie Sultan, will feature the contrasting methods of how Biggs and Campus, two artists of different generations, employ moving images to explore the concepts of time and space. Not only does the exhibition mark the first time that SAM is dedicating a space to video and digital media, but it also marks the artists first time collaborating on a joint exhibition. “Peter and Janet were introduced to one another professionally by Terrie Sultan. Ever since then, they’ve struck this wonderful artistic partnership that over the last years: they’ve been in conversation about each other and their work, much of it dealing with the themes of nature and science that underpins both of their works,” says Emory Conetta, previously the Assistant Curator at SAM. “Peter’s a generation older than Janet. He’s been very influential in thinking about new media that first emerged in the 1970s. His work is more intrapersonal, where Janet goes out into the world, he’s interested in nature in front of him.” Because it is SAM’s first time dedicating an exhibition and an entire floor to this type of medium, the museum has had to adapt the gallery space to best service the art. Viewing motion pictures is an entirely different experience as opposed to observing static artwork and had to be treated as such. “For this exhibition, we really wanted to break things up. Much of the art requires their own personal space for each piece, we’ve created a lot of mini-rooms throughout the 2nd floor so visitors can focus on each piece instead of being distracted by lots of works in one space at once,” says Conetta. These individual rooms act as miniature theaters. Not only is the light from each piece contained, but the sound is as well, creating a more immersive experience for the viewer. It’s a challenge that Conneta hopes will be well worth the effort. “I think that the wonderful thing about this kind of media is that it asks a little bit more of the visitor. There are works in the show that are durations of five, six, seven, eight minutes long. To get a whole sense of the piece, you want to spend more time with it as opposed to a static piece, which is super exciting to think about,” Conetta says. —D.Campbell Sarasota Art Museumm Oct 2- Jan 15, 2023,

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The Holidays with The Sailor Circus Academy

This page: Sailor Circus trains young people to build the confidence and skills to present Gold Troupe and Red Troupe performances every season. Photo by Wes Roberts.

“Every time we put on a show we want to make it different. It’s about the modulation of energy throughout the production. It’s like a roller coaster, you have your ups and your downs. We want to show how the circus makes the impossible possible and the ordinary miraculous,” says Pedro Reis, President and CEO of the Circus Arts Conservatory. This season, Reis and the Conservatory look to do that through various productions, including the Sailor Circus Holiday Show, the annual awe-inspiring performance from the nation’s oldest youth circus. Each year, the Sailor Circus Holiday Show looks to embody a different theme, a unique way to inject holiday spirit into the show. This season, the Conservatory looks to incorporate a more international outlook into the production. “We had done an ‘80 Days Around the World’ show in the past and whilst brainstorming for this year’s production, someone brought up the idea of exploring what Christmas around the world could look like,” says Reis. “We’re excited to explore how Christmas is celebrated in countries such as Germany, France, and Italy, and to bring elements of those traditions into the production,” he adds. Along with the music, costume, and elements of the actual performances that will be influenced by this international theme, the set design and props will incorporate the theme as well. “For the United States we might include lots of holly and mistletoe and for Germany, who knows, maybe we’ll throw in some bratwurst,” says Reis, laughing. The Sailor Circus Holiday Show marks the start of the Conservatory’s new year, followed by a Sailor Circus Spring Show, Cirque des Voix in March, and next summer’s Summer Circus Spectacular. The Sailor Circus Academy began 73 years ago, in 1949 as a high school gymnastics class. “The PE coach at that time was looking at circus kids because they could tumble well. He invited their parents, who worked in the circus and had taught their children,to teach the school kids and the program began and grew out of that,” says Reis. Today, the program has developed into a rigorous after school program where students often train four to five times a week over the duration of the school year in preparation for the Holiday and Spring Sailor Circus shows. The Academy features two tiers: the Red Performance Troupe, which performs in the Holiday and Spring shows to which students must be invited to perform and the Gold Training Troupe, which serves as a stepping stone for younger students who may one day be eligible for the Red Troupe. “The Academy not only provides a great avenue for students to experience the circus in a safe, controlled environment, but it also creates a pipeline of young talent for us. In the past, once you graduated from the Academy you were out. We’ve since dissolved that policy and any student that graduates and wants to continue in our “pro-track” is welcome to, with a focus on a specific discipline,” says Reis. —D.Campbell Circus Arts Conservatory, Sailor Circus

A New Ballet from Jessica Lang How does one of the most respected ballet companies in the country break new ground? By performing five world premieres out of their 15 productions. That’s what the Sarasota Ballet will be doing across seven programs in their 2022-23 season. While it’s hard to focus on just one, keep your eyes out for Program 4, which will come to the FSU Center for Performing Arts from January 27th-30th, 2023. Although the Program opens with a world premiere from choreographer Arcadian Broad and ends with Sir Frederick Ashton’s Facade, the Sarasota premiere of a new Jessica Lang Ballet sticks out the most. “Jessica Lang, is without a doubt, the most sought after choreographer of today,” says Iain Webb, Director of the Sarasota Ballet. “The Sarasota premiere of her new ballet will take place after we perform its world premiere in New York City in Program 1.” Although Lang was just beginning to work on the ballet in Sarasota at the time of the interview, Webb was able to provide some sense of what the upcoming production would look like. “There’s going to be projections of roots and plants behind the dancers and a whole research process of how these roots respond to the music. Jessica, the way that she works is truly unique. I don’t think there’s anybody quite like her because not only is her choreography really interesting, but her visual capacity and the way that she sees things is extraordinary as well,” attests Webb. The decision to put on a new ballet isn’t one that Webb takes lightly either. “It’s a very big deal because you’re investing in something. So when you learn a ballet that’s been done before, you know who the first cast was, how they danced it, and what their salary was. So you can’t change too much, but you also can’t keep it rigid because you can’t become a carbon copy of anybody,” Webb says. “With something brand new, however, you’re investing in it much more than if it’s something that’s already been done. It’s not only a great learning process, but you feel part of it moving forward.” —D.Campbell Sarasota Ballet

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This page: Backwards Forwards Back, image courtesy of Urbanite Theatre.

Family and Bloodlines Urbanite Theatre’s 2022-23 season, which features four mainstage productions and two special events, is titled Heredity, a note to how all four mainstage productions explore the concept of family and bloodlines in different ways. The choice to produce plays with these thematic elements, along with Co-Artistic Director’s Brendan Ragan and Summer Dawn Wallace simply selecting what they thought was best for the company, was not by accident. “When I started thinking about what kind of theater Sarasota needed right now, I just felt like challenges inside the family are something that are so very relatable. Given everything that we’ve been through, I feel like family units have really been damaged. Some of that is political, some of that is social, but people can relate to the fact that their family has been a cause of challenge, humor, or triumph and managing to forge bonds through these challenges feels really rewarding,” says Ragan. “I think that we’re far enough away from certain things that it’s allowing many families to heal. It’s a perfect year to further all of that.” One such production that interrogates these thematic elements of familial relationships in a unique way is Backwards Forwards Back, which will make its world premiere on March 24, 2023. The one-man show starring L. James and directed by Ragan, focuses on a veteran struggling with PTSD who considers virtual reality therapy as a means to reconnect with his family. It’s such a powerful and important topic. Are we doing enough to support those who come home damaged in some way, whether it be physically or mentally from PTSD? How many statistics have you seen of vets commiting suicide or ending up homeless? That experience will be highlighted in the production as L. James, an FSU/Asolo Conservatory Alum, is a veteran himself. He’s got first hand experience where he’s seen so many of his friends, whom he refers to as brothers, end up with PTSD. He’s seen the damage and the consequences of that. It’s very personal to him and we want to bring that authenticity to the play,” says Ragan. The fact that Backwards Forwards Back is a one-man show makes the experience all the more intimate. For me, one person shows are fascinating —it’s the ultimate form of storytelling. L. James plays multiple roles by voicing the different family members which makes it the simplest and purest form of storytelling. It feels like ‘gather around the campfire and listen to this,’” attests Ragan. —D.Campbell Urbanite Theatre, March 24-April 23, 2023,

The Secret Marriage Opens the Season Don’t call it a comeback. Or do, it doesn’t really matter. What matters is that the Sarasota Opera is back in full swing come October 28th at the commencement of their Fall Season. In 2022-23 the Sarasota Opera will put on six productions, including one from the Youth Opera, back this Fall after its two-year absence due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the entire season features a wide variety of enticing operas–two of which are being done at the Opera for the first time–look to the Fall Season opener, Dominico Cimarosa’s The Secret Marriage (Il Matrimonio Segreto) to kick off your time at the Opera. The comedy, which involves a daughter’s secret marriage to her social-climbing father’s clerk, is premiering at the Opera for the first time - a treat for audiences and those at the Sarasota Opera alike. “The Secret Marriage is an Opera, which as somebody who’s been involved with Opera for over 30 years, I’ve often heard about but never seen live. Anytime I talk to someone who’s seen it, they mention how delightful and funny it is. We’re really looking forward to bringing that here for the first time,” says Richard Russell, General Director of the Sarasota Opera. For the Sarasota Opera, it’s a chance to entice audiences with something new and fresh right off the bat, jumpstarting the rest of the Fall and Winter Seasons. “We’ve always tried to do some operas that have been outside of the standard repertoire. Most of our audience haven’t seen either of these works and it’s an attraction for them. Opera lovers seek out new operas and ‘collect’ them, especially those from major composers such as Dominico Cimarosa,” says Russell. What’s especially interesting about The Secret Marriage is its significance in opera history. “Cimarosa was a composer active in a number of places, including Naples, and was well known for comic opera. This opera was actually written for Vienna - the story is that it was played for the first time for the emperor in Vienna and he liked it so much that as soon as it was over everybody went for dinner and they came back and did it a second time. It’s the only instance I know of encoring an entire opera,” says Russell. —D.Campbell Sarasota Opera, October 28 – November 12, 2022,

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530 Burns Gallery Open since November 2009, 530 Burns Gallery is a renowned contemporary art gallery beneath the banyan tree in Sarasota’s historic Burns Court. Known for featuring art and jewels by emerging and established artists and jewelry designers, the gallery is committed to showing fine art and curating cross-cultural events within the community and beyond. By constantly evolving and displaying new, innovative work, 530 Burns Gallery helps clients find pieces that not only fit into their collection, but will be cherished for years to come.

ArtCenter Manatee Founded in 1937, ArtCenter Manatee stakes its claim as the nexus of Downtown Bradenton’s visual arts scene. Within the 10,000-square-foot complex, three galleries bring new exhibits monthly, five classrooms provide arts education to more than 3,000 students and the gift shop offers singular and handcrafted items from local artists. Exhibits are free to the public. International Watercolor Society Florida USA Feb28– Mar 21 PACM curated exhibit Kellogg Gallery

Art Center Sarasota Art Center Sarasota has made a name for itself as the community gallery for the city and county. Between bringing artists from across the state and beyond for solo and collaborative exhibitions, and the Center’s many open and juried competitions seeing submissions from hundreds of local artists across the region, Art Center Sarasota keeps all four of its galleries filled as much as possible, with multiple shows each Cycle, free and open to all visitors.

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The Figure Oct 20 – Nov 23 The Figure celebrates a passion for the human form in all media including painting, drawing, photography, printmaking, mixed media, digital arts, and sculpture in any medium. Representational and abstract depictions of the figure are both encouraged and accepted.

Art Ovation Through such expressions of the arts and artists, Art Ovation Hotel furthers its mission to serve the community as an active host, facilitator, patron and partner for the arts. With this and many new and varied initiatives, an exciting palette of artistic opportunities and experiences are presented for the enrichment of our guests and our community.

Artist Series Concerts With a mission to present concerts to the community that promote both enjoyment and cultural appreciation, Artist Series Concerts presents primarily classical music programming, with a focus on piano and voice, but its versatile performers regularly expand the repertoire to incorporate Broadway, cabaret, opera and even the sounds of Virtuoso Violins Magnificent Markovs Oct 2 Violin phenom Alexander Markov has wowed audiences playing his gold electric violin in the world’s most prestigious concert halls and packed stadiums. This program unites him with his gifted violinist parents as the “first family of the violin” presents classical favorites, followed by Alexander Markov’s original composition Caesar, for electric violin, organ, choir, percussion, rhythm section and orchestra. John Kaneklides, tenor and Joseph Holt, piano Nov 21 Hailed by Opera News as “the very picture of youthful optimism and potential,” John Kaneklides is an award-winning tenor who has made highly acclaimed

appearances with opera companies throughout the country. Joseph Holt, pianist, is artistic director of Choral Artists of Sarasota and producer/ host for the Sarasota Institute of Lifetime Learning Music Mondays programs. The 442s Dec 13 Offering some of the greatest four part vocals in the history of the jazz charts, BoyGirlBoyGirl has been hailed as ‘Milwaukee’s Manhattan Transfer.’ Joined by pianist Joseph Holt, the group will perform a variety of tunes, from the greatest hits of the Rat Pack to the tender and nostalgic harmonies of old-time radio. Dinner will be served prior to the performance held at the Plantation Golf & Country Club. 2 Hot 2 Tango May 22 Combining three members of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra and two of the St. Louis region’s finest jazz musicians, The 442s are a fascinating acoustic quintet named for the modern standard tuning of 442 Hz. This unique ensemble blends virtuosic musicianship, group singing, and inventive improvisation and breaks down barriers between jazz, classical, folk and pop music.

Art Uptown Gallery As part of the thriving Sarasota Florida art community since 1980, Art Uptown is the longest-running fine art gallery in the heart of downtown Sarasota, offering a constantly changing, diverse selection of art in a wide variety of mediums.

Asolo Repertory Theatre A leading artistic force on the creative coast. Asolo’s theatrical scene is a major contributor to Sarasota’s rich cultural atmosphere and is well known for its diverse spread of yearly productions. With inspiring and engaging performances, the theatre never fails to envelop its audience in a vibrant and entertaining

environment. Every season, Asolo Rep revives old classics and brings brand new productions, providing both escapist entertainment and needed social commentary.

Cabaret Nov 16-Dec 31 Willkommen to Kander and Ebb’s iconic Cabaret which transports us to 1939 Berlin and the dynamic and pleasure-filled Kit Kat Klub. Since its debut in 1967, this classic musical has won countless awards, including the Tony Awards® for Best Musical, Best Score, and Best Revival of a Musical.This timely masterwork will burst to life on stage under the direction of Broadway and Asolo Rep favorite Josh Rhodes. Ken Ludwig’s The Three Musketeers Jan12–Mar 26 Harrowing adventure, bravery, and friendship take center stage in Ken Ludwig’s The Three Muskateers, a thrilling adaptation of the popular novel by Alexandre Dumas. One of the world’s most enduring comedies, this classic tells the tale of a daring young man who finds himself in the company of the world’s greatest swordsmen, as well as some of the world’s most dangerous men and women. Directed by Peter Amster, who most recently directed Asolo Rep’s smash hit Murder on the Orient Express. Silent Sky Jan 18-Mar 5 Full of wonder, humor, and heart, Silent Sky is the remarkable true story of Henrietta Leavitt, one of the pioneering women astronomers working at Harvard Observatory in the early 1900s. You will be enthralled by the story of this extraordinary woman who took on the astronomy establishment in order to discover the mysteries embedded in the sky. Written by one of today’s leading playwrights, Lauren Gunderson, this mesmerizing drama is directed by Seema Sueko, who recently brought this work to life at Washington D.C.’s Ford’s Theatre.


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Chicken & Biscuits Feb 15Apr 13 The hilarious new play Chicken & Biscuits introduces us to the Jenkins family, as they gather to celebrate the life of their beloved and recently deceased father and grandfather. This side-splitting new comedy explores the tenderness of family, the joy of reconciliation, and the nourishing power of love. Written by Broadway newcomer Douglas Lyons and directed by the talented Bianca LaVerne Jones, who was associate director of the 2021 Broadway production. Incident at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Mar15-Apr22 Take a trip back to 1973 with the Irish Catholic O’Shea family in the uproarious Incident at Our Lady of Perpetual Help. This boisterous and moving new memory play introduces us to young Linda, as she recalls a week she’ll never forget. When secrets are unintentionally revealed, a quick-witted group of women realize what really matters as they work to protect their family reputation and each other. This wild and tender comedy directed by Asolo Rep Associate Artistic Director Celine Rosenthal explores the foolishness of first love, the pains of Catholic guilt, and ultimately, the power of family. Man of La Mancha May 10– Jun 11 Considered by many to be one of the best musicals of all time, Man of La Mancha is brilliantly reimagined with a contemporary urgency by director Peter Rothstein. This epic and poignant journey celebrates the perseverance of one man who refuses to relinquish his ideals and who is determined to see life not as it is, but as it ought to be. The winner of five Tony Awards®, including Best Musical, and featuring one of theatre’s most beloved songs, “The Impossible Dream,” this classic musical celebrates the power of theatre, the bravery of holding strong to our dreams, and the resilience of imagination.

The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature The Bishop Museum of Science and Nature is the largest natural and cultural history museum on the Gulf Coast and puts the world, both past and present, in context for its visitors through permanent collections, traveling exhibitions, a state-of-the-art planetarium and numerous community activities and educational outreach programs. Explore fossil evidence of Florida’s oldest animal inhabitants (including marine life) and peruse the Montague Tallant collection of prehistoric and postcontact artifacts. Other permanent exhibits showcase maritime history and the history of Spanish colonization. Bishop After Dark Oct 27 Another BAD Night Event: Murder Mystery: “I Love The 80s to Death”. Imagine, it’s the 80s again, and all of the big names are here for a big concert. Tensions run rampant as backstage secrets spill out into the spotlight with, like, totally tragic results. This isn’t an episode of Miami Vice! This is like. . . murder. It’s time to put on your Sunglasses at Night and Relax. You will solve the case.

Chasen Galleries Chasen Galleries Sarasota offers an abundance of the highest quality contemporary fine art, sculpture, and art glass available today. Featuring world-renowned artists, old master prints, and cutting edge glass art techniques, our collection offers something for all tastes and budgets.

Circus Arts Conservatory The Circus Arts Conservatory’s mission is to engage and educate students using unique and innovative learning programs, to measurably improve the quality of life for individuals in care facilities; and to advance the extraordinary legacy and heritage of the circus.

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Florida Studio Theatre Located in the heart of downtown, Florida Studio Theatre is one of Sarasota’s oldest and funkiest professional theaters, filling its veritable village of theaters—the historic Keating and Gompertz Theaters, the Parisian-style Goldstein, the John C. Court Cabaret stage and the Bowne’s Lab Theatre—with productions both original and classic. With an ongoing dedication to the improvisational and cabaret arts, audiences can find everything from the traditional straight play to a night of impossible-topredict shenanigans.

Something Rotten! Opens Nov 9 In Elizabethan England, brothers Nick and Nigel Bottom are stuck in the shadow of the Renaissance rock star known as “The Bard.” When a local soothsayer foretells that the future of theatre involves singing, dancing, and acting —all at the same time—Nick and Nigel set out to write the world’s very first musical. Network Opens Jan 25 Anchorman Howard Beale isn’t pulling in the viewers. In his final broadcast after announcing he’s been let go, he unravels live on air. But when his ratings soar, the network seizes on its newfound populist prophet, and Howard becomes the biggest thing on TV. Based on the Academy Award-winning film by Paddy Chayefsky, Visit Joe Whitefeather Opens April 5 WORLD PREMIERE. It’s the 1970s and the small town of Beaver Gap, Pennsylvania has a problem. Tourism has declined, and it doesn’t look like there is any hope on the horizon. However, when a passionate resident joins forces with the bewildered city council, they devise a plan to rename the town to honor a dead, Native American war hero who never even visited the town during his lifetime. It’s a plan so wild – so insane – it just might work!

Reel Music Opens Feb 15 From silent films and movie musicals to Casablanca and The Greatest Showman, the silver screen transports us to places and times we dream about. Reel Music celebrates the movies that helped create the soundtrack to the last century. This lively music revue reminds us that movies and music have always gone hand in hand. The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe Opens Jan 14 In this inventive and theatrical adaptation, join Peter and Lucy on their travels to Narnia! The White Witch has cast a spell that makes it always winter and never Christmas. Peter and Lucy travel to Narnia and along the way meet Mr. Tumnus the faun, Aslan the Great Lion, and all the talking animals of the kingdom. Watch as they courageously battle the forces of evil. FST Improv—Treble in Paradise: An Improvised Holiday Musical Nov 25 Inspired by one location and three random notes on the keyboard, the cast of FST Improv’s Treble in Paradise creates a fully improvised musical right before your eyes. With no scripts, no musical score, and absolutely no idea what will happen next, our ensemble of improvisers delivers full-blown musical numbers, drama, and spontaneous choreography in this musical improv show.

Key Chorale Key Chorale is the Suncoast’s symphonic chorus, dedicated to transforming lives through innovative programming, artistic excellence, educational outreach and service to the community. The spirit of the group is led by Artistic Director Joseph Caulkins.

A Holiday Season Spectacular with The Venice Symphony Dec 16-17 This festive concert includes classic carols, music from the films A Nightmare Before Christmas and How the


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Grinch Stole Christmas and timeless works from The Nutcracker Suite and Babes in Toyland. A Sea Symphony, Masterwork by Vaughan Williams Feb 10-11 Chorus, orchestra and soloists sing of ships and their captains, wind and waves, the voyage of every human soul, and music so vivid you can almost taste the sea spray in the air. Baritone Jamal Sarikoki and soprano Suzanne Karpov add their stunning virtuosity to this epic masterwork. American Roots: CSN Crosby, Stills & Nash Folk Rock featuring The Lubben Brothers Apr 22-23 Key Chorale Chamber Singers explore the 30 year discography of the folk rock group Crosby, Stills & Nash, and other artists known for their intricate vocal harmonies and timeless melodies. Grace: The Spirit of Aretha with Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe May 8 Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe and Key Chorale honor the “Queen of Soul” on the 50th anniversary of her groundbreaking Grammy AwardWinning album Amazing Grace.

La Musica Specializing in chamber music presentation and production, La Musica has carved a place in its decades-long tenure as a musical meeting of the minds, bringing esteemed performers from Europe and the US together for collaborative performances. La Musica continues to explore this season. They produce an annual La Musica Chamber Festival every April.

Manatee Players – Manatee Performing Arts Center Housed in the Manatee Performing Arts Center, the Manatee Players reign as Bradenton’s most prominent theater and performing arts troupe. With Producing Artistic

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Director Rick Kerby at the helm, the Manatee Players showcases the area’s extensive talent pool through comedies, dramas and musicals, sometimes wrangling it all together for one big community event.

Gypsy Oct 20-30 A mother who wishes for stardom, and two daughters who were dragged into it because of her. Considered to be the best musical, “GYPSY’’ tells the story of how a mother uses her two daughters to achieve the dream she has, ignoring the strain it puts on them. Throughout the story, one daughter has all the attention, while the other has almost none. Will both girls succeed because of their mother’s efforts, or will the dreams of their mother crush their relationship with her? Pets! Nov 2-20 This criticallyacclaimed musical revue consists of 22 musical scenes dealing with the very special relationship between people and their pets. It’s clever, userfriendly and suits audiences of all ages. Cats, dogs, mice, turtles, iguanas, parakeets and other species are having the times of their lives. The Music Man Dec 2022 There’s trouble in River City when a fast-talking salesman gets his heart stolen by the town librarian. The Music Man follows fast-talking traveling salesman, Harold Hill, as he cons the people of River City, Iowa, into buying instruments and uniforms for a boys’ band that he vows to organize. His plans to skip town with the cash are foiled when he falls for Marian, the librarian, who transforms him into a respectable citizen by curtain’s fall. Company March 2023 Sondheim’s game-changing musical is a sophisticated and honest look at modern adult relationships. On the night of his 35th birthday, confirmed bachelor, Robert, contemplates his unmarried state. Over the course of a series of dinners, drinks, and even a wedding,

his friends explain the pros and cons of taking on a spouse. The habitually single Robert is forced to question his adamant retention of bachelorhood during a hilarious array of interactions.

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens Originally the home of William and Marie Selby, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens today is an urban, bayfront oasis showcasing a living collection of rare and beautiful tropical plants. The Gardens is also a respected world leader in the study and conservation of plants, particularly epiphytes–plants adapted to live in the tree canopy, including orchids, bromeliads, gesneriads and ferns.

The Orchid Show 2022: Capturing the Perfect Shot To Dec 4 The Orchid Show 2022: Capturing the Perfect Shot will showcase the breathtaking camerawork of a group of devoted volunteers. Their images spanning 20-plus years convey the magic and majesty of orchids.

The Players Centre for Performing Arts Join The Players in celebrating their 93rd season with Six That Matter – shows that explore finding purpose, the universal desire to live a life that matters, to fully appreciate aspiration. Be it finding true love, sacrificing it all, a life of devotion, cultivating artistry, finding fame, each of these unforgettable shows—important in their own genres, are celebrations of greatness, of striving for more, that will make memories, sparking feelings of joy. Little Shop of Horrors Oct 8-16 Feed the need for musical hilarity with this delicious sci-fi smash about a man who seeks fame at the cost of his morals with the help of a man-eating plant. A deviously delicious Broadway and Hollywood sci-fi

smash musical, this musical has devoured the hearts of theatre goers for over 30 years. Miracle on 34th Street: A Live Musical Radio Play Dec 1-11 Adapted from the 1947 Lux Radio Broadcast by Lance Arthur Smith. Original Songs and Arrangements by Jon Lorenz Original Songs and Arrangements by Jon Lorenz. When a department store Santa claims he’s the real Kris Kringle, his case gets taken all the way to the Supreme Court, and a little girl’s belief makes the difference in the ‘miracle.’ With live Foley effects and a score of holiday carols, Miracle on 34th Street is a beloved musical radio version of the classic film that will melt even the most cynical of hearts. Proof Jan 12-22 Winner of the 2001 Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award for Best Play, Proof tells the story of Catherine, a troubled young woman, who has spent years caring for her brilliant but unstable father, a famous mathematician. Now, following his death and on the eve of her 25th birthday, she must deal with her own volatile emotions; the arrival of her estranged sister, Claire; and the attentions of Hal, a former student of her father’s. Over the long weekend that follows, a burgeoning romance and the discovery of a mysterious notebook draw Catherine into the most difficult problem of all: How much of her father’s madness—or genius— will she inherit? Always . . . Patsy Cline Feb 2-12 Always…Patsy Cline is more than a tribute to the legendary country singer who died tragically at age 30 in a plane crash in 1963. The show is based on a true story about Cline’s friendship with a fan from Houston named Louise Seger, who befriended the star in a Texas honky-tonk in 1961, and continued a correspondence with Cline until her death. The musical play, complete with down home country humor, true emotion and even some audience participation.


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Godspell Mar 9-19 Godspell touches on the parables and wisdom that grapple with maybe the most important mystery of all. It was the first major musical theatre offering from three-time Grammy and Academy Award winner, Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, Pippin, Children of Eden), and took the world by storm led by the international hit, “Day by Day.”

POPS Orchestra The Pops Orchestra is the community orchestra for the greater Bradenton/Sarasota community. With more than 65 instrumentalists, including some of the finest professional, amateur and student musicians and led by Dr. Robyn Bell, the Pops presents high quality musical entertainment at affordable prices.

Realize Bradenton A nonprofit organization dedicated to invigorating Bradenton’s cultural scene, this community-focused organization seeks to create a more active and culturally connected downtown for Bradenton, regularly organizing large-scale events in conjunction with private businesses, public resources and local artists, celebrating the city’s heritage and place within the cultural fabric of the Suncoast. Bradenton Blues Festival Weekend Dec 2-3 The Blues Sound Better in Bradenton. The Bradenton Blues Festival Weekend will be held at the Bradenton Riverwalk Pavilion at Rossi Park on Friday, Dec. 2 and Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, with an outstanding lineup of talented blues musicians on the big stage. In addition to amazing music, you can purchase local craft beer and wine, delicious food, and cool festival merchandise. The weekend wraps up with a tasty and soulful Bradenton Blues Brunch prepared by award-winning Chef Paul Mattison on Sunday.

Galleries of Ringling College of Art and Design The Galleries program of Ringling College of Art and Design includes exhibitions and activities that celebrate the work and production of students, faculty and alumni. Our six on-campus galleries also host one person, group and thematic exhibitions that include locally, nationally and internationally known individuals. You will always find an exciting new exhibition, artist talk, lecture, or event to attend. Whether you’re an aspiring artist or someone who is curious about new forms of creative expression, we welcome you to expand your perspective. Discover awe-inspiring work and thought-provoking insights from the art world. Courage, Dignity and Determination: The Newtown History Series Oct 3-22 This exhibition features artworks created by current Ringling College students about the contributions of African Americans in Sarasota, from its earliest days to the present. This exhibition showcases the winners from a series of competitions who engaged directly with the history of those contributions in creative ways that can help bring the Newtown Alive stories to a wider audience within Sarasota.

Ringling Museum Situated along 66 acres on the bay, The Ringling boasts an impressive array of classics and works from the Old Masters, with a Rubens collection of note, as well as regularly hosting traveling exhibitions on the forefront of contemporary art in the United States and abroad. The on-site Circus Conservatory houses the area’s local circus history, in addition to exploring the form’s greater reach. The historic Ca d’Zan mansion stands freshly renovated by the water, with tours available. Rich in history, the museum’s roots date back to 1924,

and the establishment serves as a legacy of the original owners, John and Mable Ringling. A Decade of Collecting Oct 15-Jan 22 A Decade of Collecting brings together a survey of artworks acquired for the permanent collection over the past eleven years. The 100 works in this exhibition, which have been chosen to demonstrate the breadth and diversity of the collecting efforts across all programs at the museum. Gods and Lovers: Paintings and Sculptures from India Nov 12-May 28 This exhibition showcases examples of Indian painting and sculpture from The Ringling and private Florida collections. On view are paintings by artists from various schools affiliated with royal courts across northern, central, and western India between the 16th and 19th centuries.

Sarasota Ballet 2022-2023 Season. The Sarasota Ballet will perform 15 works by some of the most celebrated and prestigious choreographers and composers of the ballet world. Of particular note are the five World Premieres featured in the Season, including a new ballet by Jessica Lang—which will premiere as a part of The Sarasota Ballet’s August residency at the Joyce Theater in New York—and an opening World Premiere triple bill. Another Season highlight comes in the form of the fulllength Company Premiere of Johan Kobborg’s production of August Bournonville’s La Sylphide. One of the oldest surviving ballets and one of Bournonville’s most celebrated works, it provides a poignant contrast to the Season’s World Premieres. The season concludes with a program dedicated to the father of American ballet, George Balanchine, paying tribute to the great choreographer in commemoration of the 40th anniversary of his passing.

Premieres Oct 21-23 World Premiere, Choreography by Richard House; World Premiere, Choreography by Gemma Bond; World Premiere, Choreography by Ricardo Graziano At Night Dec 16-17 Les Patineurs, Choreography by Sir Frederick Ashton, Music by Giacomo Meyerbeer; In the Night (Company Premiere), Choreography by Jerome Robbins, Music by Frédéric Chopin; Fancy Free, Choreography by Jerome Robbins, Music by Leonard Bernstein. In Reo Jan 27-30 World Premiere, Choreography by Arcadian Broad; New Jessica Lang Ballet (Sarasota Premiere), Choreography by Jessica Lang; Façade, Choreographed by Sir Frederick Ashton, Music by Sir William Walton. Dance Theatre of Harlem Feb 24-27 The Sarasota Ballet Presents:Dance Theatre of Harlem. La Sylphide Mar 24-25 La Sylphide (Company Premiere), Choreography by Johan Kobborg after August Bournonville, Music by Herman Severin Løvenskiold.

Sarasota Concert Band The Sarasota Concert Band is a professional level symphonic band, consisting of woodwinds, brass and percussion. With roots that go back to the circus bands of John Ringling. They play a variety of music including American patriotic music, marches, jazz, Pop, classical orchestra transcriptions and original band compositions. Their members are a mix of people who love to play music from retired professionals to students. They have a strong commitment to music education.The Sarasota Concert Band’s goal is to play and promote as well as share the love of the American invention and tradition of Symphonic Band Music.

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Sarasota Contemporary Dance Bringing the best in contemporary dance to the region and creating new works right here, Sarasota Contemporary Dance is recognized in the area for its collaborative performances and eclectic choreography, which fuses various dance styles—traditional, modern, Middle Eastern, aerial, Afro-modern and even technologically-infused work. In addition to a variety of community collaborations and performances at local venues, the Sarasota Contemporary Dance Company has also been presented at the Alabama Ballet Center for Dance, John F. Kennedy Center, Merce Cunningham Studio Theatre and the Aily Citygroup Theatre..

Voices- Rising Choreographers Oct 13-16 Opening Sarasota Contemporary Dance’s 17th Season is Voices – Rising Choreographers, this program presents rising voices who were selected by adjudication from SCD’s Summer Intensive Programs, chosen by Artistic Director Leymis Bolaños Wilmott. This year’s range of work presented reinforces SCD’s spirit of nurturing artists in various stages of their career. From emerging to mid-career, these contemporary voices matter, and we aim to provide a performance platform that EMPOWERS these choreographers. SCD + enSRQ Dec 1- 4 This season, SCD is thrilled to collaborate with Samantha Bennett and George Nickson of enSRQ on a program exploring rhythms, dance, and song from around the world. SCD + enSRQ also features stunning scenic design by St. Petersburg-based multidisciplinary artist Sharon McCaman. Dance Makers Jan 26-29 This year, “Dance Makers” features new, imaginative dance pieces created by nationally acclaimed contemporary

choreographers. Their eclectic STORIES will be embodied by our fierce and versatile dancers. “Dance Makers” promises to be a season favorite by highlighting a range of works from the aesthetics of jazz dance performed to Miles Davis and syncompated, athletic AfroCuban movement, to more dramatic solo and duet works. The featured artists include Gilliane Hadely (Orlando, FL), Lisa del Rosario (Austin, TX), Melissa Cobblah Gutierrez (Miami, FL), and Tania Vergara Perez (Sarasota, FL). Evolving/Revoling: Jehanne Apr 27-30 SCD closes its 17th season with a comeback of its “Evolving/Revolving” showcase in which the company revives previously staged works to expand and deepen their meaning into evening-length performances. For RECLAIM, SCD’s striking work of “Jehanne” returns to the stage, studying Joan of Arc’s strident and powerful cultural influence in the Hundred Year’s War, accompanied by live music with original composition by Mark Dancigers. This work honors the human SPIRIT by demonstrating the resilience that has taken the company to this point and will continue its forward-motion.

Sarasota Cuban Ballet School Founded by Wilmian Hernandez and Ariel Serrano, the Sarasota Cuban Ballet School teaches the curriculum of the Cuban Ballet School of National Ballet of Cuba. Husband-wife team Serrano and Hernandez were influenced by the great master teachers in Cuba—Fernando Alonso, Estele Garcia, Aurora Bosch and Ramona de Saa, among others. In the Cuban tradition, they were selected at a young age to learn the art, and through their diligence, intense training and natural talent emerged to become principal dancers with various companies throughout the world.

The Nutcracker Dec 3 Be transported to Clara’s enchanted dream world in The Nutcracker by the Sarasota Cuban Ballet School. The holiday favorite features the beloved classic choreography and the beauty of Tchaikovsky’s score, with scenery and costumes conceived exclusively for the school by legendary theater designer Steve Rubin. Don’t miss this magical evening.

Sarasota Opera Sarasota Opera produces impassioned opera performances true to the vision of the composer, to entertain, enrich, educate, and inspire a life-long love of opera in our diverse and growing communities. The 2022 Fall Season will feature Cimarosa’s The Secret Marriage, along with a production of the Sarasota Youth Opera, Dean Burry’s The Secret World of Og. Opening the 2023 Winter Opera Festival on February 18 will be Puccini’s Madama Butterfly, followed by Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Verdi’s Ernani, and Massenet’s Thérèse.

The Secret Marriage Oct 28 - Nov 12 A social-climbing father wants his eldest daughter to marry an aristocrat and is prepared to buy his way in. When the would-be suitor arrives, his eye falls on the younger daughter instead. But she has secretly married her father’s clerk. Although not often performed, this delightful comic opera was such a hit at its premiere, that the audience insisted on an encore of the entire opera The Secret World of Og Nov 5-6 Sarasota Youth Opera will perform the operatic adaptation of the well-known children’s book by Canadian icon Pierre Berton. Discover the classic story of a group of siblings who venture into the dark subterranean world of the Ogs to rescue their baby brother and cat. This story has been a favorite with Canadian children since its publication in the 1960s.

Madama Butterfly Feb 18-March 24 A young geisha known affectionately as Madama Butterfly is swept off her feet by an American Naval Officer. Left with a promise that he would return one day, Butterfly waits faithfully for three years, but is met with heartbreak in one of opera’s most enduring tragedies. Don Giovanni Feb 25-Mar25 Mozart’s most famous opera is a comic and tragic masterpiece. Set in 17th century Spain, this tale of obsession, betrayal, crime, and retribution centers around the infamous lover Don Juan, who leaves a path of broken hearts wherever he goes. Ernani March 11-26 The bandit Ernani has lost his land, wealth, and title, and faces competing suitors, including the king, as he pursues his true love, Elvira. One of the greatest of Verdi’s early works encompasses love, honor, and tragedy with passionate choruses and emotional arias. Thérèse March 17-25 A love triangle during the French Revolution is the setting for this rarely heard work. Thérèse is torn between love for her former lover and her affection and duty towards her husband. Moments of lyrical beauty are punctuated by the drama of the “Reign of Terror” in this opera.

Sarasota Orchestra An 80-member orchestra performing more than 100 concerts in a given year, the Sarasota Orchestra has made a name for itself in the area as both entertainer and educator, offering concerts and experience to the community through a variety of performances designed to engage and enthuse. A celebrator of the classics as well as contemporary gems, Sarasota Orchestra holds the distinguished title of being the oldest continuing orchestra in the state.

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CULTURE PRIMER 2022-23 A Night At The Movies Oct 12-15 This cinematic program highlights composers whose classical masterpieces made movie moments truly unforgettable. Think the hairraising fanfare from Richard Strauss’ Also sprach Zarathustra in 2001: A Space Odyssey, or Out of Africa’s savanna vistas underscored by the lyrical Adagio from Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto. And what symphonic “movie night” would be complete without a tribute to the great John Williams? Relive the thrilling action through film scores from Jaws, Jurassic Park, Harry Potter, and Star Wars.

of Sondheim, Motown, and more. On the classical side, you’ll hear Sarasota Orchestra kick up its heels in selections such as Bizet’s “Toreador Song” from Carmen and the wild “Ritual Fire Dance” from de Falla’s El amor brujo.

Urbanite Theatre Founders Summer Dawn Wallace and Brendan Ragan make a statement each season with sold-out, cutting-edge shows performed in the black box style, shifting effortlessly from heavy drama to heady comedy. Intimate, independent and unexpected.

Symphonie Fantastique Nov 4-6 This program features passionate works written by three brilliant composers at the beginning of their careers. Prizewinning composer Quinn Mason describes A Joyous Trilogy, written in 2019, as “the very embodiment of happiness and cheerfulness.” Grammy Nominated pianist Joyce Yang shines in Grieg’s intensely emotional Piano Concerto, completed when the composer was just 24. The program concludes with Berlioz’s evocative Symphonie fantastique. Seasonal Gifts Dec 8-11The holiday season is all about togetherness, gratitude, joy… and beautiful music, of course! Sarasota Orchestra invites you and your loved ones to light up your December celebrations with a concert dedicated to this most wonderful time of the year. The Orchestra honors the Festive Sounds of Hanukkah and accompanies a special narrator in ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. Be sure to hum a few holiday tunes on your way to Holley Hall, because we’ll want you warmed up to join in A Holly and Jolly Sing-a-Long! A Little Night of Music Jan 11-5 Put on some dancing shoes and come out for a concert of music that moves us, body and soul! In a tribute to fantastic stages from the ballet to the nightclub, from the opera house to Broadway, this concert captivates with sounds

The Burdens Oct 21-Nov 27 Siblings Mordy and Jane have a problem. Their dreadful, centenarian grandfather is an emotional and financial tax on the family, and he just won’t die. Scheming almost entirely via sarcastic and misspelled text messages, the siblings hatch an outrageous plan to relieve their family of their grandfather’s burden. Zany, twisted and inventive, this dark comedy reminds us it’s much easier to write what we could never say face to face. Birds of North America Jan 6-Feb 12 As birders, John and his daughter Caitlyn adore spending tender autumn days attempting to catch glimpses of elusive birds. But as seasons, the climate, and global politics change, the two find their connection as rare as a redheaded Woodpecker. In a lyrical and endearing family portrait, Birds of North America unfolds in delicate, detailed layers. Backwards Forwards Back Mar 24-Apr 23 When a soldier returns from war carrying the ghosts of his tour, he’s faced with a sobering decision: address his alarming PTSD with Virtual Reality therapy, or risk losing access to his family forever. Can this new technology re-calibrate the brains and bodies of wounded soldiers? This electric, vivid, one-man drama studies the power of healing and finding strength in vulnerability.

Van Wezel Playfully dubbed “The Purple Cow” by locals, this distinctive Frank Lloyd Wright creation abuts the Sarasota Bayfront, where it serves as Sarasota’s primary connection to the world of national and international touring performance, bringing storied performers and productions to the local stage as a regular stop on the regional, national and international touring circuits.

Chicago Nov 29-30 After 25 years, Chicago is still the one musical with everything that makes Broadway shimmyshake. It’s a universal tale of fame, fortune, and all that jazz, with one show-stopping song after another and the most astonishing dancing you’ve ever seen. No wonder Chicago has been honored with 6 Tony Awards®, 2 Olivier Awards, a Grammy®, and thousands of standing ovations. Disney’s Aladdin Jan 24-27 Hailed by USA Today as “Pure Genie-Us,” Aladdin features all your favorite songs from the film as well as new music written by Tony® and Academy Award® winner Alan Menken. Cats Apr 18-20 Audiences and critics alike are rediscovering this beloved musical with breathtaking music, including one of the most treasured songs in musical theater–”Memory”. Winner of 7 Tony Awards® including best musical, Cats tells the story of one magical night when an extraordinary tribe of cats gathers for its annual ball to rejoice and decide which cat will be reborn.

Venice Symphony Since its inception in 1974, the Venice Symphony has grown from a passion project playing three concerts a year in the Venice High School to the town’s premier musical performers, still playing at the Venice High School, but at its state-of-the-art Venice Performing Arts Center. In recent years, as the symphony continues to grow, the

introduction of a Pre-Concert Talk Series has brought the community even closer to the people behind the music. Tchaik Strikes! Nov 18-19 The season premieres with a big and bold program. The concert opens with the Overture from Ruslan and Ludmila by Mikhail Glinka, one of the great overtures in opera. The program also features Paul Hindemith’s powerful Symphonic Metamorphosis on Themes by Carl Maria von Weber, later adapted by George Balanchine for the ballet Metamorphoses. The final work is Piotr Tchaikovsky’s epic Symphony No. 4 in D minor. Night at the Museum Jan 6-7 The Venice Symphony will transport you to your favorite museum with music from Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Mummy, Night at the Museum and The Da Vinci Code. Concertmaster Marcus Ratzenboeck dazzles with his violin solo on Camille Saint-Saens’ Danse Macabre. Then music and art meet in glorious fashion in Modest Mussorgsky’s ravishing Pictures at an Exhibition, orchestrated by Maurice Ravel . Cinematic Romance Feb 3-4 Fall in love all over again with music from Casablanca, Romeo and Juliet and Gone With the Wind. Hailed as “…dazzling, electrifying and compelling,” superstar violinist Sandy Cameron will perform Danny Elfman’s Edward Scissorhands Suite, The Love Theme from Cinema Paradiso and the Tango from Scent of a Woman. Finally, you will be treated to the Symphony’s premiere of Leonard Bernstein’s sweeping Symphonic Dances from the enduring classic West Side Story.

Venice Theatre Charming, wowing and moving audiences since 1950, Venice Theatre stands as, per capita, the largest community theater in the United States. From classics and musical favorites on the

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CULTURE PRIMER 2022-23 main stage to the daring and raucous productions populating the theater’s Stage II, Venice Theatre pulls out all the stops for a theater-going population always looking for something new. The annual cabaret festival brings countless productions to the stage for weeks of musical and dramatic entertainment. Up on the Roof Jan 13-Feb 5 A tapestry of songs that will make the earth move under your feet! If you’re down and troubled, inject your soul with some sweet rock ‘n’ roll and brighten up even your darkest night. Join us “Up On the Roof” where a group of singers retreat to be alone with their thoughts, only to discover solace, celebration and friendship with each other. Gypsy: A Musical Fable Feb 24-Mar 26 Speculated by many (including New York Times critic Ben Brantley) to be the greatest of all American musicals, Gypsy

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tells the story of one woman’s efforts to get her daughters into show business. Gypsy helped launch Stephen Sondheim’s career and earned Mama Rose a place in the theatrical canon as the quintessential Stage Mother. Death of a Salesman Apr 28May 14 This Pulitzer and Tony Award Winner tells the iconic American story of Willy Loman, who made his living riding on a “smile and a shoeshine.” About to lose his job and haunted by missed opportunities and a troubled past, he continues to chase his elusive American Dream while his wife struggles to help him.

Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe Founded in December 1999, by performer, director and playwright Nate Jacobs, this nonprofit theater is the only professional black theater company on Florida’s west coast. Through musicals—both

Broadway and Jacobs’ originals—as well as comedies and thoughtprovoking dramas from notable playwrights, WBTT explores the African-American experience onstage every year in a five-show season. Since its inception, WBTT has mentored and inspired many African-American youth and young adults through participation in the company’s productions. Many aspiring professional artists who trained with WBTT have gone on to work with regional theaters and national touring companies, on Broadway and on national television, and with major record companies. Guys and Dolls Oct 5-Nov 20 Guys and Dolls, a Tony Award winner for Best Musical, tells the story of New York City gambler Nathan Detroit, who dreams of setting up a big dice game while avoiding the authorities—and marriage to his longtime fiancée. Meanwhile, fellow gambler Sky

Masterson ends up wooing a strait-laced missionary in a scheme to fund the game. Flyin’ West Jan 4-Feb 12 In the 1890s, a group of African American women leave the oppressive South and settle in the all-Black town of Nicodemus, Kansas. Their hopes, dreams and determination to survive in a harsh region are tested as they build new lives for themselves and their families. Dreamgirls Feb 22-Apr 9 An inspirational journey through American pop music, Dreamgirls chronicles one fictional Motown group’s rise from obscurity to superstardom. Through gospel, R&B, smooth pop, disco and more, Dreamgirls explores themes of ambition, hope and betrayal, all set in the glamorous and competitive world of the music industry. You’ll love the WBTT version: as the song says, “Just dream it baby, we’ll be there!” SRQ

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I’ve Got Your Back What it’s like to take the stage as an improv comedy actor in Sarasota. INTERVIEW BY KEVIN ALLEN | PHOTOGRAPHY BY SAL PICCOLO

IT’S 7:29 P.M. ON A SATURDAY NIGHT AT THE CORNER OF FIRST STREET AND COCOANUT AVENUE, AND I KNOW TWO THINGS. Number one: I’m about to perform for the next 90 minutes in front of 120 paying theater patrons and I have no idea what I’ll say or do. Number two: There are seven people— a stage manager, a pianist, and five fellow actors—in the exact same situation, and they all have my back. I know this because we’ve all tapped each other on the back shoulder and said, “I’ve got your back,” as we walked from the dressing room to the stage. It’s a tradition you’ll find here and almost everywhere that improv comedy is performed. A moment later, the lights dim, music starts to play, and the show has begun. Florida Studio Theatre (FST) director of improvisation and my friend, Will Luera, takes the stage to welcome the audience. I watch from the wings with the rest of the cast, our nervous energy causing us to shift our weight from leg to leg, reassuring one another with silent nods. After warming up the audience with a series of calls-and-responses, Will asks the audience for the suggestions that will shape our show. A profession? Pirate. A fictitious town where our tale will take place? Willowford, Delaware. And we set it all during the American Revolution.

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My fellow actors and I are adults who never outgrew our desire to play and be silly. We’re mad enough to stand on stage and put it on display. Right before I enter, I have a terrifying thought. What if I’ve forgotten how to be an improviser? Over the past 20 years, I’ve performed in hundreds of these shows, in front of thousands of people, and never once have I actually forgotten. Yet, I have this feeling every. Single. Time. There’s something about the lights, the anticipation, the inexplicable energy that is passed from performer to audience and back. It is in this sublime moment of self-doubt that I feel a connection with the history and tradition of live theater — a kinship with the artists and artisans who have helped it persist for centuries. There are many types of improv comedy, but the genre is typically split into two categories: short form and long form. Short form improv mirrors what you would see on the long-running TV show Whose Line Is It Anyway? with structured theater games and premises for short scenes. Long form improv, however, can follow a narrative structure or it can be a series of related scenes that tie together thematically. Or it can be pretty much anything the players make it. At FST, we perform a mix of both, but tonight it’s narrative long form. That means we’ll create an entire play complete with exposition, conflict, rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution. Plus, it’s a musical. Every word we say, every twist and turn, and yes, every single note of every song is created on the spot. The ensemble serves as collective playwright, composer and lyricist at once. (Even as I type this, the show in the rearview, it sounds terrifying.) When it works, it’s magic. When it doesn’t. . . well, let’s just say as improvisers we really hope it works. The core tenant of improvisation is the notion of “Yes, and …”. It is the idea that whatever premise you create or idea you proffer — no matter how weird, wild or outlandish — I will accept its reality (yes!) and add to it (and!). In turn, I trust my fellow player to do the same (I’ve got your back!). For instance, if you enter and cast yourself as a daffodil who is sad because they’re losing their petals, you better believe I will come in as a fellow daffodil with a list of petal-loss remedies (Propecia for perennials?). People are often surprised when I tell them that, as improvisers, we rehearse. In fact, we often rehearse in the hours just before our Saturday night show. During this particular week’s rehearsal, a local beatboxer and freestyle rapper, Karim Manning, joined us to help teach a new skill that we could add to our improviser tool belts. We’re stretched outside our comfort zones, which is saying a lot for a group of guileless improvisers.

The positive vibes and energy created in rehearsal carry over to showtime and are palpable as we’re set to take the stage. Lights dim and a mental switch flips. Instinct kicks in, and the opening group number — “Yo Ho!” — comes to life and ends with a raucous flourish. Fortunately on this night, what follows is magic. We tell the tale of a pirate queen named Captain, who sails a ship called the Matador. As she seeks to expand her fleet to help fight for America’s independence, she falls in love with a man who cannot swim. He is given command of the Matador II anyway. They are separated. They are reunited. I play the captain’s lackey, Deck Hand Jan, who boasts flowing locks of golden hair. As an actor, my job in this show is support. Keep the plot moving forward, serve the story, find the funny, and make my fellow actors look good. Our set ends as so many of those classic musicals do: lovers in love, subplots resolved, and all is well again in Willowford. We mingle in the lobby after with friends and audience members. A common question is heard, “How do you do that?” It’s a skill, to be sure, but it’s more than that. My fellow actors and I are adults who never outgrew our desire to play and be silly. We’re mad enough to stand on stage and put it on display. We’re a mix of local actors who live as far south as Port Charlotte and as far north as Tampa. Some of them trained at FST’s school, where I also serve as an occasional teacher. Others made their way through improv scenes in larger cities before finding a home here. For us, improv becomes a shared language. A common philosophy. And from that comes community. Actors in this ensemble, as with most, tend to come and go. I first performed here in the early 2000s and returned to it in 2018. Most of the faces in the cast were different, but the constant was the community. One comment I hear frequently after shows is that it seems like we really like each other. It’s because we genuinely do. If you haven’t seen live improv comedy, or if you’ve seen it elsewhere, I encourage you to come and catch us any Saturday night at Florida Studio Theatre’s Bowne’s Lab. Or better yet, step into a class. And if you like the experience, know that it’s a reflection of a community where the tenets of improvisation extend beyond the stage. In other words, we have each other’s backs. SRQ

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giving coast A FAMILY LEGACY By offering a place of belonging, connection, and freedom, Harvest House CEO Erin Minor helps create a second chance for those who need it most. Barbie Heit. Photo by Wes Roberts

RIDING AROUND IN THE BACK SEAT OF HER PARENTS’ STATION WAGON AS A YOUNG GIRL, helping to look for people in the community who were in need of help, Erin Minor never imagined she would one day be Chief Executive Officer of an organization serving and enriching the lives of more than 1,000 people annually. A native of Sarasota and graduate of Booker High School, Erin Minor grew up as the only girl in a family of five children. Her parents, Pastors Jim and Peggy Minor believed that the church should be a part of the solution in a community, and not a part of the problem or division. “My parents went from offering rides in the 1980s, to opening the Harvest food pantry in 1990, to personally purchasing a home to establish a safe place for our first program, Freedom Recovery,” she recalls. 90 | srq magazine_ OCT22 live local


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giving coast In 1992, the Minors opened Harvest House with just six beds for men in recovery from drug and alcohol abuse. Young Erin witnessed the birth of what would become one of the area’s greatest nonprofits serving homeless families, veterans, at-risk youth and adults with a history of incarceration, substance abuse and joblessness. “At a very young age, I was around the dining room table during founding discussions. I watched the organization grow as I grew up,” she says. At the University of South Florida, Erin had no intention of working in the human services field, but as fate had it, she graduated in 2004 with a BA in Psychology and became a Certified Addictions Professional, a

relief, and clean, dignified housing. Over the years, 25 positions have been added to the organization, intentionally hiring employees with different backgrounds and experience levels to help broaden views and enrich services. They’ve put an emphasis on fundraising as a dimension of growth, making the Harvest House mission and vision known to local donors and foundations and receiving numerous federal, state, and local grants that helped make dreams a reality. There are countless success stories of lives that have been changed by Erin and the work done at Harvest House. Madeline, age 28, was living in a domestic violence shelter. After leaving her abusive partner with her young


Certified Mental Health Professional, and an Internationally Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor through the Florida Certification Board. At age 22, she started at Harvest House as a case manager in the Freedom Recovery program for women. Within a year, she became the program manager. After several years of proving herself and providing strategic plans for growth, in 2009, at age 27, she had the opportunity to continue her parents’ legacy as the Executive Director of Harvest House. Eventually, she moved into the CEO role. Over the last 13 years, Harvest House has grown from 100 beds across one program and two campuses to 380 beds across five programs, 10 campuses, and 25 affordable rentals. Today, as one of the largest human services providers in the region, Harvest House serves 1,000 men, women, and children through programs uniquely designed for three overarching populations: families and young adults (ages 16-24) experiencing or at-risk of homelessness, and adult men and women with a history of incarceration and substance abuse. Harvest House offers case management, lifeenrichment classes and programs, hunger

daughter, she applied to Harvest House and received the help she so desperately needed to create a better life for herself and her child. Now a preschool teacher and pursuing an associates degree in education, Madeline calls Harvest House her “rainbow after the thunderstorm.” Another client shares that before he came to Harvest House, he had two choices: death or prison. After being incarcerated at age 16 and spending 12 years in prison, he came to Harvest House, where he’s been for the past eight years. “I’ve been running all my life,” he says. “Where I come from, I never had anyone looking out for me the way they do here. I’m not running anywhere now.” Perhaps one reason Erin has been drawn to and remained in the field for over 18 years is because she herself is no stranger to hardship. “The struggle of being a victim of sexual violence at a very young age and being gay in an evangelical pastor’s home and in the homophobic American culture, I can’t identity with all traumas, but I can identify with many of the symptoms of trauma – depression, anxiety, hypervigilance, and chronic physical pain due to unrelenting

high stress,” she shares. “This personal experience compels me to break barriers to human prosperity. We must be free in our body, mind, and spirit to be completely free. Generations before me fought for my existence and healing and I must fight for today and for the generations who are coming up behind me.” Erin is grateful for the partnerships made in the community that have enhanced the services provided by Harvest House. “I am proud of the progressive changes in the Freedom Recovery program as a result of understanding brain science and the importance of bonding and connecting. I am proud of our work as a founding agency in the homeless response system for families experiencing and at-risk of homelessness. And I am proud of opening a first of its kind Youth Drop-In Center for youth ages 16 to 24 experiencing or at-risk of experiencing homelessness, and the specialized transitional and supportive housing for young adults ages 18 to 24,” she says. “We work toward creating places of belonging, connection, and freedom. A place where no matter who you are, where you’ve been, what you have or haven’t done, who you love, or what you believe or don’t believe, you can say, ‘I belong here, in this diverse family of joyful, loving people.’ A place where all people can share the human experience without fear and can step confidently into their destiny,” she adds. If there is one word that people would use to describe Erin, it would most likely be “tenacious.” Her mom likes to say, “nevertheless, she persisted” when speaking of her daughter. “This work is in my DNA,” says Erin. “I know we can’t save the world, and I am not trying. My goal is to do good in every interaction with people and with every action I take. If I do that, I will be satisfied with a life well lived, and maybe make the world a little better for some in the process.” SRQ Erin Minor was honored as one of SRQ Magazine’s Good Heroes this past December. Harvest House, 3650 17th Street, Sarasota.

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contents she roars 2022

6 THE LADIES WHO LEAD If the future is, indeed, female, Sarasota’s food and beverage industry is in great hands. She Roars Magazine recently hosted a panel discussion with a group of seven prominent women who have staked their livelihood on creating exceptional food and beverage experiences. We sought to bring together a group of powerful, brilliant female entrepreneurs, chefs, and culinary creators at various points in their respective careers, to celebrate their talent and tell their stories.As you’ll see in the discussion that follows, women in this industry may come to it from disparate paths, but each share a common bond and some similar tales of overcoming adversity to achieve success. Interview facilitated by Kevin Allen | Photo by Wes Roberts.

30 AT THE HELM Ashley Brown, the CEO and president of the Women’s Resource Center (WRC), has ushered in bold changes to the organization—continuing to bring more valuable services to Sarasota and Manatee counties. Written by Abby Weingarten | Photography by Wyatt Kostygan.

strong women of the region 13

rejuvenate: womens wellness and beauty 31

Melissa Beachy

Jaime Marco



Sharon Carole

Lisa Moore



Vilia Dragovoy

Hallie Peilet





Debbie LaPinska

Jessica Rogers



in conversation: elizabeth fisher good 26

Jennifer Lee

Natasha Selvaraj



Elizabeth Fisher Good

Anne LeBaron

Kay Yoder



Laura Rode

Elite Medical Spa Sirius Day Spa The Blue Door Spa


This page left to right: Kevin Allen, SRQ Magazine; Jennifer Martinez, Elevation Tea; Natalia Levey, Kojo and Speak’s Clam Bar; Michelle Wolforth, State Street; Stefania Fochi, The Empanada Girl; Christine Nordstrom, Five-O Donuts; Jenn Sayko, Chateau 13 and, Nancy Krohngold, Nancy’s BBQ.

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This page, left to right: Christine Nordstrom, Owner, Five-O Donut Co.; Michelle Wolforth, Executive chef, State Street; Jenn Sayko, General Manager, Partner, Chateau 13; Nancy Krohngold, Owner, Nancy’s BBQ; Stefania Fochi, Owner, The Empanada Girl; Jennifer Martinez, Owner, Elevation Tea; Natalia Levey, Founder, Hi Hospitality Group (Speaks Clam Bar, Kojo).

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hosted a panel discussion with a group of seven prominent women who have staked their livelihood on creating exceptional food and beverage experiences. We sought to bring together a group of powerful, brilliant female entrepreneurs, chefs, and culinary creators at various points in their respective careers, to celebrate their talent and tell their stories. Naturally, this panel represents only a fraction of the women who are shaping the Sarasota/Manatee dining and food and beverage scene. But as you’ll see in the discussion that follows, women in this industry may come to it from disparate paths, but each share a common bond and some similar tales of overcoming adversity to achieve success.

Queens of the Restaurants

THE LADIES WHO LEAD How seven prominent women are shaping the Sarasota region’s culinary future. interview facilitated by kevin allen.

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rejuvenation, because in talking to a lot of people historically, Sarasota used to be a big foodie town. I’m very excited, very optimistic. I’m so happy to see so many more women on the scene and doing amazing things, andI feel like this is the regeneration, rejuvenation of what Sarasota’s dining scene could be. STEFANIA FOCHI, OWNER, THE EMPANADA GIRL: People are coming in with new ideas from outside of Florida and bringing a little slice of culture that’s different from what’s always been here. And every time I go to a new place I’m like, “Wow, this is incredible” and the chef is from DC, or Chicago, or New York. It’s just fun to see that diversity coming in and adding a little bit of flare to what’s here. The food culture here is so dominated by chains, and I feel like so many people are comfortable there and they kind of expect it. So it’s so nice to see Sarasota starting to step out of that a little bit, and people making real food from scratch with care and putting care into the ingredients and what they do. As a foodie who loves to go out to restaurants specifically for that, it’s been such a breath of fresh air. MICHELLE WOLFORTH, EXECUTIVE CHEF, STATE STREET: People are buying (homes) here and it’s not just seasonal. People are coming to live here. So it’s definitely changing. CHRISTINE NORDSTROM, OWNER, FIVE-O DONUT CO.: I moved here in 2001, right out

of college. I started under Michelin star Chef David Kinch of Manresa at his first restaurant, Sent Sovi, in Saratoga, Calif. I was married very young when I was 20, and my ex-husband wanted to move to Sarasota. I had offers to work for four different Michelin star chefs, and I said, “I’m sorry, I’m not going to take it. My husband wants to move to Sarasota.” They said to me, “Why are you going there? There’s no food scene there.” And I’m like, “Well, I’ll

go help make one.” And that was kind of my mentality: to dig in deep, start early, and be a part of that movement. JENN SAYKO, GENERAL MANAGER, PARTNER, CHATEAU 13: I grew up on Anna

Maria Island and we moved here when I was little. Growing up in a little surfer town, you go to the beach, you do your thing, you get a burger. Food wasn’t really a thing that I think we thought of. And I remember walking into Cafe L’Europe, when I was eight years old in high heels for the first time — with socks — I’ll never forget that. But I remember walking in and the waiters were dressed nicer than we were. And I think that, like (Fochi) said, I think it’s definitely a rejuvenation because there was a really funky, cool food scene here, but it was small and protected and nobody had ever heard of it. And then the audacity of people grew a little bit and the curiosity of the patrons. People are now a little bit more comfortable going outside their box. You do see them Googling (to learn about ingredients) at the table, which boosts their personal confidence. But I think that people taking risks, which all of you are doing, is what we need. NANCY KROHNGOLD, OWNER, NANCY’S BBQ: I grew up here in Sarasota. And for a small town, especially growing up — my folks moved here with me in 1956 — it was already something of a resort town, just much smaller. The whole food scene and what Americans want to explore and what chefs have done has really changed a lot in the past 20, 30 years. I haven’t been to too many non-resort towns that offered the variety that we did even 20, 30 years ago. But yes, the sea change of what’s going on with innovative foods, innovative menus. I applaud all of you. Everyone’s known what barbecue is for 300 years. I’m not doing anything innovative. And even what you’re doing with donuts, Christine, they’re not the donuts I grew up with. But I applaud all of you for pushing the envelope and introducing the clientele to new things and the kinds of things that they’re often reading about that restaurants “in the big cities” are doing.

WHAT ARE YOU REALLY GOOD AT? WHAT’S THE ONE THING THAT YOU FEEL YOU DO BEST? KROHNGOLD: Well, obviously I’m good at running my mouth. I would say when I started my business, I had no money with which to start it. I did a little one fold brochure and business cards and I was a graphic designer, so I didn’t have to pay for design. So from very early on, I was a self promoter and relied upon guerilla marketing. And I think I was good at that. It got the business off the ground. It got people learning about Nancy’s. And obviously, without sounding too immodest, I think I demonstrated I was good at making barbecue, which I fell into, but at a knack for making a type of barbecue that many people knew from the Carolinas or other places they said wasn’t being offered here. So I kind of found a niche. And there weren’t a lot of barbecue places around, and there still aren’t in Sarasota. We’ll never be like Texas or North Carolina where there’s 30 of them within a 50 mile radius. But I found my niche. I used to set up one step ahead of the code compliance truck and sell barbecue off a corner until they chased me away. And that’s how I first started getting my food out to the public, was typically setting up where I wasn’t supposed to be. SAYKO: I would say open mindedness. I

think being open to flavors, people, styles, colors, orientations, ethnic backgrounds, whatever it is. I think that, especially because I’m in the front of the house pretty much all the time, when you’re dealing with the public constantly for a two to three hour dining experience, you have to know how to navigate personalities, because they’re all over the board. It’s what makes the world a wonderful place. And it also makes the world a difficult place sometimes. But just whatever people bring to the table, I think that there’s good in everybody and there’s good in every dish. What I see in this room is that it takes all kinds and a rising tide lifts all boats. So the more we all do our thing and the more we’re open to life, and the world, and our customers, and our staff, I think that it just makes us better.

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LEVEY: I’m very shy, very awkward, very nerdy, which made me really good at seeking knowledge and kind of an insatiable knowledge seeker, which led to insane amount of books that I read of courses that I take, which leads to me constantly bringing improvements to our culture with a huge focus on wellness and mindfulness. That’s just a big part of my life. FOCHI: I’m Argentine, and I grew up in a culture where food was such a big deal, but it was also a way that people connected. And so we get together in Argentina, it’s always over a meal, over food. And so I grew up in a culture where food equaled love in a certain way. And one of the things that I really appreciate about having the freedom to be an entrepreneur and to do my own thing is that the empanadas are the boat through which I can express that. And it’s something that every time I hire people in my team, that’s the foundation through which we do everything. Just consciously being grateful for the opportunity of what we’re doing. It could be just an empanada, but we appreciate every ingredient, every way of cooking, every detail. The farmer’s markets are our main jam. And so having that one-onone connection to share the gratitude and to do all the steps with love, from the purchasing to the actual making. We spend one day a week just making the dough and then one day a week just chopping onions. But all of it is just made with that energy of love and gratitude. Just being able to expand on that with my teams and then with everybody that comes to our store or the farmer’s markets and just spreading that love in this infinite loop, I feel like something that I do best and that I love, and it makes it worthwhile. WOLFORTH: I’m definitely strong in a lot

of aspects, and I’ve learned with some really talented Michelin rated chefs all over the world. And I think I’m really strong with executing events and building a talented team around me, because it’s tough in this town. I’ve secured a really good amount of talent to be able to do what I do every day because it would not be the same restaurant without surrounding yourself with some talent. We make everything from scratch. It’s breads, it’s pastries, that scratch-made pasta, in-house

butcher. You have to be someone that is good at other things so that you can focus on the things that you’re really good at as well. So I feel like surrounding myself with talent, executing great food in this town, I feel like that’s my niche. NORDSTROM: The first thing that came to my mind was handling extreme amounts of pressure. That’s the basis and the core of who I am. I had a lot of trials and tribulations, so it made me able to handle a large amount of pressure. I subscribe to the belief that if this was easy, everyone would do it. KROHNGOLD: Amen. That’s one of

my mantras. NORDSTROM: It’s one of the main things I live by. If I’m in bed crying and can’t get up, I’m like, “If it was easy, everyone would do it. Now get up and go do it.” And that’s pretty much how I motivate myself to be able to keep going forward. I, like Nancy, started with absolutely nothing. It was negative when I started. So I had five failed businesses and it took me 15 years to become an overnight success. So, what am I really good at? I’m really good at getting back up. I’m really good at putting one foot in front of the other every day. And I’m really good at figuring something out that I don’t know how to do. I do all my own branding. I do all my menu design. I do all my own books. I do all my projections. I do my own kitchen designs, store build outs, project management. I do it all because I also am really good at loving to learn. Like Natalia said, it turns voracious. You want to keep getting better every day. And so my goal is that I’m a better person and better business woman. MARTINEZ: Watching the buying behaviors of my customers and paying attention to what the majority of my target market is looking for. As a business owner, I have to be able to adapt my products to the culture I am in. Coming from Austin the items that would appeal to people there are not the same as what the comfort level is here in Sarasota. I think this is one of the reasons we have been able to break through fairly quickly in such a difficult and less popular (than coffee) industry.

WHAT’S THE MOST MEMORABLE THING YOU’VE EVER CREATED OR TASTED? FOCHI: My client base said, we need a breakfast empanada with bacon and eggs. And I was like, blasphemy! Telling an Argentine to put scrambled eggs in an empanada? I resisted for approximately a year. And as soon as I made it, an immediate bestseller — I sold double breakfast than literally everything else. And as soon as I had the breakfast, somebody was like, will you make a vegetarian breakfast? Okay. I did. And so that’s how I went from eight flavors to like 29. I have to say, one of the most memorable experiences I have had of anything I didn’t make was Kojo. I remember going to Kojo and being like, how is this in Sarasota? Where did this come from? I remember the first time going through the menu, I went with a friend of mine. It was our first time and it was an adventure. We were like, oh my god, just all the decorations and just the menu, just going through it, we ordered so much food. I mean, it was incredible. And it was at brunch, no less. It wasn’t even dinner! I’ve spent this entire pregnancy dreaming of the cabbage pancake. I remember sitting in Kojo being like, where am I? This is incredible. (To Levey) Just, thank you. It was just incredible. And it’s so nice to meet you, the woman behind it, because it was totally life changing. LEVEY: Thank you. May I give you a hug? (They embrace) SAYKO: The most memorable thing for

me, I was eight years old and my dad still lived in Texas. He would come pick us up for the summer so we could go visit and we stopped in New Orleans and he took us to Commander’s Palace. And I never knew in my life that there was a difference between eating and dining. Something was happening on a plate versus just something sitting there. And I remember thinking, this isn’t food, this is more. And I think that’s why I created Chateau 13, because I want to share all the places I’ve been in my life and the experiences I’ve had, the bad, the good. It’s like welcoming people into your home, and I feel fortunate that I get to be out there.

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MARTINEZ: The mint julep was the most challenging. To get that flavor out of it that customers were looking for, and keep the health benefits, but be able to give this homage to my childhood that I had going to Disneyland. That was kind of a big goal of mine. So that one took a lot of patience. The first 50 iterations of it were absolutely disgusting and we had to drink them and just keep going forward. But that one has become a fan favorite and it’s something that rose to the top as far as what people are looking for from our shop. KROHNGOLD: It was in the early seventies. A boss of mine took me to the Eastern Market in Washington DC, which is kind of like a farmer’s market. It goes back decades and decades, and it’s open food stalls. She said, I have to take you to this stall. We’ll go there for lunch. And it was barbecue pork, pulled pork — the real deal — pulled, no sauce on top of it. That’s a food memory and a food taste that I never consciously connected to doing barbecue almost 30 years later. But just today, I was thinking about it: That’s the first time I had barbecue and knew how great it was. LEVEY: The first serious culinary stamp

or memory was this special chef’s roll, and it’s only in Tao, in New York on the Upper West Side location. None of the other Tao’s in the world have that one. But it was just the most incredible sushi roll I’ve ever had in my life, to date, which became the inspiration for our Kojo role and Kojo itself. It was so good. It was so incredible, so fresh. Just burst of flavor in my mouth. WOLFORTH I ended up moving to Chicago on

a whim to work with two-star Michelin chef Danny Grant. And he was interviewing me and I was going through taking the position and he offered to have me come and eat at his restaurant, Rya. This kitchen was the most exquisite kitchen I’ve ever walked into. And I had the experience of eating a nine-course tasting menu by this two-star Michelin chef. I couldn’t even tell you what I physically ate. I just appreciated how much went into every single dish. I remember a sphere that was nitrous frozen. It was dredged. It was fried when you broke it open, and it was this cheesy, melty, gruyere bomb. I make something

NORDSTROM: We just opened our new

similar to that, which is gougères stuffed with goat cheese, caramelized onions, and gruyere cheese. That’s a very similar profile to that, but not the nitrogen and not freezing and all that. It was just one of those moments where, wow, this is talent. WHAT IS THE UNIQUE QUALITY STRENGTH THAT YOU BRING TO YOUR WORK AS A WOMAN THAT MAKES YOU GREAT AT WHAT YOU DO? NORDSTROM: Empathy. Hands down. Not that men can’t be empathetic, but I feel that it’s more of a natural trait that comes to women and it’s more of an ingrained character trait to be empathetic. Success — a deep success and satisfaction — is nothing more than a collection of human relationships. So I have relationships with my staff. I have relationships with my customers. I have relationships with my vendors. It’s all relationship management and I feel that women do that best. As a woman, I take great pride in my business acumen and how I treat other people in my business. My staff stay with me for a long time. So I feel like that women just bring a different dynamic into the management. I had problems with gaining traction or respect early on in this particular business I’m in now. And it was hard. And my therapist said to me, if you were a man, how would a man speak to those people that are disrespectful to you? So now when I have an employee or someone’s disrespectful, I compartmentalize, flip a switch, and I take on a masculine mentality. Women like us in this industry require masculine and feminine energy. And men, it’s harder for them to tap into that feminine energy than it is for women to tap into masculine energy. I can drop the hammer in a heartbeat if I need to, because that’s my livelihood. So I feel that’s one of the unique qualities that I’m able to do is to switch between that feminine and masculine energy, to be able to hold my own. KHRONGOLD: So true. And even if it’s a

kitchen full of women, there’s still a very masculine dynamic there. WOLFORTH: Even when men come into

the back kitchen and they’re vendors and they’re like, I’m looking for the chef. I’m like, sorry to disappoint you.

store and I’m standing next to my ops manager, who’s a guy, and all these vendors would just walk in and they walk up and they stand in front of him, and he goes, can I help you? And (the vendor) goes, yeah, I’m here to talk to the owner. I want to drop off some supplies. I go, have at buddy. I’ll see you later. They learn very quickly with me that it’s a matter of respect. It’s a basic respect thing. As a woman in this industry, you have to be able to dig your heels in — literally, your heels — and hold your own. KROHNGOLD: Last night, about six o’clock, one of the staffers from the front of the store came up, I have a little office in the back, and she said, There are some guys at the bar. They want to meet you. So I go out, oh, the food is great. We love it. So, you’re Nancy? I said, yeah. And they said, well, the Nancy of Nancy’s Barbecue? And I said, oh, yes. I get that all the time. And sometimes they think there isn’t even a real Nancy. I think the subtext of that is this must be owned by a man, especially because it’s barbecue. They can’t believe that a woman is doing it. So they said, so you own this place? I said, yes. He goes, this restaurant is yours? I said, yes, I am the owner. And then they proceeded to start telling me things to do. The question always starts with, have you ever thought about. . . ? Dude, I’ve been doing this for 18 years. Trust me. I think about this 24/7. There’s nothing I haven’t thought of. I love men, but there’s always going to be a segment who look at us as being a duck out of water in this business. NORDSTROM: Cheers to always being greatly underestimated. KROHNGOLD: I draw my greatest satisfaction from being underestimated. SAYKO: It’s acceptable for us to have emotion.

And I think sometimes for men it’s not, and that’s a disadvantage that we can play into an advantage. You teared up, I tear up, that’s a beauty that I think we have within our souls. I think we as women have a deeper understanding. You can look in that person’s eyes and know that you’re not a bad guy. You’re just coming across kind of douchey. srq magazine_ OCT22 | SHE ROARS MAGAZINE live local | 11

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KROHNGOLD: You’re just ignorant. SAYKO: And I think that gives us an edge

and makes me tear up. Because it’s hard sometimes. And I don’t think they know we pour our souls into this. This is who we are and you’re in my house. If I could be president, I would force every single person, male, female, I don’t care, to work in a restaurant for a month. Around the globe. Because dealing with the public is difficult and wonderful. And it’s Russian roulette when you walk to that table because you really don’t know what you’re going to get or the fact that this dish is absolutely perfect. And they’re going to roll on social media and say it wasn’t, they didn’t love it, but it really is wonderful. I go to the table and we’ll talk about it. Give me your feedback. You think it’s too salty? You don’t think it’s salty enough? Whatever it is. I know it’s a perfect medium rare and you don’t, but I’m going to suck it up anyway. KROHNGOLD: But you never get to tell them they’re wrong. SAYKO: Correct. And that’s where the

customer is always right, I think that as a female, there can be a delicacy about us, which I’m not always delicate, but I know how to be. And that sometimes I truly have teared up at a table and then they end up apologizing to me and I was like, I didn’t mean to. I think letting them know that that is an emotion that affects us, we can be hurt and we can feel good and we can be proud. And just channeling all of that. People think that our emotion is our downfall, but it’s a strength. FOCHI: For sure. And that’s a very specific feminine energy. We depend so much more on a sense of community and lifting each other up. I feel like that’s almost genetic, which is really beautiful. And it’s one of the beautiful things that women bring into business — that sense of collaboration. Where instead of being threatened, we are collaborative. . . NORDSTROM: And unified. FOSHI: Right. I started when I was 21, and I looked like I was probably 15. And so I’m in my mid-thirties now. I experienced so much of the, oh, who’s the owner? Me. You look

so young. Yes. Yeah. I usually attribute it to half being really young and then half being a woman. And then the combination of both … lethal. To where now people come to the booth and they’re like, oh, you should make this empanada. And I’m like, yeah, sure. Thank you. Great idea, sir. WOLFORTH: Like the 29 flavors in front

of you right now. FOCHI: Oh my gosh. Yeah, exactly. I mean,

it’s really funny. But on the flip side, because we have that kind of collaborative female energy, like you said that we are all in a sense, a mother to our people. It’s kind of that caretaking energy that we are able to translate into our food. There’s a reason why it’s always mom’s food was the best, or grandma’s food. It’s a really beautiful thing to go to an establishment and then feel that feminine energy in the space, in the food. It’s just got a certain depth that, not that man can’t achieve it. Right? But there’s just a certain quality and essence when a woman is creating it in there, focusing on the details. Because I love details, like the garnishes on your (Levey’s) bar (at Kojo). One of the first things I noticed. I was like, “Somebody knows what they’re doing.” I saw the cups of all the dehydrated fruit, and I was telling my friends, I was like, “They do this because they don’t sell this.” You can’t just buy this beautiful dehydrated grapefruit slice. And it’s just those details that I notice specifically in womenowned establishments, and that attention to detail, and the compassion, and the empathy. My number one priority, aside from the food, is making sure that my team is taken care of, because when they feel taken care of by me, everybody can kind of jump in on that vibration, take care and support each other through their individual needs. And then that translates to the customer. KROHNGOLD: It’s a culture that you’ve built. FOCHI: Right. Exactly. And sometimes it takes a woman to really build and nurture that foundation, to cultivate that kind of flow. And I think that’s just a really beautiful, specific female trait. We are the anchor of the homes, we create life, we give it, we nurture. We do the exact same thing in business, and I love that.

KROHNGOLD: My earliest food memories, and it may be the same for everyone here, are things that my mother or one of my two grandmothers made. The things I remember from my toddler days. It was women. SAYKO: And that’s not just physical

nourishment. That’s nourishment of the soul. MARTINEZ: Everything that everyone’s

saying is so true. I’ve had similar instances where I’ve had more free education from men than I can even hold in a book. I had a similar thing happen where a couple weeks after we opened up the shop, my dad just happened to be in there just hanging out. And they live in Port Charlotte, so he made the long trip up, so he was just kind of hanging out for a little while. He’s never been a part of the business in any capacity, but he happened to go behind the counter to grab himself a drink at the same time this guy walked in, who apparently wanted to offer to buy the business. He completely bypasses me, who’s standing right behind the counter, obviously working there, and he goes over right over to my dad. The guy just keeps going on and on, and so finally my dad’s able to cut in. He’s like, this is not my business. This is my daughter’s business. He’s like, well, where is she? And because I’m younger, I’m actually not younger, but I look younger than I am. So his perception is that this younger female cannot possibly own this business. He was told in the nicest way, this is not for sale, but thank you very much. But that kind of patience of not getting so offended that you just want to offend back. One of my biggest superpowers is just being patient. As a mother, you have to look at your kid and you want their talents and abilities to be similar to yours, because that would make life really easy. But it’s looking in and seeing no, they have different gifts. They have different missions in life. And being able to find that and pull that out. I apply that to the business. What are you good at? What you’re hired for may not be what you’re going to do a few months from now because you actually really shine here. And getting people in the right places, allowing them to be the superstar there and let them continue to grow the way that they want to. SHE ROARS

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STRONG WOMEN OF THE REGION Sharing the Stories of Women In Leadership as They Guide Our Region's Business and Independent Sectors.









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"My approach to aesthetics is ‘I want everyone to notice, but no one to know’." IT HAS BEEN MY PRIVILEGE TO WORK exclusively in Dermatology since the start of my career. Early on I developed a passion for cosmetic dermatology and entrepreneurship. I believe there is truly an art and a science to aesthetics. In this field, I am able to be both creative and artful, as well as technical and medical. I have over 10 years of experience as an aesthetic injector and absolutely love what I do. As an entrepreneur, I have grown the cosmetic division of Arsenault Dermatology, expanding to create a stand-alone company, Glow Dermspa. As the Director, I lead an amazing team of MDs, PAs, aestheticians, and staff who daily seek to build meaningful relationships, curate memorable experiences, and deliver exceptional natural-looking results, with kindness, care, and a commitment to excellence. I oversee the clinical operations, marketing, recruiting, and training to maintain a creative, quality culture. Everyday I’m thankful for the opportunity to help patients see, enhance, and become more confident in their natural beauty.

GLOW DERMSPA is a luxury aesthetic clinic for women and men, located in Lakewood Ranch, Florida. Created by the skincare experts at Arsenault Dermatology, we combine world-class aesthetic services with a concierge-style level of personal care and attention. Clients experience luxurious skincare treatments delivered by highly-skilled skin professionals, using innovative anti-aging and beauty-enhancing techniques. We offer a complete menu of cosmetic services including aesthetics, Botox®, injectable facial fillers (i.e., Juvéderm and Restylane), threads, laser resurfacing, pigment and vascular laser devices, fat destroying treatments, chest and neck rejuvenation, and platelet-rich plasma (PRF) therapy for both facial rejuvenation and hair loss.

GLOW DERMSPA BY ARSENAULT DERMATOLOGY 9023 Town Center Parkway, Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202 941-264-1161 | @glowdermspa


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"Michelle is that rare lawyer who combines a laser focus on the details of a transaction with the warmth and understanding of a trusted family advisor. I 've worked closely with Michelle on an almost daily basis for 25 years and I could not ask for a better colleague." — Richard R. Gans, President of Fergeson Skipper, P.A.

A BOARD-CERTIFIED REAL ESTATE LAWYER and shareholder with the Sarasota-based law firm of Fergeson Skipper, P.A., Michelle Lajoie Hermey brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to her clients based on an extensive educational background. Prior to becoming an attorney, Ms. Hermey served as a Certified Real Estate Paralegal with the firm. Ms. Hermey graduated with honors from the University of Maine. She then went on to attend Stetson University College of Law, where she earned her Juris Doctorate in 2006 and was recognized with the William F. Blews Pro Bono Service award. Admitted to the Florida Bar in 2007, Ms. Hermey became a board-certified real estate lawyer in 2013. She is licensed to practice before the Middle District Court of Florida and all local and State Courts in Florida. Ms. Hermey’s Bar Association memberships include The Florida Bar and Sarasota County Bar Association. Additionally, she is a member of the Bay Area Real Estate Council, the Real Property, Probate and Trust Section of the Florida Bar, Attorney’s Title Insurance Fund, Realtor Association of Sarasota and Manatee, and BNI Core Connections. Ms. Hermey is a past chair of the Sarasota Realtor-Attorney Joint Committee, past chair of the Sarasota County Bar Association Real Property Section and past vice president of BNI Core Connections. In 2021, Ms. Hermey was included in SRQ Magazine’s Elite Top Real Estate Attorneys. When it comes to real estate law, Michelle Lajoie Hermey is one in a million.

FERGESON SKIPPER, P.A. Named a 2022 “Best Law Firm” by U.S. News – Best Lawyers Tier 1 Sarasota: Tax, Trusts & Estates Law; Tier 2 Sarasota: Litigation, Trusts & Estates 941-957-1900


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"Do something today that your future self will thank you for."

MY 52-YEAR JOURNEY AS A FINANCIAL ADVISOR has been met with much self-motivation, humbling successes and failures, opportunities to lift others, personal growth, all to develop and harness my best self. Living life with intentionality and encouraging others to do the same—whether it’s taking that once in a lifetime trip, pursuing a new career endeavor, or going back to school (all financially pre-approved, of course)—is a great strength of mine. My most important accomplishment is nurturing the persona of Aunt Jenn or AJ. Making a deep connection to another human being, especially a child is tremendously rewarding and powerful. There has not been a role more important in my life. My beautiful nieces and nephews have been a long-time objective; be there, listen, encourage, comfort, stretch, teach, grow, hug, play games, cook, create, and become that resource, that trusted adult, and fun aunt. As a financial advisor, I try to apply this philosophy to my work. For me, it’s about encouraging women to take financial control, acting as an advocate for women in financial transition—whether it be helping through a divorce, navigating an inheritance, retirement, or selling a business—being a sounding board through life’s most challenging moments, and truly being a resource to help guide them to the next level of their journey. I’ve found that many women can be unsure of where to start on their financial planning journey. To me, financial planning is not that complicated. What do you have? And what do you want? My first book, Squeeze the Juice: Live with Purpose, then Leave a Legacy is a risk-free interview with me; a look behind the curtain. It’s a two-hour read, and you will know if we are a good fit. Only then can you truly consider coming on this journey to financial freedom with an advocate. It all comes back to creating a life with intention. Will you take this journey?

MODERN-WEALTH is a financial advisory firm dedicated to working with individuals, often focusing on women, in financial transition. I have found that a relationship with an advisor is most critical at the intersections in life where emotions collide with financial events. Whether you are experiencing divorce, a business client expanding or selling your operation, navigating an inheritance, retirement, or a couple wanting to make sure they have provided for their family, Modern-Wealth may be a fit. We are about building long-lasting relationships, digging deep to understand what drives clients, and encouraging clients to communicate their most important wants and needs to their loved ones.

MODERN-WEALTH 6710 Professional Parkway, Suite 201B Sarasota, FL 34240 | 941-251-0510


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" Together we can spread hope like fire!" MY SWEET SON BLAZE WAS DIAGNOSED with liver cancer at 7 months old. This was the hardest time of my life by far. I had to take a leave from my job because he was so sick and we spent most of our time in the hospital. Blaze endured aggressive chemotherapy and multiple surgeries. Sadly, Blaze passed away at 13 months old. During this time, I was able to stay with my baby boy, able to be a mom, able to sleep in the hospital bed with him nightly, not missing a precious moment of time with him. My community banned together to ensure provisions for my son and I were met. Donations were made, fundraisers were held, even jars collecting funds were placed on counters of convenience stores. The compassion, love, support, and prayers gave me hope in my greatest time of need. While at the hospital, I saw other families desperately in need of hope of their own. Not only were they struggling with the unexplainable sadness and pain involved, but they were also struggling to meet their personal financial responsibilities. These people chose their child instead of their mortgage payment; a choice no parent should have to make. This experience has driven my whole life from that point forward. What motivates me is my dedication to honor my son by showing the same love, compassion, and grace for others as I once received. I created "Blaze of Hope" a 501c3 non-profit organization that provides financial assistance to families of hospitalized children. We have an army of volunteers that spend their time raising awareness and building community through our numerous events and fundraisers. Every day I am thankful for another opportunity to spread HOPE like fire. “Chin up, Chest out, and Smile.” MY SECRET SAUCE Be love, Give love, Spread Love MISSION Blaze of Hope provides financial assistance to families of hospitalized children with life-threatening medical conditions, raises awareness, builds community, and enriches lives with HOPE!

BLAZE OF HOPE 501c3 Non-Profit Lisa Moore CEO/Founder 941-232-4568


9/13/22 3:11 PM




“People with disabilities see the world through such a pure lens, and it gives me personal perspective as to how grateful I am to be around them. Professionally, it’s easy to want to work hard because my success is their success." HALLIE PEILET JOINED THE HAVEN IN SPRING OF 2022. Her role includes communications and development initiatives. Prior to joining The Haven as the Director of Mission Engagement, Peilet spent four years at SNN, where she started as a general assignment reporter, filming, editing, and writing all of her own content. Peilet interviewed local Holocaust survivors for her special series, “They Lived: Suncoast Survivors of the Holocaust,” for which she received an Emmy nomination and Telly Award. She also went into the operating room to follow the journey of a man’s fight with Parkinson’s disease, filming his brain surgery. She later won a Telly Award for her series, “Inside PJ’s Brain.” Peilet is also no stranger to Sarasota philanthropy. In 2018, she competed in CANDance, a fundraiser for CAN Community Health. During her months training with her dance partner and fundraising, Peilet produced and anchored several segments to educate the community on the nonprofit, in efforts to eradicate any stigma associated with HIV. She raised $14,000 for the nonprofit through her efforts. Peilet first came across The Haven in June 2017, when she did a news segment there for the first time. She knew there was something special about it, and she connected with President & CEO Brad Jones to make sure she never missed a chance to cover any stories at The Haven. Peilet uses her video and storytelling background to share stories of The Haven’s clients, students, residents and their families. She also spearheads fundraising campaigns, including The Haven’s Holiday Hope campaign, which resulted in $122,000 of unrestricted fundraising dollars in December alone.

THE HAVEN 4405 Desoto Road Sarasota, FL 34235 941-355-8808


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“What you do makes a difference, and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make."—Jane Goodall. DAILY LIFE “Never underestimate yourself. Who is going to stop you?” PROFESSIONAL “Looking ahead is important. It helps you determine your steps now to get there." PERSONAL

JESSICA ROGERS BELIEVES ACCESS TO OPPORTUNITY FOR ALL IS THE BASE FOR BUILDING A STRONG COMMUNITY. This belief has transformed her passion for helping women, children, and families into a professional career focused on the well-being of humankind. As a mother, she raises her daughter the way that her mother taught her, to strive to make a difference in the lives of those within her community. With nearly 20 years of experience in nonprofit management, fundraising, finance and education, Jessica Rogers serves as Vice President of Philanthropy at Children First, Sarasota County’s exclusive Head Start Program, which ranks in the top 1% of Head Starts nationwide. She represents the agency in advocating for the support of early childhood education and breaking barriers of poverty. During her tenure, she has transformed fundraising and outreach efforts allowing the agency to serve the greatest number of children and families in its 61-year history and being named WEDU PBS’s Nonprofit of the Year. Rogers’ volunteer and philanthropic engagement is wide ranging. She serves on Sarasota County NAACP's Freedom Fund Awards Gala committee and is a former board director for the Junior League of Sarasota, having received their 2020 Sustainer Community Service Award.Jessica is a member of the National Council of Jewish Women Sarasota-Manatee chapter, the USF Tampa Digital Marketing Certificate Program Steering Committee, and past Troop Co-Leader for the Girl Scouts of Southwest Florida. She is a proud graduate of both the Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance Executive Academy, and the Sarasota Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership program where she currently serves on their Leadership Alumni Committee.

CHILDREN FIRST 1723 North Orange Ave. Sarasota, FL 941-953-3877


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"Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.." — Arthur Ashe



DIRECTOR OF US OPERATIONS, RIPPLE AFRICA THERE’S A SAYING ”You can’t never always sometimes tell.” That sums up perfectly the unpredictability of life. Twenty-one years ago, I never could have envisioned that a family move to Florida for my 11-year-old daughter to pursue her dream of a tennis career, would lead to an involvement with a notfor-profit in Malawi, Africa, that would capture my heart and give it such meaning. Our time living at IMG Academy was an incredibly rich cultural experience—exposing our family to a diverse group of people from all over the world. It was there that we became fast friends with a family from Malawi, who enlightened us about the country and its tremendous needs. After a serious back injury derailed my daughter’s tennis dreams, she decided to raise money for an orphanage in Malawi and traveled there to volunteer during a summer break. That invaluable experience not only changed her life but mine as well. Upon her return, we researched ways in which we could make a difference and looked for an on-the-ground partner with a proven track record. One organization—Ripple Africa—stood out above all the rest because of its emphasis on ‘providing a hand out and not a hand up’ and range of projects addressing the educational, healthcare, and environmental obstacles facing the Malawian people. After years of a successful partnership, we officially merged in 2013, becoming Ripple Africa, Inc. here in the US. My daughter continued onto a profession in medicine and is now an OB/GYN practicing in Colorado. I oversee the American side of operations and love nothing more than taking others to Malawi so they can meet the incredibly warm and welcoming Malawian people and witness the many ways in which Ripple Africa is providing opportunities for them to lift themselves out of poverty.

ABOUT RIPPLE AFRICA Malawi is a tiny, densely populated country located in Southeastern Africa, and ranks as one of the poorest nations in the world. Eighty-five percent of the population lives in rural areas and its rising population is putting tremendous pressure on the country’s natural resources. Ripple Africa, an NGO located in northern Malawi, operates by empowering communities to achieve a sustainable future, believing that the local people can be the solution to many of the challenges they face. In response to needs identified by the community, the organization runs large scale environmental projects, in addition to smaller scale education and healthcare initiatives in and around its base.

RIPPLE AFRICA 6979 74th Street Circle East, Bradenton, FL 941-782-7956 |


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“Life is a rollercoaster; for every down, there's an up so just hang on and enjoy the ride" I AM AN ENTREPRENEUR WHO OWNS multiple businesses and properties in Sarasota. I co-created The Realm Restaurant Group with my partner, Chef Christopher Covelli, and together we own and operate Sage Restaurant and Bijou Garden Café. I am known for saving old buildings and turning them into fine dining establishments. I’ve renovated and redesigned the Sage and Bijou buildings, and I am currently working on restoring two other locations to bring more restaurants and venues to Sarasota. I am an outspoken ally to the LGBTQ+ community, and a founding member of Project Pride SRQ, as well as a board member of Equality Florida and a recipient of the 2021 Voice for Equality award. I love improving things. When I see something wrong or neglected I want to make it right. When I bought Sage and Bijou my goal was to preserve the buildings, but once I got inside I realized that with a little work I could make them so much nicer. I do a lot with the LGBTQ+ community because I feel like this is another area where I can help to make a difference and maybe make the world a little better. I've witnessed a lot of injustice and inequality. As a child, I was raised around prejudice and misogyny which not only led me to become a voice for equality but also motivated me to create a world where I could freely express myself. MY SECRET SAUCE Follow my passion. If I don't love what I'm doing then I'm not on the right path. Every day I am thankful for my beautiful children, supportive friends, and this incredible life I'm living. YOUR OUTLOOK IN SIX WORDS. Be kind; have fun; be grateful.

THE REALM RESTAURANT GROUP 129 N.Pineapple Ave., Sarasota FL 34236 941-667-6677 |


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"The words and actions we use, have a direct impact on the results we get."

I HAVE BEEN TOLD MY SUPERPOWER is the dedication to helping others grow and develop. When I started my business, it was powered by the belief that I could help inspire others to create a positive change in their world. I am honored to create opportunities of change every day through my works as business coach, ambassador of connection and philanthropic supporter. Whether it’s mentoring others at work, networking, or with philanthropy, it is with great pride that I can give back to organizations in this community as much as the community has given to me. SECRET SAUCE Well, now if I shared that, it wouldn't be so secret anymore, now would it. Honestly though, I consider my secret fuel to be the power of the work I do and the results. I am continually inspired by handwritten thank you notes from clients that I keep prominently displayed in my office. I see these every day and they continue to fill my cup with the secret sauce.

EVOLVE BUSINESS CONSULTING / WHEN SHE HAPPENS 11161 E. State Road 70, #323, Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202 | 941-777-4930 | / | Facebook: Evolve Business Consulting / When She Happens | Instagram: @evolve_the_business / @whenshehappens

"Always stay humble and kind."



CHIEF HUMAN RESOURCES OFFICER, PGT INNOVATIONS PART OF MY SUCCESS STEMS from the experience growing up Asian in Chicago and dealing with being different, not looking like the other kids, and all the challenges that came with that. I was shy, intimidated, and self-conscious. I always remember that experience when approaching people in personal and business relationships, and it pushes me to go to bat for those who don’t have the strength to speak up for themselves. Also, when I see people who don’t have a lot to give, yet give of themselves every day, it further inspires me to make a positive impact on others. MY SECRET SAUCE I’d say my secret sauce is compassion for others. Sometimes it physically pains me to see someone struggling. I love to get to know people for who they are and appreciate and celebrate their unique strengths. If I can help people recognize the strength in themselves and give them the courage to speak up and be seen and be heard, it motivates me, in turn. EVERY DAY I AM THANKFUL FOR . . . MY FAITH THAT GIVES ME STRENGTH AND KEEPS ME GROUNDED, AND I’M THANKFUL FOR MY FAMILY.


PGT INNOVATIONS 1070 Technology Drive, N. Venice, FL 34275 | 941-480-1600 |

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"Always try to be better than the person you were yesterday!” " WHEN MEETING IN PERSON WASN'T AN OPTION I adapted to doing more virtually. As things continued to change and evolve over the last couple of years, I had to be much more flexible and pliable. My biggest strength is being a problem solver and working well under pressure. I have found that even in stressful situations, I can step back, look for solutions to the issue at hand, and encourage other team members to work together and focus on accomplishing our goals. MY SECRET SAUCE The people that I work with! In my professional life, I’m very fortunate to be surrounded by so many phenomenal legal professionals, from our attorneys to our staff. Everyone at Berlin Patten Ebling is always striving to provide the best experience possible for our clients, which helps us stand out. Every day I am thankful for my friends and family, who have supported me and encouraged me to try new things and pursue my goals. Especially my husband, Warren, my biggest supporter, and for my law partners who allowed me to be part of the best team! BERLIN PATTEN EBLING 3700 S Tamiami Trail #200, Sarasota, FL 34239 | 941- 954-9991



"Growth is not automatic; it has to be intentional . . . it is not guaranteed. You have to know what ways you want to grow and then take action to make it happen. "


I BEGAN MY CAREER IN REAL ESTATE IN 2014. I was a new mom hungry to build a good life for myself and my family. I can remember showing property with my son in a baby carrier on my back, for about 3 years. In 2018 my husband Matt joined me in real estate and we both jumped in full-time and began to build a team. We started by developing systems and processes geared towards delivering the highest quality of service to our clients. There were many hours of coaching, several real estate conventions a year and a huge sacrifice on our family time in order to achieve this. These systems and processes, once developed, attracted many sales associates to our team and we grew rapidly from a team of 3 into a multi-million dollar real estate company and a team of 24, in just 4 years. In 2021 our team was named the #1 Keller Williams Team in Sarasota and Manatee County and #2 in the entire North Florida region. In 2022 we launched our agent mentor program allowing our top producing agents the ability to grow as leaders while supporting others in the industry. In 2023 we plan to launch our own charity focusing on providing life and business coaching to young adults in the Sarasota area. SARASOTA GULF COAST HOMES WITH KELLER WILLIAMS ON THE WATER SARASOTA 1549 Ringling Blvd. Floor 6, Sarasota, FL 34236 941 724 9957 | | Instagram: SarasotaGulfCoastHomes | Facebook: SarasotaGulfCoastHomes


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"I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul." — Invictus by William Ernest Henley (on my office wall)

MY FAMILY EMIGRATED FROM UKRAINE in 1992 with 2 suitcases and a hope for a better life. It was my parents’ will and determination that taught me to work hard for what I want and not be afraid of taking risks. Especially the resilience of my mom, Dr. Marina Tourkova, who opened the Center of Revitalizing Psychiatry (CRP) almost 20 years ago, inspired me to leave the pharmaceutical industry and join my sister Alina Nagdimunov in taking CRP to the next level. We strive to advance mental health beyond its conventional parameters, and help those who also find themselves navigating new waters, such as a psychological trauma, life in the pandemic, or finding balance in life. Every day I am thankful for . . . my family, who gives me support in both personal and professional endeavors, strength to get through most difficult situations, motivates me to move forward, and inspires me to be better and stronger with every step I make.

CENTER OF REVITALIZING PSYCHIATRY 2033 Wood St. Suite 220, Sarasota, Florida 34237 941-677-3366 | | | We Will Revitalize Your Mind!




"Women are built so much stronger than we realize." TAKING THE CEO ROLL OF TAKE STOCK IN CHILDREN MANATEE in Oct. 2019 has been my biggest challenge yet. We had to totally pivot our structure and organization to serve our students in a virtual world. Also, learning to raise funds for a nonprofit virtually and making huge strides in growth for our organization. Learning also how to relate to others on a virtual platform. PERSONAL LIFE Women mentors in my life inspired me to become the woman I am today. I learned the value of integrity and giving back and strength. Mentoring is my passion and passing on my learned knowledge to help others is my key to success. I was a single mom and raised two daughters on my own. I learned perseverance and the real meaning of strength. Women are built so much stronger than we realize. My motto is to never give up! Always being grateful and having a positive realistic attitude. MY SECRET SAUCE Gratitude! Do something that scares you every day! I tell my students I mentor this all the time.

TAKE STOCK IN CHILDREN MANATEE P.O. Box 325, Palmetto, Fl. 34220 | 941-713-4454


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WE RECOGNIZE THE WORK THAT YOU’VE DONE AND THE TREMENDOUS ACHIEVEMENTS YOU HAVE MADE IN HELPING TO CARE FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE VICTIMS OF SEX TRAFFICKING AND HOPEFULLY ENDING SEX TRAFFICKING. I UNDERSTAND THAT YOUR PROGRAMS ARE MOVING IN NEW AND EVEN BIGGER DIRECTIONS. CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT THEM? ELIZABETH FISHER GOOD: Back in the day, a decade ago when we were beginning, there was a founding vision. There would be this local initiative, which I ran for the last 12 years. But, we had this vision that at one point we would launch a foundation that would attract the truly like-minded, the pure of heart, the ones that are not in it for the self accolades, but rather solutions. Systemic global solutions and the best of the best, and best practices locking arms. That vi-

sion we launched in 2017. We incorporated in 2018. And, the last few years, five years now, we’ve been getting it up and running. I would say the last two years, just full steam. It’s amazing. The best of the best of everything I learned here in Sarasota. I always used to say, coming from Chicago, Sarasota’s like you get to practice in a little petri dish where everybody knows each other. I love all of the state’s attorneys. We’re the systemic scales, the levers to really affect change, to get ahead of it. For those that don’t know, there’s the story of a little girl that was sexually abused when she was four and every system missed her. And, by the time she’s 18, she’s been sold 15 to 40 times a day for seven years. There’s only so much of that you could take over a decade. We have got to get ahead of it. So, the foundation is completely focused on the front end prevention, having every system that missed that girl never miss them again. So, that’s what I’m focused on globally.


FISHER GOOD: You have to hear about it with hope. But, the other piece of it, which is what I’m really focused on now, is the root. Because, the truth is, the reason that certain people are drawn to it and we attract certain people, is the root. One out of three. The stats are one out of three little girls, so one out of three grown women, one out five little boys, one out of five men, carry and hold the secret of childhood sexual abuse. Most people don’t resolve that trauma in their life. So, there are a lot that say, “You know what? I want to be the solution to that.” Now, especially on the foundation side with all of the solutions and literally systemic abilities to open eyes, it’s really attracting a lot of people that care about changing the world. Because, now, it’s a global solution center.


FISHER GOOD: In 2010, we realized that there was a problem with our local children right here being sold for sex trafficking. I had just come from Chicago to do a women’s event with my friends there. We were trying to find the most underdog charity that we could bring to the light. And, we were told by local leaders right here in Sarasota, “How about the fact that local children are being sold for sex?” And then, they shared those facts of sexual abuse. The children keep a secret. They can’t keep it anymore. Their dad’s abusing them every night. They run away. Within 48 hours, 80% of every little kid that runs away in any zip code is approached by a predator, who then will sell them 15 to 40 times a day. So, I asked, “Who do we write a check to?” And, they said, “There’s no one to write a check to.” So, that is how I was one of the


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co-founders because we realized there was this need. We started with Selah Freedom. Selah Freedom is still local and it’s running and it’s doing fantastic. Like your first baby. You bless it. You hope it goes on forever. But then, we launched the foundation. Now I’m the head, I’m the CEO. And, I’m only running the foundation arm. The foundation arm is the systemic scaling of the different systems along the way to change the future for girls, to not end up 26 and have not gotten the help they needed. We are looking at a couple of presentations for parents that have to do with the psychological impact of social media. There is increased anxiety and depression on the part of some students. We do see things that parents are shocked that their kids see and hear about. And so it is definitely on the minds of parents and in a lot of cases, they’re not quite sure where to go and what to do.


tell you for the last 12 years, I’ve been in the New York Times, Chicago Tribune. I’ve been on television, radio, Fox News…practically screaming it and finally, like you said, they’re hearing it a little bit. Because we had Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell. But, what happened then? It still was buried in a week. No one really cares what happened. It’s very, very interesting how few people care. I think you have the victims’ side of it and those people that were abused, care. And then, you have the fact that, I think the stat now is up to 70% of men or women, will consume pornography as a form of sex trafficking. Every time we have a trafficking ring bust, and there’s a pastor in it, a

teacher in it, a father in it, they always say, “I don’t know how I got here. I never would’ve bought a child.” But, it’s a progressive addiction. And, the research is telling us that it is rewiring our children’s neural pathways. They are being rewired to systemically not be capable of forming intimacy. It’s such a different world. So, I think we’re finally getting a little bit of attention.

beautiful. The average age when I started a decade ago that a little girl would send a naked selfie, was 12. You know what it is today? They say seven or eight years old. Because, systemically everything is being broken down and groomed on such a different level. The stat is there’s half a million predators at any given time on social media looking for your children.



just give you a couple of stats for parents to realize they should care and need to care because these things changed everything. One out of nine children, at any given time, any zip code, are being groomed online. Predators are looking. A parent might say, “We raised our daughter so sheltered. She felt loved. We knew she was safe. She knew she was loved.” But, some guy put up profile pictures and presented a 14 year old boy. But, it’s really a 40 year old man with this profile. And, he is grooming your daughter. He’s grooming your son. He’s telling them, “I don’t know if anyone’s ever told you, but you are really

FISHER GOOD: Well, it’s two sided. The consumer, the buyer is somebody that typically was abused. Everything is learned behavior to the third or the fourth generation, no matter how you look at it. Psychology says that. The Bible says that. Everything says it’s generational patterns, sins of the father until there’s intervention. That’s why the foundation is called the Foundation United, because we’ve built this foundation and we’re uniting with all the best practices and some of the strongest leaders to bring these really proven solutions. We have a program for the schools, kindergarten through 12th grade, all the way up to the superintendents and teachers. We’re teaching systems how to recognize and see what is there so they can see that little girl in front of them that something happened to. Systemically now, we have it for the church. There’s more secrets in the church than

“WE HAVE A PROGRAM FOR THE SCHOOLS, KINDERGARTEN THROUGH 12TH GRADE, ALL THE WAY UP TO THE SUPERINTENDENTS AND TEACHERS.” — Elizabeth Fisher Good beautiful. I think you could be famous. I’m actually a model. Do you want to meet my agent? We’ll just take a picture. Lean in a little closer. Don’t be shy.” And, they say these same words, textbook. Don’t be shy. That’s okay. You’re

out of the church. And, thNe abusers are often, they were victims themselves. So, if you think of a person that’s buying these kids, it’s usually a very broken person that never got the intervention they needed all along the pathways.

ABOUT ELIZABETH FISHER GOOD AS THE FOUNDER AND CEO OF THE FOUNDATION UNITED, Elizabeth Fisher Good is passionate about awakening the calling in others. As a pioneer in the anti-sex trafficking movement for more than a decade, she has helped thousands of survivors find freedom and a new life. Today, she has expanded her work to help all break free from past trauma and self-defeating mindsets, allowing them to fulfill their eternal purpose and destiny! Based upon her book Groomed (Harper Collins, 2020), and decades of experience in counseling, she launched an initiative which empowers families and individuals to walk in complete freedom and transparency that breaks generational pa erns and bullet proofs the family. She is the founder and CEO of The Foundation United, which was created out of her passion to end sexual exploitation and protect children globally. The Foundation United collaboratively provides best practices and proven models to eradicate sexual abuse and exploitation domestically and internationally. Their initiatives create scalable, systemic change in education, law enforcement, healthcare and the church. As the founder of REAL TALK, she helps ministries address the root causes of demand and exploitation, from top leadership to kindergarten. Elizabeth holds a Master’s Degree in Psychology, and is the recipient of the prestigious New York City Global Business Leader Award, SRQ Women Who Roar Award, Tampa Bay Business Woman of the Year Award, and honored as one of NYC’s 21 Leaders for the 21st Century. She has delivered two TedX talks and one Li X Talk to 18,000 military leaders. She is a featured speaker at the 2022 Shared Hope International Conference and the Global Strategic Forum in Austria.

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WHAT IS IT LIKE HAVING THIS PROGRAM BASED OUT OF SARASOTA THAT HAS CHANGED SO MANY PEOPLE AROUND THE WORLD? FISHER GOOD: What I love about it is it did start here. Some of the players are still involved. We have state’s attorney’s offices involved. Craig Schaefer’s been a big piece of it. We have some law enforcement still involved locally here. Dimitri Konstantopoulous. Vern Buchanan’s been amazing. I think Sarasota should be very proud. Training law enforcement, trying to get everyone to realize we have a problem. They’re now doing it on a global scale. They introduce them to the Foundation United. We come up with systemic ways that they can introduce this into their country. Most recently, I’m working with Ghana. They’re rolling out the Speak Up and the Real Talk in Ghana. We have Speak Up rolled out in Romania. We’re working with an organization in Thailand. And then, I have a meeting in a couple of weeks with Australia. So, I think it’s amazing to say that it started right here and now it has a global impact of saving children.


website is There’s each different initiative so that you can go to the Speak Up page, which talks about what is this for your school and, there’s things you could print out. It talks about how to be an ambassador to your community. How you could spread the news in whatever environment you’re in. People could host awareness events. And, of course, they could always donate money. Go to the website, make sure you follow our newsletter,


click on some of the links on how to get involved. We’d love to partner with people. Anyone can email me directly at info@


FISHER GOOD: I do feel like it’s my life calling. My faith is super important to me. I was sexually abused when I was a kid. It was through somebody that my family knew well. It is such a lightning bolt of disillusionment as a child. And, we don’t know how to put words around it. And then, it leads to just thinking it was your fault. You end up doing things to numb, and then you over drink or something as a kid.


sometimes think this was a choice. You get an 18 year old and, oh, she’s just a prostitute. They didn’t realize the backstory. There’s no such thing as just a prostitute. There’s a little girl that never believed she had a choice. This is a little girl that had everything stolen from her. Because, from a young age, she was told this was what she was worth. Coming into the hospitals and having the doctors even realize, first of all, a person that doesn’t allow a child to speak, doesn’t allow them to answer, they pay attention now. If you

“WE’RE GOING TO ERADICATE IT. I AM THRILLED. I BELIEVE THE WORLD WILL TURN INTO A PLACE WHERE KIDS ARE ABLE TO GET THE INTERVENTION.” — Elizabeth Fisher Good So many of the women that I’ve worked with over the last decade, they were moved around to 23 rehab centers. They didn’t have a drug problem. They had a shame problem. They didn’t want to feel because they didn’t know how to deal with what happened. I am hopeful now because I was that kid that had my hope stolen from me. And, no one knew how to talk to me about it. It was with me till all through my twenties, just the shame. But now we’re getting ahead of it. We’re getting in there in ways that second graders are going to be armed and they’re going to dispel that shame. It’s the only crime that, when it is done to you, you take on the guilt, the weight and the shame. So, I’m excited now because after a decade of being over here, just watching the fallout in the horrific textbook again and again, we’re now saying, “We’ve gotten some levers.” We’re on it.

have a kid and it’s like, “Well, let me ask you this, honey. How did this happen?” And, the adult quickly says everything. They now know to take a moment.


GOOD: Well, with one teacher, we started going through the trainer material. At that moment, she was just taking it in. She called me one morning and said, “I can’t do this. I was up all weekend. I cried. I’m a single mom. I have two little girls. I was sexually abused. I never told anybody. How do I know my girls haven’t been abused? I don’t know what to do. All of a sudden I’m looking at everything differently.” I’m thinking, “Aha, there you go.” You need to look at everything differently because now she’s a mom with eyes to

see. It’s almost like you’re deaf, dumb and blind until you are able to speak about it. That was awesome. This woman now is one of the champions around the country for us. She helped fine tune it so that she was practicing it on her kids. Now, she’s like Advocate Mama.


child that was raised in a world of secrets, my life was secrets. I had things happen to me. Things happen around me. No one spoke of it. There is such damage in not speaking to what you know is happening. As a child, you don’t have a framework to be empowered to rise out of it. It turns you into a young adult, a woman, that is in places and makes choices and gets into relationships that you never would have. If we change everything and we help law enforcement and doctors, these first responders went into their line of work because they wanted to be protectors. Somewhere along the way they grow desensitized. Now, when we work with law enforcement, they say, “You know what? This is the first time I have hope for humanity again.” We’re changing the way everyone looks at everything. Even if they can’t speak about it in their house, they’re going to hit school. They’re going to maybe hit the church. They might go to the doctor and he has eyes to see for the first time. We’re going to eradicate it. I am thrilled and I believe the world will turn into a place where kids are able to get the intervention. Parents are able to get the help and we’re able to speak about this stuff. Most of our issues come from not speaking to the things that are uncomfortable. I think it’s time to get past the uncomfortableness and step into the protection. Kids are worth it. SRQ

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Regional Trailblazer

At the Helm

This page: As CEO and president of the Women’s Resource Center, Ashley Brown helps to empower women across all generations, races, ethnicities and backgrounds

CEO Ashley Brown Grows the Women’s Resource Center. written by abby weingarten | photo by wyatt kostygan

and financial expertise, to take us through the merger in 2017. Interestingly, I think the pandemic was a positive for us. Even though we were three years into the merger when the pandemic hit, we were still operating as the Venice, Sarasota and Manatee offices. When we switched to all-virtual programming, we switched to one office. Taking a regional approach allowed us to look at collaborations and partnerships more broadly. We are extremely collaborative in what we do. WHAT ARE SOME OF THE TOP ISSUES OF IMPORTANCE TO WOMEN IN OUR REGION?

ASHLEY BROWN, THE CEO AND PRESIDENT of the Women’s Resource Center (WRC), has ushered in bold changes to the organization—continuing to bring more valuable services to Sarasota and Manatee counties. From a merger of the WRCs in both counties in 2017 to significant growth in advocacy resources, the organization has thrived under Brown’s watch. Born in Georgia, and raised in West Virginia and South Carolina, Brown holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the College of Charleston. She began her career in manufacturing, working for Westinghouse Electric in the large substation transformer division. In 1999, when Ohio Transformer in Palmetto recruited her to be their planning manager, she moved to Florida. She was the first female production manager in a transformer facility in the United States.Brown started volunteering with the WRC in 2000 as a computer tutor, became the finance/development manager two years later, and ascended to the role of executive director in 2003. Since 1979, the not-for-profit WRC has provided women with life skills training, career planning and educational scholarships—a mission in which Brown deeply believes. WHAT DROVE THE PARTNERSHIP BETWEEN THE WRCS IN SARASOTA AND MANATEE COUNTIES? ASHLEY BROWN: The merger started with a transition

of leadership in Sarasota. We had always operated independently but with almost identical missions. We supported what they did but didn’t find ways to truly collaborate. When their long-term director left the Center, it was a good time to talk about merging. The Patterson Foundation provided consultants, and legal

Economic security for women is one—the ability to earn a living wage. Only 24 percent of female heads of households earn above a sustainable wage in our region. The number of women living on the margin is significant. At the WRC, we work with women in identifying career paths and supporting them in obtaining those careers—through scholarships, accessible mental health counseling, career counseling, etc. We’re equipping them with the skills and tools to be resilient, and to pick themselves up and move on when something inevitably happens and takes them off-track. We do public policy advocacy on systems or policies that are keeping women from earning a living wage. Asset building is another top issue—saving for retirement or home ownership. Affordable housing is another issue, as well as access to mental health. One of the best things I think we do is that we have affordable mental health counseling for anywhere from $5 to $40. HOW DO YOU PERSONALLY DEFINE SUCCESS? It’s

going to sound cheesy but I swear it’s true: It’s having that strong sense of self and mental health. It’s also about financial security and the ability to support yourself (so your choices and decisions are based on what’s best for you). That’s why I love what I do so much. WHAT IS ONE THING YOU CAN SHARE ABOUT YOURSELF THAT WOULD SURPRISE PEOPLE? The fact that I started my career in manufacturing is, I think, surprising to people. I was the first female production manager in a transformer facility in the U.S. Another thing people may not know about me is that I am happiest at home. I am a homebody. Give me a weekend with no agenda or schedule and I’m a happy camper. SHE ROARS

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