Attractions - Arts & Theater

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The Sarasota area is nationally recognized for its longstanding commitment to a rich array of world-class art/shows/museums and cultural performance centers usually reserved for much larger cities. Here you can be on white sand beaches by day and in the evenings enjoy a Broadway musical, live drama, or the community's own ballet, opera and symphony companies performing in intimate settings. The cinema is equally well represented with showings ranging from mainstream to independent films and festivals. For lovers of fine art, the area has more than thirty galleries and museums with the newest jewel being the downtown Museum of Asian Art. Here are just a few of the many exceptional cultural venues that are just across the bay from our resort.
 
Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall
777 North Tamiami Trail
Sarasota, FL 34236
941-953-3368 or 800-Van-Wezel / www.vanwezel.org

The purple, seashell-shaped Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall is both the architectural icon of the Sarasota evening skyline as well as the centerpiece of the city's commitment to the arts. The recently renovated Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall hosts over 120 world-class performances each year. The artistic programming offers something for everyone with an exciting season of Broadway musicals, top national and international performers, world-class symphony orchestras and a compelling mix of classical, modern and ethnic dance. Entertainers over the years have included Luciano Pavarotti, Leonard Bernstein, Bob Dylan, The Boston Pops, The Chicago Symphony, Willie Nelson, Dizzy Gillespie, and The Temptations. And to think it's all right next door!

The Asolo Theatre Festival
5555 N. Tamiami Trail
Sarasota, FL 34243
941-351-8000 / www.asolo.org

Live theater in a historic setting. The Asolo Theatre Festival is housed in the Florida State University Center for the Performing Arts. In any single weekend, theatergoers can select from as many as four different plays. The professional Asolo Theatre Company performs in the Harold E. and Ester M.. Mertz Theatre, a beautiful turn of the last century facility originally built as an opera house in Scotland. Plays range from classics to new works performed in rotating reparatory from November to June. The Jane B. Cook Theatre, an intimate theatre, features performances by second-year FSU students seeking their MFA degrees.

 


Sarasota Ballet of Florida
5555 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34243
Box Office (941)351-8000 / www.sarasotaballet.org

The Sarasota Ballet of Florida is a professional resident company that had its beginnings in a ballet company founded by Jean Allenby-Weidner, former prima ballerina with the Stuttgart Ballet. Through extraordinary community support, the dream of an entire resident company was realized in 1990 when the company became the Sarasota Ballet of Florida. Under Artistic Director/CEO Robert de Warren, it has achieved world-class standing for its eclectic programming, delighting its audiences with a combination of treasured classics, contemporary and modern works. Under de Warren's artistic direction, the Ballet has become a bright beacon for the region's cultural leadership. It's a testament of their broad appeal that readers of Sarasota Magazine have chosen Sarasota Ballet the Best Performing Arts Group for eight consecutive years.

 



John and Mable Ringling Museum
5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota, FL 34233
941-359-5700 phone / www.ringling.org

A triad of art treasures awaits you at The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, which boasts the world's most important collection of Rubens and other Baroque art, the Circus Museum filled with delightful rare circus memorabilia, and the Cà d'Zan, the historic Venetian-style Ringling Mansion which competes with the art for your amazement. It's certainly worth a half day to see this art gem.

 

Sarasota Film Society
506 Burns Lane, Sarasota
(941)364-8662 / box office call 941-955-3456 / www.filmsociety.org

The Sarasota Film Society is a real gem that many visitors overlook. The Society has a distinguished reputation for bringing the best art, foreign and independent films to Sarasota at the Burns Court Cinemas in downtown Sarasota in the historic Burns Court district. They have three films showing throughout the day. Area film lovers always look forward to the Society's 10 day Film Festival in early November each year. So kick back, pass the popcorn, and enjoy movies you just won't see in your local cine-plex back home.

   

Longboat Key Center for the Arts
6860 Longboat Drive South
(941) 383-2345 / www.ringling.edu/CommunityArtPrograms

Ever thought of awakening the artist within you? Well there's real artist treasure on the north end of Longboat Key. The Longboat Key Center for the Arts, established in 1952, provides studios for instruction and continually changing exhibits in three art galleries. They also sponsor a Concert in the Park Series with local musicians. The Center has grown to be one of the best and largest art facilities on Florida's west coast with more than 950 members and a talented faculty of 16. The instructors are very friendly and work effectively with all skill levels. Who knows…maybe your art work will one day be displayed in John and Mable's museum!