Sarasota County Blog
Discover Sarasota County
Looking for an opportunity to explore the local art scene and soak in an exhibition or two in Sarasota County this spring? Here's what's on the exhibition schedule for Spring 2015.
It is no wonder that artists are drawn to Sarasota County: From the glitzy sights and sounds of the Big Top circus culture that built the city of Sarasota, to the romantic oak-canopied hideaways along the southern reaches of the county, Florida's Cultural Coast offers a bounty of inspiration in numerous forms. Today, Sarasota is rated among the top small cities in the United States for its vibrant art scene, where galleries are abundant and the year-round sunny weather allows for a year-round outdoor festival season featuring fine arts, crafts, sculpture art, music and more.
Ringling Museum of Art
In Re:Purposed, the spring installment of The Ringling Museum’s 2014-2015 “Art of Our Time” season, one man’s junk is an artist’s masterpiece. Re:Purposed is a dynamic exploration of a unique modern media--junk and garbage, that is. The exhibition features the work of notable contemporary artists who repurpose “rubbish” to create complex works of art, including Nick Cave, Aurora Robson, Mac Premo, Jill Sigman, El Anatsui, Alyce Santoro, Vanessa German, Matt Eskuche, Emily Noelle Lambert, and Daniel Rozin. Rest assured you’ll never look at a disposable plastic water bottle the same again.
Re:Purposed runs through May 17, 2015. During your visit, be sure not to miss: Fan-Tastic!, an exploration of fan art from around the world (April 3 to June 28); two classic circus poster exhibitions, De Vos Banners (through March 29) and Evolution of Commercial Printing (Feb. 4 to June 1), and Trenton Doyle Hancock (April 17 to Sept. 13), an exhibition featuring the artist's interpretation of the archetypal battle between good and evil.
Ringling College of Art + Design
Although it also bears the name and legacy of of John Ringling, the Ringling College of Art + Design is a separate entity from the art museum down the road. The College, one of the top private arts colleges in the United States, puts on an annual spring exhibition featuring the works of its top students.
The 2015 Best Annual Best of Ringling Student Exhibitions will be on display in the campus galleries from April 10 to April 22. The Annual Senior Thesis Illustration Exhibition will also be on display in the first week of May.
Objects to be Contemplated is a unique exhibition taking place in Ringling College's Selby Galleries (Feb 27 to April 4) that aims to capture the art viewer's fleeting attention span (which is just 27 seconds, on average). The exhibition features art that is meant for longer contemplation, including 20th century and contemporary work by Jia Aili, Arakawa, Phyllis Bramson, Jim Campbell, Larry Clark, Jim Dine, Philippe Halsman, Amer Kobaslija, Kako Ueda, Lorna Simpson, LoCurto & Outcault, Pepon Osorio, Ciro Quintana, Leandro Soto Ortiz and Angel Vapor.
The madeby gallery, a Ringling College satellite gallery featuring student and alumni work in downtown Sarasota, features a dynamic, Disney-fied spring lineup. The family-friendly work of Disney art replicator, Tim Rogerson, will be on display March 22 to 30. An RCAD alumni exhibition is scheduled for April 3 to 13, followed by an exhibition of the work of Disney animator, Aaron Blaise, opening April 24 and running through May.
Art Center Exhibitions in Sarasota County
Sarasota County is home to four active art centers in the cities of Sarasota, Venice, Englewood and North Port, each of which runs independently from the others and has its own unique exhibition lineup featuring both local art and works from around the world.
Art Center Sarasota features a different theme each season. The 2014-2015 exhibition theme, "Merging Parallels," explores the variety of art mediums and styles used by artists to bridge cultural barriers, both locally and globally. Rotating exhibitions at the Art Center will feature the work of more than 300 emerging and established artists around the world working in a variety of media, in a seven-exhibition cycle, taking place in three galleries.
Upcoming exhibitions to look for include EX-PATRIA, the work of four Latin-American artists working with a range of media, from staged guerilla photography in the streets of Caracas, Venezuela to tattoo art, and Banks + Banks, the abstract/surreal sculpture work of Miami-based artist, Susan Banks, and the pigment print photographs by her cousin, Sarasota artist, Barbara Banks.
In addition to the Merging Parallels exhibition cycle, several annual juried exhibitions will be at display at the Sarasota Art Center this spring, including the annual North County Schools art show and the statewide "Florida Flavor" showcase of artists from around the state. See the Art Center Sarasota Exhibition Season Schedule for a full calendar of events.
The Venice Art Center spring exhibition schedule includes the the work of award-winning plein air artist, Karen Hitt (Feb. 27 to March 20); the Art Center's Spring: Members' All Media Show (March 27 to April 17); Guess What: The World of Abstraction, an all-media abstract art exhibition (April 24 to May 8) and the South County Schools show (May 13 to 22).
Local talent is featured in the Sarasota-centric art exhibitions taking place this spring at the North Port Art Center. The exhibition schedule includes Celebrate Sarasota County: Go Explore! (March 7 - 28), original works by Sarasota artists Inspired by Great Art (April 4 - May 2), the North Port High School art show (April 8 - 24), and the Miniature Art Show (May 9 - June 27).
The Englewood Art Center, a division of Ringling College of Art + Design, also features an annual exhibition theme. The theme for the 2014-2015 season is "Art Local," a focus on the natural landscapes, people, and culture that define Florida's Gulf Coast. Exhibitions to look out for include: Celebrating Florida Landscape (through March 6), and Tapestry of Artists Sarasota (March 10 - April 8), as well as the Art Center's Pop-Up Plein Air Series, taking place on Thursdays from 9am-2pm at the Dearborn Street Farmer's Market through March 26.
The Hermitage Artist Retreat in Englewood, in partnership with the Culture Alliance of Sarasota, is one of the county's best-kept secrets. The Hermitage is an exclusive invite-only haven where award-winning international artists come to pen, paint, compose or choreograph their latest artistic masterpiece or opus. In exchange for seclusion to create on private beaches in this Florida wilderness-barricaded hideaway, artists at the Hermitage Artist Retreat agree to put on public art programs in collaboration with art institutions throughout Sarasota County, as well as free-to-the-public readings, talks and performances on the beach by the Englewood retreat. Check out the Hermitage Artist Retreat Event Calendar for a chance to catch intimate performances and talks by award-winning artists, musicians and performing artists this spring.
Art Walks and Festivals in Sarasota County
Thanks to year-round sunshine, the festival schedule in Sarasota County need never go on break. Throughout the year, there are a number of opportunities to get outside and get some culture. Here’s what’s happening this spring:
With an arts community as vibrant as Sarasota’s, there is quite a bit of gallery ground to cover. Monthly art walks take place in downtown Sarasota along gallery row on Palm Avenue on every first Friday of the month and in the neighboring Towles Court Artists’ Community every third Friday. To the south, Englewood has a “Saturday Nite Live” street stroll every second Saturday of the month, featuring the work of local artists, live music, and sidewalk entertainment.
Along downtown Sarasota's bayside Island Park, the Embracing Our Differences exhibition takes advantage of the balmy bay breeze and sunny springtime strolling weather. Larger-than-life canvases of art that celebrates diversity, created by both local students and kids from across the nation, fill the park in this colorful and powerful family-friendly exhibition. Embracing Our Differences opens on March 29 and runs through May 31.
In addition to ongoing art walks and exhibitions, there are are also several art, music and craft festivals to look out for during the spring in Sarasota:
The Sarasota Spring Fine Arts Festival featuring fine arts from around the world takes place by the bay on March 14 and 15, on Gulfstream Avenue. The Fine Arts Festival is followed by the Downtown Sarasota Craft Festival on downtown Main Street the weekend of March 21 and 22, and the Downtown Sarasota Springfest, another arts and craft festival on Main Street the weekend of March 28 and 29. In April, the St. Armands Fine Art Festival takes place April 25 and 26, the Suncoast Blues Festival at the Sarasota Fairgrounds on April 24 - 25 will feature the talent of Bobby Rush, Smokin' Joe Kubek and Bnois King, Eden Brent, Zac Harmon, Vasti Jackson and Mr. Sipp, and the Suncoast BBQ and Bluegrass Bash in Venice, Florida, on April 18.
From the art gallery to the beach and bayside, the opportunities to experience the art from around the world and the diversity of local culture abound in Sarasota County. Check out Visit Sarasota County's Arts Site more info on the art, music, and preforming arts scene on Florida’s Cultural Coast.