Florida Studio Theatre is excited to announce the generous match challenge gift from Ed and Susan Maier of $500,000 toward the Kretzmer Artist Housing Project

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(Sarasota, FL) — Florida Studio Theatre is excited to announce the generous match challenge gift from Ed and Susan Maier of $500,000 toward the Kretzmer Artist Housing Project. In order to meet Mr. and Mrs. Maier’s proposal their challenge gift will be used as a “one to one matching fund” for all donations received after June 1, 2017. All funds or pledges must be raised by December 31, 2017.

Since the match challenge gift was made, FST has raised an additional $190,000 towards the completion of this project. FST will need to raise $310,000 more in order to receive the full amount of the Maier’s Fund. The challenge gift serves to help complete this project funding with only months left before the expected occupancy in October 2017. The Ed and Susan Maier generous match challenge fund will position FST to open the Kretzmer Artist Residence debt free, while simultaneously providing an additional Reserve Fund for the future.

Richard Hopkins, Producing Artistic Director, speaks to the importance of this gift stating, “FST hopes to raise the value of Art in our society. One way to raise the value of art is by raising the ways we value our artists. And providing them with an excellent Artistic Home is a good first step. This space will allow our artists to focus on what they do best: ‘create the uncreated conscience of the race.’”

The Kretzmer Artist Residence is an artistic community that will inspire collaboration among the many different actors, directors, designers, teaching artists, interns, and apprentices who work diligently to inspire, challenge, and entertain on FST’s five stages. In its completion, there will be five new townhouses built to help fill the pressing need for quality housing that is accessible, safe, and within the downtown core.

Mr. Maier also speaks to the contribution on behalf of himself and his wife, Susan Maier stating, “Susan and I feel that Florida Studio Theater is a cultural jewel in our community. We want to help its board of directors and friends expedite paying for the Kretzmer Artist Housing Project before the end of this year. It will help to draw the most talented actors, who will continue to inspire audiences of all ages year round. Through the ‘Match Challenge’ we hope to encourage swift action and broad support from the community.”

With a lead gift from Ernie Kretzmer in loving memory of his wife Alisa, the construction of this artistic home began in October of 2016. Located on Cohen Way in the growing Rosemary District, the project also received funding through a Cultural Facilities Grant from the State of Florida. The Kretzmer Artist Residence will be much more that a collection of bedrooms, it will be a home for professional actors in residence for 3 to 6 months depending on the show. FST interns and apprentices are in residence for 9 to 12 months as part of FST’s professional training program. Actress, Rachel Moulton from this season’s one-woman play Grounded explains why this project is so important, “Having a home away from home where I felt safe and comfortable, a space where my brain and my heart could embrace the decompression I desperately needed at the end of every day was essential. Artist housing is a massive component of our ability to do our job to the best possible degree for our audience.”

Richard Hopkins adds, “This artistic home will be buzzing with creativity. The actors will be busy learning their lines, honing their actions and building their characters. The designers will be brushing their renderings with the final shades of color for the costumes and sets that grace FST’s stages. Artists will also eat, sleep, drink, make friends, have arguments, and do all things artistic in this home. This is the place where art begins. This is the place where theatre lives and breathes.”

For more information or to make a contribution in support of the Kretzmer Artist Housing Match Challenge, contact Melody Mora-Shihadeh, Director of Individual Giving, at (941) 366-9017 at extension 326, or by email at MMora-Shihadeh@floridastudiotheatre.org.

About Florida Studio Theatre

Known as Sarasota’s Contemporary Theatre, Florida Studio Theatre was founded in 1973 by Artist Jon Spelman. Starting out as a small touring company, FST traveled to places such as migrant camps and prisons. The company then acquired the former Woman’s Club building, becoming the first permanent venue. Shortly after Producing Artistic Director Richard Hopkins arrived, the building was purchased and renamed The Keating Theatre. In the years that followed, Florida Studio Theatre established itself as a major force in American Theatre, presenting contemporary theatre in its five theatre venues: the Keating Theatre, the Gompertz Theatre, the Parisian style Goldstein Cabaret and John C. Court Cabaret, and Bowne’s Lab Theatre. 

Even with its growth, Florida Studio Theatre remains firmly committed to making the arts accessible and affordable to a broad-based audience.  FST develops theatre that speaks to our living, evolving, and dynamically changing world.  As FST grows and expands, it continues to provide audiences with challenging, contemporary drama and innovative programs.

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