The Longboat Key Education Center Celebrates 30th Anniversary
The not-for-profit, educational organization offers more than 170 non-credit courses and programs for adults, including a lecture series, performing arts series, film festivals, book clubs, concerts, theatrical performances, guided day trips throughout Southwest Florida and more.
(Sarasota-Manatee) For 30 years, area visitors and residents with a passion for learning have been cultivating that passion at The Longboat Key Education Center. According to Susan Goldfarb, the center’s executive director, the not-for-profit organization was co-founded by Laura Taubes, a retired Scarsdale educator, and her “marketing guru” husband, Frank Taubes, in 1985.
“Laura and Frank were part-time residents of Longboat Key,” says Goldfarb. “She fervently believed that ongoing education keeps the mind active and the spirit young. That became the school’s mission long before lifelong learning became a popular concept.” Goldfarb adds that the couple bought and renovated the building that now houses The Longboat Observer. “The Taubes moved to the Centre Shops of Longboat Key in the early 1990s because there was more square footage, parking and an elevator, which they wanted to provide for handicapped students.”
In 1986 Goldfarb began managing the center’s marketing and public relations needs on a part-time basis. She left The Longboat Key Education Center in 1994 to take the position of marketing and public relations director with The Sarasota Ballet and three years later joined Michael Saunders & Company in the same position. In 1997, Laura Taubes approached Goldfarb with the proposal of appointing her executive director of the center. “Laura wanted to spend more time with her grandchildren and she knew how much I loved the center, in fact with the same passion with which she founded it,” says Goldfarb. “The rest is history.”
When Goldfarb took over in 1997, the center offered approximately 40 courses and a lecture series. Today, The Longboat Key Education Center offers more than 170 courses and programs, including a lecture series, performing arts series, film festivals, book clubs, concerts and theatrical performances, guided day trips throughout Southwest Florida and more. It’s open from mid-October to mid-April and features fall, winter and spring terms.
What kind of classes, workshops and programs does the center offer?
Goldfarb laughs. “It’d be easier to tell you what we don’t offer. Our classes range from yoga and qigong to foreign affairs, politics, religion, arts and literature, music, ecology, comedy, history and food. Throughout the year, we offer live jazz and theater performances, piano recitals, art exhibits and movies and lectures. Our slogan is ‘It’s like college, only better’ and that rings so true for our students who return year after year.” She adds that all courses are non-credited, and there are no prerequisites for admission.
Goldfarb describes the center’s faculty as, “a dream team of the region’s finest minds. These are acclaimed authors, educators, musicians, artists, wellness practitioners and experts in their fields. Our area is a goldmine of the best and the brightest and we’re thrilled that they lend their talents to The Longboat Key Education Center.”
To celebrate its 30th anniversary, the center will be presenting a 30th Anniversary Celebration featuring the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe on March 16. The evening will showcase the soul sounds of Nate Jacobs and his Soul Crooners singing unforgettable songs from the 1960s and ’70s, a dinner catered by Nancy’s Bar-B-Q, and WBTT’s production, “The Sam Cooke Story,” a portrait of one of the most popular and influential black singer/songwriters of all time. Tickets for the event are $100 for members; $115 for non-members. Front row sponsorship seats are also available. Call 941-383-8811 for more info.
The Longboat Key Education Center’s fall term began on October 19. The winter term begins January 4 and the spring term begins February 29. Registration is ongoing. For more information, visit www.lbkeducationcenter.org or call 941-383-8811. The Longboat Key Education Center is located at 5370 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Suite 212 at The Centre Shops in Longboat Key.
2015-2016 Special Events and Series
Friday At Five: Enjoy great music in an intimate setting with amazing artists who play and sing and interact with the audience offering insights, stories and historical background about their music. Wine, champagne, and Happy Hour nibbles included. 5-6:30 p.m. Members $20; non-members $25. Registration is required for each performance. Call 941- 383-8811 to register.
January 22: Art Of Blues: Featuring Bill Buchman, jazz/blues pianist, and Steve Arvey, guitarist/singer, with Michael Dempsey, bass and Rick Andre, drums. A stirring and heartfelt musical visit to the realm of authentic piano and guitar.
February 19: Thomas Carabasi Samba Jazz Quartet: Featuring Thomas Carabasi and his jazz artists.
February 26: Katt Hefner & The Boyz In The Band: Katt Hefner with bass, keyboard and drums accompaniment.
Sunday Performing Arts Series: 3-4:30 p.m. Members $20; non-members $25 per session. Registration is required for each performance. Call 941- 383-8811 to register.
January 24: Jewish Jazz With The Fiddling Flute: With Jane Hoffman, flute and Mike Markeverich, piano.
February 14: Songs From The Heart: The Many Facets of Love: With Jason Stearns, baritone, and Lee Dougherty Ross, piano.
February 28: Bach & Handel: Interpreted by Mendelssohn, Moscheles and Schumann: With Carol Lieberman, violin, and Mark Kroll, piano.
New One-Time Special Friday Programs: 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Members $15; non-members $20 per session. Registration is required for each session. Call 941-383-8811 to register.
March 4, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.: Music Through the Decades with David S. Polansky.
March 11, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.: Uncle Sam’s Orchestra: The Story of the Seventh U.S. Army Symphony with Edward Alley and June LeBell.
March 18, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.: Rudolf Nureyev: The Genius Who Changed Ballet in the Western World with Robert de Warren.
March 25, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.: Eadweard Muybridge, Nude Victorians, the Wild Wild West, and the Origins of Motion Pictures with Dave Gordon.
Off-Campus Field Trips:
January 7, 9:30-11:30 a.m.: Opera Highlights: An exclusive program presented by selected singers of the Sarasota Opera. Includes a continental breakfast, short tour and conversation with Maestro Victor DeRenzi, artistic director. Members $20; non-members $25. Call 941-383-8811 to register.
January 18, 10:45 a.m.-1 p.m. a.m.: Brunch and Ballet: You’ll be just inches away in the rehearsal studio as you watch the Sarasota Ballet rehearse with director Iain Webb for an upcoming performance. There is nothing quite like this insider view of the dance world. Afterwards, ask questions and enjoy a light brunch on the mezzanine. Members $25; non-members $30. Call 941-383-8811 to register.
February 4, 8:30-11:15 a.m. Burns Court Cinema: See a full-length, obscure, rarely-seen, quality, award-winning film that has been chosen especially for this event and deemed to be extraordinary viewing. Expect controversial or provocative subject matter. A discussion follows, led by popular movie teachers Gus Mollasis and Michael Givant. Members $15; non-members $20. Call 941-383-8811 to register.
February 10, 10-11:30 a.m. Save Our Seabirds: Save our Seabirds (SOS) Wild Bird Learning Center is a non-profit wildlife conservation and education organization located on the former site of the Pelican Man Bird Sanctuary on City Island in Sarasota. On this guided tour, led by Robert Gaglio, chair of SOS, you will see what an amazing facility this is. There are almost 200 birds at SOS, a working hospital and a lovely native Florida plant garden. After the tour, refreshments will be served. Members $18; non-members $23. Call 941-383-8811 to register.
One-Time Special Monday Programs:
February 29, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. The Temple Mount Throughout History with Steven Derfler, Ph.D.: Considered by many to be the holiest spot on earth, Jerusalem is among the world’s most fascinating cities, a crossroads for some 5,000 years of history, and home to sites holy to Judaism, Christianity and Islam. This lecture will explore Temple Mount’s rich history and what it means to the Western world today. Members $15; non-members $20. Call 941-383-8811 to register.
One-Time Special Thursday Programs:
January 14, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Jewish Comedy, Unbuttoned: How Clothes Helped Fashion American Jewish Humor with Ted Merwin, Ph.D.: At the turn of the 20th century in New York, Eastern European Jewish immigrants were overwhelmingly involved with two industries — the garment trade and the entertainment business. Not surprisingly, clothing became a major theme of American Jewish humor. Ted Merwin addresses the intertwining of the garment and entertainment industries, including tracing the symbolic use of clothing in the work of such diverse entertainers as Fanny Brice, Eddie Cantor and Jerry Seinfeld. Members $18; non-members $23. Call 941-383-8811 to register.
January 21, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. An Inside View Of The Sarasota Orchestra with Anu Tali, Joseph McKenna, Daniel Jordan, Phillip Gainsley: What goes into planning a concert season? How are the performing arts changing and what does the future hold? Join Anu Tali, music director, Joseph McKenna, president/CEO, and Daniel Jordan, concertmaster, in this exceptional event as they answer these questions and discuss many more fascinating aspects of the very popular and hugely successful Sarasota Orchestra. The panel format will be led by Phillip Gainsley. Members $18; non-members $23. Call 941-383-8811 to register.
January 28, 11 a.m.-1:15 p.m. How Italian Food Conquered The World with Robert Gaglio: Inspired by the book How Italian Food Conquered the World by John F. Mariani, chef/entrepreneur Robert Gaglio will delight with food-for-thought demos of specially selected dishes interspersed with stories of each dish’s origins and the author’s theory of why Italian food became so popular. Singer Seva Anthony will perform excerpts from operas, movie themes and other popular songs. The grand finale will be a sumptuous tasting buffet of Chef Robert’s preparations. Members $30; non-members $35. Call 941-383-8811 to register.
About The Longboat Key Education Center
The Longboat Key Education Center provides education and recreation to residents of and winter visitors to Longboat Key, and neighboring areas in Sarasota and Manatee counties. It offers more than 170 programs divided into three terms: Fall (Oct/Nov/Dec), Winter (Jan/Feb), and Spring (March/April). Classes meet once a week for two, four or eight weeks, depending on the course. There is also a lecture series and a performing arts series that can be attended on a one-time basis, Saturday workshops and guided day-long trips to points of interest throughout Southwest Florida. The center is in operation from mid-October to mid-April. Its courses and other programs appeal to many diverse interests and range from yoga, Qigong, and bridge to opera, foreign affairs, film festivals and book clubs. All courses are non-credit, and there are no prerequisites for admission. For more information, visit www.lbkeducationcenter.org.