The Arts and Cultural Alliance Celebrates Local Arts Leaders and More at Annual Celebration of the Arts

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The Arts and Cultural Alliance Celebrates Local Arts Leaders and More at Annual Celebration of the Arts

Sarasota, FL – The Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County (the Alliance) held its annual Celebration of the Arts event on Monday, October 23, 2017 at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. Hosted by Alliance Executive Director, Jim Shirley, the evening brought the community together to recognize grant recipients and leading advocates for arts and culture. Guests were also treated to special performances by Choral Artists of Sarasota, Michael Mendez, The Circus Arts Conservatory’s Sailor Circus, and Venice Theatre. Following the on-stage ceremony, a complimentary wine and dessert reception was held in the grand foyer.

The Alliance presented the Arts Leadership Awards to the following: Volunteer – Sharon and Steve Dickman; Nancy Roucher Arts Education Award – Michael Shelton, Embracing Our Differences; Arts Management – Jennifer Rominiecki, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens; Philanthropy – Elizabeth Lindsay; Artistic Achievement – Dr. Joseph Holt; and Cultural Champion – Richard Storm.

The Alliance recognized the winners of the State of the Arts Opportunity Grants: ensemblenewSRQ; Musica Sacra Cantorum; New World Celts; The North Port Chorale; Sarasota Jewish Chorale. The funding for this grant is from the Florida State of the Arts License Plates in Sarasota County.

Also recognized were the winners of the John Ringling Tower Fund Grants: Literary Arts, Roger Real Drouin; Performing Arts, Mirella Martinelli; and Visual Arts, Nathan Skiles. The John Ringling Tower Fund was created to honor the spirit of the John Ringling Towers, where the visual, performing and applied arts were celebrated. The Alliance thanks The Hermitage Artist Retreat for their partnership in providing the grant recipients residencies.

This event was made possible through the sponsorship support of Woman’s Exchange, Ringling College of Art and Design, SARASOTA Magazine, Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, PNC Wealth Management, Boar’s Head, Southwest Florida Office Solutions, the Herald-Tribune, and the Florida Department of Cultural Affairs.


The Arts and Cultural Alliance is a member-powered organization that serves as an advocate for arts and culture in Sarasota County. Founded in 1986 by a group of committed citizens, the Alliance has administered more than $20 million in grants to area artists and arts organizations. The Alliance works to ensure arts and culture remain essential to the continuing development of a vibrant, creative community. This is achieved through arts advocacy, education and community outreach. For more information about how you can join the Arts and Cultural Alliance, please visit our website at or call (941) 365-5118, extension 313.

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