Circus Arts Conservatory to present 25th Anniversary Gala to benefit youth programs

Categories: Stories of Impact, BELONGING AND CULTURE: Cultural Development & the Arts,

Supporters of the Circus Arts Conservatory will gather on Jan. 27 to support the youth and education programs of the CAC at its 25th Anniversary Gala under the Ulla Searing Big Top at Nathan Benderson Park’s Regatta Island.

“The Gala support provides significant and critical funding for the CAC’s arts education, emphasizing collaboration and teamwork, creativity and imagination, critical thinking and problem-solving,” said Jennifer Mitchell, executive vice president for the CAC.

The event will feature hand balancers the Alexis Brothers, who wowed audiences in Sarasota during the Circus Sarasota 2022 show, and a duo straps act from Ukraine – Maryna Tkachenko and Anastasiia Kornieieva. The CAC has joined other members of the Global Alliance of Circus Schools in offering support and professional opportunities for Ukrainian artists in the wake of the country’s war with Russia.

Sailor Circus Academy students will present acts including hammock, slack rope, and a special Cyr wheel performance – on the ground and in the air – by longtime Sailor Circus Academy student Emma Clark and her coach, Aleksandr Deevs, a renowned circus artist who specializes in Cyr wheel and spinning cube.

Also performing will be students from the Booker Middle School magnet program, which has provided a pipeline of new talent to the CAC’s Sailor Circus Academy. The event includes dinner by Michael’s On East and dancing in the Center Ring.

CAC is home to Circus Sarasota and the Sailor Circus Academy, the longest-running youth circus and afterschool training program in the U.S. Each year, CAC presents world class performances for tens of thousands of circus lovers under the Big Top in addition to circus arts training, STEAM arts, science education, and health care outreach programs.

“In our 25th anniversary year, we are especially proud of our growth from a fledgling circus school into an internationally recognized, multimillion-dollar organization known for unique world class performance, excellence in circus arts youth training, magnet education programs and community-based outreach initiatives," Mitchell said. "We are looking forward to celebrating our successes as well as looking toward a bright future for our hometown circus.”

Gala chairs are Julie Harris and Lauren Walsh. Lead sponsors include the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, Gulf Coast Community Foundation, Julie Harris, JP Morgan Chase & Co., STAR Financial Solutions, Sun Outdoors, and Lauren and Bernie Walsh/Justice Pays. In-kind and media sponsors include Palm Printing, the Observer Media Group, Sarasota Magazine and WWSB ABC7.


See this story as it originally appeared in Sarasota Herald-Tribune on Jan. 19, 2023, here.

Photo by Cliff Roles.