When I meet someone new, I always ask what drew them here or what connects them to this community. Expected answers like “family” and “the weather” come up often but rounding out the list of usual response is “The Arts.” It is a wide-sweeping phrase, and can mean many things: performing arts, visual arts, arts organizations, independent artists, arts education or a general yearning to be among creatively inclined people. Our community’s artistic tendencies are so ingrained in our cultural foundation that Visit Sarasota, our visitor and convention bureau, has registered the tagline “Florida’s Cultural Coast,” which it has been using for more than 25 years to tout our rich treasure trove of and love of the arts.
This identity certainly makes us unique and attractive to visitors, as well as longtime residents and newcomers alike. As we continue to welcome neighbors to our area, the arts are an enduring beaconing song; however, as generations shift, we have an opportunity to invite new voices into our arts community, to create a new harmony of legends and innovators.
This summer, I had the privilege of witnessing how younger, diverse voices can create a positive impact on our local arts scene. Through generous, visionary donors and the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, we were able to bring the Diversity in Arts Leadership (DIAL) internship to Sarasota-Manatee, joining just five other municipalities across the nation that host DIAL.
See full story as published in SRQ Magazine here.