Lido Key Pavilion murals reflect history of city of Sarasota

Community residents join artist Tim Jaeger in creating the artwork

These are the two murals painted on the Lido Pavilion. Image courtesy City of Sarasota

Sarasota artist Tim Jaeger began working on Sept. 19 to install “two attractive murals that depict Sarasota’s history, including the courageous beach wade-ins by the Black community as they fought to integrate Lido Beach,” City Manager Tom Barwin has reported.

The second image, as Barwin described it in his Sept. 25 newsletter, shows “the classic 1940 Lido Casino, a Works Progress Administration project that became synonymous with surf, sun and fun on the Gulf of Mexico.”

Some residents who participated in the historic events, including former Mayor Fredd Atkins, “were in attendance and given a chance to add their touch to the murals,” Barwin continued.

The project, which is a collaboration among the city; the county’s tourism office, Visit Sarasota County; and the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County, was expected to wrap up over the past weekend, Barwin noted.

“We hope you can stop by and check out this artistic way to honor our history,” he wrote.

Former Mayor Fredd Atkins adds his touches to one of the murals. Image courtesy City of Sarasota

An Arts and Cultural Alliance webpage explains that, during the 1950s and 1960s, “[L]ess than 2 miles of Florida’s 2,000 miles of beaches were open to African Americans. Residents of Newtown formed peaceful wade-in protests to integrate beaches. Learn more about the wade-ins here: https://www.visitsarasota.com/civilrights.

In regard to the Lido Casino, the webpage points out that it was designed by “renowned local architect” Ralph Twitchell. When it opened in 1940, the webpage adds, the casino included restaurants, a ballroom, shops, and a pool with a high diving board. Its “picturesque architecture and location made it the perfect spot for filming movies,” the webpage says.

The building was demolished in 1969.

The webpage also notes, “Multiple spaces and subjects have been identified for future murals at the Lido Beach Pavilion …” Those will be completed in phases over a period of years, the webpage adds.

To learn more about the initiative, visit SarasotaArts.org.

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