New exhibit ‘celebrating City of Sarasota’s rich cultural arts history’ on display at City Hall

Materials provided by Arts Advocates, Circus Arts Conservatory and Sarasota County History Center

As of Nov. 21, a new exhibit “celebrating the City of Sarasota’s rich cultural arts history” is on display at no charge in the City Hall lobby,” the city has announced.

City Hall stands at 1565 First St. in downtown Sarasota.

Conceptualized and overseen by the Office of Public Art and the Historic Preservation Division, a news release explains, the exhibit highlights Sarasota’s “considerable cultural arts legacy connected to the circus, architecture, tourism and more.” The release also points out, “The artwork focuses on the visual arts and historical documentation,” including paintings and photographs.

“Our goal is to educate residents and visitors about the wonderfully rich cultural heritage of our city,” said Mary Davis Wallace, senior planner and director of the Office of Public Art, in the release. “We have deep roots with the circus dating back to when Sarasota was the winter home for the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus,” she noted in the release. The city’s history also includes the development of the Sarasota School of Architecture, plus decades of Major League Baseball Spring Training, “with legend Babe Ruth and the Tin Can Tourists,” Wallace added in the release.

“The exhibit is an opportunity for anyone to experience quality art that is precious to our Sarasota history,” she said.

More than three-dozen pieces by local, mid-century artists will be presented by the Arts Advocates, the Circus Arts Conservatory and Sarasota County History Center, the release continues. The exhibit will be on display at City Hall for one year, with a six-month rotation for new pieces, the release points out.

A public reception with an accompanying lecture is planned for Thursday, Jan. 26, 2023, the release says.

Arts Advocates was founded in 1969 as The Fine Arts Society of Sarasota Inc., “a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization whose mission is to inspire creativity, advance education, and connect the community to the arts,” the release explains. “Arts Advocates has the foremost collection of works by Sarasota Art Colony artists on public exhibition anywhere,” the release says.

“The Circus Arts Conservatory’s mission is to engage and educate students using unique and innovative learning programs; to measurably improve the quality of life for individuals in care communities; and to advance the extraordinary legacy and heritage of the circus,” the release adds.

The Sarasota County History Center is home to the county’s historic preservation programs, as well as an extensive collection of artifacts, archival records, and other resources for historical research, the release points out. A growing selection of these items is available for viewing in the Center’s Digital Collections. The full collection is available to researchers at the county’s public facility, the release notes.