Van Wezel Foundation launches regional survey regarding new Sarasota Performing Arts Center

Survey will be live through Nov. 30

Image courtesy of the Van Wezel Foundation

The Van Wezel Foundation has launched a regional survey to obtain information for the planning of a new Sarasota Performing Arts Center located at the center of The Bay Park near downtown Sarasota, the Foundation has announced.

“The Sarasota Performing Arts Center is at the heart of the city of Sarasota’s master plan to develop the Sarasota Bayfront into a cultural and economic legacy for the region,” a news release says.

The survey will be targeted to residents from Tampa to Port Charlotte; it is being conducted by “Alexander Babbage, a national scientific-based research firm specializing in cultural destination studies,” the release points out. All participant data will remain anonymous. Visit to take the survey, which will be available through Nov. 30.

The Van Wezel Foundation is leading the initiative to create the new performing arts center through a public-private partnership with the City of Sarasota, the release explains. The goal is for the center to operate year-round, presenting “relevant world-class programming for all audiences,” the release adds.

Preliminary planning calls for a state-of-the-art, 230,000-square-foot, multi-purpose facility that will encompass a variety of performance and civic spaces, the release says. Among those design features will be the following:

  • A 2,250-seat main stage.
  • A 400-seat flexible performance space.
  • A 10,000-square-foot education and lifelong learning center.
  • Multiple outdoor public performance spaces.
  • State-of-the-art technology.

As it is expected to be among the first performing arts centers built post-pandemic in the United States, “the Sarasota Performing Arts Center will be a national model for architecture, patron health and safety, and coastal resilience,” the release points out. The facility has been planned to play a meaningful role in the continued promotion of Southwest Florida as a pre-eminent cultural destination, the release adds.

“For more than 30 years, the Van Wezel Foundation has partnered with the city of Sarasota to enhance the quality of life for our community,” said Cheryl Mendelson, CEO of the Van Wezel Foundation, in the release. “With input from regional communities, we have a tremendous opportunity to make the Sarasota Performing Arts Center a place for ideas, a place for the arts, a place for you. The new performing arts center will serve as an iconic civic asset that meets the needs of everyone living in and visiting the entire Gulf Coast region,” she added in the release.

Public participation in the survey “is highly encouraged,” the release says.

The community engagement initiative has grant support from the Community Foundation of Sarasota County, the release adds.