Woman’s Exchange to present $330,000 in scholarships, grants

Surpassing its goal of $250,000 for 2012, the Woman’s Exchange Inc. will present $330,000 in student scholarships and grants to local arts and cultural organizations during its annual Awards Celebration on June 7.

This will mark the 50th year of the organization’s giving back to the community, Karen Koblenz, executive director and CEO, has announced.

Forty-nine students pursuing degrees in the performing and visual arts will receive scholarships, while 27 organizations will receive grants, Koblenz said in a news release.

The Woman’s Exchange will be the season sponsor for three of the organizations receiving grants: The Asolo Theater, The Players Theatre and Florida Studio Theatre’s Cabaret.

The other recipients of the arts grants are the Banyan Theater Co., Exsultate, Fuzion Dance Artists, Gloria Musicae, The Hermitage, Jazz Juvenocracy, Key Chorale, La Musica di Aslo, Musica Sacra, North Port Area Art Center, North Port Chorale, Perlman Music Program/Suncoast, Sarasota Concert Band, Sarasota Film Society, Sarasota Opera, Sarasota Orchestra, Sarasota Season of Sculpture, Selby Gallery, Selby Botanical Gardens, Van Wezel Foundation Inc., Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe, Art Center of Manatee and The Arts and Culture Alliance of Sarasota County.

The following students will receive college scholarships:

Ashleigh Adamec, Claire Albiez, Devin Bedgio, Kristen Bernier, Adelaide Boedecker, Diana Campbell, Jennifer Carlson, Amber Nichol Clark, Samantha Gillen, Angela Gonzales, Gabi Guinta, Ansley Hendrix, Kirk Hughes, Alyssa Hunek, Kathryn Huxtable, Dillon Koehn,  Aaron Lappin, Max Lawlor, Cassandra Lima, Tristan L’Heureux, Meghan Manahan, Hannah Morris, Tess Olson, Meghe Pasienza, Mona Pirnot, Jonathan Sams and Megan Wors.

High school scholarship recipients are Kira Albiez, Briana Calderon, Shannon Cantalupo, Kerstin Cook, Amber Cross, Anthony DeNiro, Zachary Forrest,  Hannah Gregory, Erin Kenney, Ainya Khachetoorian, Katerine Medina, Victoria Miller, Mathew Morris, Amber Myers, Sarah Aubrey Neher, Christopher Parisi, Elizabeth Pupke, Sarah Rhodes, Claudia Rightmire, Jake Stuart, Amanda Townsend and Lauren VonderMuehll.

Unlike awards ceremonies of the past at the Woman’s Exchange, this year’s event will be more like a celebratory party, Koblenz said in the news release. “It’s an excellent opportunity for many of these remarkably talented students to mingle and network with Sarasota and Manatee counties’ arts and cultural leaders.”

Grant recipients Jazz Juvenocracy, Fuzion Dance Artists and Florida Studio Theatre will provide entertainment for the event, along with scholarship recipient Ashleigh Adamec. Ashleigh will perform a ballet tribute to her mother, Susan Adamec, who died in December 2010.

Since opening in 1962, the Woman’s Exchange has awarded more than $7 million in grants and scholarships to support the arts of Sarasota and Manatee counties, the news release notes. The organization “is one of Sarasota County’s largest scholarship providers,” the release adds.

All of the scholarship and grant monies have been generated through sales at the retail store located at 539 S. Orange Ave. in downtown Sarasota.