The original article by Jay Handelman appeared in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune on October 5, 2020.
The Van Wezel Foundation has launched a community-wide survey to get feedback on plans for the new Sarasota Performing Arts Center that is proposed at the center of The Bay Park site on the Sarasota Bayfront.
The new center, which would replace the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, is at the heart of the city of Sarasota’s master plan for redeveloping the parking lot around the hall into a public park.
Current plans call for construction of a 230,000-square-foot multipurpose facility that would include a 2,250-seat mainstage theater and a 400-seat flexible performance space, along with an education and lifelong learning center, outdoor performance spaces and state-of-the-art technology and design advances.
The new center is intended to operate year-round with programs and performances.
Alexander Babbage, a national scientific-based research firm that specializes in cultural destination studies, is reaching out to people from Tampa to Port Charlotte for input. Information provided will be anonymous.
“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,” said Cheryl Mendelson, CEO of the Foundation. “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.”
The survey, which should take 8-10 minutes to complete, is available through Nov. 30 at MySarasotaPerformingArtsCenter.org.
The Community Foundation of Sarasota County has provided a grant to support the Sarasota Performing Arts Center’s community engagement initiative.