– Local arts, education and philanthropic organizations have come together to create the Suncoast Arts REACH Task Force, a team of leading arts education specialists, to curate and share arts-based remote learning content for students, parents, teachers and caregivers. With remote learning a necessity due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the goal of the task force is to tap into each organization’s area of expertise, open opportunities for collaboration, and provide free online resources to the greater Suncoast community. Members of the Suncoast Arts REACH Task Force include the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County, Asolo Repertory Theatre, Circus Arts Conservatory, Embracing our Differences, Manatee Arts Education Council, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, The Ringling, the Van Wezel Foundation, the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, Venice Theater, the Early Learning Coalition of Sarasota County, Manatee County School District and Sarasota County Schools.
The initiative is being supported by the Van Wezel Foundation, and the collective effort of the task force is making an immediate impact as trusted online content is curated and produced for local area school districts, art teachers and early learning centers while being accessible for families.
“We are overwhelmed with gratitude that the Arts & Cultural Community came together to provide such meaningful and engaging experiences for our families, now more than ever,” commented Dr. Laura Kingsley, Assistant Superintendent/Chief Academic Officer, Sarasota County Schools.
Together, the task force has launched an online resource calendar that includes daily arts-based activities across multiple art disciplines for learners of all ages.
“These arts integration experiences are a wonderful resource for preschool teachers to intentionally plan art activities with children whether in the classroom or online through ZOOM meetings,” said Janet Kahn, Executive Director, Early Learning Coalition of Sarasota County. “The activities build a teacher’s toolbox for use now during these uncertain times and in the future and help facilitate positive connections with the families they serve.”
Every Friday on an ongoing basis, the Suncoast Arts REACH Task Force will have new, daily activities posted for families, teachers and caregivers to use at home or anywhere. Activities range from videos on how to make a costume to museum tours, story time reading events and virtual art lessons, to name a few.
In addition to the daily arts-based activities, members of the task force have additional resources available online and on social media to inspire learning and imagination. The community is invited to visit each arts organization to learn more.
About the Suncoast Arts REACH Task Force Members
The Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County
The Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County is a member-powered organization that serves as an advocate for arts and culture in Sarasota County. Founded in 1986 by a group of committed citizens, the Alliance has administered more than $26 million in grants to area artists and arts organizations. The Alliance works to ensure arts and culture remain essential to the continuing development of a vibrant, creative community. This is achieved through arts advocacy, education, and community outreach. The Alliance has been a major force for arts education though the Sarasota County Arts Education Partnership which brings together education professionals from over 30 arts and cultural organizations, Sarasota County Schools, teaching artists and community members. Join us online at www.sarasotaarts.org.
Asolo Repertory Theatre
Now looking forward to its 62nd season, Asolo Repertory Theatre is recognized as one of the premier professional theatres in America and one of the largest in the Southeastern United States. One of the few select theatres in the nation that performs in true rotating repertory, Asolo Rep’s highly skilled acting company and extensive craftsmanship bring to life this unique performance method that gives audiences the opportunity to see multiple productions in the span of a few days. Asolo Rep presents up to 10 productions each season including contemporary and classic works and provocative musical theatre experiences. A theatre district in and of itself, Asolo Rep is committed to expanding its reach into the community, furthering its collaboration with the best theatre artists working in the industry today and cultivating new artists through its affiliation with the FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training. Under the leadership of Producing Artistic Director Michael Donald Edwards and Managing Director Linda DiGabriele, Asolo Rep’s ambitious theatrical offerings and ground-breaking education and community programming engage audiences and ensure its lasting legacy for future generations. For more information, visit www.asolorep.org.
The Circus Arts Conservatory
The Circus Arts Conservatory, home to Circus Sarasota and Sailor Circus, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization recognized for both performances and community outreach service in Sarasota, Bradenton and beyond. Showcased in a one-ring, European-style Big Top, Circus Sarasota features circus acts acclaimed for world-class artistry. The lives of thousands of K-12 students and disenfranchised community members are impacted each year by CAC Education and Circus Arts in Healthcare outreach Programs. The Sailor Circus Academy provides rigorous athletic training and life skills for area youth. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic we are happy to announce the implementation of CAC Connects, a new online platform to bring Performance, Training, Education & Outreach into our community in an innovative way during this challenging time. Join us online at www.circusarts.org.
Early Learning Coalition of Sarasota County
The Early Learning Coalition of Sarasota County is the community’s one-stop resource for information about early learning experiences in Sarasota County. Our mission is to prepare children for lifelong success through quality early learning. The ELC of Sarasota County works collaboratively to ensure that: all children receive high-quality care and learning, all families have the support they need for their children to succeed, all children are ready for their academic and lifelong success. Quality early learning experiences are critical for lifelong success. Visit us online: www.earlylearningcoalitionsarasota.org.
Embracing Our Differences
Embracing Our Differences is a not-for-profit organization that uses the transformational power of art and education to celebrate and promote the diversity of the human family. It accomplishes this through an annual, large-scale outdoor juried art exhibition and a comprehensive series of educational initiatives, programs and resources designed for teachers and students. Visit www.embracingourdifferences.org.
Manatee Arts Education Council
The vision of the MAEC is for every student in every public Manatee County school to have equitable access to a well-rounded education that includes a comprehensive, sequential, high-quality program of arts instruction; and for our community to have broad-based cultural programs available to support lifelong learning in and through the arts. For more information, visit http://maecarts.org/
Manatee County School District
The School District of Manatee County is home to approximately 50,000 students and 8,000 employees. The mission of the school district is to educate and develop all students today for their success tomorrow. The district consists of 49 traditional public schools, 14 charter schools and nationally renowned Manatee Technical College. For more on our district, please visit our website at www.manateeschools.net.
Marie Selby Botanical Gardens
A tropical, urban oasis featuring unparalleled horticulture displays and a Sarasota bay-front setting, Marie Selby Botanical Gardens is a living museum and world-class center for education, research, and conservation. Our mission is to provide an oasis of inspiration and tranquility, while furthering the understanding and appreciation of plants, especially epiphytes. Visit us online: https://selby.org/bringing-selby-gardens-to-you/.
The John and Mabel Ringling Museum of Art is pleased to announce a series of programs that will allow visitors to engage with the museum during the closure due to COVID-19. Visitors can experience The Ringling’s collections online through a virtual museum. Children, parents and educators can participate in learning and art making activities and those at home can enjoy the beauty of The Ringling’s gardens. All online programs may be accessed at https://www.ringling.org/MuseumFromHome.
Sarasota County Schools
Sarasota County Schools is committed to providing unrivaled academic, emotional, and civic growth to every student, every day. As one of the leading employers on the Suncoast, Sarasota County Schools boasts 54 schools that expertly cater to the diverse needs of over 43,900 students. We are one of two Florida school districts to consistently earn an A-grade every year since 2004 and have been awarded the Mid-Sized School District of the Year by the University of Cambridge. Our passionate educators empower students to take charge of their academic and personal success, a practice we believe fosters lifelong growth and achievement. We actively maintain the district’s tradition of excellence and ensure that tradition extends to all students. Our commitment to our students extends beyond graduation to make sure they not only graduate on time but do so college and career ready. Want to take your student’s education to the next level? Connect with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, or visit www.SarasotaCountySchools.net.
The Van Wezel Foundation
Since 1987, The Van Wezel Foundation has partnered with the City of Sarasota to foster a connection between the people, the bay and the spirit of human creativity. Through this collaboration and the generosity of donors, the Foundation supports arts education in our community and has provided grants of more than $14 million to invest in arts education and capital projects at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. Support for the Suncoast Arts REACH Task Force is just one way the Foundation fulfills its mission to create a world-class performing arts center that enriches the community, supports arts education and inspires young minds. For more information, visit vwfoundation.org. Join us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for additional remote learning resources for families.
The Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall
The Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall presents spectacular Broadway musicals, top national and international performers, popular comedians and a compelling mix of classical and dance productions. Owned and operated by the City of Sarasota, the Van Wezel celebrated its 50th Anniversary during the 2019-2020 season. The theater’s Education and Community Engagement Department serves over 30,000 students, teachers and family members each year, teaching them in, through and about the arts. To learn more about us or the new Van Wezel Artworks Anywhere initiative on YouTube, visit www.VanWezel.org or the Schooltime at the Van Wezel Facebook page.
Venice Theatre is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to making a dramatic impact on all stages of life. The second largest of 10,000 community theatres in the United States, it is located at 140 Tampa Avenue W. in Venice, Florida. Its Jervey Theatre offers seating for 432 patrons and features musicals, plays, concerts and special events. Its Yvonne Pinkerton Theatre seats 90 patrons and is home to the theatre’s Stage 2 Series and Cabaret Festival. In addition to providing entertainment to the community, Venice Theatre offers a wide range of education and outreach programs for children and adults.