Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County Announces Recipients of Annual John Ringling Tower and Opportunity Grants

By Sarasota Scene 

October 26, 2022 – Sarasota

The Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County continues to support local artists, historic preservation, and arts and cultural organizations through the John Ringling Tower Fund and State of the Arts Opportunity Grants. Since 1986, the Alliance has provided funding to ensure that Sarasota’s renowned arts and cultural community thrives.  

State of the Arts Opportunity Grants: Each “State of the Arts” license plate purchased in Sarasota County helps fund the Opportunity grants. As the designated local arts agency, the Alliance is responsible for establishing the program, managing the application and evaluation process and ensuring funds are used to support arts and culture according to established guidelines. 

Non-profit arts and cultural organizations in Sarasota County that do not qualify for or did not receive a Tourist Development Cultural/Arts Grant may apply. Eligible projects must demonstrate artistic merit, community involvement and administrative competence. 

The 2022-2023 Opportunity Grant Recipients are: 
Chamber Orchestra of Sarasota 
Modern Marimba 
Musica Sacra Sarasota 
National League of American Pen Women  
North Port Art Center 
North Port Chorale  
Sarasota Choral Society  
Suncoast Black Arts Collaborative  
Venice Chorale 

John Ringling Tower Fund Grants: The El Vernona Hotel, designed by Dwight James Baum, who also designed Ca d’Zan, opened in 1924. In 1930, John Ringling bought the hotel and renamed it John Ringling Towers. This grand building presided over the bay front first as a hotel, then in the 1960’s it was converted to apartments, until it was abandoned by 1995. Despite vigorous efforts and fundraising, this historic landmark could not be saved.  The building was demolished and the Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota hotel now stands in its place. Funds raised to restore John Ringling Towers were entrusted to the Arts and Cultural Alliance as a fund to support individual artists and historic preservation in Sarasota County. 

Each year grants are awarded in two categories: Historic Preservation and Individual Artists: visual arts, literary arts, and performing arts. 

The 2022-2023 John Ringling Tower Fund recipients are: 
John Sims, Visual Arts 
Larry Parr, Literary Arts  
Melanie Lavender, Performing Arts 
Venice Heritage, Inc., Historic Preservation 

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