Blessed with natural beauty, cosmopolitan amenities and Old World charm, Sarasota is an exceptional place to live and visit. Our lively cultural scene is a large reason why so many visitors return year after year to Sarasota, and why many eventually come here to live. No other similarly sized city can boast its own opera, theater and ballet companies, two symphonies, an acclaimed state museum, an award-winning circus, an internationally renowned botanical garden, a treasure trove of galleries and artist communities, and a host of cultural events and festivals that draw thousands every year. Sarasota’s well-deserved and sparkling reputation as the cultural gem of Florida is one with many facets.
Sarasota County is home to an eclectic assortment of theater companies, offering a range of repertoires. The nationally acclaimed Asolo Theatre Company presents classics and new works in repertory. One of the nation’s premier small theaters, Florida Studio Theatre, offers contemporary American plays on its main stage and musical revues in its intimate cabaret theater. Two other exceptional small theaters call Sarasota home: Venice Little Theatre and Theatre Works. One of Sarasota’s most venerable theater institutions is The Players, a community theater featuring Broadway musicals, concerts and play readings throughout the year. The Golden Apple Dinner Theatre serves up Broadway musicals year-round. And two new theaters recently made their debuts here–the Banyan Theater Company, offering classic and contemporary drama during the summer months, and The West Coast Black Theater Troupe, featuring classics by contemporary African-American playwrights. The acclaimed Sarasota Ballet of Florida stages classic and contemporary works, and the landmark Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall presents world-class music, dance and Broadway touring productions year-round.
Our community comes alive with the sounds of music–from classical to blues to jazz, pop, rock and more. The celebrated Florida West Coast Symphony provides a range of orchestral and chamber music concerts, and hosts the illustrious Sarasota Music Festival each summer. The renowned Sarasota Opera presents four operas each season and year-round concerts in the historic Sarasota Opera House. The Venice Symphony features full symphony orchestras and pop concerts. The Jazz Club of Sarasota offers over 100 performances a year and also presents the annual Sarasota Jazz Festival. The esteemed chamber music festival, La Musica, features outstanding musicians from around the world for five concerts each April. A host of musical ensembles, from chamber choruses to vocal groups, including Key Chorale, Sarasota’s symphonic chorus, Gloria Musicae, Symposium Singers, Florida Voices, among others, thrives in Sarasota.
THE VISUAL ARTS
Sarasota has a long tradition as a vibrant visual arts community. The landmark John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art presents major international exhibitions and houses the world’s most extensive collection of Baroque art. Art Center Sarasota is a community-based art center featuring exhibits, classes and workshops. The Towles Court Artists’ Colony is home to over 30 artists’ studios and galleries. Selby Gallery at Ringling School of Art and Design offers exhibitions of contemporary artists and designers. In addition, numerous artists’ advocacy groups flourish here.
FESTIVALS AND MORE
Our festivals run throughout the year, and include two award-winning film festivals, Cine-World Film Festival and the Sarasota Film Festival; the Sarasota County Arts Council’s acclaimed Arts Day; and a lively assortment of music and comedy festivals, arts and cultural showcases, and literary and theatrical events.