Sarasota County Arts Council Florida

The mission of the Sarasota County Arts Council is to create an environment where the arts flourish.

The Arts Council accomplishes this mission through these core values:
Advocacy: They partner with local, state and federal governmental bodies for arts related legislation. Promotion: They promote the rich artistic resources of Sarasota County to local, regional, state and national audiences. Coordination: They coordinate artists, arts groups and the community to work together. Education: They encourage education in the arts for students, audiences and arts professionals. Access: They work to engage all audiences and all artists who wish to participate in the arts in any way, at any level.

Experience botanical wonders at Selby Gardens; dinner theatre at its best at the Golden Apple Dinner Theatre; visit the State Museum of Florida, the John and Mable Ringling Museum; discover Historic Spanish Point in Osprey; these are but a few of the exciting things to do in Sarasota County.


  • GRANT ADMINISTRATION: the Arts Council administers the TOURIST DEVELPOMENT GRANTING PROGRAM, with approximately $750,000 annually generated by taxes on tourist accommodations. Those funds are granted to local arts organizations, based on artistic quality and tourist appeal;

  • ARTS-IN-EDUCATION PROGRAM: the Arts Council works with Sarasota County schools to make the arts an integral part of the curriculum. The council provides resources and programs for teachers and students in all of the arts;

  • ARTISTS IN SCHOOLS PROGRAM: takes artists-in-residence into the schools;

  • ARTS-IN-EDUCATION TASK FORCE: the Task Force is a coalition of teachers, community leaders and representatives of the arts organizations who provide programming to schools;

  • CULTURAL TOURISM ROUNDTABLE: Marketing Directors from arts groups convene to collaborate in marketing Sarasota as a cultural tourism destination;

  • WORKSHOPS: are held on topics of identified need for artist and arts organizations such as grant writing and artist survival skills;

  • ADVOCACY: the Council takes a leading role as liaison between the arts constituency and the government on appropriate issues affecting the arts and appropriations for the arts;

  • SARASOTA ARTS DAY: a street celebration of all Sarasota County's visual and performing arts every January in downtown Sarasota;

  • PUBLICATIONS: the council publishes a CULTURAL CALENDAR in the Black Tie Magazine and on this web site, the annual Arts in Sarasota Directory and the Artbeat newsletter are sent to all members and distributed throughout the community. Opportunities in the Arts is sent to all artist members upon request;

  • MEMBERSHIP BENEFITS: members receive all publications produced by the Arts Council, invitations to special "Members Only" events, ticket discounts to many of the member art organizations and a 2-FOR-1 discount book upon joining. Membership fees enable the Arts Council to fulfill its mission to the community;

  • VISUAL ART EXHIBITION PROGRAM: an Exhibition Committee of arts professionals schedules shows of local artists and arts organizations for display in the Council's offices and public areas;

  • ARTISTS DATABASE AND SLIDE REGISTRY: the Council maintains a database of profiles on local working visual artist. A companion Slide Registry includes examples of work of hundreds of artists. Both are available for public reference;

  • CULTURAL EXECUTIVES COMMITTEE: the Arts Council convenes the CEOs of Sarasota's Cultural Organizations to address issues of relevance to the arts to engender communication among arts groups and to advise Arts Council policy;

  • PUBLIC ART: the Arts Council guided a resolution and guidelines for a "percent-for-arts" in Sarasota County's government buildings. Artists selections and project plans are underway.