Sarasota Opera Receives $50,000 Arts Appreciation Grant from Gulf Coast Community Foundation

Funding will support the 2020-21 Sarasota Opera Season

July 14, 2020
Contact: Lana Mullen, Communications Coordinator
(941) 328-1322
[email protected]

Sarasota, FL – Sarasota Opera has been awarded a $50,000 Arts Appreciation Grant from Gulf Coast Community Foundation. The grant offers unrestricted funding to area arts organizations in support of their artistic mission. This year’s Arts Appreciation Grant will help support Sarasota Opera’s 2020-21 Opera season, including their industry-leading Youth Opera program and community education programs.

Executive Director Richard Russell states “We are extremely grateful for Gulf Coast Community Foundation’s loyal support, especially at this difficult time. Their leadership has had an important effect in helping many sectors of our community weather this crisis.”

The new grant award follows an additional Arts Appreciation grant of $50,000 that Gulf Coast awarded to Sarasota Opera in April to help mitigate the impacts of COVID-19. Foundation President and CEO Mark Pritchett noted that the consecutive investments in Sarasota Opera and other cornerstone cultural organizations reflect the vital role of the arts sector in our region. “Our Board is effectively doubling down on key artistic partners like Sarasota Opera,” said Pritchett. “They help drive our regional economy and build our brand as the arts and cultural destination for southwest Florida.”

Sarasota Opera’s Fall 2020 Season includes Mozart’s Don Giovanni and Sarasota Youth Opera’s The Hobbit, composed by Dean Burry. The 2021 Winter Festival will open with Puccini’s Tosca, followed by Donizetti’s The Daughter of the Regiment, Bizet’s The Pearl Fishers, and Verdi’s Attila.

For 25 years, together with its donors, Gulf Coast Community Foundation has transformed our region through bold and proactive philanthropy. Gulf Coast is a public charity that was created in 1995 through the sale of the Venice Hospital. Since then, it has become the philanthropic home of more than 1,000 individuals, families, businesses, and organizations that have established charitable funds there, and has invested over $390 million in grants in the areas of health and human services, civic and economic development, education, arts and culture, and the environment. Learn more at

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About Sarasota Opera

Sarasota Opera is entering its 61st Season of bringing world-class opera to Florida’s Gulf Coast. The company was launched in 1960, when a touring chamber opera company came to the historic 320-seat Asolo Theater on the grounds of Sarasota’s Ringling Museum of Art. The following year the Asolo Opera Guild was formed to present the season. By 1974 the Asolo Opera was mounting its own productions at the theater. Recognizing the need for a theater more conducive to full-scale opera, the company purchased the former A.B. Edwards Theater which in 1984 (as the Sarasota Opera House) became home to the newly renamed Sarasota Opera. The building underwent a $20 million renovation and rehabilitation in 2007 enhancing audience amenities, while updating the technical facilities, including increasing the size of the orchestra pit. The theater, which reopened in March 2008, has been called “one of America’s finest venues for opera” by Musical America.

Since 1983, the company has been under the artistic leadership of Victor DeRenzi and administrative leadership of Executive Director Richard Russell since 2012. Sarasota Opera has garnered international attention with its Masterwork Revivals Series, which presents neglected works of artistic merit, as well as the Verdi Cycle, completed in 2016, that made Sarasota Opera the only opera company in the world to present all of Verdi’s works. Recognizing the importance of training, Maestro DeRenzi founded the Apprentice and Studio Artists programs. Sarasota Opera also maintains a commitment to education through its Explorations in Opera performances for local schools and the industry-leading Sarasota Youth Opera program.

Sarasota Opera is sponsored in part by the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, the Florida Arts Council, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Programs are supported in part by an award from the Tourist Development Tax through the Board of County Commissioners, the Tourist Development Council and the Sarasota County Arts Council. Additional funding is provided by the City of Sarasota and the County of Sarasota.


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