Season of Sculpture

Season of SculptureWhen art collectors acquire great works, they can usually be counted on to exhibit their newest acquisitions in areas within the home that provide the most prominence for all to see and appreciate.  This is often over a mantelpiece, inside a home’s main entry; or in a dedicated gallery space or sculpture garden.

This is precisely what Sarasota’s Season of Sculpture has been doing now for the past 14 years.  Every two years, Season of Sculpture mounts a major exhibition of several large-scale sculptures created by artists of international, national and local stature.   Once assembled, these works are thoughtfully placed on what is perhaps the most visible and cherished piece of real estate in all of Sarasota—its downtown bayfront.  Thus in a single bold statement for all to see, the city reaffirms its longstanding passion for the visual and performing arts that has also proven to be an enormous boon for the region’s economy and overall quality of life.

This week Season of Sculpture premiered Season VII, its latest installation of 18 works by eight artists—a collection that has transformed the bayfront into a spectacular al fresco sculpture exhibit extending from Gulfstream Avenue to Marie Selby Botanical Gardens.

As we toured the exhibit a few days before its official opening on November 16th, there were already people of all ages discussing and debating each installation, many in languages other than English—exactly the sort of universal response that art is intended to elicit. 

Besides the obvious artistic merits of Season of Sculpture, the exhibition—which is privately funded and costs taxpayers nothing—contributes mightily to the socio-economic fabric of our community.  Being widely regarded as the cultural capital of Florida is fundamental to Sarasota’s identity and appeal.  While much of the city’s legendary cultural prowess plays out in theaters and concert halls, Season of Sculpture is often a visitor’s first visual confirmation of the community’s tenacious embrace of the arts.

From our own perspective as a company that has grown and prospered in direct proportion to our home region, we can attest to the difference that arts and culture make to newcomers deciding where to live in the Sunshine State.   Every coastal town in Florida can boast of beautiful beaches and plentiful recreational opportunities; but none can claim the breadth of cultural options that have been carved out of the Southwest Florida region.  Studies suggest that upwards of 80% of luxury home buyers choose Sarasota for the profound depth of its cultural core, which has resulted in a huge boost for the region’s tax base.

Since its inception in 1999, Season of Sculpture has exhibited 150 sculptures by 103 artists representing 13 countries from around the world; and 15 U.S. states.  35,000 people drive or walk by the exhibition every day, which translates into millions of men, women and children who are annually influenced by art in the very public heart of downtown Sarasota.

Season of Sculpture is made possible through a local not-for-profit organization of the same name.  It will remain on exhibit absolutely free and around the clock through May 2014.  Docent-guided tours of Season VII are also free and available to anyone upon request. 

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