This is a piece I wrote for Reflections, a lifestyle magazine that highlights the Sarasota, Florida area.
Saltwater breezes tickle the skin, raising goosebumps and anticipation. Sea oats bow in greeting in dunes of gleaming white sand. Houses peek from their sea grape nooks along immaculate streets. These can’t help but inspire creatives to produce art that captures these sensual experiences.
Longboat Key has just the place.
Nestled among the island’s hammocks of Longboat Key is a chip of Old Florida that has undergone a polishing and re-established its place among the gems that make up the region’s highly regarded arts community—the Longboat Key Center for the Arts. The center encourages visitors to discover their inner artist with instructional classes in a wide variety of disciplines: painting, drawing, storybook illustrations, mixed media, sculpture, jewelry craft and more.
Established in 1952, the center is now enjoying a renaissance, thanks in part to a recent merger with the internationally renowned Ringling College of Art and Design. Like the rebirth of European creativity some 400 years ago, this renaissance has infused the local arts community with new energy and fresh inspiration.
“The goal is for the center to be a premier arts, creativity and community facility for Longboat Key,” explains Jane Buckman, the center’s executive director. “We have changed the programming a bit so those who are familiar with the center are still able to enjoy what they’ve always enjoyed, as well as some new offerings.”
The merger is the culmination of an informal relationship that began a few years earlier when the center and Ringling offered joint courses and workshops through a continuing studies program. Formal convergence in 2007 allowed the center to provide expanded programs and access to Ringling faculty and artists as well as enjoy stronger administrative and financial support. Thus, the center is known officially as a division of Ringling…
Banner photo by Tatyana Kazakova.
*Some of the information in this older article may be outdated.