COMBINE SARASOTA’S STUNNING NATURAL BEAUTY AND OUR LONGSTANDING ARTISTIC POPULATION, and you get our visual arts scene, a vibrant array of works—and people who know how to appreciate them.
The world-famous John and Mable Ringling Museum of Arts is the hub of it all. Down the road at Ringling College of Art and Design, galleries showcase international artists in special exhibits along with faculty and student work. Name the medium, and you’ll find it adorning the walls and displays of local galleries: oil, acrylic, watercolor, photography, wood, bronze, marble, glass, pottery—and, of course, mixed media. You may be moved by blown glass no bigger than a chess piece, or captured by a tapestry that could fill the wall in your great room.
While art is everywhere in town, you’ll especially want to visit the areas of high artistic concentration. In downtown Sarasota, you’ll find galleries on Palm Avenue, Main Street and State Street as well as studios in the Towles Court artist colony. Downtown Bradenton’s Village of the Arts is another destination, as are Art Center Sarasota, Venice Art Center and the Longboat Key Center for the Arts.
And when a stunning sunset or perfect orchid gives you the itch to put paintbrush to paper, be sure to ask about art classes offered at many of these locations.
Local contemporary artists a few years ago formed s/ART/q, which hosts lively shows at different local venues.
VISUAL ARTS, MUSEUMS AND GALLERIES
Allyn Gallup Contemporary Art, 1288 N. Palm Ave., Sarasota. (941) 366-2454. allyngallup.com. Monthly contemporary exhibits, original paintings, sculptures and mixed media assemblages.
Art Center Sarasota, 707 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. (941) 365-2032. artsarasota.org. This art center, one of Sarasota’s longest-running arts institutions, offers a wide array of exhibits, classes and workshops.
Art Uptown, 1367 Main St., Sarasota. (941) 955-5409. artuptown.com. Cooperative gallery featuring paintings, sculptures, ceramics, basketry and other media.
Clyde Butcher Gallery and Studio, 237 Warfield Ave., Venice. (941) 486-0811. clydebutcher.com. Black-and-white landscape photography featuring natural Florida environments by acclaimed photographer Butcher.
Crissy Galleries, 640 S. Washington Blvd., Suite 150, Sarasota. (941) 957-1110. crissy.com. Specializing in fine art and antiques.
Dabbert Gallery, 76 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota. (941) 925-9929. dabbertgallery.com. Contemporary paintings, sculptures, watercolors, drawings and bronzes; regular exhibitions.
Elizabeth Rice Fine Art, Home Accessories and Antiques, 1467 Main St., Sarasota. (941) 954-8575. elizabethrice.com. Contemporary fine art, as well as Biedermeier furniture and other antiques.
Elizabeth Stevens Gallery, 1945 Morrill St., Sarasota. (941) 587-9851. elizabethstevensgallery.net. Paintings by Marge Bennett and Debbie Dannheisser, plus blown glass, pottery and jewelry are featured at this Towles Court space.
Galleria Silecchia, 20 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota. (941) 365-7414. galleriasilecchia.com. Features national and international sculptors, painters, glass artists and more; regular shows.
Hodgell Gallery, 46 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota. (941) 366-1146. hodgellgallery.com. Contemporary fine art and glass works.
John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, 5401 Bay Shore Road, Sarasota. (941) 359-5700. ringling.org. The state museum of Florida houses an extensive Baroque collection, modern collection, Asian art and changing exhibitions, plus a James Turrell Skyspace.
Longboat Key Center for the Arts, 6860 Longboat Drive S., Longboat Key. (941) 383-2345. ringling.edu/lbkca.html. This long-established center offers classes, exhibits, sales and special events.
Madeby Gallery, 734 Central Ave., Sarasota. (941) 822-0442. madebygallery.com. Works by Ringling College of Art and Design students and alumni, available for sale.
Marietta Museum of Art and Whimsy, 2121 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. (941) 364-3399. Unusual collection of art, both indoor and outdoor.
Sarasota Season of Sculpture, (941) 951-2541. sarasotaseasonofsculpture.org. Presents an exhibition of large-scale sculptures along Sarasota’s downtown bayfront.
s/ART/q, sartq.com. Local contemporary artists with the mission of enhancing local arts culture and engaging the community through exhibitions and educational opportunities. Produces regular shows at various locations.
Selby Gallery, Ringling College of Art and Design, 2700 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. (941) 359-7563. ringling.edu. Presents works by national and regional artists in a variety of media; it also hosts annual faculty exhibitions and the “Best of Ringling” student show.
Stakenborg Fine Art, 1545 Main St., Sarasota. (941) 487-8001. stakenborgfineart.com. An art resource for collectors of paintings, drawings and prints, including works by such artists as Durer and Picasso.
State of the Arts Gallery, 1525 State St., Sarasota. (941) 955-2787. sarasotafineart.com. This contemporary fine art gallery presents work from local and national artists in regular exhibitions.
Towles Court, just west of U.S. 301 between Adams and Morrill streets. towlescourt.com. This working artist colony offers several gallery/studio spaces for viewing and buying; a gallery walk takes place from 6 to 10 p.m. every third Friday of the month.
Venice Art Center, 390 Nokomis Ave. S., Venice. (941) 485-7136. veniceartcenter.com. The area’s largest community art center, founded in 1958, offering regular exhibitions, classes and occasional special events, such as a Paint-Out in Paradise.
Village of the Arts, east of 14th Street West, between Ninth and 17th avenues, Bradenton. (941) 747-8056. villageofthearts.com. Community of artists, studios and galleries. Art walks take place the first weekend of every month, Friday, 6 to 9:30 p.m., and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
William Hartman Gallery, 48 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota. (941) 955-4785. Displays 18th- and 19th-century antique prints.
Wyland Galleries of Sarasota, 314 John Ringling Blvd., St. Armands. (941) 388-5331. wylandgalleries.com. Marine and wildlife art by Wyland and other environmental artists is featured here, along with Oggetti glass.