For Sarasota's plethora of galleries and world-class museums, thank the entrepreneurs and artists who have been drawn here from around the world. Some came for the beautiful quality of the light; others for the seaside setting and seclusion; still others for the creative company they knew they'd find.
You can also thank an audience of world travelers who insist on quality usually found only in much larger cities. Here, important galleries showcase local and international talent in a small-town, casual atmosphere. Most are located downtown, especially along beautiful Palm Avenue, with its string of popular eateries; and several specialize, featuring Native American, Peruvian, Southwestern, even Asian art. Their wares encompass paintings, ceramics, sculptures, prints, jewelry, blown glass and basketry. The first Friday of every month, many extend their hours for those of us with working schedules.
. A few blocks from downtown lies Towles Court, a quaint community where resident artists have renovated traditional Florida cottages into operating studios. Once a month, they also open their homes to the public.
In addition to downtown galleries, you can enjoy fine art at other Sarasota locations, or in Tampa Bay, just an hour or so away.
MUSEUMS & GALLERIES
Apple & Carpenter Galleries of Fine Art, 64 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota. 951-2314. 19th- and 20th-century paintings by American and European artists.
ArtCenter Sarasota, 707 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. 365-2032. Association offers classes, workshops, shows by members and non-members.
Art Uptown, 1367 Main St., Sarasota. 955-5409. Cooperative gallery featuring paintings, sculptures, ceramics and basketry.
A Step Above, 1288 N. Palm Ave., Sarasota. 955-4477. Original art and glass, ceramics and jewelry.
Beauverre Gallery, 1905 S. Osprey Ave., Sarasota. 365-4442.
Blue House Gallery, 505 Burns Court, Sarasota. 366-0211. Original work by local and international artists. Paintings, prints, ceramics and jewelry.
Brock Gallery, 468 John Ringling Blvd., St. Armands. 388-2275. Art and sculpture from international variety of artists. Also Peruvian folk art.
Butler & Butler Antiques & Fine Art, 60 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota. 954-2393.
Cattleman Gallery of Western Art, 975 Cattlemen Road, Sarasota. 371-6811. Western and wildlife art, cowboy collectibles.
Celery Barn Studio & Gallery, 266 Links S., Sarasota. 952-9889.
Chasen Reed, 10 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota. 953-4400. Interior design showroom featuring fine art exhibits.
Crissy Galleries, 640 S. Washington Blvd., Suite 150, Sarasota. 957-1110.
Elizabeth Rice Fine Art, 1467 Main St., Sarasota. 954-8575. In addition to artworks, carries Biedermeier furniture.
Exit Art, 203 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Longboat Key. 387-7395. Paintings, jewelry and more.
Frame Center and Gallery, 2881 Clark Road, Sarasota. 924-4141.
Galleria Silecchia, 20 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota. 365-7414. National and international artists; regular shows.
Gaylord Studio Gallery, 1821 Morrill St., Sarasota. 952-0678.
Goldfish, 1451 Main St., Sarasota. 366-0088. Fine art and jewelry.
Grass Roots Gallery, 411 W. Dearborn St., Englewood. 473-8782. An eclectic mix of paintings, stone, sculpture, photography, bronzes, wood turnings and ceramics.
Hodgell Gallery, 46 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota. 366-1146; 540 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. 366-1131. Contemporary fine art and glass works.
International Glass Art Outlet, 999A Cattlemen Road, Sarasota. 371-5492. Contemporary glass art and gifts. Also home to Sarasota School of Glass.
John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, 5401 Bayshore Road, Sarasota. 359-5700. State museum of Florida houses extensive Baroque collection, modern collection and changing exhibitions.
Kathleen Carrillo Galleries, 1945 Morrill St., Sarasota. Paintings by renowned local artist Kathleen Carrillo. 906-1641.
Kennedy Studios, 1512 Main St., Sarasota. 952-0358. Prints and posters.
Longboat Framing Gallery, 6824 Gulf of Mexico Drive, Longboat Key. 383-8914.
Longboat Key Center of the Arts, 6860 Longboat Drive S., Longboat Key. 383-2345. Center offers classes, exhibits, sales gallery.
Marise Art Gallery, 6506 Gateway Ave., Sarasota 922-7169. Prints, posters, limited editions.
Mira Mar Gallery, 1284 N. Palm Ave., Sarasota. 366-2093. Prints, paintings, original works of art.
Missing Link, 556 S. Pineapple, Sarasota. 366-6600. Art from Africa, the Americas and Asian furniture.
Museum of Asian Art. 640 S. Washington Blvd. (Arts and Antique Center). 954-7117. Rare jade carvings and more from China and other Asian countries.
Museum of Fine Art, 255 Beach Drive N.E, St. Petersburg. (727) 896-2667. European and American art, photography, and Greek and Roman antiquities, pre-Columbian and Asian art.
Palm Avenue Gallery, 45 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota. 953-5757. Contemporary art and sculpture.
Paradise Gallery, 1359 Main St., Sarasota. 366-7155. Paintings, sculpture, jewelry and graphics.
Plum Door Arts Studio & Gallery, 1950 Adams Lane, Sarasota. 362-0960.
Provenance Gallery, 1282 N. Palm Ave., Sarasota. 366-6777. Palm Avenue's only gallery dedicated to resale art consignments.
Robert Wilson Gallery, 16 Palm Ave. S., Sarasota. Contemporary traditional realism and impressionism; figurative, still life, landscape and marine scenes. 906-8400.
Sage Spirit Gallery, Inc., 17 Fillmore Drive, St. Armands. 388-2975. Collectible Native American jewelry, pottery, weavings and more.
Salvador Dali Museum, 1000 Third St. S., St. Petersburg. (727) 823-3767. Permanent collection of works spanning Dali's career.
Santa Fe Trails Art Gallery, 1429 Main St., Sarasota. 954-1972. Southwestern and Native American art.
Sarasota Artist's Gallery Inc., 1400 Cattlemen Road, Sarasota. 379-5330. Features painters, print makers, photographers, sculptures and crafts people. Workshops and summer tours available.
Selby Gallery, Ringling School of Art and Design, 2700 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. 359-7563. Exhibition schedule includes traveling shows, faculty exhibit and "Best of Ringling" student show.
Sonnet Gallery, 1480 Main St., Sarasota. 955-6443. Contemporary paintings, glass and sculpture.
Tampa Museum of Art, 600 N. Ashley Drive, Tampa. (813) 274-8130. Changing exhibitions along with a permanent collection of Greek and Roman antiquities.
Towles Court Artist Colony, just west of U.S. 301 between Adams and Morrill streets. 365-9146. Working artist colony; studios open daily. Gallery walk 6-10 p.m. every third Friday of the month.
William Hartman Gallery, 48 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota. 955-4785. 18th- and 19th- century antique prints.
Wyland Galleries of Sarasota, 465 John Ringling Blvd., St. Armands. 388-5331. Marine and wildlife art by Wyland and other environmental artists.
Yellow Bird of St. Armands, 640 S. Washington Blvd., Sarasota. 388-1823. Antiques and more.
Ziegenfuss Gallery of Fine Art, 76 S. Palm Ave., Sarasota. 365-3266. Contemporary artists.
WALKING FOR ART
Sarasota is for art lovers, especially on certain Fridays of the month. Along downtown's Palm Avenue, you'll find a wealth of paintings, frescoes, antiques and sculptures, and the perfect time to see it all is during the first Friday of every month, when the galleries throw their doors open from 6-9 p.m. for First Friday Art Walks. It's a great time to sip wine, take in the work of a hip new artist or listen to live music, and all in one of Sarasota's loveliest downtown areas. But walk briskly-you'll need a hefty appetite when you decide which of downtown's many fine restaurants you'll head to afterwards.
For a more bohemian art experience, head a few streets south and east to Towles Court, a collection of pastel-colored cottages and bungalows where more than 30 artists show their work. The artists' colony began as a golf course in the early 1900s, then became a residential area, and had succumbed to suburban flight when a developer bought up the buildings, renovated them and invited artists to live and work here. Now, every third Friday of the month during the Towles Court Gallery Walk you can check out up-and-coming artists and buy anything from beautiful jewelry to unique handpainted furniture.
Information: For the First Friday Art Walks on Palm Avenue, call 951-2314, or go to www.palmavenue.net. Towles Court Gallery Walks are from 6 to 10 p.m every third Friday of the month. Check out www.towlescourt.com for more details.
-By Anu Varma