Volume 9 | September 2021
September Piece Of Paradise:
Sarasota Art Museum
Eighty-five years ago Circus Master John Ringling gifted his personal art museum to the State of Florida, and we'd venture a guess that since that time it has been Sarasota's primary art establishment. We do love it! But a handful of years ago renovations began on the nearly 100-year-old (vacant) Sarasota High School building at 1001 South Tamiami Trail. We would frequently drive by the construction zone in anticipation of the finished product. In partnership with the Ringling College of Art and Design, a new museum - the Sarasota Art Museum (SAM) - opened in the last weeks of 2019. We would have gone in 2020 or even earlier this year, but are there any plans untouched by COVID?
This sign posted at the entrance says "We are committed to providing access to quality programs and exhibitions for our entire community."
Needless to say, we were delighted to discover upon walking in the gate that we had stumbled upon a free museum day! SAM brings in extra programming for this event on the last Sunday of each month. In addition to the regular exhibits there was live music, live art, an art/storytelling craft for kids, an adult art class, and a hands-on art activity for the grown-ups (pics below).

The museum features travelling, semi-permanent and site-specific exhibits. We explored "Art and Race Matters: The Career of Robert Colescott" (on display through October) and "Unraveling" (sculptural baskets on display through September). We also did an abbreviated walk through "Charles McGil: In the Rough." Unfortunately we didn't realize there was also an outdoor sculpture gallery! But no worry - we found an even more immersive experience.
This masterpiece was nearly finished when we walked in...
So we were given parts of a second design that featuring a flamingo. Ben was tasked with painting the flamingo's "keister" because, well, somebody had to do it!
We followed the sound of cheerfully productive voices to an art lab down one of the white-walled hallways. We were instantly welcomed and easily persuaded to each paint a piece of a puzzle-style community artwork. The room host was full of compliments and jokes for everyone. Each artist initialed the back of his or her piece and returned it for the museum's collection.

Although doing a bit of painting was a treat, Miranda's favorite part of the visit was Vita in Motu. According to two separate museum volunteers, we didn't even see it near its full glory (suggested viewing time is right when the museum opens). It is a mesmerizing setup of colored window filters playing against structured glass (acrylic?) panes, creating color combinations that evolve from one footstep to the next. And colors on the walls. And stylized views of the sky. When we saw it, it was airy, playful and wondrous! The museum is posting visitor-submitted photos to document the many moods of this site-specific installation.
This is one side of the Vita in Motu installation, but a mere fraction of its personality.
The museum has plenty of space to stretch and flex its creative energies. Its collections seem inclined toward pushing the envelope and presenting fresh perspectives. Spend some time here to challenge your thought routine or exercise your (trained or untrained) artistic muscles. This specific visit brought an old phrase to mind...
Nearby Considerations
Businesses on Hillview Street.
Not far from SAM is a tidy, upscale boutique shopping and dining area known as Southside Village. Just head north out of the museum, make a U turn to head southbound on US 41 and take a right after the hospital onto Hillview Street. On our recent visit we continued on Hillview Street and made a left onto Osprey Avenue. We parked at Morton's and made our way in to the Sarasota landmark.
The market carries specialty meats, cheeses, wines, and baked goods. They also have a deli counter/salad bar and limited outdoor seating. We forgot to snag a photo of the bakery counter but it's where we spent most of our time. We selected five baked sweets, bagged them and brought them home. Later that night we split them into bite size pieces so the entire family could play the role of food critic. There was no clear winner, so the best advice we can give you is to indulge and order a few, too!
Businesses on Osprey Avenue.
Homeowner Tip
Post-storm Roof Precautions
After a large storm or hurricane, visually inspect your roof for signs of damage. Call a professional for a thorough inspection if you notice popped nails; lost, missing or damaged singles/tiles, or any signs of discoloration on the roof or indoor ceilings. Read more tips here and remember: Coastal Haven offers post-storm home watch visits.
Coastal Haven Home Watch of Sarasota delivers peace of mind... for your piece of paradise. Share your Sarasota pieces of paradise with us! We'll include them in an upcoming newsletter for other Home Watch clients to consider during their next stay in Sarasota.