Best New Public Art Trend

In 2020, murals seemed to be popping up everywhere searching our history (like two murals in the Lido Beach Pavilion and two to mark the centenary of the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce in their downtown headquarters) to show our diversity and our art (in West Coast) Celebrating The House of the Black Theater Troupe) and Exploring the Power of Myth (1526 Fruitville Road). They join the Sarasota Heroes of Second Street, whose partnership Sarasota Magazine was proud of last spring. There’s more to come.

Best New Arts Pivot

The pandemic that sparked almost every arts organization in the city quickly dominated filming, recording, live streaming, YouTube videos, and any other way to stay connected and safely showcase their music, theater, visual art, and more. While nothing can replace personal entertainment, in dark times it has been comforting to sit in front of our screens and share what local art has to offer.

Best new outdoor entertainment

We have always been lucky to be able to enjoy an outdoor show or concert because of our climate. Covid-19 concerns made outdoor gatherings even more popular. To name a few, the Sarasota Orchestra has partnered with local parks to put on small performances. Asolo Rep built its terrace stage outdoors and kicked off with a welcome Christmas show. The alignment of spots like Selby Gardens and the Hermitage Artist Retreat beach added natural beauty to the mix. A trend that is worth maintaining.

Best new dialogue on diversity

The Suncoast Black Arts Collaborative, a nonprofit that promotes the unifying power of the arts, isn’t entirely new, but some of its initiatives are, including the Arts and Racial Justice Panel series – “Courageous Conversations” where art leaders engage in open discussions come together where we are and where we need to be when it comes to inclusion. The panels are not only thought-provoking, they are also free. suncoastblackartscollaborative.org

Best New Arts Marriage

Sometimes when an idea is a win-win, it’s just obvious. Such was the case with the merger of Marie Selby Botanical Gardens and Historic Spanish Point last May. Selby, with a growing number of visitors, expanded its presence in South County, and Historic Spanish Point benefited from Selby’s financial support. And we are all beneficiaries of grander nature and history programming in two places. Somewhere, Marie Selby and Bertha Palmer are smiling. Downtown Sarasota campus at 1534 Mound St. and Campus at Historic Spanish Point, 337 N. Tamiami Trail, Osprey, (941) 366-5731; selby.org