Education Foundation’s February 26 Imagine Benefit
To Auction Top 25 Student Art Works
Sarasota, Florida – February 24, 2009 – More than 400 party-goers are expected to attend a color-filled evening at Michael’s On East Friday night, when the Education Foundation of Sarasota’s Evening of Excellence kicks off with a reception at 6:30 p.m. An elegant dinner will be capped by the live auction of 25 pieces of exceptional student art work led by auctioneer Jimmy Dean.
Student art awards of $500 to $2,000 will be presented to each of the 22 winning students, three of whom landed two pieces in the top 25. Combining the generosity of art award sponsors with proceeds from the event, over $40,000 in monetary and in-kind donations will be awarded to support student artists, the art teachers and high school art departments.
Evening of Excellence is not only an innovative art program but also an established Sarasota social gathering that raises significant funds each year, benefitting 41,500 students in the public schools through the work of the Education Foundation. The program has raised more than $1.6 million for Sarasota County’s public schools over the past fifteen years, while raising awareness about the vital role the arts play in learning.
This year's theme is IMAGINE, taking inspiration from the student whose award-winning work was adapted for the gala invitation. Meg Mahoney chairs the event committee. Honorary Chair is Allan H. Weis/Advanced Network & Services, philanthropists and longtime Education Foundation supporters.
Masterpiece Sponsors are Bank of America, W.G. Mills, Inc., Advanced Network & Services – Allan & Sandy Weis, and Herald-Tribune Media Group. Connoisseur Sponsors are Fawley Bryant Architects, Inc., Harvard Jolly Architecture, Jon F. Swift, Inc., Tandem Construction, and Willis A. Smith Construction, Inc.
Virtuoso Sponsors include Comcast, Jeff and Cindy Kaiser, Norton, Hammersley, Lopez & Skokos P.A., Ringling College of Art and Design, Rob Robinson and Lisa Carlton, SchenkelSchultz Architecture, Shumaker, Loop & Kendrick, LLP, Sutter Roofing, and Willis.
Artiste Sponsors are Andrick and Associates, Inc., Engineering Matrix, Inc., Florida Power & Light Co., Gulf Coast Community Foundation of Venice, Hill, Barth & King LLC + LaGasse Utilities, Inc., Kraft Construction Company, Inc., Matthews Eastmoore Hardy Crauwels & Garcia, P.A., McIntyre Elwell & Strammer General Contractors, Robert W. Baird & Company, SunTrust, and Verizon. U.S. Trust sponsored the Evening of Excellence Juried Art Show reception in January.
Student art awards, scholarships and grants include Bank of America’s Best of Show and Best of School awards. The 2010 Best of Show piece is New Orleans III, a haunting digital photograph by Sarasota High School senior Josh Parenti. Parenti has two winning photographs represented in the auction.
The Omar Y. Cooper Artistic Achievement Award goes to a high school junior who also receives a year-long mentorship with an arts professional. The Mary Mills Damon Art Awards and W.G. Mills Student Art Awards are sponsored by W.G. Mills, Inc. Gerald S. Kaplan sponsors the Nancy Kaplan Art for Today Award in honor of his wife, an artist. The Caroline and Michael Zucker Free Spirit Art Award encourages a young artist to explore new horizons in his or her imagination. The proprietors of Main Street Oyster Bar, a downtown Sarasota restaurant, encourage artistry and passion through their sponsorship of at least one art award each year. The Evelyn Bryant Sculpture Award, Helen C. Martin Imagine Forever Award and awards from The Burd Family, Caldwell Trust Company, Lisa Carlton and Rob Robinson, Randy and Karen Crete, Freeman Orthodontics, Friends of the Foundation, Meg Mahoney, and Susan and Philip Morris, go to young artists who explore a variety of artistic media to express what inspires them the most.
The student artists donate their winning art works, which are then elaborately framed by local galleries that donate their time, materials, and talent. Participating framers include Art & Frame of Sarasota, Collectors Gallery & Framery, The Collectors Wall Fine Art Gallery, Final Touch Frame and Gallery, Frame It Up…, The Galleries at Northgate, Gulf Breeze Framing, Gulf Gate Frame Center, Jessica’s Picture Framing, Karchelle’s Custom Framing and Art Gallery, Kennedy Studios Graphics & Framing, Uptown Framers/Framer of the Arts, and William Hartman Galleries.
The Evening of Excellence volunteer committee headed by Meg Mahoney includes Mina Ajrab, Lisa Beckstein, Cathi Bell, Sherry Burd, Kelly Collins, Christine Cremer, Jackie Cutrone, Tracy Frascone, Chellie Gardiner, Melba Jimenez, Mollie Johnson, Iris Kleiber, Alina Klein, Helen Martin, Cecelia Mills, Alix Morin, Hartley O'Brien, Melissa O'Buch, Janice Piedra, Yen Reed, Dotti Sechrist, Stephanie Shaw, Renee Sleight, Janey Swift, Taylor Tollerton, Anita Zimmerman, and Caroline Zucker. Christine A. Brown is the program director.