Sarasota Performing Arts Center Architect Selection Task Force Announcement 

Headshot of Dr. Jenne K. Britell.

Originally published by Sarasota Scene

Van Wezel Foundation and the City of Sarasota are pleased to announce the community members who will serve on the architect selection task force for the Sarasota Performing Arts Center. The five distinguished members of the task force bring a breadth of experience, passion, and a commitment to realizing the promise of this transformative project for Sarasota and the region. 

The task force will be chaired by Dr. Jenne K. Britell, Vice Chair Van Wezel Foundation Board of Directors. Dr. Britell has been an acclaimed director and trustee of public companies and private organizations for over 20 years, following an international career as a senior officer of several financial institutions, including GE Capital, and Chairman of United Rentals. The task force includes Mary Bensel,  Executive Director of The Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall and member of the Broadway League and Florida Presenters; Mark Famiglio, co-founder of Sarasota Film Festival, a 50-year Sarasotan, and investor in the development and growth of many of Sarasota’s neighborhoods; Michele Hooper, CEO of the Directors Council and highly regarded governance expert and business leader recently named to Forbes 50/50 Women Making an Impact; and Dr. Larry R. Thompson, long-time President of Ringling College of Art and Design who successfully led the creation of the Sarasota Art Museum and served as the founding executive director of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum. 

“The arts have the magic and the power to transform lives and communities at every level. I have seen this power as a participant in similar large scale cultural projects elsewhere. Now I am honored to bring this experience home –to Sarasota,” said Task Force Chair, Dr. Jenne K. Britell.

The RFP will be issued by the City through their BidSync public system to attract national interest from a broad and diverse number of respondents. The architect selection process is estimated to take six months and will be funded through an appropriation from the State of Florida. The meetings of the task force will be open to the public and the selection process will culminate in a short list of finalists who will come to Sarasota to present their qualifications.

“This is a once-in-a-generation project for the City of Sarasota and as such, the most accomplished and experienced professionals were included in the architect selection task force,” said City of Sarasota Manager Marlon Brown. “This group understands how important a new performing arts center is to the legacy of Sarasota. I’m looking forward to working closely with them as we move through the proposal process.”

 “We are fortunate to have such a prestigious group of community leaders that will help create an iconic symbol for Sarasota,” said Cheryl Mendelson, CEO of the Van Wezel Foundation. “With the opening of the first phase of the Bay Park, we are an important step closer to fulfilling the promise of the more than 18,000 community members across the region who shared with us their aspirations for a new performing arts center.” 

The orientation meeting of the architect selection task force will take place on October 31, 2022.

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