The Van Wezel foundation seeks to create an elevated experience for the new Sarasota Performing Arts Center

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The Van Wezel foundation seeks to create an elevated experience for the new Sarasota Performing Arts Center
By Annette Gutierrez, SNN TV

SARASOTA – The master plan calls for a new hall to sit on stilts. What is a parking lot now, will soon become a Bayfront park with, what Van Wezel Foundation considers its crown jewel, in the center of it all.

The 50-year-old Van Wezel Hall presents challenges in providing a world-class performing arts center to the Suncoast. After six years of planning, the city of Sarasota approved the master plan about a year ago.

The Van Wezel Foundation plans to take the vision of creating a new performing art center to new heights… literally and figuratively.


Planning ahead for ecological conditions related to sea rise, CEO of the Van Wezel Foundation, Cheryl Mendelson, says the building will sit on stilts.

“The idea is you go to the baseline of FEMA and then we take a look at how we would need to raise on this flat surface here in a parking lot,” Cheryl Mendelson said. “What height the building would need to be at. So, that in essence, puts the building up onto stilts.”

The idea of raising the building parallels the vision of elevating Sarasota, enhancing the patron experience.

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