Van Wezel Foundation Thanks Governor DeSantis for Signing 2022 General Appropriations Act with Funding for Sarasota Performing Arts Center

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SARASOTA, Friday, June 3, 2022 – The Van Wezel Foundation today thanked Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for signing the 2022 General Appropriations Act (HB 5001), signed on Thursday, June 2, 2022, which included $990,000 in funding to support the architect selection for the envisioned Sarasota Performing Arts Center. As a civic and cultural icon for the community, region and state, the design and engineering of the new performing arts center will focus on resiliency and sustainability.

“The Van Wezel Foundation extends its sincerest gratitude to Governor DeSantis for supporting the architect selection process for the future Sarasota Performing Arts Center in the 2023 budget,” said Foundation CEO Cheryl Mendelson. “We also thank State Senator Joe Gruters and State Representative Fiona McFarland who have been champions of this transformative project that will reinforce Sarasota as a preeminent destination for the performing arts.”

Recently, the Sarasota City Commission approved the execution of a partnership agreement with the Foundation for the planning, financing, design and construction of the new Sarasota Performing Arts Center to be located in the heart of the Bay Park. This state appropriation will contribute to the public funding portion of the campaign lead by the city. The Foundation has also launched their private philanthropy campaign.

“Thank you to Governor DeSantis for signing a budget that will bring critical dollars home to support the city’s commitment to our partnership with the Van Wezel Foundation to build the future Sarasota Performing Arts Center which will serve as an economic engine for our area,” said City of Sarasota Mayor Erik Arroyo. “We are also grateful for the steadfast support of State Senator Joe Gruters and State Representative Fiona McFarland for their dedication in helping us to realize the promise of this legacy project for generations to come.”


The Van Wezel Foundation’s mission is to create and sustain a vibrant performing arts center, advance education, and enrich communities by inspiring minds through the power of the arts. The Foundation has partnered with the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall since 1987 to support arts education throughout our region, serving more than 50,000 students and their families annually with enriching arts-based education opportunities and professional development for more than 400 teachers across five counties. The Van Wezel Foundation is leading the vision to build a new Sarasota Performing Arts Center as a public-private partnership with the city, and in collaboration with the Bay Park Conservancy and Van Wezel Hall. To learn more about the new Sarasota Performing Arts Center and get involved, visit For more information on the Foundation and its mission, visit, or join us on Facebook and Instagram.

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