Susan McLeod and Michael Shelton join a team of dedicated people.
(Sarasota, FL) Art Center Sarasota has welcomed Susan McLeod and Michael Shelton to its board of directors. Howard Davis, ACS’s board chair, says, “Susan and Michael are terrific additions to our board. They bring decades of successful local experience, valuable expertise, and deep commitment to continuing our legacy as the region’s leading edge, community-based visual arts organization.”
Susan McLeod is a Realtor with Michael Saunders and has been involved with the Sarasota arts community since moving here in 1971. She has owned a gallery, sat on many boards, and has been an exhibiting artist. Most recently, McLeod chaired Sarasota Season of Sculpture’s board of directors. Her national and international affiliations include board membership with the International Sculpture Center in New York and membership with the Florida Association of Public Art Professionals. “Thanks to Sarasota’s visual arts, our community is recognized as the heart of Florida’s arts and culture,” says McLeod. “Art Center Sarasota serves as our region’s leading visual arts advocate and it’s my pleasure to help further its cause.”
Michael Shelton is a retired attorney and a driving force in many Sarasota non-profits. He is the founder and board chair of Booker Promise Foundation, Inc., which offers scholarships to all economically disadvantaged students at Booker High School. Shelton was the co-founder and board chair of Perlman Music Program Suncoast, Inc., served as the co-executive director of the Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe, and was the managing director of the Sarasota Ballet of Florida. He was also a co-founder, board member and executive director of Embracing Our Differences.
McLeod and Shelton join a board that includes Howard Davis, chair; Sam Savin, vice chair; Ramsey Frangie, treasurer; Ned Norris, secretary; and Carolyn Benedict-Drew, governance chair.
Lisa Berger, Art Center Sarasota’s executive director, says that the two new board members share a commitment, along with the current board and staff, to see the organization grow, prosper, and continue to bring exceptional quality visual art programming to Sarasota.
With the sudden closure of the building due to the Covid-19 pandemic Berger says, “We had to rethink our current offerings and pivot to an online presentation of our exhibitions and educational programs.”
Berger explains that, “We quickly adapted our interoffice communications to Zoom chats and used Slack for inter-staff text messaging. The exhibitions were recorded as video tours with narration by the artists and are on our website to view. We are continuing to develop content that is specific to visual art culture in Sarasota, which will be entertaining as well as informative.”
Offering this online presence was a challenge. Finding new sources of funding was another. According to Berger, Art Center Sarasota rose to both challenges.
“Thanks to immediate action and help from our board of directors, we were able to identify new funding possibilities to keep the center in business through the crisis and recovery,” she says. She adds that a PPP (Payroll Protection Program) loan was secured through Sabal Palm Bank to fund ACS’ staff and utilities through May. According to Berger, “We’ll need to cover any additional expenses by dipping into reserves and fundraising.”
It’s a challenging time—and the crisis won’t be over for a while. But Berger remains confident.
“Times have changed, but our mission in the community hasn’t,” she says. “By any means necessary, we’ll continue to be the leading visual arts advocate in Sarasota. We’re confident that our dedicated supporters will be with us all the way.”
For more information, visit www.artsarasota.org.
About Art Center Sarasota
Art Center Sarasota was the first arts and cultural institution in Sarasota. It was founded in 1926 as the “Sarasota Art Association” by Marcia Rader, the art supervisor for the Sarasota County schools district. In the early years, the group met monthly and sponsored exhibits in rented facilities. The Association was incorporated as a not-for-profit organization in 1943 and has been in its current location in the Sarasota Bayfront Cultural District since 1949. Art Center Sarasota is now a membership-based organization that offers curated and juried exhibitions, adult and youth education programs, outreach initiatives for underserved youth, and culturally related public programming. Art Center Sarasota’s mission is to inspire individual creative expression, nurture artistic talent and provide the community with accessible and diverse visual art opportunities.
Art Center Sarasota
707 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota, FL 34236
Phone: 941-365-2032 Fax: 941-366-0585