Sarasota Studio Artists Association Presents Second Saturday Open Studios
More than 30 artists will open their studios to visitors during this free event.
Saturday, March 11, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
(February 24, 2023) Sarasota Studio Artists Association (SSAA) is a dynamic community of more than 70 regionally based artists. The creators in this broad-based coalition work in a diverse range of genres, mediums and styles. More than 30 SSAA artists will open their studios to visitors on Saturday, March 11, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Open Studios tours take place on the second Saturday of every month. To plan a visit, visit SRQartists.com for an interactive map and information on participating artists.
Jen Palmer, the founding director of SSAA, notes that the Sarasota visual art community is flourishing, particularly in two neighborhoods: the Limelight District on the perimeter of the city, and in north Sarasota near the Sarasota airport.
“SSAA is thrilled to see the emergence of new art hubs at these two Sarasota locations,” says Palmer. “Having a high density of studios in convenient locations is a win for tourists who are interested in viewing art by local artists and want the studios to be walkable and easy to locate. It’s also a win for the artists to have strength in numbers and work together to promote their businesses. We are excited to see the local visual arts community begin to experience this heightened attention and support.”
Palmer explains that the Limelight District is quickly transitioning into a major arts destination and small business incubator. “It’s now home to 27 artists, each acting as an independently owned small business. The beauty is that they are all within a few blocks, making it easy to walk from studio to studio,” she says, adding that Palmer Modern is the newest to establish a studio and gallery space there (925 N. Lime Avenue). “Craig Palmer’s studio and gallery walls exhibit his dramatic, large-format abstract art designed to complement the modern and mid-century architecture that Sarasota is famous for.” Joining Palmer at his space are Jane Cohen, Mark Lewis, Gary Park, Collin Rowland, and Catherine Armbruster.
Nearby, Creative Liberties now has two locations in the neighborhood, featuring 19 artists who exhibit and work there. The Creative Liberties collective is built on a foundation of “artists helping artists” and its mission is to offer opportunities for artists of all levels and mediums to get exposure and sell their work in a community space. (Creative Liberties locations are 901-B Apricot Avenue and across the street at 927 N Lime Avenue.) The Limelight District also hosts the original pioneer-artist of the neighborhood, Virginia Hoffman (2225 6th Street). She is joined by Nancy Cusack.
Palmer says that a vibrant art community has taken root at the Oak Park Business Center (1748 Independence Boulevard) in north Sarasota. The hub is now home to 10 artists. The original artists at this location include Liz Cole, Jill Krasner, Joanne Thomas, Janet Mishner, and Linda Richichi. Steph Gimson, a contemporary abstract artist, recently opened an art collective next door to the original group. Four talented artists working in various media joined Steph: Lel Edmondson, Sheryl Shakinovsky, Kathy Peterson and Chris Blond.
Palmer notes that viewing a work of art can be an uplifting experience. But meeting an artist in the studio where they create takes it to a whole new level.
“Open studio visits are always fascinating,” she says. “It’s a chance to interact with artists, learn about their creative processes, and support them by buying their art.” Palmer adds that these artistic close encounters are the opposite of elitist. “There’s something for everyone, at every price point, from $10 to $10,000. Visitors can meet mixed-media artists, realist painters, portrait painters, photographers, sculptors, abstract artists and much more.”
Second Saturday Open Studios is SSAA’s most public initiative. But there’s a deeper purpose behind these tours. According to Palmer, it’s all about restoring the visual artist’s central place in Sarasota. “Independent visual artists are an integral part of Sarasota’s arts culture,” she says. “Shining a spotlight on their talents is our mission at SSAA.”
Palmer and her husband, the artist Craig Palmer, launched the organization in late 2021 with that ambitious goal in mind.
“Sarasota has a long-standing reputation as an ‘arts town,’” she says. “To make that reputation a reality, we want to support visual artists who live and work here. By creating a personal, one-one-one connection between art lovers, collectors and artists, our Open Studios help restore a welcoming arts community. SSAA has also created a welcoming community for artists who are new to the area, and provides a supportive environment for creatives who are passionate about their pursuits.”
Visit SRQartists.com to discover artists, studios and events happening within Sarasota County’s cultural art community.
Sarasota Studio Artists Association
Sarasota Studio Artists Association (SSAA) was created to restore a welcoming artist community and support visual artists who have a studio open to the public. Its independent visual artists are an integral part of Sarasota’s arts culture, and the mission of SSAA is to shine a spotlight on their amazing talents. Visit SRQartists.com.