Our Commitment to the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall
The Van Wezel Foundation remains committed to the continuing excellence of the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. The Van Wezel Foundation has given generous support to:
- Fund the Van Wezel's education programs.
- Provide busing reimbursements for public schools from Sarasota, Manatee, Charlotte and DeSoto counties.
- Sponsor past and current Van Wezel season programs.
- Annually sponsor free FridayFest summer concerts on the bay front.
- Purchase new Steinway pianos.
- Remodel of the Harvey Rothenberg Founders Lounge and Guest Artist Meet & Greet Room.
- New Grand Drape and Liner for the stage.
- New Sails on the Patio.
- New Ladies Restrooms and a private restroom for Founders Lounge - Summer 2015
- Since inception, the foundation has given almost $12 million in funding to the hall for their programs.
About the Hall
Set along Sarasota's beautiful bayfront, the landmark Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, affectionately known as the "purple cow" has been entertaining audiences with a variety of music, dance, theater and comedy for 45 years.
Built in 1968 with funds from a city bond referendum and a bequest from philanthropists Lewis and Eugenia Van Wezel, the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall opened its doors in 1970. The Frank Lloyd Wright Foundation (in association with Taliesan Associated Architects) design actually came from two seashells from the Sea of Japan which are permanently on display in the Hall. The lavender and purple color scheme, selected by Frank Lloyd Wright's widow, Olgivanna Lloyd Wright, has helped make the building a Saraosta landmark.
Since opening it's doors in 1970 with a production of Fiddler on the Roof, the Hall has welcomed a broad range of performers and shows, including world-class symphonies, both classical and modern dance companies, jazz artists, pop legends, Comedy and Broadway. The 1,736 seat hall averages around 140 performances a year and also plays host to many of Sarasota's cultural organizations, including the Sarasota Orchestra and Sarasota Ballet.
The Van Wezel's educational and outreach programs have also touched the community, reaching out to everyone from toddlers to senior citizens. The Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall and the Sarasota County School Board are members of the prestigious Performing Arts Centers and Schools: Partners in Education Program of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. This partnership provides professional development workshops for teachers.
*** Please note: If you are an Annual Friends Society Member of the Van Wezel Foundation, please call the Foundation at 941-366-5578 to purchase tickets.