Ken Thompson and the Making of Modern Sarasota: Conversation at the Crocker

Anyone intrigued by the recent and turbulent history of Sarasota will want to be in the audience at the Crocker Memorial Church on Tuesday, April 8, 2014 when historian Jeff LaHurd and real estate/architecture expert Harold Bubil engage one another in a lively conversation about Ken Thompson, Sarasota’s longest-serving city manager and the man responsible for moving Sarasota into the modern era.

This non-elected public servant had an unorthodox style achieving progress and it will all be revealed at this Conversation at The Crocker which starts at 7 p.m. The event is free to members of the Historical Society and $10 for guests.

“Ken Thompson was appointed city manager in 1950 and guided the community for the next 38 years,”

said LaHurd, whose latest book is about Thompson and his influence on the development of Sarasota. “It would be difficult to find anyone in Sarasota’s history who exerted such an influence on this community. Waldo Profit called him the architect of modern Sarasota and Bruce Franklin, president of the ADP Group once remarked when Thompson was city manager, it did not take 10 years to get a project completed.”

LaHurd’s research found Thompson to be a man of integrity and above reproach in all his business dealings. “He was a brilliant Renaissance man who enjoyed flying, sailing, and creating art,” continued LaHurd. “With Ken Thompson, the buck stopped on his desk and he was capable of making far reaching decisions. At a time when segregation was the “law” of the land, Thompson de-segregated the public library and Bobby Jones Golf Course with a telephone call to the manager of each. As an important person in Sarasota’s history I rank Ken Thompson with John Hamilton Gillespie, Owen Burns, Bertha Palmer and John Ringling.” You’ll want to know more, so be in the audience on Tuesday, April 8 at the Crocker Memorial Church. Bring your questions and any memories you have of Ken Thompson to share.

Conversations take place at The Crocker Memorial Church and proceeds help to maintain the Bidwell-Wood House (1882, Sarasota’s oldest private residence) and the Crocker Memorial Church (1901). The Crocker Memorial Church is located at 1260 12th Street in Pioneer Park, Sarasota, one block off North Tamiami Trail at 12th Street. Chairs of Conversations at The Crocker are Lynn Harding and Marsha Fottler. Docent-led tours of the two buildings are available and the gift shop is open before each Conversation event. For more information call  364-9076.

Speaking to God in Different Voices: Conversation at the Crocker

How did diverse religious groups influence the early growth and character of Sarasota?

Sarasota Methodist Episcopal Church in Sarasota, 1893

The village of Sarasota’s earliest church was chartered in 1891 as the Sarasota Methodist Episcopal Church. Manatee Village circuit rider Rev. E. F. Gates brought recently ordained Rev. William B. Tresca to be founding minister.

The congregations that pioneers of the Sarasota area established became civic and social centers in addition to places of worship and their importance increased as the little villages evolved into organized towns, cities and counties. People looked to their churches for spiritual support that also enriched social lives and fostered educational advancement.

Four experts in church history gather on Tuesday, February 11, 2014 at the Crocker Memorial Church (1260 12th Street, Pioneer Park) to engage the audience in a guided conversation about the historically significant churches that had a major impact on the development of Sarasota before 1930.

Speaking to God in Different Voices is part of a series of community dialogues called Conversations at The Crocker. Organized by the Historical Society of Sarasota County and sponsored by SARASOTA Magazine, Conversations at The Crocker events highlight specific aspects of Sarasota’s past and examines pivotal events and people.

Crocker Memorial Church dates from the first days of the 20th century

Crocker Memorial Church, where our Conversation will take place, dates from 1901 and was originally located at what is now Tamiami Trail and Bee Ridge Road. It served a minimum of three different congregations and continues, in the 21st century, as a community meeting place, a locale for wedding and other celebrations, and a venue for classes, clubs, and public and private events.

Leading this conversation is Kim Sheintal, author of the book Jews of Sarasota-Manatee. Sheintal came to Sarasota in 1971 and has served as president of five local Jewish organizations. She is president of the Jewish Genealogical Society of Southwest Florida  and serves on the board at Temple Emanu-El.
“There are upwards of 200 churches just in Sarasota and our collective church heritage is impressive,” said Sheintal. “There is too much information for a single Conversation so we are focusing on churches and synagogues established before 1930. We will cover as much as we can and what we don’t get to will be another Conversation next year. I hope people in the audience will share memories about churches and synagogues in Sarasota because that is the way that history is accumulated and documented. Each time I present a lecture on my book, I learn something from the audience and I’m sure that will be the case with this Conversation.”
Joining Sheintal on the stage will be Ohio native Ted Cover. He moved to Sarasota in 2000. Cover is the Historian/Archivist for St. Martha’s Church and his other avocations include model railroading, history of technology and history of the Sarasota area.
Also on the stage will be Treva Robinson who moved to Sarasota in 1964 and joined First United Methodist a year later. After several volunteer assignments, she joined the staff in 1970 as membership secretary and later church secretary. She retired last year with a vast storehouse of knowledge.
Also contributing to the Conversation will be Dr. Carl Stockton, Professor of History and Academic Dean emeritus, University of Indianapolis. He is active with the National  Episcopal Historians and Archivists, the Historical Society of the Episcopal Church and the Ecclesiastical Historical Society. He is a writer and reviewer for historical journals and is President of the Sarasota Association of Campus Ministry.

Conversations take place at The Crocker Memorial Church and proceeds help to maintain the Bidwell-Wood House (1882, Sarasota’s oldest private residence) and the Crocker Memorial Church (1901). This event begins at 7 p.m. Tuesday February 11  and is free to Historical Society members; $10 for guests. Chairs of Conversations at The Crocker are Lynn Harding and Marsha Fottler. At 6pm, join us for docent-led tours of our campus and to shop at the gift shop before each Conversation event. For additional information, contact Linda Garcia, Site Manager, at 364-9076.

Historic photo from the Sarasota County Archives.

On the Street where you Live: Conversation at the Crocker

Bob Plunkett to moderate January's Conversation at the Crocker on Jan. 14 2014sion at the Historical Society of Sarasota County

Author and real estate junkie Bob Plunket leads a Conversation at The Crocker about how various neighborhoods developed in Sarasota on Tuesday, January 14 at 7 p.m. at The Crocker Memorial Church, 1260 12th Street in Pioneer Park, Sarasota.

A lively and informative discussion about the history and development of significant neighborhoods in Sarasota. You’ll learn a lot and get to voice your own opinion on places to live – then and now.

Sarasota officially became a real estate destination in1885 when 60 people from Scotland, who had purchased land in this area from the Edinburgh-based Florida Mortgage and Investment Company, arrived on an uncharacteristically chilly December day at what is now lower Main Street excited to establish neighborhoods and a town. They were soon disappointed with the mud road and wood huts they saw.

Then it snowed…

… Want to know what happened next? Then be sure to be in the audience at the Crocker Memorial Church (1260 12th Street, Pioneer Park) on Tuesday, January 14 when a small group of gabby researchers talk to one another and to you about the development of significant neighborhoods in Sarasota. The event is part of the series Conversations at The Crocker and is presented by the Historical Society of Sarasota County (HSOSC). The event is free to Historical Society members and $10 for the general public. The fun starts at 7 p.m.

Conversation leader is Bob Plunket, who has been writing about Sarasota’s people and places for over 30 years. His articles currently appear regularly in SARASOTA Magazine and The Observer, plus national publications such as Barron’s.  “After owning eight different houses in Sarasota over the years,” he said, “I’m obsessed about all the amazing neighborhoods in Sarasota where you can own, rent, and be foreclosed in. And the history of all of these neighborhoods is entirely fascinating from the street names to the famous people who lived in them. For instance, do you know why there’s an Ocean Boulevard on Siesta Key when the city isn’t near any ocean? Turns out the street was named after Captain Louis Roberts’s wife, whose given name was Ocean Hansen. Roberts was an early developer of Siesta Key and had a hotel on the island that he expanded from his house.”

Joining Bob Plunket will be  Dr. Clifford Smith, Senior Planner, Historic Preservation, City of Sarasota.  Also on the stage will be Margi Baskerwille Nanny. Along with her former husband Jerry King, they developed Centergate. King was one of the Sarasota’s top real estate developers of the 1960s to 1980s and with his family developed Southgate, and several and several other neighborhoods that will be discussed.

On The Street Where You Live is the fourth event  this season in Conversations at The Crocker, a series now in its second successful year. Conversations at The Crocker events are organized and produced by the Historical Society of Sarasota County (HSOSC) with support from SARASOTA Magazine. Conversations at The Crocker events highlight specific aspects of Sarasota’s past and examine pivotal events and people who have influenced Sarasota today.

All Conversations take place at The Crocker Memorial Church and proceeds from this panel discussion series help to maintain the Historical Society’s two heritage properties at Pioneer Park – the Bidwell-Wood House (1882, Sarasota’s oldest private residence) and the Crocker Memorial Church (1901). Docent-led tours of both buildings are available an hour before each of the Conversations at The Crocker events. The Gift shop is also open prior to Conversation events.  Chairs of Conversations at The Crocker are Lynn Harding and Marsha Fottler. President of the Historical Society of Sarasota County is Howard Rosenthal. Site Manager is Linda Garcia.  For additional information about Conversations at Crocker,  contact Linda Garcia at 364-9076

 

Circus Circus! December’s Conversation at the Crocker!

Deborah Walk,  Curator of the Ringling Circus Museum, invites three famous circus friends to sit and chat about performing, rehearsing at winter quarters and much more. Hear insider stories about circus luminaries and how they influenced the development of Sarasota and Venice while thrilling audiences all over the world.

Circus Circus, the December 2013 Conversation at the Crocker, by the Hisotrical Society of Sarasota CountyDeborah Walk, Tibbals Curator of the Circus Museum and Curator of Historical Resources at the Ringling Museum, takes to the stage at the Crocker Memorial Church on Tuesday, December 10 for a conversation with three famous circus performers who will share insider stories about life under the big top. Joining Walk will be Jackie LeClaire, Karen Bell and Mary Jane Miller for a evening of thrills, chills and circus recollections that will leave you breathless.

This Circus Circus! event, organized and presented by the Historical Society of Sarasota County (HSOSC), takes place on Tuesday, December 10, starting at 7 p.m. at the Crocker Memorial Church, 1260 12th Street (Pioneer Park) in Sarasota. HSOSC members admitted free; guests, $10.

In 1942, Mary Jane Miller’s friends coaxed her to answer an ad in the Herald-Tribune that announced  Ringling Bros. & Barnum and Bailey Circus was looking for girls for the season.  Against her mother’s wishes, Mary Jane went to the Winter Quarters and tried out. Tuffy Genders, aerial director of the show, was reluctant to audition her because of her young age and lack of experience. But, he asked Mary Jane to climb a flexible metal ladder 40 feet high. He watched her quickly scramble to the top, hang on by one hand and wave to him.  She was hired, went on the road and the rest is history. Mary Jane spent 13 seasons with Ringling. She performed nearly every type of circus act – elephants, flying act, iron jaw (hanging by your teeth), even handstands on the top of the Wallenda’s Roman Ladders act. Mary Jane also appeared in the 1952 Cecil B. DeMille movie The Greatest Show On Earth. Her stories are priceless and she’s anxious to share them with Conversation guests on December 10 at the Crocker Memorial Church.

Jackie LeClaire

Click to visit Jackie’s web site

Jackie LeClaire has delighted and amazed audiences for almost seven decades. His first salaried position was as a clown in partnership with his father on tour with the Ringling Bros. & Barnum and Bailey Circus. At 18 he became an aerialist for a while before returning to clowning. But, Jackie kept up his trapeze skills and was a double for Cornel Wilde in the film, The Greatest Show on Earth. Jackie LeClaire has traveled the world making people laugh. He was inducted into the International Clown Hall of fame in 1966 and in 2002 he was inducted into the Circus Ring of Fame on St. Armands Circle. Although officially retired, Jackie continues spreading joy through programs such as Laughter Unlimited. In 2010 Jackie LeClaire was chosen by the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art as Circus Celebrity of the Year.

Karen Bell has been performing around the world as a clown for 28 years, beginning with an eight-year tour with Ringling Bros. Circus. She is a well-respected circus performing clown and a ‘producing’ clown for Ringling, Karen has created material for herself and other clowns who perform in the show. Karen has been a featured lecturer at the World Clown Annual Conference twice, the only female clown to be featured. She moved to Sarasota to work with Circus Sarasota’s outreach program, Laughter Unlimited in 2005. She develops humor-based interventions for senior citizens living in nursing facilities.

Deborah Walk is the Tibbals Curator of the Circus Museum and Curator of Historical Resources; she oversees the exhibition programs at the Circus Museum as well as the archival program.  She was head of the team that supervised the construction and installation of the Circus Museum’s Tibbals Learning Center, which opened in 2006. Deborah is a past president of the Society of Florida Archivists and Beta Phi Mu (National Honor Society for Library and Information Science): Gamma Chapter.  She is a past member of the State Historical Records Advisory Board and past chair of the Sarasota Historical Commission. She is Secretary for the board of directors of Circus Sarasota, advisory board member at HSOSC and incoming president of the national Circus Historical Society.

Conversations at The Crocker is an annual series of interactive programs focusing on various aspects of Sarasota’s past. Sponsorship of Conversations at The Crocker is provided by SARASOTA Magazine.

For more information about Circus, Circus at Conversations at The Crocker on December 10, call Linda Garcia, Site Manager at HSOSC, at 364-9076 Make plans to join the conversation.

It’s the next best thing to running away to join the circus.

Poster from the 1920s promoting the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. Credit: The Granger Collection, New York

How WW II Changed Sarasota: A Conversation at the Crocker

How We Were Forever Changed by World War II

Historian and author Dr. Gary Mormino is joined by historian Jeff LaHurd and real estate expert Harold Bubil for a “Conversations at the Crocker” event which explores how Sarasota, Bradenton and Venice were altered by World War II.
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Dr. Gary Mormino, esteemed authority on Florida and World War II will be joined by Sarasota-based historian and author Jeff LaHurd and Harold Bubil (Real Estate Editor, Sarasota Herald-Tribune) for a lively and informative conversation and illustrated presentation about how World War II powerfully Continue reading

Conversations at The Crocker 2013-2014

Here’s what we’ll be talking about at our monthly Conversations this coming season:

Conversations at The Crocker: Sarasota County & Her HistoryAll Conversations take place at the Crocker Memorial Church, 1260 12th Street (Pioneer Park), Sarasota, FL. All conversations start at 7 p.m. For more information, call Linda Garcia at (941) 364-9076. Members, free; Guests, $10
October 8, 2013: Florida in Context. A photography exhibit and sale as well as a discussion about discovering forgotten landscapes, buildings and residences in Florida and the value of documenting them with all kinds of cameras. Conversation leader is award-winning artist and photographer, Virginia Hoffman. She is joined by historian John McCarthy photographer Matt Allison. They will lead a discussion about preserving precious parts of vanishing Florida through camera documentation. They talk about some of their favorite hidden Florida places and offer advice and insider tips to amateur photographers who want to advance historic preservation through pictures.
November 12, 2013: Up in Arms: Sarasota During World War II:  Nationally acclaimed author/historian and expert on Florida during the War years, Dr. Gary Mormino, leads a lively discussion on how Sarasota was forever changed by World War II. He and fellow conversationalist historian Jeff LaHurd talk about the economic, social and cultural impact that local training bases had on the state and specifically on the Sarasota, Venice and Bradenton areas.
December 10, 2013: Circus, Circus! Deborah Walk, moderator. The curator of the Ringling Circus Museum gathers some friends together for a fascinating discussion about the Ringling Brothers Circus, but also the other circus enterprises that Sarasota has fostered as a result of the Ringling influence, such as Circus Sarasota and Sarasota Sailor Circus.  
January 14, 2014: The Street Where You Live – The Fascinating Way Neighborhoods Evolved in Sarasota. Author and real estate junkie Bob Plunket invites a few knowledgable friends to talk about the history of enclaves, developers, famous people who lived here and how streets and public buildings got their names. Chances are Bob will talk about your neighborhood. 
February 11, 2014: God By Many Names – How Sarasota Became Religiously Diverse: Kim Sheintal, author of a new book on the history of Jews in this part of Florida, leads a discussion about how and why Sarasota became such a religiously diverse community. Why are there so many churches in this town and who established them?
March 11, 2014: Batter Up: How Sarasota Became a Baseball Town. Sarasota has a passion for baseball and so does writer Charlie Huisking who is joined by sportswriter Doug Fernandez and baseball historian/author Ray Sinibaldi for an interactive audience-involving conversation. This trio of fans has impressive knowledge about how and why we became such a baseball mecca. Plenty of stories about the personalities, powerful people and loyal fans who made it happen.
April 8, 2014: Ken Thompson and the Making of Modern Sarasota. Everybody’s favorite historian Jeff LaHurd talks about his new book on legendary city manager Ken Thompson and gathers together a group of elected officials and politically influential people who knew and worked with Ken Thompson. Plenty of good stories here! 

 

All Conversations take place at the Crocker Memorial Church, 1260 12th Street (Pioneer Park), Sarasota, FL. All conversations start at 7 p.m. For more information, call Linda Garcia at (941) 364-9076.
Members, free; Guests, $10 (Become a member before the Conversations start and save big!)

Get ready to learn something NEW at the OLDest residence in Sarasota County!

Artists enjoy the Bidwell-Wood House at the Historical Society of Sarasota CountyWe’re excited to announce that the 2013-2014 Classes at the Park Schedule is now online!

Our traditional Classes on the Back Porch have been renamed Classes at the Park, reflecting our involvement in the wider community of Pioneer Park in Sarasota, this year’s syllabus starts with Yoga and ends with birdwatching… and you won’t believe the variety of classes in between!

While our Conversations at the Crocker focus monthly on historical info and interests, and our special events such as the Bay Cruise and Trolley Tours put residents and visitors alike in touch with Sarasota’s journey to 2013, our classes are focused on the here-and-now with up-to-date topics and education.

As far as non-members are concerned, class registration opens in September. But members not only get preferred pricing, but if you call our competent and just-plain-adorable Site Manager, Linda Garcia (who’s “standing by” in the Historical Society office Tues-Fri, 10 to 2), I’m sure she’ll let you snap up the limited enrollment spots now! (Tip: there are some one-session classes that your card club, Red Hat Ladies, neighbor group could turn into a private girls’ day out!)

Our Classes in the Park are a major source of operating funds for the non-profit Historical Society, so learn something and help us preserve, protect, and polish the Bidwell-Wood House and the Crocker Memorial Church at the same time.

It’s going to be a great year!

The 2013-2014 season of events at the Historical Society looks like it’s going to be great! We’re having everything from women’s history to pirates (the real-life history for adults PLUS the fun, PG-rated version!) to yoga classes. And our annual favorites, the Narrated Historic Sarasota Bay Le Barge Cruise and the private tour of Ca’d’Zan.

Here’s the Calendar of Events. Print it out and stick it on the fridge so you don’t miss a thing.

How Sarasota Became a Performing Arts Destination

How Sarasota Became a Performing Arts Destination

A panel of performing arts experts discusses how Sarasota evolved into a thriving performing arts community that attracts both tourists and permanent residents. This Conversation at the Crocker is the seventh in a series of year-long panel discussions organized and produced by the Historical Society of Sarasota County with support from SARASOTA Magazine.

There is more to the Sarasota area than great beaches, a welcoming climate and key lime pie. Tourists and those moving to our shores know that Sarasota offers a lively performing arts community with its own opera house, ballet company, symphony, theaters galore, choral music, jazz, you name it. We’re a small vibrant city with the

performing arts amenities of a much larger metropolis.

Howard Millman

Howard Millman will chair the panel in April at the Historical Society’s Conversation at the Crocker

But it didn’t happen overnight or without concentrated effort by both visionary professionals and talented volunteers. Learn how Sarasota became a performing arts destination when a panel of experts led by esteemed director Howard Millman takes the stage at The Crocker Memorial Church on Tuesday, April 9, at 7 p.m. for a conversation among colleagues that reveals how and why Sarasota celebrates the performing arts.

It’s big business in this town.

Appearing with Howard Millman (theater) on April 9, will be Continue reading

Why We Look The Way We Do: The March Conversation at the Crocker

A panel of architecture experts discusses residential and commercial design movements over the years that have resulted in Sarasota’s look. Is it good or not?

A panel of architecture experts convenes on Tuesday, March 12 at 7 p.m. at The Crocker Memorial Church, 1260 12th Street to talk about how Sarasota came to look the way it does, in our Conversations at The Crocker event.

Florida Cracker, vernacular Continue reading

More to Sarasota than beach, weather, mosquito control, crooks and visionaries.

PAY DIRT: How Sarasota became a Real Estate Destination

There’s more to the story than beach, weather, mosquito control, crooks and visionaries.

Bob Plunkett to moderate Pay Dirt, a panel discussion at the Historical Society of Sarasota County

Bob Plunkett to moderate Pay Dirt, a panel discussion at the Historical Society of Sarasota County

Our next Conversation at the Crocker will be an illuminating panel discussion on how and why this area started attracting serious buyers in 1885 and hasn’t stopped yet.

In 1885 60 men, women and children from Scotland (known as the Ormiston Colony), who had purchased land in this area from the Edinburgh-based Florida Mortgage and Investment Company, debarked in Sarasota on a December day. They thought they were coming to sunny Florida to become gentlemen farmers. Then it snowed.

Want to know what happened next? Then be sure to be in the audience at the Crocker Memorial Church on Tuesday, February 12 at 7 p.m. for a panel discussion about those who were deceived by promises of paradise and about the developers and visionaries who promised paradise.

Bob Plunket, moderator, has been writing about Sarasota’s people and places for over 30 years. He is a magazine writer and as The Real Estate Junkie, a well-known TV personality. Joining him will be author/historian Jeff LaHurd who has lived in Sarasota since 1950 and is Sarasota County History Center’s History Specialist. “The common thread running throughout Sarasota’s history from its earliest days to the present time is real estate,” said LaHurd, “buying, selling and, occasionally, bilking.” Also on the panel are long-time experts Realtors Lynn Robbins and David Jennings.

This Conversation at the Crocker is the fifth in a series of panel discussions presented by the Historical Society of Sarasota County with support from SARASOTA Magazine. The events are free to members; $10 for non-members. New memberships are welcomed at the door.

Conversation at the Crocker January 15: How Sarasota Became an Art Colony

A discussion that explores how Sarasota evolved into a destination for visual artists and insights about whether or not Sarasota remains an art colony today. Who were the major players then and who are they now?
Artists on Sarasota Bay, 1950's

Artists attending a class on the beach in the early 1950s. Photo, Sarasota History Center.

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How did Sarasota evolve into a thriving art colony during the mid 20th century and who were the major influences and inspirations in painting and sculpture responsible for that phenomenon?

Is Sarasota a viable art community today?

Can visual artists make a living here today and sell their art locally as well as internationally?  These are some of the questions that panel moderator Kay Kipling will put to panel members Kevin Dean, William Hartman and Heidi Connor at the January 15 Conversations at The Crocker.
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Kay Kipling will speak at the Historical Society of Sarasota County

Kay Kipling

Kay Kipling is the Executive Editor at SARASOTA Magazine and has a 30 year history of writing about the visual and performing for many publications. Heidi Connor is a gallery professional, art consultant and freelance curator. Additionally, she worked for many years with the artist John Chamberlain. Kevin Dean is Director of Selby Gallery, Ringling College of Art and Design. He has 27 years experience teaching art history and has been gallery director for 18 years, during which time he has organized more than 200 shows. A working artist, Dean has his work exhibited in museums, college galleries, alternative spaces and currently at Allyn Gallup’s contemporary gallery in Sarasota. Kevin Dean is also the co-author (along with Marcia Corbino and Pat Rignling Buck) of the book A History of Visual Art in Sarasota. William Hartman, owner of the Hartman Gallery in downtown Sarasota, grew up surrounded by artists.  “My folks, the artists William and Marty Hartman, met in 1946 while attending Ringling School of Art; my dad on the GI Bill and my mother working as a student for Mr. Kimbrough in the front office. In 1951 my parents opened their art school and gallery in the old Times building on 1st Street and became life long contributors to the Sarasota art scene.”

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Hartman said Sarasota owes its visual arts legacy to many outstanding artists such Jerry Farnsworth, Helen Sawyer, Wells Sawyer, Hilton Leech, Ben Stahl, Jon Corbino, Robert Larsen, Judy Axe, Thornton Utz, Robert Chase, Julio De Diego and Syd Solomon. His own parents certainly contributed tremendously as working artists, teachers and gallery owners.
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Kevin Dean will speak at the Historical Society of Sarasota County

Kevin Dean

“Sarasota will always be a beautiful location for artists to live and work,” continued Hartman, “however, as a place to market their work Sarasota has always had  shortcomings. But, Ringling School has been a player central to our story, if we were to remove John Ringling from the equation, we might never have acquired the distinction as an art colony.”

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The art history event at the Crocker Memorial Church is the fourth in a series of year-long panel discussions.
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Conversations at The Crocker events highlight specific aspects of Sarasota’s past and examine pivotal events and people who have influenced Sarasota today.

All Conversations take place at The Crocker Memorial Church and proceeds from this panel discussion series help to maintain the Historical Society’s two heritage properties at Pioneer Park – the Bidwell-Wood House (1882, Sarasota’s oldest private residence) and the Crocker Memorial Church (1901). Docent-led tours of both buildings are available an hour before each of the Conversations at The Crocker events. Chairs of Conversations at The Crocker are Lynn Harding and Marsha Fottler. President of the Historical Society of Sarasota County is Howard Rosenthal. Site Manager is Linda Garcia.
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Conversation at the Crocker January 15: How Sarasota Became an Art Colony starts at 7 p.m. at the Crocker Memorial Church in Pioneer Park at 1260 12th Street, Sarasota. The program is free to members of the Historical Society of Sarasota County and $10 for the public. Conversations at The Crocker is organized and presented by the Historical Society of Sarasota County with program support from SARASOTA Magazine.

And don’t miss future Conversations at the Crocker:

February 12: Pay Dirt – How We Became a Real Estate Destination with moderator Bob Plunket.
March 12, Why We Look The Way We Do: Architecture with moderator Harold Bubil.
April 9, A City of the Performing Arts with moderator Howard Millman.

How integration changed Sarasota forever: A Conversation at the Crocker

Newtown Before and After Integration
Carolyn Mason photo

Sarasota County Commissioner and former Sarasota Mayor Carolyn Mason will lead the panel discussion.

A discussion that explores the ramifications of integration on Newtown school life and how integration changed forever the social, business and community structure in Sarasota’s African American close-knit community. Told by those who lived through it.

Four people – one white and three African Americans – gather to  participate in a personal, audience-interactive panel discussion about integration on Tuesday, November 13, at the Crocker Memorial Church, 1260 12th Street (Pioneer Park, between Cocoanut Ave. and Tamiami Trail), Sarasota. The discussion starts at 7 p.m. Community welcome. Historical Society members and students free; guests, $10. The Gift Shop and social porches open at 6 p.m. and tours of the Bidwell-Wood House and the Church will be offered.

          Sarasota County Commissioner and former Sarasota Mayor Carolyn Mason lead the panel which includes Continue reading

The Old Grey Mayors of Sarasota start off Conversations at the Crocker

Hope you got a chance, at our October Conversation at the Crocker, to participate in the lively, in-depth discussion between five of Sarasota’s past mayors and the avid audience!

Kelly Kirschner, Fredd Atkins, Mollie Cardamone, Elmer Berkel and Kerry Kirschner — all former mayors of Sarasota — gathered at the Historical Society of Sarasota County for the Continue reading