Image courtesy of Sarasota Orchestra
Image courtesy of Sarasota Orchestra

Art events in Sarasota County: December

Check out this month’s featured events around town.

Sarasota County is considered Florida’s Cultural Coast. The arts scene is the throbbing heart of the sun and beach playground for visitors and residents alike. Get a sampling of the cultural activities that Sarasota County offers and enjoy our December event picks including musical and visual arts and always a little surprise with music, dance, galleries, theatres and more in this monthly round-up of events in the area. Not every event is for everyone but every event is for someone!

Stroll and enjoy: Art & Music in Galleries and Al Fresco

Palm Avenue District, Sarasota
First Friday Art Walk is 6-9 p.m. Dec. 1 (the first Friday of every month.) This is a great opportunity to view and/or purchase outstanding art and attend special artists’ openings. Galleries are open to the public and artists are often in attendance. Sip (don’t miss the sip offerings) and savor tasty treats and wine in most of the galleries, while music fills all of Palm Avenue, the galleries, and part of Main Street as well. Make an evening of the event and enjoy great people-watching. Start every month with this must-attend evening.

The Historic Downtown Village of Sarasota
Celebrate the end of December in the Historic Downtown Village of Sarasota with “Fourth Friday at the Downtown Village” 5 to 9 p.m., Dec. 22. Located on the 1800 block of Fruitville Road (just northwest of the corner of Fruitville Road and Washington Boulevard), this event features fascinating boutiques with eclectic offerings, live music, food trucks, guest vendors and art demonstrations.

Towles Court Artist Colony, Sarasota
Enjoy “Third Friday Art Walk” at Towles Court with music and refreshments 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, Dec.15. All the galleries are open in this truly festive atmosphere every month. Artists are often on hand to chat and lots of items are available to look at and purchase as well.


Sarasota Ballet
The Sarasota Ballet — The John Ringling’s Circus Nutcracker at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 15 and at 2: p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Dec. 16. At Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. Get your subscriptions now for the full season. 941.359.0099, [email protected].

Sarasota Contemporary Dance
Subscriptions now on sale for Sarasota Contemporary Dance's four-performance season in its twelfth year. All performances are in the Jane B. Cook Theater at the FSU Center for the Performing Arts. Voices of Sarasota Contemporary Dance runs through Dec. 3. 941.359.0099.

Sarasota Cuban Ballet School
Sarasota’s best-kept dance secret! The Sarasota Cuban Ballet offers an internationally-famous school for ballet instruction in the Cuban style as well as frequent performances during the season. Not so secret anymore: collaborating with the Sarasota Opera this year in La Traviata and Carmen. See Sarasota Opera Box office at 941.328.1300. 501 N. Beneva Rd. 941.365.8400 [email protected] 


The Ringling
The Ringling is one the premiere visual art centers in Florida. Exhibits change often and include classical and modern works. Visit to learn about the latest happenings at the museum such as Deck the Halls at the Ca’ d’Zan Dec. 14, 21, 28. 941.360.7399,


North Port Symphony
Tis The Season 3 p.m. Dec. 10 concert by North Port Symphony: featuring guest artist Alexa Lowrey and sing-alongs. North Port Performing Arts Center 941.426.8479.

Sarasota Opera
La Traviata, by Giuseppe Verdi opened the Opera season on Nov. 3 and will run through the Dec. 21 Look for some new additions to this opera season. “We look forward to our first collaboration with the Sarasota Cuban Ballet School,” says Maestro DeRenzi. “I feel the style of the School’s training with its Latin roots, as well as Ms. Vergara’s expertise as a choreographer, will be assets to Sarasota Opera’s productions of La Traviata and Carmen.” Another addition is the Da Capo Society, which got its start last season. The purpose is to encourage audience participation for young professionals between 21 and 45 years old and to acquaint them with the unique benefits of being an Opera subscriber and donor.

The Sarasota Opera is truly an A-list experience for everyone of all ages, The music, the libretto, the voices, the intrigue, and for this aficionado, the baritones! Ah! The baritones! See you opening night. Box Office at 941.328.1300.

The Sarasota Orchestra
Masterworks II is the “symphonic carnival,” on Dec. 8 thru 10 at the Van Wezel. Featuring Berlioz, Barber. Bernstein, and Stravinsky’s The Firebird, with Benjamim Beilman as the violin soloist. Great Escapes brings Home for the Holidays at Holley Hall, on Dec. 20-23. Box office 941.953.3434,

Venice Symphony
Holiday Pops: Conductor, Wesley Schultz. Guest Artists Johanna Fincher, Soprano, and Actor/Singer Eric Watters will help celebrate all the month’s holidays 7:30 p.m. Dec. 15 and 3 p.m. & 7:30 p.m. Dec. 16 at the Venice Performing Arts Center. 941.207.8822. 


Florida Studio Theatre
Currently playing at Mainstage is Heisenberg, Dec 13-March 4. Cabaret features Mack the Knife: The Bobby Darin Songbook, through Feb. 4. 941.366.9000.

FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training
Catch some of the best plays ever written performed by future stars. These student productions are still my absolute favorite evenings of theatre all season, every season. Always at the Cook Theatre. Just finished OEDIPUS. OMG awesome! There will be more Shakespeare at Selby this season. Box office is 941.351.8000,

Asolo Repertory Theatre
EVITA continuing through Dec. 30. One of the truly great Broadway shows of recent times. Timely too. Box Office 941.351.8000.

The Players Centre for Performing Arts (Players Theatre)
1940’s Radio Hour, Dec. 7-23 is like a live from NYC broadcast from 1942, complete with a musical and big band sound. Enjoy the spirit from a bygone era; HOLIDAY REVUE, talented students performing your favorite holiday classics--this is the annual Players Studio Holiday Show. Dec. 18; Legends and Laughter with Jimmy Mazz on Dec. 29 at 7:3p.m. Check out the Players Theatre Art Gallery in the lobby. 838 North Tamiami Trail Sarasota 34236. 941.365.249.

Van Wezel
Events for Dec. at The Van Wezel include the following: Choral Artists of Sarasota, Dec 10; 98 Degrees at Christmas, Dec. 11; A Charlie Brown Christmas, Dec. 17. LIVE ON STAGE; A Christmas Carol, Dec. 22; Moscow Ballet Great Russian Nutcracker, Dec. 29. 941. 953.3368.

Venice Theatre
The Santaland Diaries through Dec. 23; A Christmas Carol, Dec. 15-21; A Christmas Story: The Musical through Dec. 10. 140 W. Tampa Ave. Venice. 941.488.1115. [email protected] 

Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe
A Motown Christmas, created and adapted by Nate Jacobs, plays now through Dec. 23. This is a very joyous and fun holiday revue with a blend of the traditional and the soulful sounds of Motown celebrities. WBTT’s dazzling style will make this one holiday show you won’t forget. Speaking of Christmas, WBTT is still in the midst of a fund-raising effort to renovate the theatre and add some amenities (like dressing rooms and restrooms for the cast) and educational space. 1646 10th Way. 941.366.1505. Ho! Ho! Ho!

Visual Arts

Alfstad& Contemporary
Alfstad& Contemporary presents the inaugural show of its fifth season, the eponymously-titled, Zimoun, featuring a site-specific installation, as well as two prints created by the Swiss artist Zimoun.This is the most exciting art show in Sarasota. Don’t miss this exhibit, which runs through Dec. 22. The artist combines raw, industrial material with mechanical elements. Very cutting-edge, different art for a very specific space. 1419 5th Street in Sarasota. For photos and information contact [email protected] cell 347.804.1526.

Allyn Gallup Contemporary Art
“Small Is Beautiful” runs through Dec. 29 at the Allyn Gallup Contemporary Art Gallery, featuring works by Craig Rubadoux, Lynn Davison and many other favorites. Curated by Mark Ormond. Fabulous gallery, Across from parking lot, located on 1288 N. Palm Ave, SARASOTA. 941-366-2454, 

Art Center Sarasota
All exhibited in separate galleries, Cycle 2, Dec. 14 thru Jan. 19. Features “Interior by Jeff Schwaartz, “Floating Cubes” (site-specific) by Akiko Kotani and the ASC Instructors Show titled “New and Now” an open juried show. Reception for all 4 exhibits is 5-7 p.m. Dec. 14 941.365.2032.

Art Uptown
Art Uptown features a new showing of art each month by its member artists. Monthly shows also at Bird Key Yacht Club, 301 Bird Key Dr. are open to the public by invitation on opening nights. Jan Young, a highly accomplished abstract artist runs her exhibit until Dec. 4. The Art Uptown address is 1367 Main Street. 941-955-5409. Bird Key phone is 941.953.4455.

Dabbert Gallery
The Dabbert Gallery has moved to its new space at 46 S. Palm Avenue, a beautiful gallery with a wide variety of art work. This new gallery is even more spacious and closer to Main Street. More about this stunning new gallery later! 941.955.1315.

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens
Selby is so much more than a botanical garden. Frequent art exhibits, theatrical presentations, more Shakespeare, music and most of all, the breathtaking beauty of the gardens on the edge of the bay. Always, beautiful and a not- to- be- forgotten art place in Sarasota. 941.366.5731

Sarasota Orchestra Gallery
Located in Beatrice Friedman Symphony Center, the gallery features individual artists each month during the season. Gallery hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and whenever the building is open to the public. All receptions take place 5:00 to 6:30 p.m. at the Symphony Center. Artist Steve Klindt will display his work through Jan. 2 and a portion of the proceeds from sale of art will be donated to the Sarasota Orchestra. 941.953.3434

Content subject to change, please call ahead before visiting for the latest information.