Art events in Sarasota County: October

Sarasota County is considered Florida’s Cultural Coast. Sarasota’s arts scene is the throbbing heart of this destination for visitors and residents alike. Get a sampling of the cultural activities that Sarasota County offers. Enjoy our October 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. Oct. 6 (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 October in the Historic Downtown Village of Sarasota with “Fourth Friday at the Downtown Village” 5 to 9 p.m., Oct. 27. Located on the 1800 block of Fruitville Road (just northwest of the corner of Fruitville Road and Washington Boulevard), this event includes live music, food trucks, guest vendors and art demonstrations. Fascinating boutiques with eclectic offerings.

Towles Court Artist Colony, Sarasota

Enjoy “Third Friday Art Walk” at Towles Court with music and refreshments 6 to 10 p.m. Friday, Oct. 20. 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

Explore the Sarasota Ballet’s “The Secret Garden” on Oct. 27-29. They are performing at the Guggenheim Museum on Nov. 19. More about that later. Get your subscriptions now for the full seven program season. 941 359-0099, [email protected].

Sarasota Contemporary Dance

On Oct. 12-15, opening their 12th season, Sarasota Contemporary Dance will collaborate with Harpist Ann Hobson Pilot and Violinist Tai Murray and present performances inspired by and to the music of Astor Pantaleon Piazzolla. Not Tango. Subscriptions now on sale for their four performance season in their 12th year. All performances in the Jane B. Cook Theater at the FSU Center for the Performing Arts. 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

Stroll through the exhibits at The Ringling: “Eternal Offerings: Chinese Ritual Bronzes” from the Minneapolis Institute of Art; “Circle of Animals,” bronze heads by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei; “Skyway: A Contemporary Collaboration” open through Oct. 15; and “Posed: Portrait Photography” from the Permanent Collection through Oct. 29. 941-360-7399.


Sarasota Opera

La Traviata, by Giuseppe Verdi opens the Opera season on Nov. 3.

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 offer them access to not only Opera productions, special events, and other activities, but to acquaint them with the unique benefits of being an Opera subscriber and donor.

The Sarasota Opera is truly an A-list destination for everyone of all ages (almost), 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

Two Chamber Soirees performed by The Sarasota Orchestra in Oct.: Collage featuring the Sarasota Wind Quintet on Sunday, Oct. 8, 4:00 p.m. at Holley Hall and Treasures, featuring The Sarasota Piano Quartet on Sunday, Oct. 22 at 4:00 p.m. Great Escapes on Oct. 11-14 is entitled By Special Arrangement (a play on the theme that the arrangement makes the music). Music includes classical composers, Beatles, to Broadway including Hamilton. Holley Hall, 941-953-3434.  


Florida Studio Theatre. 941-366-9000.

FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training

Catch some of the best plays ever written performed by future stars at the FSU/Asolo Conservatory. These student productions are still my absolute favorite evenings of theatre all season, every season. Starting soon. There will be more Shakespeare at Selby this season. Box office is 941-351-8000.

The Players Centre for Performing Arts (Players Theatre)

The Tony Award winning musical, The Will Rogers Follies, runs Sept. 28-Oct.15. Moon Over Buffalo opens Nov. 2-19. Check out the Players Theatre Art Gallery in the lobby. 838 North Tamiami Trail Sarasota 34236. 941-365-2494,

Van Wezel

Events at the Van Wezel for Oct. include the following: Oct. 8, Big Stage Ballroom; Oct. 11, Neil Berg’s 50 Years of Rock and Roll; Oct. 17, Willie Nelson; Oct. 30 brings the first Broadway play of the season, Chicago. 941- 953-3368,

Venice Theatre

Oct. programming includes: Through Oct. 15, You Can’t Take It With You; Beehive: The 60’s Musical through Oct. 27; Buddy Returns Oct. 29-30.

140 W. Tampa Ave. 941-488-1115, [email protected] 

Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe

In the Heights by Lin-Manuel Miranda opens the season for Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe (WBTT). The show is in keeping with WBTT telling stories not just of African Americans but other ethnic groups of African descent as well. Dates of this really hot opener are Oct. 11-Nov. 18. Although the shows resume in October, don’t forget 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.

Visual Arts

Art Center Sarasota


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. Art Center address is 1367 Main Street. 941-955-5409. Bird Key phone is 941-953-4455.

Dabbert Gallery

Dabberty Gallery is moving to its new space at 46 S. Palm Avenue on October 1. Visit this current, beautiful gallery with a wide variety of art work. The new gallery is even more spacious and closer to Main Street.76 South Palm Avenue until October 1. More about this stunning new space later!


The Galleries of Ringling College of Art+Design

941-359-7563, [email protected]

Marie Selby Botanical Gardens

Selby is so much more than a botanical garden. On Oct. 12, The Orchid Show opens. Magnificent. On Oct. 22, The Curious Bedfellows acoustic folk band brings on music of all genres. On Oct. 29, Renesito Avich, virtuoso Cuban guitarist and friends will perform elegant music for the Garden Music Series. Frequent art exhibits, theatrical presentations, 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.-4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and whenever the building is open to the public. All receptions take place 5:00-6:30 p.m. at the Symphony Center. Artist Laura C. Baran will display her work until Oct. 31. Her reception is Wednesday, Oct. 18.

A portion of the proceeds from sale of art will be donated to the Sarasota Orchestra. 941-953-3434

Festival Alert!


Get your tickets now for the Ringling International Arts Festival (RIAF) Oct. 18-21. This festival of internationally-acclaimed musicians, actors and dancers sells out regularly. Can’t say enough about this awesome feast of art. A true Festival for the senses! This event is a must-see for Sarasota and visitors come from all over the world for this festival. Learn more.

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