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Gulf Coast Community Foundation of Venice Awards $100,000 for Renovation of Sarasota Opera House

Sarasota Opera has been awarded a $100,000 grant from the Gulf Coast Community Foundation of Venice.

Sarasota, FL, November 28, 2007 --( The proceeds of a $100,000 grant from the Gulf Coast Community Foundation of Venice will be used toward the ongoing $20-million renovation of the Sarasota Opera House. The award will help transform the 1926 Opera House by funding the purchase of new lighting for the skylight over the soaring three-story central atrium, and exterior lighting that will underscore enhancements to the Opera House façade and adjacent courtyard. As Florida's largest community foundation, with $260 million in assets, Gulf Coast Community Foundation funds grants and programs that are designed to contribute significantly to improving quality of life in a broad range of areas for citizens in the communities it serves. The Foundation builds strong communities through leadership, partnership, and endowed philanthropy. Foundation funding in the area of Arts and Culture, as with Sarasota Opera, is awarded to projects and programs that enhance the enjoyment and understanding of various art forms, as well as for significant cultural or historic resources.

This critical and timely support from the Foundation will be acknowledged on a "Behind the Scenes" central lobby plaque and will also assist the Opera in meeting a Capital Challenge Grant of $500,000 from The Kresge Foundation by June 1, 2008. A Kresge Foundation award is national level validation of the quality of thoughtful design and careful execution of capital projects, and underscores the importance of the Opera House renovation to the community. The Challenge amount is contingent on the Opera's successful completion of its $20 million campaign by the end of its fiscal year. To meet its goal Sarasota Opera must raise an additional $1 million between now and May 31, 2008.

The 32,000 square feet of the Sarasota Opera House, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, are undergoing a dramatic restoration and renovation which has seen the interior of the building near-gutted to the bare walls. Decorative details are being restored, the orchestra pit enlarged to allow of an expansive of the opera company's repertoire. Backstage systems, including new lighting and surtitle equipment, are being updated. Seating in the auditorium is being replaced in a new layout to improve sightlines and lobby spaces are being expanded and enhanced.

Much of the money spent on the renovation will go to items never seen by the audience, such as structural repairs, replacement of building systems, and added hurricane protection. The $100,000 Gulf Coast Community Foundation grant however will be used for elements that are designed to be seen. The new exterior lighting is perhaps the most visible, and therefore the most accessible, manifestation of the changes and improvements patrons of Sarasota Opera House will experience.

Contact Information
Sarasota Opera
Patricia Horwell
(941) 366-8450, ext. 332

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