Arts & Cultural Alliance Of Sarasota County Inc
1226 N Tamiami Trail, Suite 300
Sarasota FL 34236
The mission of the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County is to advocate for arts and culture and to enhance the connection between our community and regional arts and culture.
CEO/Executive Director Mr. Jim Shirley
Board Chair Dr. Larry Thompson
Board Chair Affiliation Ringling College of Art & Design
General Info
Organization DBA
Supported Organization
Former Names
Sarasota County Arts Council
Tax Exempt Status Public Supported Charity
Incorporation Year 1986
Awarded competitive grant from Community Foundation in the last 5 years? Yes
State Charitable Solicitations Permit Yes Apr 2016
State Registration Yes 0
IRS Letter of Determination
Financial Summary
Projected Revenue $347,880.00
Projected Expenses $321,095.00
Other Documents
Impact Statement

The Arts and Cultural Alliance made the following contributions to Sarasota's Arts and Cultural Community over the past year:



  • The Alliance has generated over $ 17MM in grant support for arts and cultural organizations. In 2013, more than $1.5 million in funding was generated to support local arts and cultural organizations through the Tourist Development fund. Granted over $20,000 to local individual artists through the John Ringling Towers Fund grant program. Granted over $23,000 to local arts and cultural organizations through the Opportunity grant program.




The Alliance is the primary advocacy organization for the arts in our region. We serve as the face and voice for the entire cultural community and are the point of contact for city, county, state and national government to promote the arts as an economic driver for Sarasota County.
  • The Arts Education Task Force (AETF) brings together education directors from arts organizations in Sarasota County, Sarasota County School staff, community members and interested citizens to support and enhance arts education in our schools and our community
  • YouthArts Fest - Each year more than 20,000 citizens and tourist gather in downtown Sarasota for the annual celebration of arts education. More than 500 student performers showcase their talents.
  • Principals’ Recognition Luncheon

3) PUBLIC PROGRAMS o Annual Arts Celebration 


  • The Arts Leadership Program designed to provide in depth education and involvement in the arts for business leaders to encourage future generations of patrons and board members.
  • The Cultural Collective is a program designed to expose younger audiences to the arts that offers affordable ticketing combined with educational experiences.
  • Sarasota Keys is an interactive public art program that provides artistically painted pianos for use by the general public as a way of using the arts to invigorate our community 
Needs Statement

The Arts and Cultural Alliance is the official arts & cultural agency for Sarasota County. To achieve our mission, we need your help in many ways.


Sarasota Keys | $1,500 per piano
Keep the pianos downtown! In January 2014, the Alliance debuted six pianos on the sidewalks of downtown Sarasota for the public to explore, enjoy, and play. These pianos were transformed into beautiful works of public art by some of Sarasota's legacy artists. However, this short-term project will end in May. We hope to turn this into a seasonal event, and will need your support and funding to bring it back in January 2015.

Website Re-Design | $18,000 
The proposed re-design of our website would take our current website (built 6 years ago) and transform it into a simple, easy-to-use format with an expanded events calendar for all arts and cultural events, social media integration, a brand new blog for interactive content, and more. We need the re-design in order to compete in this demanding market, and so that our staff can have full control over the content (saving us thousands of dollars in fees).
YouthArts Fest | $100 to $5,000

Each year thousands of citizens and tourist gather in downtown Sarasota for our Annual YouthArts Fest. Prepare to be amazed and delighted by the level of dance, music, theatre, visual arts and circus performance that our students produce. Sponsorships and contributions of all levels are needed to help our children shine and build the self esteem that will carry them into their future as successful citizens.

Annual Arts Celebration | $100 to $10,000
It is important that this annual celebration of the arts remain free to the public. Approximately 1,200 community members attend the ceremony each year at Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall. This event features multiple performances by local arts organizations, recognizes arts leadership, grants support to local artists in visual, performing, and literary arts, and generates excitement and public support of the arts.

Background Statement

The Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County (formerly Sarasota County Arts Council) was founded in 1986 by Senator Bob Johnson and a group of committed citizens. In 1988, the council lobbied to have a portion of the hotel bed tax distributed to arts and cultural institutions, and took on the responsibility of administering this tax, known as Tourist Development/Cultural Arts Grants(TDC/A).

In 1989 the Arts Education Task Force (AETF) was formed as a standing committee made up of education directors from arts organizations, teachers, and interested citizens. This committee has become a major force for arts education. In 2000 the Task Force introduced its signature event, the annual Principals Luncheon which honors Sarasota County principals for their support of arts education.

1990 marked the inaugural year of Arts Day, our one-day celebration of arts and culture in Sarasota County. As the needs of the arts community shifted with the changing economy, Arts Day became the YouthArts Fest focusing on young artists and education programs. In 2015, this festival will once again change its face to become InspireSarasota! and reclaim its place as a community-wide public arts festival.

The Community/Schools Partnership for the Arts(C/SPA) was created in 1996 as an advisory committee to the superintendent of Sarasota County Schools. Comprised of educators and administrators from the school district and leaders of the arts community, C/SPA works within the school district to effect policies and programs that make arts education opportunities available to all students.

In 2004 three grant programs funded by the Alliance were introduced: Opportunity Grants, John Ringling Towers Fund Individual Artist Fellowships, and John Ringling Towers Fund Historic Preservation Grants.

The Alliance partnered with the Patterson Foundation in 2011 on an arts education project which resulted in implementation of Ed Explorer SRQ, a database of arts and cultural learning experiences available to Sarasota County schools.

In 2013, the Alliance partnered with the school district and community leaders to bring the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Any Given Child program to Sarasota.

2013 also saw the introduction of Sarasota Keys, placing artist-decorated pianos throughout the community for public interaction and music-making.

Areas Served
Areas Served
FL- Sarasota
FL- Manatee
Service Categories
Primary Org Type Arts,Culture & Humanities
Secondary Org Type
Tertiary Org Type
Arts, Culture, Alliance, Council, Sarasota
Statement from the Board Chair/Board President
Statement from the CEO/Executive Director
Description The Arts Education Task Force is a standing committee of the Arts & Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County. Formed in 1988, the Task Force brings together education directors from arts organizations in Sarasota County, Sarasota County School staff, artists and interested community members to support arts education in our schools and community.
Budget $0
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served Children and Youth (0 - 19 years) Adults
Short Term Success Communication and collaboration among arts organizations; ongoing advocacy; Student Arts Festival (?) Training Artists in Schools
Long Term Success Principals Luncheon (11 years); Artists in Schools; Professional Development Workshops for teachers, arts organizations; advocacy ; Collaboration with school district through Community/Schools Partnership for the Arts
Program Success Monitoring Results of advocacy (arts programs maintained in schools) ; Formal and informal evaluation of programs, e. g. Artists in Schools, Principals Luncheon, professional development workshops
Program Success Examples Advocacy maintained arts programs and teachers in the district; Creation and continuation of  Fine Arts Program Specialist position; Recent Professional Development: Arts and Literacy Workshop series ; Arts Work (arts as careers) for High School; Cultural Connections Symposium; National Endowment for the Arts Institute for elementary/middle school teachers on arts integration

YouthArts Fest is an all-day Saturday event that features performances and a visual art exhibit by K-12 student artists, musicians, actors and dancers.

This day highlights the importance of arts in our community and arts education in our schools. Parents and the community at large attend to support the students and see first-hand the arts education that students in our public schools experience. Participants include elementary, middle, and high school students. 

The vision is for students, parents, teachers, and community members to celebrate the talents and achievements of student artists as well as the quality and variety of arts education that is available in our public schools.


Budget $15,000
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Celebratory Events
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served Children and Youth (0 - 19 years) Families Elderly and/or Disabled
Short Term Success Create awareness of the extraordinary artistic talent being developed by the arts education programs in our local public schools.
Long Term Success

One of the top priorities of the Alliance is to build support for arts education programs in our schools.  We hope this showcase of the amazing artistic talents in our schools will inspire the community to ensure the arts remain an essential part of a complete education for our students.

Program Success Monitoring Our YouthArts Fest planning committee holds a meeting to evaluate the event and determine ways to improve next year.  
Program Success Examples Attendance has grown steadily over the past four years. In 2011, 5,000 people attended. In 2012, 10,000 people attended. In 2013, 15,000 people attended. In 2014, we expect 18,000-20,000.
Performing arts organizations across the country are vitally important to the communities they serve. Sarasota is fortunate to have one of the most robust offerings of any city its size in the country. Many of these organizations share a concern about the aging of their audiences and their donor bases.

The Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County, in conjunction with Sarasota Magazine, developed the Arts Leadership Program during the 2012-2013 season to address this concern. The program’s goal is to ensure that the “next generation” of business professionals has an appreciation and understanding of the arts while providing them with insight that will help them to develop and grow their relationships with clients who patronize the arts in Sarasota.

How it works
20 of Sarasota’s finest businesses and firms will send a business leader to participate in the seasonal program, November - May. The participants’ commitment will be to attend a series of educational programs, each focusing on a particular arts and cultural organization and art form. The program will include an introduction to the art form, an in-depth education about an upcoming performance, behind-the-scenes tours, and more. The participants will interact with patrons and members of the organization’s boards of directors to hear firsthand about their passion and commitment to the art form. This program will be of particular interest to all businesses who service high net-worth clients.
Budget $5,000
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served Adults
Short Term Success
Graduates of the Arts Leadership Program will gain a better understanding of the arts because of the behind-the-scenes insight and experience. They will develop and grow their relationships with clients who patronize the arts in Sarasota. 
Long Term Success Graduates of the Arts Leadership Program will become the next generation of arts and cultural philanthropists.
Program Success Monitoring
- Future attendance at the arts organizations after the program (100% of graduates attended an arts performance following graduation)
- Number of graduates who join committees or Boards of arts organizations visited (2 out of 12 graduates in 2013)
Program Success Examples  
Program Comments by Organization
Program Comments by Foundation
CEO/Executive Director
CEO/Executive Director Mr. Jim Shirley
CEO Term Start Nov 2009
CEO/Executive Director Email
Former CEOs/Executive Directors
Senior Staff
Cindy Balistreri Education Manager
Susan Burke Operations Manager
Amanda Heisey Communications Manager
Staff & Volunteer Statistics
Full Time Staff 2
Part Time Staff 2
Staff Retention Rate % 100
Professional Development Yes
Contractors 2
Volunteers 100
Management Reports to Board Yes
CEO/Executive Director Formal Evaluation Yes
Senior Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Non-Management Formal Evaluation Yes

The Arts and Cultural Alliance is essentially structured as a collaboration among the arts and cultural organizations in Sarasota County. The purpose of our programs is to create collaborations and support the arts community. We collaborate with City, County, State and Federal elected officials and agencies to manage grant programs and promote advocacy efforts for the support of arts and culture at the highest levels.

External Assessments and Accreditations
Awards & Recognition
Risk Management Provisions
Government Licenses
Organization Licensed by the Government
Fundraising Plan No
Communication Plan No
Strategic Plan No
Strategic Plan Years N/A
Strategic Plan Adopted 0
Management Succession Plan No
Policies and Procedures Yes
Continuity of Operations Plan No
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy No
Document Destruction Policy No
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy No
Management Comments by Organization
Management Comments by Foundation
Board Chair
Board Chair Dr. Larry Thompson
Company Affiliation Ringling College of Art & Design
Board Term Oct 2007 to Sept 2015
Board Chair Email
Board Members
Board Members
Mary Bensel Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall
Murray Chase Venice Theatre
Linda DiGabriele Asolo Repertory Theater
Dean Eisner Philanthropist
Sally Faron LaMusica
John Fischer Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota
Steven High John & Mable Ringling Museum
Rebecca Hopkins Florida Studio Theatre
Suzette Jones BIG - Big Ideas on the Gulf Coast
Frank Maggio Insignia Bank
Kumar Mahadevan Mote Marine Laboratory
Michelle Pingel The Players Theatre
Pedro Reis Circus Sarasota
Bruce Rodgers The Hermitage Artist Retreat
Jennifer Rominiecki Marie Selby Botanical Gardens
Nancy Roucher Arts Advocate
Mary Anne Servian Sarasota Ballet
Larry Thompson Ringling College of Arts & Design
Student serving on the board through Community Youth Development? No
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 17
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 1
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 10
Female 8
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 3
Board Term Limits 2
Board Orientation Yes
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 5
Board Meeting Attendance % 74
Board Self-Evaluation Yes
Written Board Selection Criteria Yes
Written Conflict of Interest Policy Yes
% of Board Making Monetary Contributions 100
% of Board Making In-Kind Contributions
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes
Standing Committees
Governance Comments by Organization
Governance Comments by Foundation
Fiscal Year Projections
Fiscal Year Begins 2014
Fiscal Year Ends 2015
Projected Revenue $347,880.00
Projected Expenses $321,095.00
Endowment Value
Endowment Spending Policy
Endowment Spending Policy %
Capital Campaign
In a Capital Campaign No
Campaign Purpose
Campaign Goal
Campaign Dates 0 to 0
Amount Raised To Date 0 as of 0
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years?
IRS Form 990s
Audit/Financial Documents
Historical Financial Review
Revenue SourcesHelpThe financial analysis involves a comparison of the IRS Form 990 and the audit report (when available) and revenue sources may not sum to total based on reconciliation differences. Revenue from foundations and corporations may include individual contributions when not itemized separately.
Fiscal Year201320122011
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
Government Contributions$0$0$177,626
Individual Contributions$58,977$60,630$67,021
Investment Income, Net of Losses$39,983$52,413$8,522
Membership Dues$71,934$55,237$49,100
Special Events$0$0$0
Revenue In-Kind$10,961$5,164$3,850
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201320122011
Program Expense$352,013$343,003$341,848
Administration Expense$32,592$32,749$33,944
Fundraising Expense$5,642$5,451$5,605
Payments to Affiliates$0$0$0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses1.041.030.90
Program Expense/Total Expenses90%90%90%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue10%9%2%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201320122011
Total Assets$955,307$911,449$966,778
Current Assets$488,823$433,515$475,001
Long-Term Liabilities$257,423$210,714$222,736
Current Liabilities$116,804$135,235$190,027
Total Net Assets$581,080$565,500$554,015
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201320122011
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountArts Program $177,600Arts Program $171,126Government Grants - Unspecified $177,626
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountMembership Dues $71,934Contributions, gifts, grants $60,630Contributions, gifts, grants $67,021
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountContributions, gifts, grants $58,977Membership Dues $55,237Membership Dues $49,100
CEO/Executive Director Compensation N/A
Co-CEO/Executive Director Compensation
Tax Credits
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201320122011
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities4.183.212.50
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201320122011
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets27%23%23%
Financials Comments
Financial Comments by Organization
Financial Comments by Foundation
Financial figures taken from 990 only.  Audit was not provided.  Foundation, corporations and congregations are included with individual contributions as they were not separated in the 990.
Nonprofit Arts & Cultural Alliance Of Sarasota County Inc
Address 1226 N Tamiami Trail, Suite 300
Sarasota, FL 34236
Primary Phone 941 365-5118 304