Artist Series Concerts Of Sarasota Inc
1226 N. Tamiami Trail - Suite 300
Sarasota FL 34236
Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota, a 501(c)(3) corporation, presents innovative classical and popular performances by world-class vocal and instrumental musicians to entertain, engage, and inspire residents and visitors of all ages and backgrounds in Florida's Sarasota/Manatee/Charlotte County region and beyond.
CEO/Executive Director John Alan Fischer
Board Chair Edward L. Alley
Board Chair Affiliation Retired arts manager
General Info
Organization DBA
Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota, Inc. (name change 12/27/2011)
Former Names
Artist Series of Sarasota, Inc.
Tax Exempt Status Public Supported Charity
Incorporation Year 2002
Awarded competitive grant from Community Foundation in the last 5 years? Yes
State Charitable Solicitations Permit Yes June 2018
State Registration Yes June 2019
Financial Summary
IRS Letter of Determination
IRS Letter of Determination 2002View
Impact Statement
1) Consistently high media reviews and audience acceptance of programming.
2) Statewide scholarship program instituted in 2003 has awarded nearly $300,000 to 80 career-potential young musicians.
3) Artist Series concerts actively and successfully seeks out meaningful relationships and collaborations with other mission-aligned organizations. 
4) Balanced/nearly balanced budget since incorporation in 2002 - with growth 28-times increase in revenues/programs in 15 years' time.  
Needs Statement
1) $4 million operating endowment by 2022
2) A perfomance venue which we own or control
3) Financial support to increase professional staff by one person, and to provide competitive compensation to staff
4) Professional development and grants support
5) Professional support to better develop our strategic and succession plans which are a major undertaking for the first half of 2018
Background Statement

What is today known as the Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota was conceived in 1996 by Co-Founders Jerold Ross and Lee Dougherty Ross.

     The inaugural concerts were held in the lobby area of the Ross’s beach-front condo. The programs quickly grew in popularity and needed additional seating. In 2001 the renamed ARTIST SERIES OF SARASOTA moved to the Beatrice Friedman Symphony Center and in 2003 attained 501(c)(3) tax exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service.

     The Series continued to grow both artistically and in the number of people its programs reached. In August of 2005 a dialog began with the Ringling Museum and in October 2006 after a two-year restoration and reinstallation in a newly constructed space in the museum’s Visitors Pavilion the Historic Asolo Theater become our new home.

     While the organization provided support to gifted students from 2002-2006, it was in 2007 that a generous gift from Virginia Toulmin and others funded the beginning of an annual statewide competition for career-potential young musicians. Since inception the program has made more than 80 awards totaling more nearly $300,000.

    In 2011-12 we became ARTIST SERIES CONCERTS OF SARASOTA to clarify our activities.

 43 ticketed performances were planned for the 2015-2016 twentieth season as well as repositioning of our statewide scholarship to become a national competition. In addition we will add a new competition for high school students in Sarasota and surrounding areas.

Construction at our primary venue, the Historic Asolo Theater at The Ringling, from January 2017 through May 2017 reduced the number of performances we normally schedule, but opened an opportunity to conduct performances in a variety of "neighborhood" venues. The net result was to attract an significantly higher number of first-time audience members while meeting our budget for earned income through ticket sales. We also expanded concerts into the Venice, Florida community with two performances in the new 1,000-seat Venice Performing Arts Center.
For the 2017-2018 season we adjusted both the number and location of performances to better-fit audiences. A new pricing structure also has allowed us to offer a range of lower ticket prices mixed with higher ticket prices for larger productions, resulting in an increase in average ticket prices. A new website will go online in February 2018 along with increased spending in social media promotions designed to more efficiently attract all audiences and specifically the many tourists in our area. 


Areas Served
Areas Served
FL- Sarasota
FL- Manatee
FL- Charlotte
Areas Served Comments
Our organization currently primarily serves residents and visitors to Sarasota,Manatee, and Charlotte Counties.
Service Categories
Primary Org Type Arts,Culture & Humanities
Secondary Org Type Arts,Culture & Humanities
Tertiary Org Type Arts,Culture & Humanities
Statement from the Board Chair/Board President

Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota is a successful and growing asset to Sarasota and surrounding areas. Great care has been taken to build a strong yet flexible organization that can monitor and adjust to the changes of those it serves.

During 2016-2017 we continued the implementation of plans long in the making to assure that the organization remains strong and will long continue to reward the community and those who have contributed to its growth and popularity.

In January 2018 we began an a top-to-bottom strategic assessment which will result in a strategic plan and action plan to 2022, including an enhanced operating endowment campaign, program evaluation and updates, staffing evaluation, and further implementation of succession plans for key staff. 
I am pleased to use my experience and skills to help this worthy organization continue on its pathway. 
Statement from the CEO/Executive Director
One of the most encouraging and meaningful things I was told about Artist Series Concerts by a well-known and respected philanthropic leader was, "The Artist Series has values implementation far above those of most organizations its size.
Additionally, the support we have found for and have been to successfully pass forward to young audiences and musicians through our annual scholarship program is again, unique and far more than one would expect for an organization our size.
I feel fortunate to have played a leadership role in guiding such a fine organization in its growth and success. 
Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota currently presents approximately 40-50 live performances annually. Performances utilize performers of national and international reputation and standards and where possible combine entertainment with enlightenment and educational components.
Budget $500,000
Category Arts, Culture & Humanities, General/Other Music
Program Linked to Organizational Strategy Yes
Population Served Adults Families Children and Youth (0 - 19 years)
Short Term Success
Building audience and retaining existing audience members.
Long Term Success
Adapting live musical performances to reflect the expectations of ever-changing audience/constituent values.
Program Success Monitoring
Growth, retention, feedback on satisfaction with programs.
Program Success Examples
Positive audience response; positive critical review; growth and retention of audiences and donors.
Program Comments by Organization

Audiences largely attend performances to be entertained. One of the areas that brings us great pride is our community engagement. In addition to taking many of our professional musicians to area school, we also have longstanding collaborations with organizations in our community to provide music and support to individuals and families in which Parkinson's and other diseases are realities.

We commit nearly 10% of our resources to conducting and funding two competitions for young musicians. Our national competition has provided nearly $300,000 in support to 80 young career-potential musicians since inception in 2007. A new collaborative program began in 2016 with the Sarasota Music Club provides $20,000 annually in educational support to high school students in Sarasota and Manatee Counties. 

CEO/Executive Director
CEO/Executive Director John Alan Fischer
CEO Term Start Aug 2003
CEO/Executive Director Email
Michigan native, John Fischer, became captivated with music at an early age. At age sixteen he was engaged to play a vintage theatre pipe organ on weekend evenings in his hometown.

With the belief that music could be an enduring pleasure but not necessarily a stable or lucrative career, he entered college studying Marketing. After college he spent ten years with the St. Louis-based
Brown Shoe Company and was ultimately responsible for advertising and visual presentations in a twenty-six unit retail division. Fischer left Brown to invest in a suburban Detroit commercial printing company where he specialized in creating marketing and fund raising programs for arts and educational organizations including the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, Michigan Opera Theatre, Cranbrook Educational Community, Detroit Country Day School the Lyric Chamber Ensemble and Fan Club for the Arts.

For the eight years preceding his retirement in 2001, John was Marketing Director for Hammell Music, Michigan’s exclusive representatives for Steinway pianos in Michigan, and northern Ohio and Indiana.

Fischer and his family chose the Sarasota area for their new home because of the rich cultural opportunities the area affords. The new residence was constructed to showcase their vintage 1923 three-keyboard, 42-rank pipe organ, and three grand pianos.

John Fischer has served as Executive Director of the Artist Series Concerts of Sarasota since 2003. 

In addition to his leadership role with the Artist Series of Sarasota, John has served as Treasurer of the Seminiole District of the Florida Federation of Music Clubs, Sarasota Orchestra Friends, and the Sarasota Opera Guild.

Her is formerly President of the Manasota Theatre Organ Society, current Treasurer of the Artist and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County, Assistant Treasurer for the Sarasota Music Club, and a formerly an officer/board member of the Southwest Florida Association of Fundraising Professionals.
Former CEOs/Executive Directors
Senior Staff
Donna Fisk Executive Assistant
Dr. Joseph Holt Director of Artistic Programs
Lee Dougherty Ross Director of Competitions & Outreach
Staff & Volunteer Statistics
Full Time Staff 1
Part Time Staff 0
Staff Retention Rate % 100
Professional Development Yes
Contractors 4
Volunteers 190
Management Reports to Board Yes
CEO/Executive Director Formal Evaluation No
Senior Management Formal Evaluation No
Non-Management Formal Evaluation No
John and Mabel Ringling Museum of Art, University of South Florida, Choral Artists of Saraota,  Neuro Challenge Foundation, SILL, Sarasota Music Club
External Assessments and Accreditations
Awards & Recognition
Exec. Dir. John Fischer received Arts Leadership AwardArts & Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County2011
Dr. Joseph Holt - Arts LeadershipArts & Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County2017
Risk Management Provisions
Fundraising Plan Yes
Communication Plan Yes
Strategic Plan Yes
Strategic Plan Years 10
Strategic Plan Adopted Dec 2009
Management Succession Plan Yes
Continuity of Operations Plan No
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Whistle Blower Policy Yes
Document Destruction Policy No
Directors and Officers Insurance Policy Yes
Policies and Procedures No
Other Documents
Other Document 2
Board Chair
Board Chair Edward L. Alley
Company Affiliation Retired arts manager
Board Term May 2015 to June 2018
Board Chair Email
Board Members
Board Members
Ms Jean Abrams Community Volunteer
Mr. Edward Alley Retired arts manager
Raphael Broth Community Volunteer
Linda Sharon Cerone Professional musician/educator
Mr David Chivas Community Volunteer
John Alan Fischer Retired-Executive/Marketing Dir.
Dr. Joseph Holt PhD Music
Ms. Jane Hunder Retired musician
Mr. Thomas Purviance Retired musician/administrator
Lee Dougherty Ross Artistic Director/Former performer/educator
Barbara Staton Community Volunteer / former educator
Ms. Joan Suddarth Retired communications Exec.
Constituency Includes Client Representation Yes
Board Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 12
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Gender
Male 6
Female 6
Unspecified 0
Board Term Lengths 2
Board Term Limits 2
Board Orientation Yes
Number of Full Board Meetings Annually 4
Board Meeting Attendance % 74
Board Self-Evaluation Yes
Written Board Selection Criteria No
Board Conflict of Interest Policy Yes
% of Board Making Monetary Contributions 100
% of Board Making In-Kind Contributions 100
Standing Committees
Advisory Board / Advisory Council
Governance Comments by Organization
Artist Series Concerts is forward looking - knowing that expectations of our donors and supporters is ever-changing. Internally we are deeply engaged in planning for succession of key staff and of financial sustainability.
In January 2018 we began what is expected to be a top-to-bottom assessment of all aspects of our organization. Included is an update of our bylaws, review reassessment of our board structure, participation with an eye to board development that will support the next phase of our growth and sustainability. 
Fiscal Year Projections
Fiscal Year Start Month July
Fiscal Year Start Day 01
Fiscal Year Begins 2017
Fiscal Year End Month June
Fiscal Year End Day 30
Fiscal Year Ends 2018
Projected Revenue $720,000.00
Projected Expenses $720,000.00
Total Projected Revenue includes "in-kind" contributions/ donations Yes
Organization has Endowment Yes
Endowment Value $327,334.00
Endowment Spending Policy Percentage
Endowment Spending Policy % 5
Capital Campaign
Currently In a Capital Campaign No
Anticipate Campaign within 5 years? Yes
Campaign Purpose Not strictly a "capital campaign" - since we don't own a venue - but rather an operating endowment to assure sustainability.
Campaign Goal $4,000,000.00
Campaign Dates Apr 2018 to June 2019
Amount Raised To Date 0 as of Dec 2018
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 Year201620152014
Foundation and
Corporation Contributions
Government Contributions$38,702$34,405$38,810
Individual Contributions$232,421$248,280$167,541
Investment Income, Net of Losses$14,422$19,992$14,092
Membership Dues$0$0$0
Special Events$57,443$63,550$46,232
Revenue In-Kind$55,934$58,720$40,888
Expense Allocation
Fiscal Year201620152014
Program Expense$493,280$443,011$377,417
Administration Expense$87,439$84,902$75,638
Fundraising Expense$14,037$46,534$9,593
Payments to Affiliates$0$0$0
Total Revenue/Total Expenses0.971.061.10
Program Expense/Total Expenses83%77%82%
Fundraising Expense/Contributed Revenue4%13%4%
Assets and Liabilities
Fiscal Year201620152014
Total Assets$471,341$488,322$442,284
Current Assets$406,955$423,720$377,444
Long-Term Liabilities$0$0$0
Current Liabilities$52,145$41,810$18,210
Total Net Assets$419,195$446,512$424,074
Top Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201620152014
Top Funding Source & Dollar AmountContributions, gifts, grants $232,421Contributions, gifts, grants $248,280Ticket Sales $226,809
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountTicket Sales $219,028Ticket Sales $227,463Contributions, gifts, grants $167,541
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar AmountFundraising $57,443Fundraising $63,550Fundraising $46,232
CEO/Executive Director Compensation $0 - $50,000
Tax Credits No
Short Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Current Ratio: Current Assets/Current Liabilities7.8010.1320.73
Long Term Solvency
Fiscal Year201620152014
Long-Term Liabilities/Total Assets0%0%0%
Financials Comments
Financial Comments by Foundation Foundations and corporations are included with individual contributions as they are not separated in the 990.  Financial figures were taken from the 990s. The valuation of in-kind contributions is included in revenue in the audited financial statements.
Nonprofit Artist Series Concerts Of Sarasota Inc
Address 1226 N. Tamiami Trail - Suite 300
Sarasota, FL
Phone 941 306-1200

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