Sarasota Flexes Economic Strength from Arts and Culture


SARASOTA, FLORIDA, July 5th, 2017 – Sarasota has reinforced its claim as Florida’s Cultural Coast, one of the key factors boosting marketability of Sarasota homes for sale. This endearing reputation has been reaffirmed in a recent nationwide survey which showed a robust growth in the economic contribution of arts and culture activities in the county as well as in its neighboring Manatee.

The nonprofit American for the Arts conducted this survey titled “Arts & Economic Prosperity Report.” Released this June, its findings indicated that the arts and culture community in Sarasota contributed $295 million into the local economy in 2015. This amount represents a 64 percent increase from the $180 million recorded in the prior survey taken in 2010.

Share in Manatee as Strong

Village of the Arts

Manatee County, which was again included in the survey, also exhibited strength in its arts and culture scene. According to the American for the Arts’ numbers, various arts, cultural and heritage events in the county brought $47.4 million to its economy in 2015. This contribution constitutes a 61 percent gain from the $29.4 million the sector posted in 2007, the last time that Manatee was part of the survey.

Full-time employment on arts-related positions in Sarasota improved significantly to 7,445 jobs in 2015 from 4,479 in 2010, the American for the Arts’ report also showed. It likewise noted that audiences spent close to $2.5 million in 2015 arts and culture shows, up from $2.3 million in 2010. Average individual spending on arts-related activities rose to $37.80 from $21.70 during the comparative period.

New Cultural Hub at Waterside

Moving forward, the arts’ economic impact in Sarasota and Manatee along with the region’s Cultural Coast banner is bound to rise up further at the new Waterside community. This project, which expands Lakewood Ranch south and boosts choices on Sarasota homes for sale, now includes building a new and bigger complex for The Players Centre for Performing Arts.

The Players Centre is moving from its Sarasota downtown site to the Waterside’s village center. This hub called Waterside Place will host the Centre’s 480-seat auditorium, and in addition to this main stage, a 125-seat black box theater and a 100-seat cabaret with an educational wing will likewise be built.

Bradenton Culinary Arts District Eyed

Culinary Arts District

In Manatee, plans are afoot for the creation of a Culinary Arts Market District. This brewing project hopes to tap into the growing focus on food in American culture for the past several years. This trend has notably emerged in several cities not only as a cultural driver but also as an economic catalyst.

In its bid to utilize the food culture to stimulate job creation and business growth, the county is adopting lessons learned from the development of the culinary arts district in Bentonville, Arkansas, and in Brooklyn, New York. Manatee’s initiative for such a district has already been introduced in the Bradenton Area Economic Development Corp.’s strategic plan, and a concrete program is expected to be drafted within this year.

In the meantime, Manatee would continue to bank on its various arts and culture attractions which experienced a surge in activities in recent years. These include the award-winning park and cultural venue Riverwalk, the Village of the Arts, and the new Manatee Performing Arts Center, all of which also helped put Bradenton homes for sale on the real estate market’s radar screen.